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Series The two knives

Monday, January 27, 2014

An Investigation Into The Large Knife Provides Further Proof That This Was THE Knife

Posted by Ergon


Overview

This is the first report of an investigation (the second part follows soon) of the kitchen knife used in the murder of Meredith Kercher, RIP.

Specifically its compatibility with the imprint of a bloody knife found by police investigators on her bed under-sheet which as you will see here seems possible to prove.

Two other recent posts also concentrated on aspects of the knife as strong proof: (1) proof of both Knox and Kercher DNA and (2) proof from the throat wounds.

  • Reference files are from very high definition crime scene photos not in general circulation.

  • Grateful thanks to the volunteers of the Meredith Kercher community who assisted in this production


Florence Court of Appeals

This is our poster Machiavelli, tweeting from the Florence courtroom on November 26, 2013:

“(Prosecutor Alessandro) Crini stated that this kitchen knife was compatible with the knife print on Meredith’s bed sheet”.

And this is from the defense summing up on January 09, 2014:

Bongiorno: “It’s too big, not the murder weapon.”

“Bongiorno shows a picture with an envisioned “knife” (pocket knife belonging to Guede?) together with the print on the bed sheet.”

“Nobody brings a “small blow with a big knife” “You don’t use half of a big knife” (she says)


Genesis of an investigation:

To recap: evidence was been presented at the Massei court of the first instance, which accepted that the kitchen knife, containing both Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade (trace B) and Amanda Knox’s DNA on the handle (trace A) was the weapon that struck the fatal blow to Meredith Kercher’s throat.

At some point after the attack, the perpetrator, Amanda Knox, puts it down on the bed, leaving “hematic stains” (bloody imprints) on the mattress.

The court concludes the shape of the imprints are compatible with the kitchen knife. It also concludes, based on the size of a lesser wound that a second, smaller knife caused the wound on the other side of the neck, and, the impossibility of accepting that a single weapon inflicted both wounds.

This is what it boils down to now, as we come to the final arguments of this case on January 30, with a decision to be handed down by the court later in the day:

  • Was the kitchen knife found in Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen the murder weapon that killed Meredith Kercher on November 01, 2007?

  • Did the killer leave behind proof in the form of bloody imprints on the under sheet covering Meredith’s bed?

  • And is the defense trying to divert attention away from it, even though the image on the bed fits the dimensions of the kitchen knife?

  • And pointing to a second knife, not ever found?

This article (to be followed by part II) was prepared to offer answers to these questions.

Methods used

As someone with a keen interest in photography, I know we see things in photographs that are not always apparent to the naked eye.

Where before we had all been misled by low definition photographs released by the defense to obscure incriminating details, I was able to obtain and view the high definition photographs shown here that proved that indeed, the bed imprints matched the seized kitchen knife, exhibit 36.

These photographs, first posted at Perugia Murder File Evidence Files have been circulating for some time, with members trying to match the knife to the bed imprints, but not, in my opinion, being able to match it exactly.

First, note that the killer placed a knife on two separate locations on the bed, marked by reference cards “J”, and “O”. (Reference photos below.)

I discarded “J”, because there was too much blood there to form an accurate measurement.  The killer lifted the knife and then placed it at “O”, which gave a better image, but even then, did not match exactly. Still, it was clear the images looked like a kitchen, and not, a pocket knife as alleged by the defense.

Looking at the reference photo, I saw a double image of a knife blade at “O”. (see where there’s a curved edge of the blade? That’s what convinced me there might be a double image there)

Conclusion reached

My opinion is the knife shifted slightly when it was placed there, hence the double image, which now made a perfect match with the kitchen knife, in both instances (see reference photos).

So I got a professional illustrator and other skilled people people to do the scale drawings and produce the video you see above which seems to provide conclusive proof the murder knife was placed on the bed.

Reference photos:




Image 1 above (click for larger image): Bed II (Image J and O on under sheet, shot November 02, 2007)




Image 2 above (click for larger image): Knife II (Image O on under sheet, shot November 02, 2007)




Image 3 above (click for larger image): FOTO5BIS (Conti-Vecchiotti lab, Mar. 22, 2011)




Image 4 above (click for larger image): Knife-Bed-Vector-AllScales (To prove the scales used to match the images)




Image 5 above (click for larger image): Knife-pos-lower-hi (The knife’s first resting position at “O”)




Image 6 above (click for larger image): Knife-pos-upper-hi (The knife’s final resting position at “O”)


Next steps

There are only four more days left till the Florence Appeals Court under Judge Nencini issues its verdict.  It must of course consider ALL the evidence, of which there is a preponderance that indeed suggests the verdict will, as would be proper, be guilty as charged.

Part II will be ready ASAP. It will be a recap of Massei on the knife, and how the defense continually tried to divert us away from the knife image by saying it did not fit the dimensions of the major wound. Also will have Frank Sfarzo’s misdirection and Bruce Fischer’s amateurish attempts to prove that Rudy Guede caused the knife wounds.

Happy as always to do my share for justice for Meredith Kercher.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Appeal Session #9: Sollecito Team Concludes, Prosecutor Crini Rebutts Defenses’ Claims

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: Sun hits the facade of of one of the most modern courtrooms in Europe]

5. Andre Vogt’s Excellent Post-Court Reporting In The Week

From Amanda Knox’s fugitive fears: she’s right to be worried

Sources close to defence lawyers confide that they, too, fear it may not go their way.

It didn’t help that Knox ignored her lawyers’ pleas to travel from Seattle and attend court in Florence - she sent an email instead - nor that she repeatedly requested to meet the Kerchers, only to be sternly rebutted by their lawyer, who suggested she act more like a defendant.

Then she started a new blog and began blithely responding to comments – most recently posting an admission that she had once faked a break-in as an April Fool’s prank before she left for Italy (a staged burglary is a key part of the case against her).

Have the wheels come off Knox’s public relations machine now that she’s safe in Seattle? She may need them again soon, because this appeal differs radically from the first one in 2011 which resulted in her acquittal, but which was harshly criticised and eventually annulled by Italy’s Supreme Court earlier this year.

There are three good reasons why this trial is different – and why Knox has reason to be nervous:

First, her co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers have distanced his defence from Knox’s.  “He may have brushed her hair and cleaned her ears, but he would not have killed for the love of Amanda,” his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno told jurors in closing arguments earlier this month. “Turn off Amanda,” she said. “Raffaele is not Amanda’s other half.”

Second, the uncompromising Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini has stayed away from Florence. Without him in court as a convenient villain, the “innocent American abroad being railroaded by a rogue prosecutor” narrative no longer holds water. The Florentine prosecutor, Alessandro Crini, has distanced the state’s case from the always controversial kitchen knife that may or may not have been the murder weapon. He’s also given less credence to the ‘sex game gone wrong’ theory that was central to the prosecution case in the first trial. Instead he’s considered all the evidence as a whole. There might have been a fight about missing money and hygiene, he said, but motive doesn’t matter: murders happen all the time for banal reasons. And convictions happen on much less evidence.

Third, the strict Florence judge, Alessandro Nencini, has curbed all antics by lawyers, public and media. There are no perp walks with popping flashbulbs this time. However the appeal ends, no one can argue that this trial wasn’t professionally managed.

4. Tweets by freelance reporter Andrea Vogt

14. Sollecito defense on bra clasp: For us, the condition of the room and conduct of the forensic police tells us there was contamination.

13. Judge interrupted Sollecito lawyer with a booming “No!” saying wiretapped conversations of Sollecito family not to be discussed this trial.

12. Maresca: Whatever you decide, we believe justice will be done & all elements considered in depth. We will serenely accept your decision.

11. Kercher attorney Maresca: Perugians reacted angrily to amanda knox acquittal because it was scandalous: acquittal was decided in advance.

10. Fabbiani, attorney for Meredith’s brother, urges court to look beyond motive. Perna for her sister: one person alone did not kill Meredith.

9. Lumumba attorney Pacelli concludes with this phrase to the jury: “Convict liar Amanda, the diabolical slanderer.”

8. Presiding Judge Nencini has cut Pacelli’s amanda knox monologue short. Says going off track. Pacelli promises to finish in 5 min.

7. Lumumba’s attorney Pacelli is delivering a vitriolic rebuttal on amandaknox - mixing his unbridled contempt w/her own statements.

6. Prosecutor asks (in case of conviction) cautionary measures so defendants can’t flee. Options are: passport, house arrest or arrest.

5. Prosecutor Crini: a lack of motive does not equal proof of innocence.

4. Trial back in session after “pausa caffe” during which Sollecito and his accusers were in tiny court coffee bar at same time. Only in Italy!

3. Sollecito attorney: The only things certain are the death of Meredith Kercher and the presence of Rudy Guede in the house that night.

2. Sollecito attorney: This case is an anomaly. Various judges interpreted facts differently over the years. There’s reasonable doubt.

1. In court, Sollecito attorney Maori contesting prosecutor’s arguments point by point. Knife, bathmat, alibi, witnesses. Afternoon rebuttals.

3. Tweets by our main poster Machiavelli

[At this point Machiavelli signed off]

62. Crini: Nencini asks the clerk’s officer to write down formally the exact terms of prosecution request to issue cautionary measures [if verdict guilty]

61. Crini says his conclusions are unchanged. Prosecution suggests arrest decrees are issued immediately if defendant(s) is(are) guilty

60. Crini points out the crime and motive originate from group dynamic.

59. Crini: Bongiorno had pointed out that anyway Sollecito should be accounted only for what he had done (implicit: not what Knox did)

58. Crini: The excessive and too quick reaction to a situation of rising argument is typical of group reaction.

57. Crini: Argument about cleaning was also reported by Meredith to her father John Kercher

56. Crini: Massive rejection of English [girls] testimonies is “weak” on the part of defence; tensions and dislikes in the house are recorded on paper

55. Crini: Movite cannot be assessed preliminarily as if it was a piece of evidence to be discussed

54. Crini: if you need to prove a crime, it is opportune to detect a motive, but a motive is only a plausible conjecture not basis for deduction

53. Crini: Bongiorno called all English girls ‘unreliable’ (because English, maybe coached by lawyers etc.)

52. Crini calls ‘amusing’ Bongiorno comparing her client with captain Schettino

51. Crini: Some thoughts about the motive.

50. Crini: It makes no sense to say the large kitchen knife is ‘incompatible’ with the big wound.

49. Crini: To the court: can you imagine a ‘surgical operation’ with a small knife producing a wound with clear margins on a live struggling victim?

48. Crini: it is difficult to produce an 8x8 cm large wound with a small 8cm long knife, it would produce at best a wound with irregular margin

47. Crini: The blade hypothesized by defence from the bed sheet stain is anyway larger; these are anyway conjectures. Datum is compatibility

46. Crini: thinking you can preemptively deduce the size of the blade from bed sheet stain is ‘unrealistic’

45. Crini: The “double knife theory” is based on the small size of the right wound, experts point to a likely much smaller knife with thin blade.

44. Crini: no defence wounds, no fight bruises, nothing under nails, bruises indicate forced restraint of victim; how she was immobilized

43. Crini: Massei court did not decide about attribution of pillowcase shoeprints, Crini objects Vinci’s finding, thinks prints are too small

42. Crini: Knox defence: says when Guede leaves palm print on pillowcase leaves a signature

41. Crini: Bongiorno called the murder scene “flooded” with Guede’s DNA. Crini points out his traces in room indicating he had free hands (no weapon)

40. Crini: The defences also dealt thoroughly with the use of the knife, wounds, blade size

39. Crini: The dynamic of the crime. Maori attributed all traces to Rudy Gede alone

38. Crini: All alleles of the victim were found in a scratch on the knife blade. Human DNA is normally not on knife blades

37. Crini: Vecchiotti admitted there was a scratch on the blade

36. Crini: The same defence experts did not object to the attribution Y haplotype of Guede found in the victim’s vagina

35. Crini: Calls Vecchiotti’s reasoning on bra clasp “a priori”, dismissed for reasons totally general and vague. Doesn’t read Y haplot. and X together

34. Crini: Points out a passage where Vecchiotti’s report misquotes police findings inserting the word “only”, built a strawman

33. Crini says let’s look at the Conti-Vecchiotti report, to see what it says, if you can subscribe with the report.

32. Crini: Tagliabracci in 2008 objected to quotes of prof. Gill calling them “too recent”

31. Crini: Objections referred to Low Copy Number are obsolete, and also partly undermined by the RIS report

30. Crini: Calls “embarassing” Bongiorno when alleges the police was wrong in attributing stains to cat’s blood

29. Crini: Disproves Bongiorno’s allegation that the clasp was stepped over.

28. Crini: Novelli rules out there was contamination in laboratory, as well as tertiary transfer in situ.

27. Crini is “pleased” the defence did not attempt to allege laboratory DNA contamination. Points out findings by Novelli

26. Crini: report says had there been internet surfing or writing activity, this would have resulted as obvious.

25. Crini cites arguments about computer expert reports, hearings of 14 Mar 2009 and Dec 2010 say further investigation is unnecessary

24. Crini: Maori omits to quote pieces of Curatolo’s testimony.

23. Crini will deal with Maori’s “theory of alibi” only very briefly

22. Crini says defence arguments on bathmat print are conjectures. Rinaldi is actually same person who correctly attributed shoeprint

21. Crini: Bathmat print: compatibility assessment can be done on what is measurable

20. Crini: Guede knew the hous and apartments, would have chosen logical entries and logical behaviour, Crini calls burglary theory ‘not credible’

19. Crini: alleged small wounds on Guede’s hand, inconsistent with absence of his blood on scene

18. Crini: Talks about Bongiorno’s criticism to staged burglary scenario - the scenario of Guede already inside apartment

17. Crini says police report timings, records of CCTV video camera and phone calls are ‘consistent’

16. Crini does not see corroboration of alleged 7-minute late clock error of CCTV. The 13.29 call was from Carabinieri HQ and don’t change anthg

15. Crini tris to “strain” the timing of police arival to favor the defence, to see if scenario fits. Considers possible CCTV time error

14. Crini: Sollecito calls Carabinieri too late, also because last phone call to Romaneli was at 12.38

13. Crini: Call to Sollecito’s sister, and then Sollecito’s call to Carabinieri at 12.51-45. Crini: this timing is late independently from Battistelli

12. Crini: Battistelli arrives on foot about 10 minutes eariler than postal police car

11. Crini wants to look better at some arguments about Sollecito’s declarations to postal police. Battistelli recalls 12.35 consistent with CCTV

10. Crini talks about Sollecito ‘sidetracking’, talking about statements to postal police

9. Crini: Knox’s Calunnia also contains details that have external corroboration and she could not have deduced from simple burglary scenario

8. Crini: A Calunnia is itself incriminating (require strong defence explanation), but Knox’s Calunnia also contains furth incrimiating details

7. Crini: Knox maintained her calunnia against Patrick over a period of several days. Crini points out the logicality of Cassazione argument.

6. Crini: Knox statements: ‘Patrick had sex with Meredith’ and ‘there was a loud scream’ were new elements, unrelated to known facts and not retracted

5. Crini: On calunnia, Crini points out that there was an argumentation about Knox defence about usability of Knox’s statement. argument is wrong

4. Crini: Theoretically all defense points could be replied to, Knox’s Calunnia, Sollecito statements to police, the staged theft, the mat print; DNA evidence

3. Crini says he will talk briefly only about a few selected points, without repeating himself, and without discussing old arguments again

2. [After the break] Prosecutor General Crini begins to reply.

1. [After the break] Sollecito entering the court, asked what he expect, says “no comment”

2. Tweets by reporter Barbie Latza Nadeau

44. Judge especially hard on Sollecito sub lawyer, reprimanding her for introducing new arguments when she is only supposed to be refuting.

43. Sollecito sub lawyer argues no DNA from Meredith Kercher on bra clasp w/Sollecito’s DNA, failing to mention she was wearing the bra..

42. Six years of Kercher trials and some lawyers still pronounce the K in Knox.. “ka-nox” as Sollecito’s sub lawyer just did.

41. Kercher lawyers finished, now Sollecito lawyers up for rebuttal, but both his principal lawyers had to leave early.

40. Kercher atty Maresca: Perugians reacted angrily to Amanda Knox acquittal because it was scandalous: acquittal was decided in advance.

39. Kercher lawyers ask court to consider all the previous testimony they say proves more than one person killed Meredith Kercher.

38. Lumumba lawyer says his client has not received any of the €22k he is owed by Amanda Knox even though the slander conviction is final.

37. Judge reprimands Lumumba lawyer for veering off course, he is only to discuss slander aspect of case, not murder itself.

36. Lumumba’s atty Pacelli is delivering a vitriolic rebuttal on Amanda Knox - mixing his unbridled contempt w/her own statements.

35. Lumumba keeps referring to Amanda Knox as “the American”, says she had a penchant for drugs, alcohol, sex.

34. Lumumba lawyer calls Amanda Knox a “diabolical slanderer” …

33. Lumumba lawyer says Amanda Knox substituted Patrick for Rudy Guede.

32. Court back in session with Lumumba lawyer up. Sollecito back in court after break.

31. Prosecutor Crini: a lack of motive does not equal proof of innocence. Amanda Knox

30. Prosecutor focused on knife, says traces of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox are valid.

29. Sollecito staring at prosecutor as he delivers rebuttal, jury taking notes, judge listening intently, journalists trying to stay awake.

28. Prosecutor in new Amanda Knox appeal says motive in murder is never simple and clear, like murder itself is complex.

27. MeredithKercher lawyer says her brother and sister plan to come for verdict Jan 30.

26. Prosecutor just referred to Amanda Knox as “la nostra Knox” as he tries to refute defense arguments.

25. Trial back in session after “pausa caffe” during which Sollecito and his accusers were in tiny court coffee bar at same time.

24. Prosecutor making brief rebuttal, pushing Sollecito and Amanda Knox back together after Sollecito lawyer clearly tried to separate them

23. Sollecito just told group of reporters he was not sure if he would come for verdict.

22. Sollecito lawyer finished. Judge asks lawyers how much time they need for rebuttals. 15 minute

21. Sollecito lawyer says his client is not guilty. Does not mention Amanda Knox in final moments of closing arguments.

20. Sollecito atty: This case is an anomaly. Various judges interpreted facts differently over the years. There’s reasonable doubt.

19. Sollecito lawyer tells the court they can only accept that Meredith Kercher was murdered and that Rudy Guede is the lone killer.

18. Sollecito lawyer G Bongiorno has just arrived in court with three male assistants.

17. Sollecito lawyer says Sollecito was never with Guede, Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox. Says testimony that they were was false.

16. Sollecito lawyer working to discredit witnesses. Says store owner who says he saw

15. Judge in response to Sollecito lawyer asking if jury is tired: if we are tired now we will have to kill ourselves by the end of the day.

14. Sollecito in court today. Will he come for verdict on 30th?

13. Sollecito lawyer lays out why homeless man in park who testified he saw Amanda Knox and Sollecito arguing night of murder is unreliable.

12. Patrick Lumumba also absent from court today.

11. Judge in Amanda Knox new appeal rarely looks at Sollecito lawyer, writing notes, scrolling tablet, but minimal eye contact.

10. Sollecito lawyer on mass media tangent, says the “super witnesses” for prosecution in earlier trials were all for show.

9. Judge in Amanda Knox 2nd appeal asks for clarification on hard to follow techie evidence.

8. Sollecito lawyer showing computer records for Raf’s computer access, says access was human, not automated. Jury squinting at slides.

7. Sollecito lawyer moves on to Raf’s computer, how computers belonging to Amanda Knox, Meredith Kercher were all “accidentally” destroyed.

6. Sollecito lawyer back on break in. Frequent reference to Guede “the real assassin”. No mention of Amanda Knox at all yet.

5. Sollecito lawyer focusing on staged break in.

4. Sollecito lawyer G Bongiorno not in court this morning.

3. Sollecito lawyer Maori says luminal also picks up fruit juice, not just blood. Judge taking notes.

2. Sollecito lawyer showing slides of famous footprint on bathroom rug in Meredith Kercher blood.

1. Sollecito lawyer now summing up in Florence, then rebuttals. Verdict expected Jan 30.

1. Tweets by reporter for La Nazione

46. Lawyer Colotti (Sollecito) : “In a process based on circumstantial evidence motive is the glue of the whole thing.”

45. Lawyer Colotti (Sollecito defense) begins.

44. Sollecito defense : “The Meredith’s bra clasp was contaminated as evidence “

43. Sollecito defense : “It was Rudy Guede who entered through the window after breaking the glass “

42. Sollecito defense : “There was no misdirection in statements of Sollecito “

41. Now it’s up to the defense again, Sollecito team begin their final responses

40. Lawyer Maresca (Kerchers) : “On the blade there are traces of the victim “”

39. Lawyer Maresca (Kerchers) : “Hellmann appeal, the acquittal was a pre-cooked judgment“

38. Lawyer Francesco Maresca (Kercher family) begins

37. Lawyer Perna (Kerchers) “Wounds on the body victim compatible with the knife found at Sollecito’s house “

36. Lawyer Perna (Kercher family) begins

35. Lawyer Vieri Fabiani , one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, the Kercher family

34. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “Judges, sentence the liar Amanda , the devilish slanderer “

33. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “Meredith could not stand Amanda“

32. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “Amanda is on Lumumba’s mind constantly “

31. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “Amanda hoped Lumumba slander would not be discovered “

30. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “the defense of Amanda was rancorous and non-existent “

29. Lawyer Carlo Pacelli (for the plaintiff Lumumba) begins.

28. Crini: “If Sollecito and Knox are condemned then precautionary measures should be decided to ensure execution of the sentence”

27. Crini: “There were tensions in the house for reasons of hygiene ”

26. Crini: “The absence of sure motive is not a defensive threshold “

25. Crini : “At the scene there was no contamination “

24. Crini : the prosecutor carries on his indictment reaffirming the validity of the clues

23. Crini : the prosecutor continues rebuttal,  the Tuscany Attorney General Dr Tindari Baglione enters the court

22. Crini : “Slander of Lumumba in itself is an important element “

21. Crini : the Prosecutor General starts his rebuttal

20. Sollecito’s father::”That’s understandable , too much stress”

19. Sollecito :”I do not know if I’ll be in the courtroom on the day of judgment

18. This ends the argument of Maori (defense of Sollecito )

17. Maori: ”The only possible verdict is an acquittal”# meredithnazione

16. Maori: ”In the various processes motive , time, and the murder weapon changed ontinuously”

15. Maori: ”The witnesses who say that Raffaele and Rudy knew each other, said things false”

14. Maori:”The witness Quintavalle for many days after the murder of Amanda did not speak”

13. Maori: ”The witness Quintavalle speaks thirteen months after the fact”

12. Maori: ”The witness Curatolo is unreliable , wrong date and report things that are false”

11. Maori: ”Some witnesses have had access to financial sinecures”

10. Maori: ”The witnesses are characters created by the mass media”

9. Maori: ”At 21.26 Sollecito opened from his PC the cartooon Naruto”

8. Maori: ”At 21.10 there was interaction Sollecito with his pc”

7. Maori: ”Analysis of the computer shows that Sollecito ‘s alibi is true”

6. Maori: ”No simulation , glass window broken by a stone from the outside. No glass outside”

5. Maori:”No simulation of theft. Blinds on window with broken glass were not closed”

4. Maori: ”The bloody footprint on the bath mat is not Sollecito’s foot”

3. Maori: ”Meredith was killed at 21”

2. Maori: ”The kitchen knife is the murder weapon . Wounds are not compatible”

1. The hearing begins : now it’s up to the lawyer Maori



[Below: previous image of Attorney General Dr Tindari Baglione who is in court to hear Dr Crini]


Friday, January 17, 2014

False Claims In Bongiorno’s Summation: That The Wound “Proved” Sollecito’s Big Knife Was Not The One

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





In defense summation on 9 January, nobody who really knows the case (such as Judge Nencini) would have bought many of Giulia Bongiorno’s outlandish arguments.

The post below this one illustrates how Bongiorno in about half her arguments tried to demonize and mischaracterize all of Perugia, as if somehow Perugia itself had become the real villain in forcing a rush to judgment and wrong conclusion. In fact Perugia took a huge hit from Meredith’s murder but has acted gracefully and competently ever since. 

This post by several of us after discussion in Comments is the first of two on Bongiorno’s claims about the large knife. The second one will follow next week by Ergon.

There is no question in our minds but that this IS the murder weapon. It was proved convincingly by way of the DNA tests done by the Scientific Police and Carabinieri. Here we prove it by way of human physiology and the autopsy.

Waving two knives with a manic expression, Bongiorno claimed that the the large knife in evidence was far too large for the wound in question - and anyway, anyone intent on murder would have easily pushed the large knife right through so there was no intent of murder anyway. Bongiorno dismissed the possibility that hyoid bone could have somehow stopped the blade, prevented it from penetrating, as the bone is not resistant enough.

The surface location of the hyoid Bone is shown in the Illustration above; its front is only a few millimeters below the skin: The hyoid bone is loop-shaped like a C, open at the back; this Hyoid loop encloses part of the airway:


The hyoid bone curves around the upper airway at the base of the tongue, and is also called the tongue-bone or the lingual-bone. It is located between the mouth and the larynx; therefore during inhalation air passes through the hyoid loop before it passes through the larynx, and during exhalation air passes through the larynx before it passes through the hyoid loop.

The hyoid is an integral factor in the swallowing, breathing, and phonation mechanisms. If transected in such a way as to connect its part of the airway directly to the atmosphere, as it was in this case, swallowing, breathing, and phonation will be seriously impaired, as they were in this case.

The coexistent bleeding from the also-transected Right Superior Thyroid Artery accelerated Meredith’s death, more by the drowning-effect of inhalation of the blood into her lungs, than by the loss of circulating-blood alone.

Both the hyoid bone and the jawbone are mobile, which is why we can chew, swallow, talk, smile laugh, and sing, the way that we do, each of us in our own unique way.

The Massei Prosecution Reconstruction depicted the killers making cuts obliquely from behind.

The fatal cut started on the Left, but crossed the midline to the Right.

Both the Right Superior Thyroid Artery, and the nearby Hyoid Bone, were severed but from Massei, it is not precisely clear where the hyoid loop was severed, and it seems that the cut did not include the midline skin; The Florence Appellate Court will have access to the relevant records.

Here is why the hyoid could not have damaged any knife:

It is an old rule of materials-physics that a softer substance cannot even scratch a harder substance.

[To some people this may be counter to their intuition, so I have passed it by an eminent MIT physicist, and he agrees with me that the knife blade would not show signs of damage caused by the stabbing in this case.]

As pointed-out recently on TJMK, some confusion has arisen, caused by a quotation in the Massei Report, where on p371is written: ”…a single blow was apparently halted by the jawbone…”

The statement that a blow could be “apparently halted” by Meredith’s jawbone is at best a figure of speech, and the quotes of Prof Cingolani on page 152 of the Massei Translation clearly indicate that any cause and effect inference from the phrase “apparently halted by” did not mean it was stopped-by the jawbone:

Prof Cingolani “did not, however, have elements of certainty to establish that the blade which had caused the wound 4 centimetres deep had stopped at the said depth because [it was] stopped by the jawbone.”

Maybe there is a Judicial, translational, or typographical glitch and “by” the jawbone should have been “at” the jawbone.

Skin is soft and bone is harder but there is no way that the knife striking the jawbone would halt the knife in this case, the jaw would just roll with the strike, depending on the angle of attack. [The force was not even enough to mark the jawbone itself!]

Furthermore, contact between the knife and jawbone or hyoid bone would not mark the knife because living-bone is softer than the knife.

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

If someone is stabbed in the back with a kitchen carving knife, penetrating ribs on its way to the heart, the knife may have no scratches at all, nor show any signs of damage caused by that action.

[Look at your own kitchen carving knife. It probably has no marks caused by striking chicken thigh bones. It will have fine parallel scratches created in the manufacturing process.]

Any implication-in, or inference-from the statement quoted above that stabbing Meredith’s neck with enough force to penetrate the layers of her neck and then strike bone would have the effect of signs of damage to the knife-blade is a figment of an uninformed imagination.

The kitchen-knife, found in Sollecito’s apartment, with Meredith’s DNA on the blade and Knox’s DNA on the handle, is the weapon that killed Meredith.


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



Sollecito headed for Dominican Republic, but stopped pending court okay

1. Post Overview

A week ago Prosecutor Crini had begun a two-day summary of the state’s case so stark and implacable that it had two effects on Sollecito.

He stayed in his hotel on the second day; and he then took off like a rabbit for some destination initially unknown and repeatedly lied-about by his father (see Part 3 below).

One of his lawyers (accidentally?) broke the secret. Sollecito had flown to the Dominican Republic. Where he just happens to have some really unsavory relatives. 

2. High Drama In The Nencini Court

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. Translated from Cronaca:

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.”




3. High Drama Right After End Of Court

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 startlingly powerful summary of the case against him, it looked like Sollecito was hastily taking off out of Italy for somewhere. 

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 voluntarily come back previously from the Dominican Republic, and his family has always ensured some 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, but 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 the Dominican Republic. 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.

Nothing strange?! Doctor Sollecito lying repeatedly, instead of explaining to the media where Raffaele went, and why he went there, and why it was a huge secret, was VERY strange.

It should have official minds very seriously wondering why. WHAT did Raffaele have to do so secretly in the Dominican Republic - where his notorious mafia relatives from Montreal occupy a town there?



Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Appeal Session #3: The Carabinieri Labs Report On The DNA On The Knife

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: an image of similar testing in the same Carabinieri laboratory in north Rome]

Final Update

So the court session does not even extend beyond the lunch hour. Good morning Seattle! At this moment it is still only 3:30 in the morning there. Only night owls will know what happened.

Yummi and Mason2 may have more for us, which will appear either here below this final update on in Comments.  Also Andrea Vogt and hopefully Barbie Nadeau will be filing longer reports in English. We will also check out all the Italian reporting.

Hard to see any game changers in today’s strong but undramatic testimony. The Carabinieri RIS DNA experts could not be shaken. All momentum remains with the prosecution and with the Supreme Court’s “givens” on the evidence, such as the presence of three attackers in Meredith’s room. 

The defenses seem to be giving up. They could have phoned it in. Sollecito lawyer Bongiorno didnt make any new fuss. And Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova was cut off by the lead judge several times, for trickily going off the point. He really is out of his depth in a criminal trial; at the same time often condescending.

And a seeming big slap in the face for the American defense stooge Greg Hampikian who seems to have illegally colluded with the disgraced Hellmann consultants Conti and Vecchiotti (who were not even mentioned today) when Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “Would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni responded “Of course”.

And Sollecito “wasted” his statement by whining about his life, showing no compassion for Meredith (despite his claimed visit to her grave), and not answering any of the dozens of open questions. Sollecito really needed to show he is both strong and compassionate and NOT a weakling under the thumb of Amanda - but he seems to have done quite the opposite. The family lawyer must not be too pleased.

Fifth Update

The opening of Frank Sforza’s trial in the same courthouse is postponed, apparently because new information on his campaign to poison opinion against the judiciary and his unsavory connections has been coming in.

Information will be exchanged that is gathered at this trial on mafiosos Luciano Aviello and at Aviello’s own trial for obstruction of justice which is now proceeding in the same Florence courthouse in parallel.

The findings and possible charges on the defamatory and dishonest books by Knox and Sollecito are due about now from the Florence and Bergamo prosecutors. Information gathered in those investigations could also be fed in to this process, or put aside for separate trials.

As both the AK and RS books are bulging with the standard PR talking points (some of which flowed from Frank Sforza and Doug Preston) in a sense it will be Curt Knox, the Mellases, Marriott, Sforza, Fischer and Moore who will be put under the microscope.

Fourth Update

A more detailed report on the DNA phase today from the Andrea Vogt website.

The RIS Wednesday deposited their forensic report on trace 36i, a spot of DNA identified (but not earlier tested) on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. “Cento Percento” (100 percent) said Major Berti, discussing compatibility. The RIS found that the DNA was compatible with Amanda Knox, and excluded that it was that of Sollecito, Guede or Kercher. 

The RIS expert was asked only a few questions from attorneys and the judge. The judge asked why the RIS had done two amplications of the DNA and not 3 or 4. Major Berti described that two is considered the minimum number of amplifications necessary, according to today’s forensic standards, doing less (or more) might have diminished the reliability of the results. The judge also asked about the age of the equipment used. Berti responded that the forensic kit used this time has been commercialized since 2010 and available for use since 2011. 

At one point the judge stopped a line of questioning by Knox’s Rome attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova, who was asking why the RIS described Knox’s DNA as “fluids” when a prior expert had said the trace did not come from blood.  Nencini said: That question was not put to the RIS by this court, it was not their job to determine that. The other experts’ reports are in the case files for everyone to read, he noted, adding: “We cannot put words in the mouth of this expert that were said by another expert.”


Third Update

Tweets from our main poster Yummi (Machiavelli)

32. Judge Nencini’s comments were always addressed at Dalla Vedova’s arguments, who was in fact a bit silly

31. The Judge declared the evidence phase closed. Next court dates are 25 November for prosecution argument and 26 for the defences with 16 and 17 December.

30. Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni: “of course”

29. Dalla Vedova said Tagliabracci was the only Italian source in the RIS report, all others are foreigners, emphasized the American labs…

28. Sollecito said his family absolutely never had issues with justice. And he is a proud ‘member’ of that family

27. He also played the ‘national’ card, as he remphasized ‘I am Italian’ twice and then addressed the court ‘I am an Italian, as you are’

26. Sollecito mentioned the defens’s arguments (he has an orthopedical issue with his foot etc.).

25. The questions of all parties to the experts were intended to elicit information to be used in arguing the unrelated previous finding

24. He mentioned Meredith’s name only once, to say he barely knew her.

23. Sollecito talked with a faint voice, a long speech in which he described himself as a victim.

22. The Carabinieri say that there are only a few governmental laboratories which have the 17025 certificate (the Carabinieri and the Police)

21. Nencini stops Dalla Vedova, points out that scientific community is international

20. Dalla Vedova tries to elicit that the good standards are not the Italian ones.

19. The RIS obtained the ISO9001 certificate in 2008, and a more specific certificate in 2012.

18. Bongiorno asks RIS to explain why two amplifications are recommended.

17. Prosecutor Crini asks if there are criteria to distinguish which labs or which experts are more competent.

16. Speaking about their software which allows to weight probabilities of attribution.

15. They note that three alleles which are ‘alien’ were drop off in one duplicate.

14. The biologic method has a ‘consensus’ interpretation and a ‘composite’ interpretation, two ways to interpret the double result.

13. They describe the methods employed, the ‘biologic’ method and the ‘statistic’ method.

12. Absence of any male trace stands out as a feature of the sample (all contributors are females)

11. They extracted two profiles in a duplicate in agreement with experts of all parties

10. Dr Berti says the sample was a low template. They have a strategy to obtain reliable results.

9. Points out that documentation says sample 36i comes from insertion of blade in the handle.

8. Dr. Berti summarizes the recovery of sample in Vecchiotti’s lab.

7. Bongiorno says Sollecito intends to release a spontaneous declaration. He will do that after the experts testimony.

6. Berti and Barni enter the court.

5. Many law students from the Florence school for Magistrates are in court to follow the hearing.

4. Sollecito had managed to enter the courtroom from side entrance eluding photographers. Carlo Torre arrives in court.

3. Giulia Bongiorno & Raff kiss each other. Giulia, Raff & Father have a worried discussion

2. I wonder… will the court withdraw his passport?

1. Raffaele Sollecito is in courtroom. Walking in empty room, few people waiting. Hearing will start 1/2h probably


Second Update

Tweets from Patricia Thomas (AP) and Sabina Castelfranco (AP)

Patricia Thomas ‏@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - Amanda Knox and I were very carefree and isolated in our love nest.

Sabina Castelfranco ‏@SCastelfranco:  Sollecito says he is not the assassin he has been described as. Says Amanda was his first love

Patricia Thomas ‏@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - I have been described as an assassin. Amanda Knox was my first real love in life

Patricia Thomas ‏@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito takes stand to make statement, starts complaining about media descriptions of himself


First Update

Tweets from Barbie Nadeau

35. Nov 25 - prosecution; 26 - civil; Dec 16 - Sollectio; 17 - Knox; Jan 9 - rebuttals, 10 deliberation and verdict

34. Dec. 16, 17 closing arguments for Knox and Sollecito

33. Judge closes hearing for day, says closing arguments begin Nov 25, 26, must find December dates to conclude

32. Sollecito finishes by thanking judges for their time, judge tells him he can intervene any time during rest of appeal until they deliberate

31. Sollecito says he hates the fame, how it has hurt him, how it isn’t fair

20. Sollecito says he has a difficult time looking for work, people associate him with the murder of meredith kercher

29. Sollecito says that even on his vacation in Dominican Republic, he had to defend himself like a public figure, his life is judged by all

28. Sollecito repeats twice that he never met Rudy Guede, how nothing in original trial was based on reality.

27. Sollecito takes trip down memory lane, highlights worst parts of trial and incarceration for him, has not mentioned meredith kercher yet

26. RaffaeleSollecito - I feel a persecution. It is a nightmare, beyond all imagination.

25. RaffaeleSollecito—close to tears as he testifies to court “I am fighting every day to bring out the truth” 

24. Jury totally transfixed by sollecito declaration, can’t take their eyes off him

23. Sollecito thanks and defends his family, calls amand knox his first love

22. Judge asks for Sollecito declaration now

21. Judge asks about relevance of kit they used, how old technology was, etc.

20. Judge asks what minimum testing is for validation of DNA, RIS says “at least two”

19. Judge tells Dallavedova he cannot put words in mouth of new expert that were said by previous experts, this is fresh analysis

18. Judge clarifies that RIS was not asked to reanalyze work that has been done, but to test a sample that has not been tested.

17. Dallavedova essentially kicks goal into own net, not doing amanda knox any favors by making RIS defend methods used in original conviction

16. Dallavedova manages to get RIS expert to defend Italian methods, says they are in line with global standards, this was crux of 1st appeal

15. DallaVedova asks about international protocol, backfires slightly b/c RIS expert says he doesn’t want to dis italian methods, are valid too

14. Bongiorno hammers point that international standards in DNA must be followed ([claims]they were not for meredithkercher sample on tip of knife)

13. Jury in new appeal trial for amanda knox; sollecito look totally lost, lots of daydreaming during DNA testimony, nail biting, looking around

12. Bongiorno asks RIS expert specifics of amplification of sample with an eye to trace with meredith kercher DNA that was amplified many times

11. Prosecutor asking for clarification on how samples are tested, how RIS experts are qualified, etc.

10. RIS: DNA testing as important to exclude suspects as to confirm them, in this case no question that amandaknox DNA is on knife, others’ not

9. RIS: testifying about international standards necessary to validate DNA, how they used in their examination of this particular spot on knife

8. Sollecito listening attentively and jotting notes as RIS expert testifies about the knife

7. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife (near handle) matched definitively the DNA of amandaknox in double tests

6. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife did not match meredith kercher or rudy guede or sollecito after double testing

5. RIS: Experts tested spot “H” [?] on the knife (the spot near the handle) for both the victim meredith kercher and suspect

4. RIS: DNA analysis showed no x chromosome, i.e.: no male chromosome in sample they tested on knife

3. RIS: essential in DNA testing to double test samples to validate results

2. RIS expert: explains technical details of testing DNA, how much is needed, how it is tested

1. Judge says he wants to hear from RIS experts first and then sollecito can give his declaration


Initial Post

Well, that first shot from the court at the top sure is a surprise, and maybe bad news for Amanda Knox. Where are Sollecito’s other lawyers, Bongiorno and Maori? Presumably they are off to the side talking. .

In tweets Andrea Vogt has mentioned that she is reporting for the BBC and the Associated Press TV; reporters cannot have bigger clients or more global reach than with those two. This is from Andrea Vogt’s website.

Court is now in session. Day will begin with RIS forensic debates. Raffaele Sollecito will make a statement later in the day.

Sollecito arrived in the Florence court of appeals looking relaxed and ready to make his case before the court later in the day. His father, Francesco Sollecito, also appeared visibly happy to have his son back in arms reach, after an extended stay in the Caribbean. A large number of his friends were in the audience.

Forensic experts for the defense Walter Patumi, Carlo Torre and Sarah Gino were also in attendance in preparation for debate on the new DNA evidence tested by the RIS in Rome, specifically, trace 36i on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. RIS say the DNA profile is that of Amanda Knox. Arguments today will mostly about how it might have gotten there, with prosecutors attempting to place it in the context of the murder and defense attorneys arguing it could have been transferred during normal domestic use of the utensil.

Next hearings are Nov. 25-26, with a verdict expected in mid-December.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why DNA Test Results 6 November May Leave No Further Argument Over Knox And Sollecito Guilt

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: an image of similar testing in the same Carabinieri laboratory in north Rome]


The official results of the tests by the Carabinieri laboratory will be made public by Judge Nencini in court on 6 November.

The report and attachments are reported to be more than 100 pages long. Andrea Vogt has already warned that no assumptions should be made yet that we know the full story. But already for the defenses, matters do not look pretty.

    1) It sounds like the result of the DNA near the top of the blade (see images below) shows conclusively that it is another sample of Knox’s DNA. Given where the sample came from it could be blood DNA and add further proof to the notion that Knox was injured while struggling with Meredith.

    2) The low-copy-number amplification technique used was almost identical to that used by Dr Stefanoni to prove that it was Meredith’s DNA on the blade of the knife - actually that was a larger sample. Judge Massei’s court accepted this, Judge Hellmann’s consultants tried very hard to undermine it, and the Supreme Court ruled that they did not even come close.

Earlier this year, our main poster Fly By Night in a post worth re-reading explained just how conclusively the results of that first testing pointed to both Meredith and Knox.

As is typical of all DNA analyses, Stefanoni proceeded to amplify the results to a point where an electropherogram would reveal meaningful “peaks” and found that a resultant 13 pairs of peaks corresponded precisely to peaks derived from a known sample of Meredith Kercher’s DNA!

In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment. As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins.

In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.

Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court.

However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.

Dr Stefanoni’s testing of all the DNA from the crime scene was done in front of some defense observers. Those who were there saw her do nothing wrong. Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife.

It looks as if the prosecution has now achieved a clean sweep of all of the of DNA testing. Meredith’s DNA on the lower blade of the knife seems even more conclusively a firm given, and so does Knox’s on the upper blade and the handle.

We are where we were back in 2008 before trial, where other defense lawyers might have suggested to their clients to select a trial of the short form type - the same choice that will see a somewhat penitent Guede out on work release in two years, no more.

But instead, their clients could now be facing life sentences for that bad choice.


Image: looking along the blade toward the handle, both sides of the knife




Here is an image showing the I trace in the location described in the post with credit to Iodine of PMF and the Case Wiki




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Meredith Case Wiki: A Highly Objective Summation Of The Case From Original Docs And Transcripts

Posted by James Raper





Some of our readers may not have noticed the new link to The Meredith Case Wiki to be found in the left hand column of this front page. I had not noticed it myself until recently.

This is an important link to a new website that is now a vital additional resource for those interested in understanding this case.

The website - The Murder of Meredith Kercher - is run by Edward McCall, with the assistance of other contributors, and TJMK is pleased to acknowledge and promote its distinctive and concise approach to presenting the facts of the case.

The site is modelled on the format of a page from the Wikipedia free encyclopedia.  As with a Wiki page it is easily navigable. The data presented under the various headings is the consequence of much research but it still remains a work in progress. Wherever possible the material used is referenced in footnotes.

It starts on the Main page with a Mission Statement and an Introduction to the case. It then considers the evidence and has a good section entitled Myths Debunked.

The reader can easily access significant court documents: the Massei Report, the Hellmann Report, the Galati Appeal and the Supreme Court of Cassation Motivations Report. There is an accessibly summary of the Matteini and Micheli Reports.

In particular, for the researcher, there is a most welcome section entitled Court Transcripts. Here can be found transcripts of witness testimony from the Massei and Hellmann trials, experts reports, and the various writings and testimony of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede. At least that is to be the hope ultimately as there exist a good number of gaps at present.

Already some of the witness statements have been translated from Italian to English but there are a number of transcripts still to be translated. If there are any translators who would wish to help, please contact us and we shall be pleased to put your name forward.

McCall wishes to acknowledge the massive contribution made by True Justice for Meredith Kercher. TJMK has perforce grown organically and exponentially over the years and has accumulated a breadth and wealth of data, in-depth analysis and informed comment on the case which is unsurpassed on the internet, or indeed anywhere.

It will continue to do so and report developments until the conclusion of all aspects of the case.


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Carabinieri Laboratories In North-Central Rome Where Now Two Different Samples Need Attribution

Posted by Peter Quennell




Third update

Italy-based freelance reporter Andrea Vogt has tweeted the following: Leaks suggest DNA on knife shows knox genetic profile, but there is another profile being studied. Too early to interpret

Second update

Excellent comment on PMF by the poster Hugo which explains how the balance hasn’t changed.

The song remains the same. The republic contends that Amanda Knox used that knife to murder Meredith Kercher. The knife has yielded the DNA of just two people: Knox, in a position which indicates that she was gripping it, and Meredith, in a position which indicates that she was stabbed with it.

The defence can easily claim that Knox’s trace results from normal culinary use (although Stefanoni said the handprint indicated an atypical stabbing grip, with the knuckles on the same side as the blunt edge of the blade, and not a normal culinary cutting grip, with the knuckles on the same side as the sharp edge).

The problem is Meredith’s DNA at the sharp end. ‘Independent court-appointed expert’ Carla Vecchiotti admitted on the stand that this could not have arisen from laboratory contamination.

Professor Christopher Halkides’ suggestion that the contamination occurred during collection, because Stefano Gubbiotti acquired Meredith’s ‘aerosol DNA’ on his clothing, when he was supposedly in the house the same day, almost a week after the murder, and thus transferred the DNA from his clothing to his fingers to his evidence-handling gloves to the knife when he took it from Finzi’s envelope and re-packaged it in a stationery box at the Questura, is self-evidently absurd, fanciful, fictional and completely outwith the realms of actual forensic science.

And it’s not in evidence anyway, so it’s not an option open to the court.

Plus the objection to low copy number DNA is an American superstition not recognised in Europe. Unusually, it’s a scientific area where the US lags well behind. So you get hillbillies like Bruce Budowle grumbling, ‘Cain’t rightly say what that there newfangled LCN is, but ah reckon ah’m agin it.’ You’ll recall that a British appeal court has found that Bruce Budowle hasn’t the faintest idea what he’s talking about and also that, like Halkides, he tends to cite sources that don’t actually say what he says they say.

Knox is there on the hilt of the knife. And M is there near the point of the blade, and she’s trying to tell us something.

First update

The gap between the blade and handle of the knife was apparently widened to obtain the sample for the test. Sollecito lawyer Maori has claimed it is Amanda Knox’s. It is apparently adjacent to her previous trace.

If that is the case, the strength of the DNA evidence (which is very strong) remains unchanged. Dr Stefanoni identified Exhibit 36 on the blade as a strong trace of Merediith’s DNA. This was supported by various experts.

No contamination of that trace has ever been proved - or even a convincing contamination scenario put forward - and the video on top of the post below shows how the DNA charts for the sample and for Meredith totally match.

First post

Human DNA is widely reported in Italy to have been established from the sample never before tested on the large knife.

We may have to wait on an announcement from Judge Nencini in Florence as to whose DNA it is. That may not happen today.

These labs in the Carabinieri barracks are not far from the center of Rome. They are very well know to Italians because (images at bottom) “RIS” the Italian version of the show “CSI” is set there.


















Posted on 10/11/13 at 01:01 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSIEvidence & witnessesDNA and luminolThe two knivesAppeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Testing Of The DNA Sample Starts Today Though Possibly No Results Announced Before 6 November

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. ViaDellaPergola’s video

That video from 2010 illustrates how the existing positive tests described in the Massei Report were crystal-clear; subsequently Hellmann, Zanetti, Conti and Vecchiotti (all now being investigated) so muddied the water.

2. From our short-form Massei Report

This is from Part Three of the four-part abbreviation of the Massei Report done by Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team in mid-2011.

Exhibit 36: The double DNA Knife

Exhibit 36 is a 31 cm long knife with a 17 cm blade and a dark handle.  It was seized from the kitchen cutlery drawer at Raffaele Sollecito’s home, located at 110 Corso Garibaldi in Perugia, on 6 November, 2007 when Chief Inspector Armando Finzi was ordered to perform a search of Sollecito’s residence.  This exhibit is important because “Sample 36b” taken from a scratch on the knife blade yielded Meredith Kercher’s biological profile.

After putting on gloves and shoe coverings, Finzi and his team entered the home.  They noted a strong smell of bleach.  Opening the cutlery drawer, they saw a big, “extremely clean” knife.  In Sollecito’s bedroom they found a second knife.  The knives were bagged and sealed.[106]

Exhibit 36 was carried back to the police station, where it was placed in a box for shipping to the Polizia Scientifica in Rome.  Dr. Stefanoni was the recipient of the box containing the knife in Rome.  All parties testified that standard procedures were followed to avoid the risk of contamination.

On 4 November, 2007, Meredith’s roommates Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, and Amanda Knox had been taken by the police to look at the knives in their kitchen at the apartment in Via della Pergola.  Personnel from the Questura reported Amanda’s “severe and intense emotional crisis, unlike [the reaction of] the other two girls”.[292]  This behavior was contrasted to Amanda’s behavior at Police headquarters two days earlier:

“This circumstance appears significant both in its own right and also when one considers that Amanda had never previously shown signs of any particular distress and emotional involvement (in the Police headquarters, on the afternoon of November 2, Meredith’s English girlfriends, Robyn Carmel and Amy Frost in particular, according to their declarations, had been surprised by the behaviour of Amanda, who did not show emotions).”[292]

Investigators’ attention was alerted to the Exhibit 36 knife because of Amanda’s inconsistent behavior.  Later, police overheard a jail conversation between Knox and her parents on 17 November, when Knox said, “I am very, I am very worried about this thing with the knife ... because there is a knife of Raffaele’s ...”.[292]

Exhibit 36 thus became a central piece of trial evidence.  The debate would subsequently be focused on two issues: The compatibility of the knife with the large stab wound in Meredith’s neck; and the reliability of the DNA analysis.

Considering the first of these points, although the knife blade is 17 cm long, the depth of the larger wound is just 8 cm .  This “discrepancy” was the basis of defense efforts to discredit the knife as a murder weapon. The compatibility of the Exhibit 36 knife and the larger of Kercher’s wounds is addressed by Professor Bacci (see p. 121 of the Massei report).    Professor Norelli maintains that “it is not said that a blade is always embedded (plunged into) the target right up to the handle; the blade may also go (in) only to a certain portion of its length, and not right up to its end”.[126] 

It is noted that the movements of the victim may have played a part in determining the depth of the cuts.  “If I insert a centimeter of the blade into the victim and the victim suddenly moves towards me, how much of the blade will be driven inside the body surface area is absolutely unpredictable and depends on the action of both”.[129]  Alternatively, the blade of the knife might have met an obstacle. The cutting action is described on p. 146 and again starting on p. 152.

Defense witness Dr. Patumi disputed the compatibility of the wounds with said knife, arguing that a blade of 17 cm length could not have caused a cut 8 cm deep; see p. 156-157.  However, the Court rejected “the thesis of the incompatibility of the most serious wound and the knife Exhibit 36”, holding this thesis to be “unacceptable” .[172]

Regarding the second point – that of the DNA analysis – Dr. Stefanoni was the responsible expert at the crime lab in Rome. Although no biological traces were visible to the naked eye on the face of knife blade, Dr. Stefanoni perceived scratches - “anomalies in the metal’ - on the blade when rotating the blade under strong lighting.  The streaks were:

“… visible under good lighting by changing the angle at which the light hit the blade, since obviously the blade reflects light and thus creates shadows, making imperfections visible.”[196]

Sample 36b was taken from one of these points on the blade.  The genetic profile of Meredith Kercher was identified from this sample. Stefanoni presented charts to the court, showing the DNA profile: she noted “that the peaks were a bit low, but that without doubt were still within the range that is considered useful for testing a specimen (page 108). Although of a much lower quantity of DNA, the profiles were nonetheless very present and, by making a comparison with Meredith’s profile, Dr. Torricelli reported that ‚we find all the alleles, and we find them to be equal to those obtained from the swab taken, from the sample taken from the wound. Therefore in this case too, without doubt‛ -she continued- ‚although we are confronted with a sample that contains very little DNA, it nonetheless contains the DNA of only one person and is therefore comparable to Meredith’s; with regard to this knife, I would say I have no doubt in interpreting it: specimen A with Amanda’s profile and specimen B with the profile, compatible with that of Meredith.”[231-32] However, the amount of DNA was small and it was all used up in order to run a single test.

The defense objected that it was impossible to evaluate whether the actual nature of Sample 36b specimen: 

“.. when we have a small amount of DNA we talk about low copy number DNA, and that when this type of DNA is present, we are indeed able to carry out our amplification and obtain a profile, but we must remember that we may have lost one of the alleles, we may have an allelic imbalance ... it becomes very difficult to distinguish from a real allele, so that when working on ...  small quantities of genetic material, it is necessary to be very cautious in interpreting the results.”[237]

To this point, Dr. Stefanoni argued that it is preferable “to know to whom a biological specimen is attributable, rather than ascertaining the nature of that specimen, without attributing it to anyone.”[288]

Furthermore, it was argued by the defense that the quantity of DNA was too low to be able to perform the tests and consider the results reliable.  Given a low amount of DNA, the risk of contamination is high - particularly given the very numerous number of samples being analyzed.
 
The court rejected the possibility of contamination because no anomalies were ever identified in the Polizia Scientifica’s analytical process. The Prosecutor pointed out that all tests had been carried out in the presence of a lawyer/consultant for the defense - who had raised no objections during the testing.  The possibility of contamination during the collection of evidence was rejected based on a detailed consideration of the collection process.

Thus, the DNA from Meredith which was found on that knife cannot be traced back to any contamination occurring in the house in which it was found, or to the method of acquisition of the knife on the part of Finzi, or even to the collection and dispatch methods used by Gubbiotti. In addition, as has been said, that such contamination could have been carried out by the laboratory is also ruled out.[266]

In addition, Dr. Stefanoni testified that she did have the biological profile of the defendants, but did not employ them while interpreting the electrophoresis diagrams. Nevertheless, the Massei report judges that:

“... the main criticisms advanced by the defense concerned precisely this very small DNA quantity, and it raised the question of the reliability of the result obtained.”[288]

To this central point, Dr. Stefanoni:

“Regarding the too low quantity of DNA, Dr. Stefanoni declared, as has been seen, that even in the case of a particularly scanty amount of material, the analysis and evaluation should be performed, and she added that, if the data that emerges is absolutely readable and interpretable and the correct laboratory practice was followed, the result is reliable and there is no reason to repeat the test.

“It does not follow ... that the data is unusable and unreliable as a consequence of a lack of repetition due to a lack of further quantities of DNA. It is necessary, instead, to take account of the data that emerges from such a specimen and to check for the – possible – presence of other elements, both circumstantial and inherent to the data itself that, despite the lack of repetition of the analysis, could allow an evaluation of the reliability of the analysis and of its outcome.”[289]

The court concluded that the biological profile that resulted from the 36B DNA analysis ...

“… gave a biological profile attributable to the person who was mortally wounded with that very knife: a result, therefore, that was entirely reasonable and consistent with the event; [it was] certainly not explainable as a mere coincidence, and it must be ruled out –according to what has already been observed in this regard - that it could have originated from contamination or from the use of a suspect-centric method.”,[290] and that

“…. it should therefore be affirmed that the analysis of trace 36B, which detected the presence DNA attributable to Meredith, appears to be completely reliable.”[293]


3. TJMK posts on the latest DNA science

1. Poster Fy By Night:  The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science

2. The Machine A New DNA Analysis Strongly Implicating Sollecito Seems to Have The Defense Forces Extremely Rattled

4. Sollecito tries to wind back the “pricked” claim

Our lawyer SomeAlibi recently explained how.

5. Andrea Vogt posts possible scenarios.

Scroll down to UPDATE OCT. 9, 2013 An excellent weighting of the possibilities.

The DNA could be Meredith’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. It could be Rudy Guede’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. Or it could be neither (or untestable) which would nt neccessarily affect the outcome. .

Posted on 10/10/13 at 01:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSIEvidence & witnessesDNA and luminolThe two knivesAppeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+
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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Questions For Knox and Sollecito: Why Claim Rudy Guede Did It Alone When So Much Proof Against?

Posted by Marcello




1. Problems Of Your “Guede did it alone” Mantra

Your attempts to frame Guede for the entire attack sound racist, and they fly in the face of a multitude of hard facts.

Why are you and your more untethered supporters arguing to the media that Rudy Guede alone attacked Meredith (he could not have), that he was a drifter (he wasnt), a burglar (he wasnt), and drug dealer (he wasnt), and that his DNA traces are “all over Meredith’s room” (they werent)?

There are surprisingly few DNA traces of Guede in there, and outside Meredith’s door there is only evidence of (1) his prior use of the south bathroom, and (2) his shoeprints headed straight for the front door.

There is zero evidence that Rudy Guede was ever in the shared bathroom (the one with Sollectio’s bloody footprint on the bathmat) and zero evidence he was in Filomena’s room (the one with the broken window and the mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox). 

2. Evidence Against You Is Far, Far Stronger

Explain if you can about Sollecito’s bloody footprint. Explain if you can about the evidence of cleanup. Explain this and this about your multiple contradictory alibis.

Explain if you can why YOUR own witnesses Alessi and Aviello were such disasters for your side in court. Explain your cell phone actions (or non-actions) and the timing and content of your phone calls, and your computer actions (or non actions).

Explain why in Sollecito’s book he claims he sent several emails throughout the night; but there zero records of such emails with his email provider. Explain why both Sollecito and Knox framed Dr Mignini.

There are three compelling reasons above all why the Massei court and the Supreme Court will remain totally unbending on the point that Guede did NOT attack Meredith alone, and that it had to be a pack attack on Meredith.

  • One is the full day of closed court testimony at trial by crime-scene experts from Rome who accounted for every point of evidence in Meredith’s room with a depiction of a 15 minute pack attack involving three people. This seriously upset the jury and your own defense was left essentially speechless.

  • One is the prosecution’s video shown in closed court during Summations of the recreation of the attack on Meredith, which accounted for every point of evidence with a 15 minute pack attack involving three people.  This seriously upset the jury and your own defense was left essentially speechless
  • .
  • One is that the entry of an attacker via Filomena’s room is so absolutely unbelievable. Your own defense always knew this, and barely tried to make that sale (hence the witnesses Alessi and Aviello).

There are seven other routes for a burglar to enter the house, all of them faster and quieter and five of them darker. You can see five in these images below: two via the east windows, three up onto the balcony and into the house via the louvre door or the kitchen window.

All seven routes would be obvious to any burglar, long before he walked all the way around the base of the house to beneath Filomena’s window (which he did several times in your scenario). 

3. The Numerous Questions From Which You Hide

On or after 6 November you have both promised to appear in the appeal court in Florence. You are apparently too nervous to face cross-examination under oath, but you have said you intend to try to explain things.

    1) Rudy Guede had been to the apartment at least twice already on prior occasions and knew the boys who lived in the lower story. Why did Guede choose to NOT break-in to the lower story where he knew (or could ascertain) that all four boys were away on holiday, and therefore could break-in and rummage with some certainty of not getting caught?

    2) Why did Guede choose to break-in to the upper story of the villa when he surely knew Knox and Kercher would be staying at the villa for the holidays and could have returned at any time to “catch him in-the-act”?

    3) Why did Guede not check the cottage to make sure no one was there before attempting the break-in? Surely he would have verified that no one was present by circling the cottage and checking if any lights were on in the windows.

    4) If Guede did circle the cottage to make sure no one was there before attempting the break-in, why would he then choose the most visible and more difficult path of entry through a second story window, as opposed to the more hidden and easier path of break-in at the back of the villa, which he would have noticed while circling the villa?

    5) Why would Guede choose to break-in through a second story window that was highly exposed to the headlights of passing cars on the street as well as exposed to night lighting from the carpark?

    6) Ms. Romanelli testified that she had nearly closed the exterior shutters. Assuming her memory is correct, there is no way a burglar could easily verify if the windows were latched and if the inner scuri were latched to the window panes, which would make access to the window latch impractical unless one was armed with a core drill or an ax. Why would Guede, who was certainly familiar with such windows, choose to attempt the break-in through a window that he could not easily verify would allow him quick access?

    7) Assuming the shutters were closed, Guede would have to climb up the wall and open the shutters before smashing the window with the rock. The night of the murder, the grass was wet from rain the previous day. Why was there no evidence of disturbed grass or mud on the walls?

    8) Guede had Nike sneakers, not rock climbing shoes. How did he manage the climb up the wall with that type of footwear?

    9) If the shutters were closed, or somewhat closed, how did Guede manage to lift himself up to the sill with only an inch of sill available to grab onto?

    10) Assuming Guede opened the shutters, how did Guede verify if the inner scuri where not latched to the window panes, which would prevent access to the window latch? There was no light inside Ms. Romanelli’s room to reveal that the scuri were ajar.

    11) Assuming Guede managed to check that the inner scuro behind the right-hand window was not latched, how did he manage to break the glass with a 9 lb rock with one hand while hanging on to the sill with the other?

    12) Assuming Guede managed check that the right-hand inner scuro was not latched, how did he break the glass with the rock without having glass shards fly into his face?

    13) If Guede climbed down to the lob the 9 lb rock at the window from 3 meters below, how would he do so to avoid glass shards raining down on him?

    14) If Guede climbed down to the lob the rock at the window from below, why would he choose a 9 lb 20 cm wide rock to lob up to a window 3 meters above him, with little chance of striking the window in the correct fashion?

    15) If Guede climbed down again and climbed back up to the carpark (up a steep slope with slippery wet grass and weeds) to lob the 9 lb 20 cm wide rock from the car park, why is there no evidence of this second climb down on the walls?

    16) Why did Guede choose a 9 lb 20 cm wide rock to throw from the car park, given that a large, heavy rock would be difficult to lob with any precision? Especially considering that the width of the glass in the window pane is only 28 cm wide, surely anyone, experienced or not, would have chosen a smaller, lighter rock to throw with greater precision.

    17) If Guede lobbed a 9 lb 20 cm rock from the car park, such a lob would require some velocity and therefore force. Guede would have been roughly 11-12 feet away from the window, in order for the lob to clear the wood railing at the carpark. If the rock was thrown with some velocity, why is the upper 1/2 of the glass in the window pane intact, without any fracture cracks at all?

    18) If Guede lobbed a 9 lb 20 cm rock from the car park, such a lob would require some velocity and therefore force. Why is there so little damage to the scuro the rock hit, so little damage to the terrazzo flooring impacted by the rock, and so little damage to the rock itself, which surely would have fractured more on impact with a hard terrazzo floor?

    19) Why was there no evidence of glass shards found in the grass below the window?

    20) If Guede climbed the wall to open the shutters, climbed down and up to the car park to throw the rock, then climbed back down and up again to the window, how does he manage to hoist himself onto the sill without cutting himself on the glass that was found on the sill?

    21) If Guede climbed the wall to open the shutters, hoisted himself onto the sill, tapped the glass with a 9 lb rock to lightly break the glass in a manner more consistent with how the window was broken, why did he throw the rock into the room, rather than let it fall into the grass below?

    22) Why was no dirt, grass, muddy shoeprints or similar trace evidence found on the window sill?

    23) Why was no dirt, grass, muddy shoeprints or similar trace evidence found in Romanelli’s room?

    24) If Guede climbed the wall to open the shutters, climbed down and up to the car park to throw the rock, then climbed back down and up again to the window again, hoisted himself onto the sill without cutting himself on the glass that was found on the sill, unlatched the window and stepped inside Filomena’s room, how did he manage to get glass on top of Romanelli’s clothing that was found under the window sill?

    25) Why would Guede, who would have spent a good 10 minutes trying to break and enter with the climbing up and down from the carpark, waste valuable time throwing clothes from the closet? Why not simply open the closet doors and rifle through the clothes without creating more of mess?

    26) Why did he disregard Romanelli’s laptop, which was in plain view?

    27) Why did Guede check the closet before checking the drawers of the nightstand, where surely more valuable objects like jewelry would be found?

    28) Why were none of the other rooms disturbed during the break-in?

    29) Assuming Ms. Kercher arrived to the cottage after Guede’s break-in, presumably when Guede was in the bathroom, why did she not notice the break-in, call the police and run out of the cottage?

    30) Assuming Guede was in the bathroom when Ms. Kercher returned, why go to the extent of attacking Ms. Kercher in her room rather than try to sneak out the front door, or through the window he had just broken, to avoid if not identification, at least more serious criminal charges?

    31) Assuming Ms. Kercher was at the cottage while Guede broke-in, why did she not call the police the moment she heard the rock crash through the glass, loudly thud to the terrazzo floor and investigate what was happening in Romanelli’s room while Guede was climbing back down from the car park and climbing back up to the window?

    32) Assuming Ms. Kercher was at the cottage while Guede broke-in, Guede could have been on the sill already because he had tapped the glass with the 9 lb rock to break it. Therefore perhaps Guede was already partially inside Romanelli’s room when he was discovered by Ms. Kercher. In this case Guede follows Ms. Kercher to her room in an attempt to dissuade her from calling the police and the assault ensues. But then, if this scenario is correct, when does Guede have time to rifle through Romanelli’s clothing and effects?

    33) Why is there a luminol revealed footprint in Romanelli’s room that has mixed traces of Knox’s and Kercher’s DNA ?

    34) Why does this footprint not match Guede’s foot size?

    35) If multiple attackers were required to restain Ms. Kercher, holding her limbs while brandishing two knives and committing sexual violence, then who else was with Guede and why no traces of this 4th (or more) person(s) were found, either in shoeprints, footprints, fingerprints, DNA or otherwise?

    36) If Guede and others were involved in the assault, why has Guede not acknolwedged them, and instead consistently hinted that, and finally admitting that Sollecito and Knox were with him during the assault?

    37) If Guede and others were involved in the assault, why do the other shoeprints, footprints, DNA traces and fingerprints all point to Knox and Sollecito being present during the assault, in one way or another?


4. Italy Is Not Buying The Racist Mantra

If your racist mantra remains “the black guy did it alone” and “Italians are corrupt and stupid” you need to PROVE that. If you cannot answer all of these questions above, this will deservedly cook you.

You could be facing 30 years with the “mitigating factors” canceled and the new penalties you will incur for your dishonest books and PR campaigns.


[Five easier ways in: 3 via balcony (note two drainpipes, window grid below), 2 via side windows]










Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Appeal Session #1(B) Detailed Report On Enquiries The Court Has Okayed

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above the two co-judges with lead judge Allessandro Nencini reading the case history]

Translation From The Umbria24 website

Meredith, war of requests in the first hearing of the 2nd Appeal

The court has order a new test on the I trace and on the hearing of the witness Luciano Aviello. Rejected all other requests

By Francesca Marruco

After a little over 2 hours in its counsel chambers the Florence Court of Appeals has decided to ordered a new test on the (I) trace evidence of the knife seized in Raffaele Solecitto’s apartment, the weapon presumed to have been used in the murder.

The Court has also decided to hear the witness Luciano Aviello and rejected all the other requests of renewal of investigations presented by the defense. The Court returns on Friday with Aviello and the provision of the task of the new genetic analysis to the Carabinieri del Ris of Rome.

[The appeal] started this morning in the maxi courtroom no. 32 of the Florence Justice Courthouse, the new trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher, after the annulment of the acquittal by the Supreme court. Present in the courtroom was only Patrick Lumumba.

Absent, as expected, were the two accused Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. 

- 9:00 Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele,  says he is tranquil about the outcome of the new trial. Responding to the journalists, he specified “The statement of the Supreme Court is compromised by errors committed because the judges did not have full assess to all of the proceedings, as they themselves specified,”

- 9:45 The defense of Knox and Sollecito have asked for the exclusion of the Patrick Lumumba (civil) part because the conviction of Amanda for calunnia has already been passed into final sentence.

This request was opposed by the General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini, and the lawyer of Lumumba. For them the plaintiff’s civil right is legitimate, as the Supreme Court, has asked to re valuate the penalty, in order to obtain the impunity.

The Court retired in counsel chambers to decide and announced it wanted to decide today on the reopening of the investigation.

- 10:15 The court rejects the request of the defense of Knox and Sollecitto to exclude the civil part of Patrick Lumumba, because the Court specifies that, among other things, the offense was not assessed in the totality by the first court.

- 10.50 The President of Court of Appeals, Allessandro Nencini, is initiating the introductory report. Starting from the day of Meredith’s homicide. The judge traveled trough the most important passages of the three Courts. Speaking of the (I) trace, isolated by the consultants of the second Court on the knife (considered the weapon of the crime by the first Court) President Nencini said:” It necessary to underline that the independent consultants had found another trace but it was not analyzed”.

- 11:15 The President of the Court Nencini, at the end of the introductory report, said: “ This is a trial for matters of undeniable seriousness, beyond the spectacularization, there is the willingness of the Court to give all of the possible space for debate to all of the parties, because in origin there was a important verdict and the actions for which we proceed are of undeniable seriousness”

- 11.25 Raffaele Sollecito defense lawyer Giulia Buongiorno was the first to take the floor.

“Sollecito’s defense does not ignore the motivations of the Cassazione, and we are in favor of any kind of verification that the Court will order, with the following caveats. This proceeding has always been based on two types of evidences, the testimonial and technical.  We request that during this proceeding, we hope to be the last one, that the Court during the next hearings will concentrate only on the truly reliable evidences, putting aside the ones that are not nullified by the fact that it is a media proceeding.

Many witness have said things because they have read them or heard to them. So the proceeding was reopened,but not to collect this type of guesswork. We do not want to inflate this proceeding with new conjectures. We request to examine in depth the crime seen, as pointed out by the Cassazione.  In the crime scene room there are copious traces of two of the four presumably present persons, Rudy Guede that admitted to have been there, and none of the two indicted, except on the hook of the victim’s bra.

When the Prosecutor asserts that there are no traces because Amanda and Raffaele cleaned them, we think that it is impossible. For this reason we request to have a evaluation done in order to verify if it is possible to clean selectively”. “The Cassazione mistake has been that it didn’t noticed the entry in the crime scene room before the bra hook was found , so we request the acquisition of two reports. 

We want to understand if in a sealed place it is possible to get evidence even after the admission by the police of other searches .  We do not request to get the hook and to say that it is contaminated, I want to know if in that environment it was possible to collect some genuine evidences, because on the crime scene there were not ten traces of Raffaele but only that one”. 

A subordinate request by Giulia Buongiorno requests that experts , new ones or the ones of the second trial, will read the electropherograms.  Buongiorno requests even the analysis of both of Meredith Kercher cell phones that she consider the “black box” of the crime and that “ was never analyzed deep enough except from the Corte d’Assise di Perugia” The defense requests also the analysis of the presumed sperm trace on Meredith’s pillowcase.

- 12.15   Amanda Knox defense lawyer Carlo Della Vedova takes the floor and lifts up right away an exception to the Constitution.  “Are we today able to judge on matters that happened six years ago? Can a person be under proceeding for life? Are we sure that Amanda Knox is an accused as all the others. It is right for an indefinite postponement of this proceeding? For all of this I insist that the Court evaluate the constitutionality”

- 13.00 Kercher family’s lawyer produced a letter written by the family members of Meredith that read ”We are confident that the evidences will be reexamined and all the requests of more evidences will be granted, in a way that all the unanswered questions well be clarified and that the Court can decide on future way of action in this tragic case. The past six years have been the most difficult of our lifes and we want find an end and remember Meredith as the girl that she really was rather than remember the horror associated with her”.

-14.00 The General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini says he is against the request of the defense to hear anew from some witnesses, including Rudy Hermann Guede. The same judgment Crini used for the major part of the requests of the opening introductory presented by the defense. In conclusion, he asked for the the addition of the evaluation of the “I” trace, isolated by the independent experts, but never analyzed because it was believed to be a Low Copy Number. Furthermore the prosecutor asks that the witness Aviello be reheard.

-15:00 The lawyers of the civil part that represent the Kercher family adheres to the request of the General Prosecutor Crini, opposing the requests of the defense.  “ I – said the lawyer Francesco Maresca believe that one attempts to dress, with a new dress, evidence that are strong, resistant, and robust from the sentence of the first court and that where minimized by the second court. For example, the witness Capezzali.

Also there are newly dressed certain requests that are obsolete, that have already been done. Like the one of selective cleaning. In the bathroom next to the room of the crime, there were many mixed traces of DNA of Amanda and blood of Meredith. And if the genetic profile of Sollecito, besides the bra hook,  is present only mixed with that of, Amanda on a cigarette butt,  that was found; then how did it migrate, only that one,  from the cigarette butt to the bra hook”?

- 15:10 The defense of Raffaele Sollecito adheres to the request to analyze the “I” trace, but opposes that hearing the witness Luciano Aviello. Buongiorno also pointed out that it is not true that the independent experts of the second court decided automatically to not analyze certain traces, but did so in the presence of the defense experts Stefanoni and Novelli and those of the defense.  Carlo Dalla Vedova, for Knox defense said that Avelio will be heard only to demonstrate that the Police uses two different weights. Like when Avelio said he knew where the crime weapon was.

- 15.30 The Court retires in council chamber and announced that will not come out before 17.30

Thereafter the court convened again and the decisions were as outlined in the post below this one. Almost all of what the defense had argued - each of them a stretch if you know the full circumstances - was denied. 

And the two main requests from the prosecution - that Aviello be put back on the stand and the large knife be retested - were accepted. Ourcomes of these may or may not add to the strength of the prosecution’s case, but seem to offer no prospects of joy for the defenses.


Saturday, June 08, 2013

Questions For Sollecito: Can You Realistically Account For The Hard Evidence On The Bathroom Mat?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[From one of many analyses published in Italy (this was in Il Messagero) of hard evidence against RS]

Your legal future and the book

In the next few months you are expected to face two different courts in Florence.

One will be a new appeal in Meredith’s case in place of the illegal appeal annulled in March by the Supreme Court, and one will decide if you attempted serious obstruction of justice in ascribing many crimes to the officers of the Perugia court. One claim your own father Francesco on Italian national TV has already said was false.

The last thing you need is two prosecutions demonstrating that you invented unrealistic straw man after straw man to throw off the legal process by illegal means, by encouraging pressure on the court from an inflamed and ill-informed public.

And yet your book appears to us to contain at least a hundred straw men. Less-so but similarly in the book by Knox. This definition of a straw man is from the Wikipedia website.

A straw man or straw person, also known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position. This technique has been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly in arguments about highly charged, emotional issues.

The straw man of the bloody footprint on the mat

Let us start this series of questions to you with the bloody bathmat footprint, and how you characterized it at different points in your book as part of your attempted proof that Guede acting alone did the crime.

Here is the full extent of your straw-man attempt to prove that that print was actually from Rudy Guede’s foot.

(a) [Page X11] The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes.  Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon.  Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here

(b) [page 23] Amanda went ahead with her shower, only to notice a small bloodstain on one of the washbasin taps. It looked like menstrual blood. Was Meredith, who shared the bathroom with her, having some sort of problem? It was unlike her to leave things less than immaculate. Maybe she’d run out to a pharmacy. Then again, it was just one small stain; perhaps she missed it.

(c) [Page 79]  When my defense team examined the official paperwork, they noticed that the analysis of the footprints—including extensive inquiry into the length and shape of the foot likely to have produced them—had been conducted by two members of the Polizia Scientifica in Rome, working not in their official capacity but as private consultants charging thousands of euros to Mignini’s office. One of the analysts, Lorenzo Rinaldi, was a physicist, not a specialist in anatomy, and the other, Pietro Boemia, was a fingerprint technician with no further scientific credentials. That begged the question: if Mignini’s office felt it needed to contract the job out to private consultants, why wouldn’t it go to people with more pertinent qualifications? The whole thing stank.

(d) [page 192]  We didn’t bother to ask for a review of the footprint analysis by Rinaldi and Boemia because we had demonstrated some elementary measuring errors and felt confident that would suffice.

And how this collapses when compared with hard facts

(1) Our main poster the Machine described at the time how the prosecution and their witnesses did a terrific job on this evidence at trial in May 2009, and how your defense had virtually no comeback at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



(2) Our main poster Kermit in effect recreated a version of the Powerpoints which Dr Rinaldi walked the court through, in these Powerpoints here.

You will see they are detailed and very precise, and it is your footprint and not Guede’s footprint which remorselessly emerges on the bathroom mat.

After viewing the damning nature of those slides, read at the end what Kermit concludes: You WERE present at the scene of the crime. You might not have had murderous intent, or wielded the fatal blow, but you and your bare foot were there. 


(3) Our main poster SomeAlibi, a trial lawyer, recently warned here that even ONE piece of evidence if firm and inexplicable enough could be enough for a jury to decide to put you away.

There are at least four pieces of evidence that tie you to the scene of the crime: those two footprints, your still-unexplained DNA on Meredith’s bra, and sworn eye-witness testimony of Rudy Guede that he saw you there.

That is in addition to dozens of other evidence points which include cellphone evidence, computer evidence, myriad alibis, an admission that you lied, and another eyewitness account.

SomeAlibi then goes even beyond Kermit in his analysis to show how definitive the identification of YOUR footprint was. See his chart here which leaves zero room for any doubt. He comments on it as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



(4) That Rudy Guede had attacked Meredith alone needs proof your own defense lawyers miserably failed to provide at trial, and did the opposite of at the annulled appeal.

At the annulled appeal they put the erratic jailbirds Alessi and Aviello on the stand, in a desperate attempt to explain who were the THREE perps that the crime scene recreation and autopsy had decisively demonstrated attacked Meredith. 


(5) Accordingly your point (a) above is false in every respect.  Guede was NOT quickly identified, precisely because Knox fingered Patrick only. Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her.

Guede had zero proven history of break-ins and petty crimes, and Judge Micheli became angry at such unfounded claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks after an extended stay up north.

His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise in fact was how few traces of him were found.  The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.

From Meredith’s wounds, it was evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?

Guede’s shoeprints in blood exit Meredith’s room and lead straight to the front door. There is no evidence at all that he removed his shoe, for whatever reason, and somehow left only ONE footprint several yards from Meredith’s room. .

And all this together with the footprints in blood outside the door matching the feet of both yourself and Knox is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).


(6) Our main poster Sara posted on our Sollecito Book page that you made a false claim in your point (b) above about the obviousness of the bathroom blood stains.

Raffaele tries to underplay the presence of blood in the bathroom by claiming that the print on the bathmat was hardly visible or distinguishable as blood.  Even in his interview with Katie Couric he claimed that it was not obvious that the stain on the bathmat was blood.

The problem? Amanda in her email during the initial days of the investigation says “it was after i stepped out of the shower and onto the mat that i noticed the blood in the bathroom.it was on the mat i was using to dry my feet”

When Knox herself admits that she knew it was blood on the bathmat, why is Sollecito claiming otherwise?



(7) Our main poster Vivianna posted this correction on our Sollecito Book page in response to your claim (c) that the government experts were hired guns - and the wrong ones.

The reality, according to Judge Massei, is quite different. [the experts were:]

1. Dr Lorenzo Rinaldi (Engineer, Principal Technical Director of the State Police, director of the three sections which compose the Identity Division of the ERT - Esperti Ricerca Tracce)

2. Chief Inspector Pietro Boemia of the ERT in Rome

And their tasks involved analyzing both shoeprints and footprints

Sollecito forgets to mention that their first consultancy report, with regard to a footprint left by a Nike shoe, was actually favorable to him.  Unlike a previous analysis which had attributed the shoeprint to him, this team of experts correctly attributed it to Guede. 

However, since the second consultancy task resulted in an identification of a footprint with Sollecito’s, the experts are clearly “out to get him” like everyone else involved in the investigation. It doesn’t seem to occur to Sollecito that if that had been the case, they wouldn’t have bothered to correct the previous consultant’s work on the shoeprints.

Your fate going forward from the above

You have as Americans say opened a real can of worms here. A prosecutor’s delight. At both the trials you will face in Florence, the prosecutions will surely raise all of these questions and more, and then ask:

WHY did you need to create a straw man? You were clearly there; why, and what did you do?


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Welcome To New Arrivals #1: An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth

Posted by Some Alibi



[Merediths window is seen on the top floor of the house in the lower foreground]

Welcome To Common Sense

This briefing was first posted with slightly different opening paras at the start of the annulled Hellmann appeal. New arrivals often tell us this helped them the most.

If you’ve come to this website because of the Amanda Knox book and interview, then welcome.  Like all of us who come to this case, you have one key question: did they do it?  The Knox book and interview seriously cherrypick the case, and perhaps haven’t helped you at all.

On the Internet, you will find people who are passionate in their defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito; and you will find people who are passionate in their support of an exceptionally talented girl who died, of a fine justice system previously untainted by PR, and of the prosecution’s very strong case.

Click here for more


Monday, April 08, 2013

Experienced Trial Lawyer: There’s Far More Evidence Than UK/US Courts Need For Guilt

Posted by SomeAlibi




The false claim “there is no evidence”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A definitive evidence point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusions that must follow

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science

Posted by Fly By Night



[Above: images of typical modern analysis DNA facilities similar to Dr Stefanoni’s in Rome]


The Galati appeal to Cassation comes down very strongly against the work and conclusions of the appeal court’s DNA consultants Vecchiotti and Conti.

Dr. Galati argues that the consultancy should never have happened at appeal level, that its methods were slipshod and out of date, that its conclusions were mainly innuendo that left the prosecution case untouched, and that the consultants should not have refused to test a remaining sample from the large knife collected at Sollecito’s place.

In July 2011, about the midpoint of the appeal trial, I took strong issue with the C&V science and essentially mirrored in advance what Dr. Galati would argue to Cassation nearly a year later. Many other TJMK posters including our legal posters James Raper and Cardiol took issue with legal and other aspects.

With a Supreme Court ruling on the 2nd level (first appeal level) outcome scheduled for early next week, it’s the perfect time to re-examine the role of DNA in that outcome against the latest science. I want to include some excellent observations from our contributing poster “Thoughtful” as expressed in her recently published book Math on Trial.

I’ll start off with an overview of the science of DNA analysis and describe recent developments in analysis approaches, techniques and capabilities.  Incidentally, one of my resources for this information is a chapter in “DNA Electrophoresis Protocols for Forensic Genetics” published shortly after the Hellmann verdict for the first appeal (circa early 2012); a chapter in which Carla Vecchiotti is cited as providing technical assistance.

Given Vecchiotti’s involvement in recent academic publications we can be certain that at the time of the Hellmann verdict Vecchiotti was well aware of the rapidly evolving and improving nature of DNA testing procedures and capabilities.  And in contrast to her courtroom allegations that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques, Vecchiotti has recently contributed to sources claiming that today’s critical challenge is to develop general guidelines for DNA evaluation and promulgate clear and universal laboratory practices while recognizing that a multitude of labs exist, each with its own specific protocols and personnel.

We will return to the Conti-Vecchiotti report shortly, but first let’s have a quick look at the history and state-of-the-art of DNA analysis.


Brief History of DNA Testing

The literature reveals that the USA has never been at the forefront of forensic DNA analysis.  The first court cases to successfully employ DNA “fingerprinting” techniques occurred in England during the mid 1980s.  A case involving a double rape/homicide of teenage girls in 1986 turned out to be prophetic in that it involved the first use of DNA to exonerate an innocent suspect and also was the first to apply DNA “databases”, issues which still give rise to disputes nearly 30 years later.

Over time, a variety of procedures were developed to extract DNA from biological samples but all worked on the same basic principle of breaching individual cell walls, removing the protein surrounding the DNA, isolating the DNA, and finishing with the purification and quantification of the DNA.

An important milestone in DNA fingerprinting was the development of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in 1985.  The PCR quickly became an important analytical method for forensic samples because of its sensitivity, specificity, rapid analysis, and ease of automation.  PCR amplification technology permitted the analysis of forensic samples with low quantities (less than 1 ng) of extracted DNA, unlike earlier methods that required at least 50 ng.

While PCR was far more sensitive than earlier procedures, problems with mixed DNA samples and DNA degradation led to the use of genetic markers known as Short Tandem Repeats (STR). STR analyses were fast and reactions could be multiplexed permitting multiple loci to be amplified in a single run.

In 1997 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in the USA launched an effort to establish a set of 13 core STR loci for use within a national DNA database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System).  Similar sets of STR markers had already been selected by the European Union and elsewhere but, in general, a DNA profile obtained using 12 or more STR loci was found to yield a composite genotype frequency of less than 1 in a quadrillion.  This high degree of accuracy results from the hereditary nature of STR distribution and enables a very powerful method for biological identifications.

STR typing of extracted DNA has traditionally been very sensitive to the quantity of input DNA with ideal levels ranging from 0.5 to 2 ng.  Either too little or too much DNA could produce imbalanced amplification results resulting in incomprehensible outcomes.  The STR process is further complicated by “stutter” in the interpretation of multiple contributor DNA samples.  Stutter is an artifact of the PCR process that produces “false alleles” one repeat shorter than a primary allele.

In recent years DNA analysis techniques have evolved rapidly as equipment manufacturers upgrade STR systems to tolerate even the smallest of samples and samples that have been highly degraded.  The improved sensitivity of today’s STR kits along with the development of new strategies for the amplification of low levels of DNA now allows samples which previously could not be analyzed to produce viable results.

Low-level DNA samples often contain mixtures of DNA, which has complicated the detection and interpretation process due to stochastic sampling effects that include peak imbalance, enhanced stutter, allele loss (allele drop-out), and un-attributable alleles (allele drop-in).  With this in mind, strict guidelines have been developed including a careful determination of analytical thresholds and the use of replicate analyses in a profile to properly interpret low-level mixed-DNA samples.  More importantly, new analytical techniques such as laser micro-dissection and fluorescence in-situ hybridization have been developed enabling the identification, capture, and amplification of DNA from individual cells prior to “electrophoresis”, eliminating the problem of mixed profiles altogether.

In addition to today’s far more precise DNA analysis machines and methods there are also compelling arguments for the use of statistical or probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process to augment traditional “consensus allele” electropherogram evaluation approaches.  In short, the efforts of both scientists and statisticians are now creating powerful next generation approaches to DNA analyses as we progress through a second decade of highly successful STR typing methodologies.


Logic and Science on Trial

In my 2011 report I challenged Carla Vecchiotti’s contention that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques.  Vecchiotti herself has conceded to the challenge through her contributions to publications that clearly describe a need to develop generally accepted guidelines for DNA evaluation and to create clear and universal laboratory practices that can be accepted by the diverse population of analytical labs currently operating under divergent operational protocols, all under the direction of professional and expert personnel.

In her excellent and recently published Math on Trial book, contributing poster “Thoughtful” accurately describes how DNA analysis expert Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni proceeded in her laboratory analysis of a small DNA sample found on the blade of a knife confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.  Not having what she felt was a sufficient sample to divide for replication of her analysis Dr. Stefanoni took the chance of running her entire sample in a single run.

As is typical of all DNA analyses, Stefanoni proceeded to amplify the results to a point where an electropherogram would reveal meaningful “peaks” and found that a resultant 13 pairs of peaks corresponded precisely to peaks derived from a known sample of Meredith Kercher’s DNA!

In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment.  As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins.  In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.

Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court.  However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.

In the first appeal trial, Judge Hellmann was thus presented with exceptionally compelling evidence that Meredith’s DNA was in fact found on the alleged murder weapon that had been confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.  Astonishingly, Hellmann rejected this evidence on an expressed assumption of non-compliance with testing techniques established by international scientific community standards; compliance standards that Vecchioti herself admits do not exist via recent academic and scientific publications as discussed above.

As “Thoughtful” carefully explains in Math on Trial, Hellmann’s faulty reasoning in excluding the knife evidence did not end there.  Hellmann provided Vecchiotti and Conti with an opportunity to retest any remaining DNA on the knife if they felt it was warranted.  Vecchiotti and Conti declined to perform any retests on the basis that that only a few cells might still exist on the knife, thus invalidating any potential results according to a false assumption that “international testing standards” somehow prohibited such low-level DNA tests even though, as outlined in the DNA discussion above, single-cell DNA analysis had at that time already become an acceptable possibility and Vecchiotti knew it.

Hellmann, however, accepted Vecchiotti and Conti’s reasoning by essentially stating that repeating an “invalid” DNA analysis procedure twice can do nothing towards resolving a DNA identification problem because two wrongs do not make a right.  In Math on Trial, “Thoughtful” artfully explains the complete failure of logic of Hellmann’s line of reasoning.  Hellmann claims that running an experiment independently two separate times and obtaining the same result each time can do absolutely nothing towards increasing the assurance of reliability for an event.

However, “Thoughtful” describes how successfully repeating Stefanoni’s low-level DNA analysis technique could easily carry a probabilistic result from a “not beyond a reasonable doubt” percentage range to a highly convincing 98.5% or higher probability.  “Thoughtful’s” arguments in Math on Trial are completely in line with today’s efforts to embed statistical and probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process for a much higher precision and accuracy standard.


Conclusions

In 2011 I concluded that Vecchiotti and Conti’s expert report findings actually boiled down to two primary debates: (1) Issues surrounding the small sample (Low Copy Number – LCN) DNA analysis techniques employed by Dr. Stefanoni, and (2) Issues surrounding the probability of excluding all possible sources of contamination from the evidence.

In 2013, on the eve of the Court of Cassation ruling on the first appeal outcomes of the Meredith Kercher murder trial, it appears to me that all issues related to DNA analysis and contamination have been powerfully addressed by both the prosecution and “best available science” considerations. 

The errors in Judge Hellmann’s logic and reasoning that set Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito free have been shown to be plentiful and astounding, as evidenced by the few DNA related examples that have been examined in this report.  In light of all of the above and the powerful legal arguments raised by the Galati appeal to Cassation, it seems that there can be no other option than to send this appeal outcome back for a thorough lower court re-evaluation.

Posted on 03/23/13 at 05:05 AM by Fly By NightClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesDNA and luminolThe two knivesAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiquesHoaxers from 2007More hoaxers
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