Series Greg Hampikian

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #4

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



One of two Sollecito footprints matching in EXACT dimensions

1. What Hampikian Omits In Misleading The American Audience (2)

Hampikian’s illegal nonsense on the DNA in the case is quite obviously worse than useless.

It actually came to HURT the defenses rather than helped them, and drew the mafias in (see Part 2 below). Do please feel free to purge your mind of it, and take in our forensic Powerpoints.

Click each image below, and keep clicking.

1. DNA: A Very Clear Intro To A Vital Subject By Nicki


2. DNA Evidence May Be A Tough Mole To Whack By Nicki


3 Telling Forensic Evidence Against Sollecito By Kermit


4. How Pro-Knox Mafia Tools Doctored A Sollecito Footprint By Kermit


5. Total Evidence Suggests AK & RS Guilty By James Raper w/Kermit




2. Tip For IP Contributors

On Amanda Knox. Innocence Project Idaho rep Hampikian’s ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. Thus he subjected Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. Thus Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement that Knox and RS must hide for life.


Monday, April 02, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #3

Posted by Peter Quennell



Knox enablers Jason Flom, Barry Scheck, Greg Hampikian

(Click here to go straight to Comments. Long post.)

1. What Hampikian Omits In Misleading The American Audience (1)

Think of the evidence in the case as a giant jigsaw puzzle. Say it consists of 1000 pieces.

We at TJMK and PMF and the Wiki are finally on top of nearly all of them. Thanks especially to Italy’s amazing habit of documenting and its open-process juries and our fine translators.

In the US and UK there would be few such documents. And no reasoning at all from any black-box jury. No surprise really that the Innocence Project has many cases here - and none in Italy.

Hampikian in his frenetic marketing of Knox, in sharp contrast to our full picture, leaves out pretty well everything. The previous post by KrissyG showed this for us first.

Amazingly, Hampikian revealed he is not even clued up on the full extent of the DNA.

Now in the prosecution phases of the trial back in 2009 the judges and lay-judges were presented with all 1000 pieces of the puzzle, in 20 day-long sessions (a quarter in closed court and not reported by media in detail). Also they did voluminous side-reading of the case files.

Plus of course staring at the telling Knox and Sollecito reactions for hours and hours.

Knox obviously preferred to be daffy and her version of likable, and to try to warm up a hostile Sollecito. He was obviously sulky and angry at Knox, refusing to look at her or to speak in favor of any of her alibis. Both grimly sat through the hard-to-take closed sessions.

For us and many in Italy, the case came to be a convincingly strong one about midpoint in the trial.

That was when a defiant Knox was on the stand for two days, doing herself no good, incessantly contradicting herself and causing this typical reaction and this one.

Knocked back by this, the defenses used up only a very few court days to attempt rebuttals and attempt to squeeze nice opinions out of character witnesses. Pretty well all Italy could see the defenses were outgunned, listless, and demoralized.

Back in 2008 there had been talk of RS and AK admitting to heavy drug use or psychological issues but the parents would have none of it.

So other than incessantly beating up on Guede (an easy “out” as he was not present to defend himself) it was hard for them to find things to talk about. Some court days were cancelled because of this and Sollecito lawyer Bongiorno skipped several sessions.

This all matters. It explains things. But Hampikian omits all of it in his simplistic and ridiculous bid for glory.

He misrepresents a small fraction of the DNA evidence, reveals himself ignorant of a much bigger and equally damning fraction, and ignores all other evidence as if everything other than DNA is of lower importance.

So here below from the Wiki Evidence Masterlist is all of the forensic evidence made public by the end of 2009. (Although very extensive, this is still only about 50% of all the evidence items on the Masterlist. Hampikian hid that half also.)

Again, this was all known to the jury as of the end of trial - which like any jury anywhere can convict on ONE item if it speaks guilt to them. This was the only jury to hear the whole case. The one that voted for guilt unanimously.  As any American or British jury would have done.

Part 3 at bottom summarizes the damning court take and the Knox shills’ spin.

2. Forensic Evidence In The Public Realm By Late 2009

Area 1: The Wounds

11-01   Meredith Kercher sustained 43 wounds during the assault that killed her. (Perna closing arguments 2009)

1-02   She had 10 knife wounds and 33 other wounds. (Lalli 2009)

1-03   She had at least 15 bruises: on her mouth, nose, cheeks, jaw, neck, elbows, right forearm, small of her back, left thigh, and right lower leg. The bruises indicate she was not only restrained, but also kept from screaming for help. (Lalli 2009)

1-04   Some of the bruising on Ms. Kercher was in the shape of fingertips, with some fingertips being smaller, of a woman’s size. There were no ligature marks. (Lalli, Marchionni, Codispoti 2009)

1-05   Some of the neck bruises indicate Ms. Kercher was being choked at some point during the assault. (Liviero 2009)

1-06   The internal vaginal bruising suffered by Ms. Kercher happened before her death and was violent. (Lalli, Marchionni 2009)

1-07   She had only 2 major knife wounds, one on each side of her neck. The remaining knife wounds were minor. (Lalli 2009)

1-08   The wound on the right side of her neck was narrow and deep. The wound on the left side of her neck was wide, large, gaping and fatal. These two wounds were likely made with two different knives. (Bacci, Politi, Codispoti, Mignini 2009)

1-09   She had another knife cut just below the gaping wound on the left side of her neck. (Lalli 2009)

1-10   She had 3 other glancing knife wounds on her neck and cheeks. (Lalli 2009)

1-11   She had 3 small cuts on her right hand and one small cut on her left hand. (Lalli 2009)

1-12   Her defensive wounds were virtually non-existent, especially when compared with other single-attacker knife attacks, where knife wounds on the hands and arms are prevalent. (Cingolani, Codispoti 2009)

1-13   The wounds were compatible with an assault by multiple persons (Cingolani, Codispoti, Lalli, Liviero 2009).

1-14   Bacci, Lalli and Liviero testified that the wounds could not be ascribed with 100% certainty to a single person or multiple person assault. However Lalli and Liviero preferred the multiple person assault scenario, given the quantity and different types of wounds. (Bacci, Lalli, Liviero 2009)

1-15   Lalli confirmed under questioning by Judge Massei that if the rape happened during the assault, then the assault had to be carried out by more than one person. (Lalli 2009)

Area 2: The Blood traces

2-01   Blood traces were found all around Ms. Kercher’s bedroom, not in one specific area. (crime scene photos)

2-02   In Ms. Kercher’s bedroom, blood was found by the far wall, on and inside the closet, under the desk, by and under the bed, on the walls above the bed, on the mattress cover, on the floor in large quantities and on the door into the bedroom. (crime scene photos)

2-03   Blood was also found on the floor in the form of partial shoeprints leading out of the cottage. Blood traces were also found on the small bathroom door, in the small bathroom (on the light switch, sink, bidet, bathroom floor mat, etc.), possibly on a few items in Knox’s bedroom, and also in Luminol-revealed traces found on the floor in the corridor, in Knox’s bedroom and in Romanelli’s bedroom. (crime scene photos, Codispoti 2009)

2-04   No blood traces were found near, leading to or in the large bathroom where Guede defecated. (crime scene photos, Dr. Stefanoni Genetic Test report)

2-05   Blood pattern analysis indicates Ms. Kercher was fatally stabbed around 40 cm above the ground, near to the closet door. (Camana 2009)

2-06   Blood traces on the floor indicate objects were shifted or removed after Ms. Kercher had started bleeding from the fatal wound. (crime scene photos)

2-07   Ms. Kercher’s body was moved after she was stabbed, as can be seen from the blood smears on the floor. (crime scene photos)

2-08   Blood traces on the mattress cover indicate that one or more knives used in the assault were placed on the mattress cover. (Politi 2009)

2-09   Blood traces under the bed indicate someone was likely searching under the bed for something after the assault. (Codispoti 2009)

Area 3. Clothing traces

3-01   Blood was found on her sweat jacket, bra, jeans and socks. (crime scene photos)

3-02   Ms. Kercher’s bra and sweat jacket indicate she bled on the right side, likely from the knife wound on the right side of her neck, for some time before these were removed. (evidence item photos in Dr. Stefanoni’s slide presentation)

3-03   The sleeves on her sweat jacket were pulled inside-out. (Stefanoni 2009)

3-04   Blood stains on her sweat jacket and shirt indicate these were pulled up around her neck after she had been wounded. (Codispoti 2009)

3-05   Her jeans were also inside out, with blood spots inside her jeans. (Stefanoni 2009)

3-06   Her panties were found near her body, and had no blood stains. (Stefanoni 2009)

3-07   Ms. Kercher’s bra was removed after she was dead, as can be seen from blood speckles on the bra that were not found on her chest. (Micheli Motivation report, Codispoti 2009

3-08   Her body was covered with a duvet, and she only had an undershirt on. (Micheli Motivation report)

3-09   Police found a pillow, a bed sheet, a sock and two towels under her body. (Nencini Motivation Report- citing Lalli’s site report)

3-10   Guede’s bloody handprint was found on the pillow. (Sbardella 2009)

3-11   Guede’s bloody shoeprint was found on the pillow right under Ms. Kercher’s leg. (Sbardella 2009)

3-12   Police found Ms Kercher’s bra clasp under the pillow, and then later found it again under a carpet in the bedroom, 46 days after initial discovery. (Cantagalli, Codispoti, Stefanoni 2009, crime scene photos)

3-13   A sock was found around one of Ms. Kercher’s purse handles on the bed. (crime scene photos)

3-14   Ms. Kercher’s purse was found on the mattress cover, indicating it had been placed there after the duvet had been used to cover her body. (crime scene photos)

Area 4. Ms. Kercher’s room

4-01   Only the mattress cover remained on the bed. After the assault, someone removed the duvet, pillow and bed sheet from the bed, and placed Ms. Kercher on the bed sheet, two towels and pillow on the floor, then covered her body with the duvet. (Codispoti 2009, crime scene photos)

4-02   Someone took Ms. Kercher’s wallet and credit cards from her purse and placed the purse on the mattress cover on the bed. (Profazio 2009, Nencini Motivations report, crime scene photos)

4-03   Someone left receipts on the duvet covering Ms. Kercher’s body. (Codispoti 2009, crime scene photos)

4-04   Someone took Ms. Kercher’s cell phones and tossed them over a roadside wall, inadvertently into the garden of another villa, some 950 meters from the cottage. (Nencini Motivations report)

4-05   Someone took Ms. Kercher’s room and house keys. (Napoleoni 2009)

4-06   An empty jar of Vaseline was found on her desk. (crime scene photos, Napoleoni 2009)

4-07   The wall shelf by her closet had been knocked around, and objects on the shelf were tipped over. (crime scene photos, Codispoti 2009)

4-08   Ms. Kercher’s nightstand lamp and Knox’s nightstand lamp were both on the floor next to the bed. (crime scene photos)

4-09   Knox’s lamp was partially under Ms. Kercher’s bed, and it was the only functioning light Knox had in her room. (crime scene photos, Nencini Motivations report)

4-10   Someone closed and locked Ms. Kercher’s bedroom door, and took her bedroom door key. (Battistelli, Romanelli, Altieri, Zaroli, Napoleoni 2009)

4-11   Romanelli testified Ms. Kercher rarely closed and locked her own bedroom door, while Knox claimed Ms. Kercher normally locked her door. (Battistelli, Zaroli, Altieri, Romanelli 2009)

4-12   Ms. Kercher’s bedroom door had a small crack in it before it was broken down. (Altieri 2009).

Area 5: Shoeprints

5-01   Guede’s bloody left shoeprints were found in Ms. Kercher’s room.

5-02   Guede’s bloody left shoeprints were also found leading down the corridor, into the kitchen/dining room and out the front door, without any trace of prints indicating he turned to close and lock Ms. Kercher’s bedroom door.

5-03   Five different papers and cards, most smudged with blood, were found on the floor in Ms. Kercher’s room. These papers and cards had at least two different types of shoeprints which did not match any of Ms. Kercher’s shoes.

5-04   A similar card was found in Romanelli’s room, with a shoeprint not matching those on the cards and papers in Ms. Kercher’s room.

5-05   A smaller shoeprint similar to Guede’s shoe type was found on the pillow found under Ms. Kercher. Police consultants estimate this was a female sized shoe.

Area 6: Footprints

6-01   Half of a bloody footprint was found on the bathmat. The heel of this footprint, which should have been on the floor, was missing, suggesting it was cleaned away. (crime scene photos, report)

6-02   The bloody footprint matches Sollecito’s right foot size and characteristics.

6-03   Five Luminol-revealed footprints were found on the floor in the corridor and in Knox’s bedroom.

6-04   One of these Luminol-revealed footprints was compatible with Sollecito’s right foot.

6-05   Two others were compatible with Knox’s right foot.

6-06   None of the Luminol-revealed footprints were compatible with Guede’s feet.

Area 7: Fingerprints

7-01   Ms. Kercher’s fingerprints were found on Knox’s closet door.

7-02   Knox’s fingerprints were only found on a glass in the kitchen. None of her fingerprints were found in her own bedroom, or elsewhere in the cottage.

7-03   Sollecito’s fingerprints were on Ms. Kercher’s bedroom door and on the inside face of Laura Mezzetti’s door.

7-04   Guede’s fingerprint was found in Ms. Kercher’s bedroom.

Area 8: DNA testing general

8-01   227 evidence items were sampled or bagged. 30 of these were not analyzed.

8-02   From the remaining 197 evidence items, over 480 DNA and Y haplotype tests were prepared from liquids, solids or hairs. Many objects were sampled in multiple places.

8-03   Out of the over 480 DNA and Y haplotype tests, only 193 of these tests actually yielded DNA useful for comparison. (40%)

8-04   24 tests were from samples taken from Ms. Kercher’s body. Of these, 1 test yielded DNA compatible with Guede’s Y haplotype, 17 tests yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s, and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-05   11 tests were from samples taken from the exterior of the cottage. Of these, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with an unknown female, 2 tests yielded cat DNA and the remainder did not yield useful DNA.

8-06   21 tests were from samples taken from the basement apartment at the cottage. Of these, 16 tests yielded cat blood, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with an unknown male and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-07   221 tests were from samples or items taken from the upper apartment at the cottage. Of these, 6 tests yielded DNA compatible with Guede’s DNA or Y haplotype, 82 tests yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Ms. Kercher’s and Guede’s DNA or Y haplotype (both tests from the same sample), 5 tests from 5 different samples yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Ms. Kercher’s and Knox’s DNA, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Ms. Kercher’s and Sollecito’s DNA or Y haplotype (both tests from the same sample), 4 tests yielded DNA compatible with Knox’s DNA, 1 test yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Knox’s and Sollecito’s DNA, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with an unknown female, 3 tests yielded DNA compatible with an unknown male and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-08   4 tests were from samples taken (from bloodied tissue papers) found in the vicinity of the cottage, yielding DNA compatible with an unknown male or an unknown female.

8-09   16 tests were from samples taken from Sollecito’s car and no DNA useful for comparison was found.

8-10   102 tests were from samples taken from Sollecito’s apartment. Of these, 1 test yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA, 6 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Knox’s DNA, 7 tests yielded DNA compatible with a combination of Knox and Sollecito’s DNA, 7 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Sollecito’s DNA, 3 tests yielded DNA of 3 unknown males and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-11   29 tests were from samples taken from Guede’s apartment. Of these, 14 tests yielded DNA compatible with Guede’s DNA and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-12   6 tests were from samples taken from the pub Le Chic and no DNA useful for comparison was found.

8-13   50 tests were from samples taken from the defendants or defendant’s items during arrests or likely at the police station. Of these, 6 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Guede’s DNA, 8 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Knox’s DNA, 1 test yielded DNA compatible with a combination of Knox and Sollecito’s DNA, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Lumumba’s DNA, 4 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Sollecito’s DNA, 1 test yielded DNA of an unknown male and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-14   Of the 82 tests yielding DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA at the cottage, 4 samples were taken from the corridor floor, 5 were taken from the kitchen/dining floor, 66 were taken from Ms. Kercher’s room and clothing, 1 was taken from the floor in Romanelli’s room and 6 were taken from the small bathroom.

8-15   17 tests yielded unmatchable DNA, with 6 tests yielding DNA compatible with 3 different females and 11 tests yielded DNA compatible with 7 different males. 13 of these samples were found in tissue paper outside the cottage and on cigarette butts in the ashtray in the cottage kitchen.

Area 9: DNA testing- specific

9-01   Ms. Kercher’s DNA was found on the kitchen knife at Sollecito’s apartment. Her DNA was found in a groove towards the cutting edge of the blade. The grove is part of a series of noticeable scratches running parallel along the blade.

9-02   Knox’s DNA was found on the top of the handle of the same knife.

9-03   A second sample of Knox’s DNA was also found on the same knife, where the blade goes into the handle. This second sample was an LCN sample of mixed DNA, and was statistically determined to be Knox’s DNA. (RIS Berti & Barni 2013 report)

9-04   DNA mixture compatible with Knox’s and Sollecito’s DNA was found on another stained pocket knife that Sollecito had.

9-05   DNA mixture compatible with Knox’s and Sollecito’s DNA was found on a cigarette butt in the cottage kitchen. Except for the bra clasp, no other samples at the cottage yielded Sollecito’s DNA.

9-06   7 samples yielded DNA mixtures compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA mixed with either Knox’s DNA, Sollecito’s DNA or Guede’s DNA.

9-07   DNA mixture compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA and Sollecito’s DNA was found on the metal bra clasp. Sollecito’s Y haplotype was also on the metal bra clasp.

9-08   DNA mixture compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA and Guede’s DNA was found on Ms. Kercher’s purse near the zipper.

9-09   DNA mixture compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA and Knox’s DNA was found in three blood traces in the bathroom- on the bidet drain plate, in the sink and on a plastic container containing cotton swabs.

9-10   DNA mixture compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA and Knox’s DNA was also found in a Luminol-revealed blood stain on the floor of Romanelli’s room, and in a Luminol-revealed bloody footprint in the corridor.

9-11   A second Luminol-revealed blood stain in Romanelli’s room yielded Ms. Kercher’s DNA.

9-12   A sample of blood from the small bathroom faucet yielded ONLY Knox’s DNA.

9-13   Guede’s DNA was found on Ms. Kercher’s purse, the left sleeve of her sweat jacket, her bra strap, in Ms. Kercher and on the toilet paper in the large bathroom.

Area 10. Other biological traces

10-01   3 samples of presumed blood traces were found in Knox’s bedroom, on a pillow, on the night stand and on the wall by the head of the bed.

10-02   No semen was found in Ms. Kercher.

10-03   Guede left his feces in the toilet in the large bathroom.

10-04   3 fragments of toilet paper were found on Ms. Kercher’s desk; all three yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA.

10-05   2 tissue papers were found in Sollecito’s bedroom; both had blood that yielded DNA compatible with Sollecito’s DNA.

10-06   A glass on Ms. Kercher’s night stand yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA.

10-07   A strand of hair and a trace of blood were found on Romanelli’s window frame. The blood trace did not yield human DNA; the hair color was dark chestnut.

10-08   5 samples of blood traces on a towel and faucet in Guede’s bathroom all yielded Guede’s DNA.

10-09   4 samples of blood stains on Guede’s jeans and a museum ticket in his jeans also yielded Guede’s DNA.

10-10   The range of digestive timing is, under normal circumstances, 3-5 hours. This range could easily be expanded depending on any number of factors, including stress and alcohol, both of which slow digestion. (Ronchi 2009)

10-11   Based on body temperatures and the digestive process, the time of death range was estimated between 20:00 of November 1st and 04:00 of November 2nd, with the probability that the time of death occurred around 23:00 of November 1st. (Lalli 2009)

Area 11. Luminol traces

11-01   1 sample of a Luminol-revealed blood trace was taken from Guede’s apartment.

11-02   9 samples of Luminol-revealed blood traces were taken from the cottage, including Knox’s room, the corridor and Romanelli’s room.

11-03   Knox’s and Ms. Kercher’s DNA was found on the Luminol-revealed blood stain in Romanelli’s room.

11-04   Knox’s and Ms. Kercher’s DNA was found mixed in a Luminol-revealed bloody right footprint in the corridor.

11-05   14 samples of Luminol-revealed blood traces were taken from Sollecito’s apartment.

11-06   6 samples were taken from Sollecito’s bathroom, including the door, floor and shower basin.

11-07   3 samples were taken from Sollecito’s bedroom, including the door and floor.

11-08   5 samples were taken from the floor of Sollecito’s kitchen.

11-09   2 of the Luminol-revealed samples taken from Sollecito’s apartment yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Sollecito’s and Knox’s DNA. 1 sample yielded DNA compatible with Knox’s DNA.

11-10   1 sample yielded an unknown male’s DNA (unmatchable).

Area 12: Hairs

12-01   Of the over 480 tests prepared on samples, 93 of these constituted hairs or fibers. 86 were human hairs of varying length, in varying colors. The most significant colors noted were black, blonde, chestnut, light chestnut and red chestnut.

12-02   Only 3 hairs yielded DNA; all 3 hairs yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA. All 3 hairs were chestnut colored and over 15 cm long.

12-03   35 hairs were chestnut in color; the vast majority of these were found in Ms. Kercher’s room. 2 were also found on a kitchen sponge at Sollecito’s apartment.

12-04   7 hairs were black in color. 6 of these were 4 cm long or less, and so likely Guede’s hair. 4 of these were on the duvet and 1 was on the mattress cover, both in Ms. Kercher’s room. 1 was also on a sponge at Sollecito’s apartment.

12-05   21 blonde hairs were analyzed, and were likely Knox’s hairs. Most were found at Sollecito’s apartment, 10 on a sponge in the kitchen and 5 on a sweater.

12-06   Of the 6 blonde hairs found at the cottage, 2 were on the duvet, 1 was inside the small bathroom sink, 1 was on Ms. Kercher’s purse and 1 was on her mattress cover.

12-07   4 light chestnut hairs were found. 3 of these were 9 cm long or less. 1 was found on the kitchen sponge; 1 was found on the bra and one was found on Ms. Kercher’s sweat jacket. Sollecito had light chestnut colored hair.

3. Court Assessment & Knox Spin

Judge Micheli was the first judge to make something of all this evidence, late in 2008. Unsurprisingly, if one has actually studied it, one of his major findings was this.

The pack attack, and the crime-scene rearrangement. Led by Knox. She could have escaped trial right there by rebutting it. But she and her team had pretty well zero comeback.

Oh, Hampikian, you didn’t know that?!

The “counter-case” of Hampikian, and other such shills of the PR campaign as Heavey, Fischer, Douglas, and Moore, is like a three-legged stool, with all the rest of the case simply ignored.

  • One leg is the Interrogation Hoax and we have shown in 20 posts that Knox always lied about that.

  • One leg is the supposedly “flawed” DNA analysis that actually wasn’t, which KrissyG took first new whack at last week.

  • The third leg is that there was no pack attack and that Guede somehow did all of the above on his own.

Including taking off a shoe to make ONE imprint in blood on the bathmat in a footprint several sizes smaller than his own…

On Planet Earth, nobody has ever come close to making all of the above fit a Lone Wolf. The defenses only listlessly went through the motions when they tried. Then they seized on Alessi and Aviello when they came along.

That was the defenses proving a pack attack!!

4. Tip for IP contributors

On Amanda Knox. Innocence Project Idaho rep Hampikian’s ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. Thus he subjected Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. Thus Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement that Knox and RS must hide for life.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #2

Posted by KrissyG



Long post. Click here to go straight to Comments

1. Post Overview

Previously main poster Hopeful showed up the intensely superficial grasp of the case by an Innocence Project founder who is a lusty huge booster of Knox.

We see no sign that anyone in the Innocence Project (IP) has ever done due diligence, or has any better grasp of the case than Jason Flom. We certainly don’t see any on video or in print. We see only appallingly misleading and illegal work…. and nothing else. As Hopeful said in that post:

Anyone who thinks Idaho IP representative Greg Hampikian’s seemingly illegal involvement in the court-ordered DNA re-testing was somehow competent and truth-based should read KrissyG and James Raper for two blasts of reality.

This may come as a surprise. In ten years nobody whatsoever has ever landed the slightest blow on the huge (though not pivotal) DNA component of the case.

The defenses and many others have seriously misrepresented it, yes, but that is something else.

2. Chief IP Misleader Hampikian

Nearly a year before Knox ever turned up at her first Innocence Project meeting in Oregon, we had highlighted IP Idaho rep Greg Hampikian’s very misleading work here.

Our main poster the Machine had acidly remarked about Greg Hampikian in that post:

    1. He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

    2. He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

    3. He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

    4. He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

    5. Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Do please read all of the Machine’s very damning post. Note that Hampikian has never ever tried to answer back, though he is still as much of a self-infatuated rooster as before. I would add to the Machine’s profile of Hampikian these further revealing points:

    1. In an aura of personality cult he incessantly proclaims that he is the founder and director of the Idaho Innocence Project.

    2. He took quite a shine to Amanda Knox and went white-water rafting with her.  He broke with his wife, shortly after.

    3. This absurd claim appears on his Wikipedia page - those are often written by the “celebrities” themselves:

    During the high-profile case of Amanda Knox, on May 23, 2011, Greg Hampikian announced that, based on its independent investigation and review, DNA samples taken at the crime scene all pointed to African drifter Rudy Guede and excluded Knox and Sollecito. Upon reexamination of the DNA, he concluded that the evidence is unreliable and contaminated. Hampikian’s findings are one of the main reasons that Knox and Sollecito were set free.

    Really?! The mafias had no role? Hard to believe from this that Hampikian was never an official witness put under cross-examination at the trial or appeals. He had zero official role, and the very extensive DNA evidence really proved nothing of the sort. More DNA samples of Knox than of Guede were at the scene. No contamination was ever proven.  In fact, it was categorically ruled out by the courts.

    4. He has appeared in numerous Youtube clips in especially prepared tv shows, in which he presents himself as “the objective scientist” not letting on that he is essentially only a PR shill.

    5. Hampikian was claiming a government grant for his department at Boise State University.  Journalist Andrea Vogt suspected he was using the funds to promote Amanda Knox’s marketing.  Vogt applied for information under the Freedom of Information Act.  Hampikian evaded the demand by claiming his work was a top trade secret. Academic scientists are supposed to be transparent and make their work replicable and peer-reviewed by other scientists.  So Vogt’s instincts seem correct, given the unlikely reason.

    6. He praises himself on his wiki page as “Prof. Hampikian is also an accomplished amateur folk singer and songwriter.” Indeed, he appears on a Youtube video, sounding like a hundred cats in pain singing about his d-i-v-o-r-c-e., after his rafting expedition with Knox.  She appears grinning by his side in pictures.

    7. He has given evidence under oath in court several times (though never in Italy) claiming he was THE expert who got Amanda Knox “exonerated”.  Knox has never been exonerated, certainly not on the DNA evidence, and the mafias clearly had a role in springing the pair. So, Hampikian is not someone who takes solemn oaths seriously, although his illegal interference was real. 

    8. The defence lawyers for Paul Jenkins and Fred Lawrence are currently in court to try to pin the DNA evidence on another convict, David Wayne Nelson, with Hampikian as the ‘expert DNA witness’ claiming,

‘“I do a lot of cases,” said Hampikian. “This is the second time I can remember one of my cases where it cleared two men and someone else is a hit to the database.”

He doesn’t say to whom he is referring in this absurd claim, but no doubt it is Knox and Sollecito with Guede as the ‘hit’.  Hampikian, thus, is a stranger to the truth, as Knox and Sollecito’s DNA at the crime scene is legally sound.

Comment by Ergon

Examples of typical dishonesty from Greg Hampikian in this article

1. “We asked the Italian lab to supply validation of such a sensitive measurement, but they never complied”.

Yes they did, though maybe not to the professor from Idaho.

2. “a new study on the knife was then ordered in Italy. This failed to repeat the DNA finding”.

They didn’t retest the ‘DNA finding’.

3. “This finding was never repeated, despite many attempts”.

There was only one attempt, which the defense accepted as all that could be done.

4. “As DNA consultant for the defence in the Amanda Knox case”.

You weren’t hired ‘by the defense’ but inserted yourself in your personal capacity using public funds.

5. “but when fingerprints and DNA from the scene were analysed, only two profiles were identified: those of the victim and Rudy Guede”

Also Raffaele Sollecito’s, and Amanda Knox’s blood DNA mixed with Meredith Kercher’s.

6. “Calls followed for global standards on use of low copy number DNA”.

Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA profile on the bra clasp wasn’t LCN DNA, nor was contamination proven against any of Stefanoni’s findings.

7. “a kitchen knife at Sollecito’s house. It didn’t match many wounds on the body and tested negative for blood.”

Because there were two knives, and it tested negative for blood because it was rigorously washed in bleach.


3. Who Manages Or Crosschecks Hampikian?

Hampikian seems to have a pass to claim whatever he wants in the name of the Innocence Project. No quality control, no peer review, no reporting, no accountability at all. Just a near-endless stream of lies.

If Hampikian was to be checked out and made to stop lying and acting as a PR shill, and to stick only to the truth, whose job in the IP would be that? Presumably the man at the top. Barry Scheck.

Has Barry Scheck been asleep at the switch? If so, not for the first time. .



4. Ten Quick Facts About Barry Scheck

1. Born 1949, at Yale Scheck was a ‘fervent anti-war demonstrator’.  In Los Angeles he was a key member of OJ Simpson’s ‘dream team’, which got OJ off a murder rap in 1995.

2. Barry Scheck, as a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, is a forensic and DNA evidence expert. He joined the “Dream Team” to help them ‘harness the power of forensic and DNA evidence’ to assist in Simpson’s defence.

3. Scheck is also known for his work as co-founder and co-director of the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that uses DNA evidence to ‘clear the names of wrongfully convicted inmates’.

4. Scheck co-founded the Innocence Project in 1992 with Peter Neufeld, also his co-counsel on the O.J. Simpson defence team.

5. The Project claims it is ‘dedicated to the utilization of DNA evidence as a means to exculpate individuals of crimes for which they were wrongfully convicted’.

6. To date, it claims 343 wrongful convictions have been overturned by DNA testing ‘thanks to the Project and other legal organizations’.

7. The Innocence Project claims ‘it does not use legal technicalities to challenge convictions; the Project accepts only cases in which newly discovered scientific evidence can potentially prove that a convicted person is factually innocent’.

8. Scheck unsuccessfully defended British baby sitter Louise Woodward against a charge of killing a baby in her care, shortly after the OJ acquittal, leading some to perceive a ‘backlash’ against his defence methods.

9. Scheck and Neufield were heavily criticised in 1999 in a case where eight cops were charged with abusing Abner Louima or shooting dead Amadou Diallo-to benefit their own civil cases on behalf of those victims, putting the police at risk of an unfair trial.

10. Scheck and Neufield called a press conference before the criminal trial, revealing potentially incriminating evidence against the four policemen from an autopsy report, which revealed Diallo was shot in his foot and legs whilst already down. Their ethics were questioned.  Outside the press conference, 1,000 Scheck supporters chanted, ‘“No justice, no peace, no more racist police.”

5. So The Bottom Line On Scheck Is?

Thus, we have a picture of someone who sees himself as a warrior for social justice, and anti-establishment.  Scheck uses his privileged position as a lawyer and DNA expert to help the disadvantaged and oppressed.

However, after the OJ Simpson trial, which saw Scheck shoot to fame, and not necessarily in a good way, but as a silver-tongued crafty defence lawyer who could persuade a jury that night is day by any means at his disposal, regardless of ethics, there emerges a hint of a ruthless man driven by an urge to get the better of his perceived opponents.

So far so good, this is 100% of what we the public have cynically come to expect of a winning-at-all-costs lawyer.  We want them to write our ‘strong letters’ for us, or to win our compensation; perhaps get us off a rap.

We want them to ‘be on our side’, and when you are poor, dispossessed and otherwise ‘invisible’ to the establishment, finding such a high-profile lawyer to champion your case, then fawning gratitude transforms into hero-worship and cult following.

Such is the effect of Scheck’s Innocence Project, thousands of prisoners in the USA claiming to be ‘wrongfully convicted’, whether they are or not, flock to sample the ‘exoneration’ he holds out as the prize for joining up.

Add to the pot US attorneys who as part of their standards are expected to devote a substantial part of their time towards ‘pro bono’ work (free representation), then the ready pool of the poor and deprived that make up the Innocence Projects are ready made clients for them.

6. IP Does Indeed Do Some Good Work

We have shown again and again that American law enforcement, justice and incarceration systems, not their Italian equivalents, are the systems where injustices are off the charts.

Read for example the series of three posts starting here.  An estimated 200,000-plus sitting in prison because prosecutors scared them into a plea-bargain.

Barry Scheck’s target group and release rate is absolutely miniscule compared to this 200,000, but it is not a net negative on the whole. Every little bit of pushback can help. Scheck’s interviews and speeches are often good.


 

7. But Things Do Go Badly Wrong.

The Medill Innocence Project Case

There seems plenty of evidence that the Innocence Project is only loosely managed from the top. Other grandstanders and corner cutters and law-breakers like Hampikian are far from unknown.

And to IP host institutions like lawschools “mistakes” like this one below can bring major harm.

In the Medill Innocence project, a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, David Protess, was picked to head this.

His work had overturned convictions in a number of high-profile cases that won freedom for the ‘wrongfully imprisoned’ and earned him fame and prestige that included a TV-movie deal and a new post. From the start, Protess got his law students to were acting as amateur gumshoes, Protess dispatched them to interview witnesses and dig up new evidence.

Protess was looking for wrongful convictions.  He thought he had found one in Anthony Porter, who had narrowly escaped execution for a 1982 murder and had since served fifteen years, after winning a last minute reprieve.

Protess was keen to highlight that the State had been prepared to execute an innocent man, and he and his private eye students pinpointed an ‘alternative perpetrator’ in Alstory Simon.

“This investigation by David Protess and his team involved a series of alarming tactics,” the Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, said in her statement after Simon’s eventual release.  The Medill Innocence Project’s tactics, “were not only coercive and absolutely unacceptable by law-enforcement standards, “they were potentially in violation of Mr. Simon’s constitutionally protected rights.”

From the Daily Beast in 2014:

Perhaps the worst of those alarming tactics were used by Paul Ciolino, a private investigator working with Protess who got Simon to confess to the murder. According to Alvarez’s findings, Ciolino threatened Simon, promised him a short sentence and financial rewards for cooperating, and used an actor to play a witness who accused Simon of the shooting.

Finally, Ciolino volunteered a lawyer, Jack Rimland, to represent Simon in court. Rimland, a personal acquaintance of Ciolino, may have had a conflict of interest defending a man that his associate was trying to prove guilty, but that didn’t stop him from taking the case.

At the time, it did the trick. Alstory Simon confessed to the murder on video and within days, after more than a decade on death row, Porter walked free.

The State prosecutors then had to spend time and money retrying Porter and reaffirming the seemingly overwhelming evidence of his guilt (six eye witnesses named him).  However, the case against Porter was dropped a month later.  Following on from this case, Illinois banned the death penalty, in 2011.

More from the report in the Daily Beast.

After initially defending the program, Medill launched an investigation of its own. In the end, it was found that students working under Protess had used false pretenses in trying to elicit witness statements.

More damningly, the professor’s claim that the records from his class’s work were protected by journalistic privilege was undermined by the discovery that he’d altered an email instructing that the project’s findings should be turned over directly to defense counsels without any copies retained.

When it was all over, Protess had negotiated his retirement and left the school. His reputation bruised but with legacy of his central victory—winning Anthony Porter’s freedom—still intact.

After Simon’s release last month and the accusation that Protess helped put an innocent man in prison for 15 years, possibly freeing a killer in the bargain, his legacy may be the least of his concerns.


The IP Role

This is a perfect illustration of what can happen when badly supervised lawyers try to solve a case outside of a courtroom.  Delusion, fanaticism and a disregard for due process can blind an Innocence Project lawyer or law student to the truth of culpability.  In other words, they find themselves fighting the establishment, whatever that is, rather than true injustice.

The State prosecutor, Alvarez, said at the time:

“The bottom line is, the investigation conducted by Protess and private investigator Ciolino as well as the subsequent legal representation of Mr. Simon were so flawed that it’s clear the constitutional rights of Mr. Simon were not scrupulously protected as our law requires.”

In 2016, Alstory Simon filed a $40m lawsuit From the Chicago Tribune.

A federal judge on Tuesday gave the green light to a $40 million lawsuit alleging Northwestern University and former star professor David Protess conspired to frame a man for an infamous double murder that became one of the most significant wrongful conviction cases in Illinois history.

The lawsuit brought by Alstory Simon alleges Protess and private investigator Paul Ciolino manufactured bogus evidence, coaxed false statements from witnesses, intimidated Simon into confessing and set him up with a lawyer, Jack Rimland, who coached him to plead guilty.

In denying a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Robert Dow said that it was plausible the money and publicity Protess had brought to Northwestern had allowed a culture of lawlessness and unethical conduct at the university.

The Bombshell Twist

In June 2017 Chicago Tribune reported a ‘bombshell’ twist.  It was revealed that in 2014 at the time of Simon’s release a 28-page internal report wherein the deputies of the then State Attorney Alvarez had concluded, ‘there is not sufficient evidence to seek to vacate Simon’s convictions’. 

Many High-profile Innocence ‘Exonerees’ Earn $’000’s

Simon is like so many prisoners released early, whether or not there is an ‘Alford’ deal – where release is on condition the prisoner accepts the State does not accept liability that the conviction was wrongful and no ‘certificate of innocence’ is provided.

This type of deal is true, for example, for ‘Sunny’ Jacobs, released from death row and finally prison for her role in the murder of two policemen in Florida, and the notorious WM3 which includes Damien Echols, who has since made millions from books and tours on the back of ‘innocence’.

Amanda Knox, Damien Echols and the other two WM3 are listed by All American Entertainment as exonerated ‘speakers’ charging up to $10,000 a time.  Yet none have had a ‘certificate of innocence’.  Thus, by Ciolino’s own words, they cannot be classed as ‘exonerated’.

Cook County ‘Wanted to Prosecute David Protess and Paul Ciolino’

The reason Cook County gives for refusing to vacate Simon’s conviction is because he failed to come clean on the deception a taking a rap for another man’s crimes in exchange for a shorter sentence.  The reports states:

Simon was not a child or inexperienced at any relevant time. As of 1982 he had accumulated an extensive criminal history. He had been arrested for robberies or armed robberies five times between 1966 and 1977. He had three felony or armed robbery convictions. ... He was 47 when he (pleaded) guilty. This certainly complicates his claims regarding coercion and being misled.

The report criticises the ‘less than ideal circumstances’ in which Ciolino tricked Simon into confessing the first time, after which Simon continued the masquarade by spontaneously admitting to firing the fatal shots for some time after his conviction.  For example, in a letter to his lawyers.

However, in spite of these reservations, Alvarez had called a news conference and announced there was ‘no other conclusion’ than that Simon should be freed.  Pointedly, she indicated that if it were not for the statute of limitations (time limit for bringing a charge) she would have prosecuted Protess and Ciolino.

Subsequently she declined to send representatives to contest Simon’s effort to win a “certificate of innocence,” a document that allows wrongfully incarcerated, factually innocent persons to collect cash damages from the state.  It was because whilst Simon probably did not commit the murders, he was part of the innocence fraud which put him in prison and which freed Porter.

Paul Ciolino Hits Back

The latest news, as of January 2018, leading on from the supposed ‘leaked’ document of 2014 which showed Simon’s convictions were merely ‘vacated’ is that Paul Cionlino is suing Simon, Alavarez, and a couple of the ‘Park’ filmmakers, a Chicago Tribune journalist and policemen for damages for ‘defamation’.

The 66-page petition mirrors the counterclaim Ciolino filed before and which was dismissed last year.  He claims his reputation and career were destroyed by the allegations in the Simon case.  Ciolino claims Simon was ‘paid thousands of dollars’ and witnesses interfered with by these anti-Innocent Project forces. 

The Murder in the Park documentary, asserts there are many other cases where ‘the wrong man is imprisoned and the right one was freed, which Ciolino claims is defamatory.  He highlights the letter to Simon’s lawyers in which he states he killed Hillard in self-defence and Green by accident.  Ciolino’s new lawsuit is described as ‘frivolous and without merit’ (Prieb) and ‘so false as to be sanctionable’ (Ekl)

Simon had alleged Ciolino impersonated a police officer and used actors as fake eye witnesses.  He claims Ciolino said if he confessed, he’d get a shortened sentence by claiming ‘self defence’ and avoid the death penalty.  He was also ‘promised large sums of money from book and movie deals’ if he played along, the suit alleges.

Paul Ciolino Acknowledges a Vacated Conviction Does Not Mean ‘Exoneration’

If this illustrates anything, it’s that Innocence Projects running parallel to the US legal system can cause all sorts of chaos and confusion.  In effect, Alvarez the State Prosecutor having freed Simon, is now refusing to vacate his conviction.  The Innocence Project does not see a vacated conviction as an ‘exoneration’ as evidenced by Ciolino suing for defamation on the grounds that ‘Simon is guilty after all’.

If a vacated conviction does not mean exoneration to people like Ciolino, then people like Ryan Ferguson, the West Memphis Three and Amanda Knox, whom the Innocence Projects spearhead as their ‘Star Exonerees’ are gods with clay feet standing on a false pedestal.

It calls into question the integrity of Innocence Project lawyers, such as Kathleen Zellner, who is said to earn more than $12m per annum as a conservative figure.  The last published Annual Report of the Innocence Project shows a turnover of $26m, with a surplus gain of >$3m in the ‘not-for-profit’ org in 2016.  Zellner is famous for obtaining ‘death bed’ confessions from prisoners on Death Row taking the rap for the alleged crimes of her clients, thus securing their release.

8. My Conclusion About This Above

Given these pressures and these possibilities for mismanagement, what of the IP’s illegal intervention into the case in Italy? What of the false touting of an “innocent” Knox? What of the trashing of Italian justice, in witting or unwitting harmony with the mafias?

Another IP trainwreck waiting to happen. And happen it did.

9. Tip For IP Contributors

On Amanda Knox. Innocence Project Idaho rep Hampikian’s ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. Thus he subjected Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. Thus Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement that Knox and RS must hide for life.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #1

Posted by Hopeful




1. Series Overview

Barry Scheck’s Innocence Project quite openly admits to bending the 2011 appeal via collaboration with the “independent” DNA consultants.

Anyone who thinks Idaho IP representative Greg Hampikian’s seemingly illegal involvement in the court-ordered DNA re-testing was somehow competent and truth-based should read KrissyG and James Raper for two blasts of reality.

Beginning early in 2014 (soon after the Florence Appeal Court reaffirmed Knox’s guilty verdict and a whole year prior to the Supreme Court outcome) the Innocence Project clutched Knox firmly and propelled her onto the elite speakers’ circuit. It has repeatedly used her since as a keynoter and potent draw for attendees and presumably for funding too. 

Knox’s speaking career would have gone absolutely nowhere if Barry Scheck & Co had not promoted her with such manic enthusiasm. They still remain unencumbered by comprehensive due diligence or a fact-based narrative. Much simply seems unknown. Trashing Italy is apparently just fine.

Late next month at an Innocence Project “gala” in Kansas City Knox will yet again be an IP keynote speaker.

2. The Jason Flom Podcast

Jason Flom is a founding board member of the Innocence Project. As the sharp eyes of our main poster Guermantes picked up, Flom interviewed Knox in January 2017 for a podcast: The Wrongful Conviction of Amanda Knox.

Flom seems to have done little or no homework. Most of these posts predate this interview. So an open-minded interviewer not toeing the self-serving IP party line could have avoided the naivety and manipulation we can see here.

Knox tells Flom the Perugian investigators (actually the highly respected national elite) were like children pretending to process a crime scene but making major mistakes. Her tone of voice suggested mockery and ridicule of them playing at being forensic scientists.

Flom laps up this nonsense unquestioningly. However Knox’s lies to Flom were mainly of omission, so much that she didn’t want to speak of and that Flom could not even comprehend.

When he asked her why she was targeted when several other people were at the cottage the morning the police arrived (Filomena, her boyfriend, Raffaele) Knox explained that her behavior didn’t impress police as that of an innocent person because she was kissing Raffaele and being comforted in the yard of the cottage.

There is no special sign that she was targeted. And she omits a mountain of other behavior. She refuses to tell Mr. Flom of her highjinks in the Questura, her tongue sticking out, her cartwheels, or her thong-buying visit to Bubbles, nor of her skipping the memorial service for Meredith in the days after the death. None of that escapes her lips.

She does pretend some indignation about Rudy Guede the “real killer”. Mostly she talks of every single sad emotion she endured in the 8 months of incarceration before she was charged with murder.

She mentions Meredith throughout the interview very little. She seems to be mostly swept up in memories of how she was robbed of hope behind bars, and she revels (this was 2017) in how a few persons who first thought her guilty have been convinced by more recent media that she is innocent and have apologized to her. She ascends skyward on such thoughts.

Her main concern seems to be with her public image and her power to con the world.  It becomes evident when she narrates to Flom her morning at the cottage in the hours before Meredith’s body was discovered, when she first entered the cottage saying the door was wide open and she was there alone to take a shower before proceeding to go to Gubbio for the weekend with loverboy, that she was in a deep mental quandary as to the meaning of the open door, the small bits of blood in the sink (she emphasized to Flom how small the specks were) and the dirty toilet in a nearby bathroom that she was so greatly alarmed enough to want to slow down her trip out of town and instead bring Raf back over to see about things at the cottage and give his opinion.

She was so worried, she pretends. So terribly worried, but not worried enough to walk a few feet down the hall and open a bedroom door to see if a roommate were present and hadn’t heard her “hello, is anybody there?” Ridiculous. She also mentions that her computer was safe in her own bedroom and hadn’t been stolen but not one word that her lamp was missing… as if she wouldn’t have noticed that.

She talks much of her own humanity, that people who meet her will not judge her but will find her innocent, but if they haven’t met her in person they will assume guilt. She seems to feel that they need to be blinded by her “humanity” and give her a pass on having destroyed Meredith’s life. She says very little to Jason Flom about Raffaele, depicting him as a non-threatening puppy and their relationship before the murder as one of sweetness and a juvenile thing.

Mr. Flom suggests it was like a high school relationship between two college students, she half-way assents to his description. She said that the language barrier circumvented them from discussing deep issues, that it was mostly hand-holding and him wanting to give her perfume like Italian women wore and to show her some new store or market he had discovered.

Knox seems to hold her greatest anger and disdain (well-hidden of course unless you know this case backwards and forwards and have seen Knox’s wiles) toward Philomena. It was Philomena’s hysterics and shouts of “a foot, a foot” and the general screaming and shouting of spontaneous anguish and grief over knowing it was Meredith’s body in the bedroom, that seems to antagonize Knox the most. Imagine that, some people actually GRIEVED for Meredith and thought her worthy of a display of emotion and concern.

Knox tells Jason Flom that it was Philomena’s SIM card inside the cell phone that Meredith was using, that tied the phone to the cottage. It was Filomena’s SIM card that enabled the first police to rush to the cottage so fast, and who interrupted Knox in her little last minute cleaning scheme and that threw her out of her rhythm and almost tripped her up by arriving so quickly, perhaps that was why Knox despised Filomena so much. Also it was Filomena’s boyfriend who kicked open the door and thus sent Knox out of the cottage quickly and permanently. She seemed to show irritation with Flom when she spoke of being rousted from her house in Perugia.

She tells Flom that she believed the police when they said she was being sent to prison for her own protection, thinking she was a witness (untrue: grounds for arrest were fully explained by Dr Mignini). She said she should have realized when they put her in handcuffs that this was ludicrous, but she was naïve and idealistic.

She said she went to Japan and to Germany when she was 14 years old, and that her beloved Oma, her German grandmother, had wanted her to be an exchange student to Germany. She was taking German and Italian language classes before she went to Perugia, she said.

She seems to imply slightly that it was her father’s fault that she took the language courses rather her first love of creative writing. She said she felt she couldn’t have sold Dadddy on the usefulness of a creative writing degree, so she detoured and took the languages degree hoping to become a translator. She said that the University for Foreigners in Perugia was not demanding or rigorous at all and she was disappointed at that. (Hint hint, is she suggesting she had too much free time from studies and thus went wild due to “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? She could easily have enrolled at the main university and gained course credits for her degree back in Seattle - as her parents believed she was doing.)

She bristles with rage at the thought of friends who suggested she change her name to deflect publicity. Never. Her ego is limitless and she wants to be herself, that is paramount.  She said her biggest fear was that she would forever have to cower in a corner. She speaks of her determination to do the opposite now that she has her freedom back and is safe to speak.

She seems sincerely grateful to people who spent their energy and time in trying to get her free from prison, and feared she might have been forgotten and left to languish behind bars. She seems sincerely moved that people who didn’t have to care about her, did so. No doubt this is the natural reaction of anyone sprung from prison cells, whether guilty or innocent.

Her main beef behind bars was that she could not sway the entire world with her words alone.  She talks a smooth line and certainly had Mr. Jason Flom in her sway. She also claimed that Meredith’s DNA had been thought to have been on the knife but that it was not (Carabinieri labs confirmed it was, so there’s another lie from Knox).

It irks me that people who question Knox won’t take time to read up on the case.

Why can’t they ask Knox about the 5 spots of her DNA mixed in Meredith’s blood throughout the cottage? Knox also laughs with Jason Flom about the impossibility of her cleaning up the crime scene, when it’s proven without question that a bloody footprint was erased that led to the footprint on the blue bathmat. Knox is lying about the cleanup.

And when Knox explained to Flom her discomfort at discovering the unflushed toilet, she tells him that Laura and Filomena were neat freaks (liked to keep a very clean house). She did not say the same for Meredith, but only mentioned Laura and Filomena being clean freaks. She did not tell Mr. Flom of her normal unflushed toilets that the long-suffering Meredith Kercher had to face daily.

Knox omits much of the truth, and twists the rest of the truth. Her best truth is whatever she can think up for the occasion. And the daffy Mr Flom swallows it.

3. Tip For IP Contributors

On Amanda Knox. Innocence Project Idaho rep Hampikian’s ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. Thus he subjected Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. Thus Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement that Knox and RS must hide for life.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Netflixhoax 13: Omitted - How The DNA Processes And Evidence Points Were Deliberately Misrepresented

Posted by KrissyG



Above, modern Scientific Police labs in Rome; bottom, hellhole consultants labs (now closed)

1. Introduction

“Amanda Knox” by Netflix is massively misleading on the DNA. It completely ignores that Conti’s and Vechiotti’s 2011 report was unceremoniously ridiculed in 2013 by the First Chambers of the Supreme Court and the fraudulent pair branded as ‘intellectually dishonest’. 

Netflix presents Conti and Vechiotti as trustworthy and competent when Vechiotti’s appalling lab had already been forcibly shut down. They ignore that the pair illegally colluded with US and British DNA academics Hampikian, Budowle and Gill beholden to the defense who interfered to pervert the outcome of the appeal.

They present Knox and Sollecito as ‘exonerated’ and ‘innocent’ based in part on Vecchiotti & Conti’s misleading narrative when they were nothing of the kind.

They ignore that, in large part because of their incompetences and dishonesties, the 2011 appeal was annulled.  They ignore that the case was remitted back down to a different Appeal Court, in a different area (Florence) under a different judge (Nencini) while the 2011 judge (Hellman) was edged into retirement.

And they ignore that Italy’s best DNA experts, from the Carabinieri labs in Rome, were assigned the role of DNA analysis for the repeat appeal, as they should have been in 2011, and important confirmations were presented and barely challenged.

Here is TJMK’s series of DNA analyses and the Wiki’s giant DNA spreadsheet with a lengthy explanation of how it works. And here in Italian is the full rebuttal of all defense challenges by Dr Stefanoni, lead prosecution expert at trial and annulled appeal. 

Finally, a tip on the images below. These are movie snippets, with English subtitles included. They expand to full screen in Acrobat Reader (please download it if you dont have it) if you click on each image.

Part 2 below explains what is in the film that misleads, and Part 3 describes all that was left out.

2. What Is In The Film

In the film, Vecchiotti and Conti appear quite deeply into the film, at minute 64 of 92 minutes.  The appearance of the ‘DNA experts’ towards the end enables the film makers to reinforce the image of a great miscarriage of justice, leading up to the grand finale denouement. 


Enter Conti. Referring to the evidence of Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra, Conti introduces the audience to a key principle of DNA.  It is ‘dust spread everywhere,’ he avers.  To set the scene, we are informed that the Forensic Police (‘Scientific Police’ in Italy) acted chaotically and that the crime scene was an absolute shambles.  We hear an audio voiceover of a supposed scientific policeman saying to another ‘this is absurd, there is unbelievable chaos everywhere’.

So there we have it.  ‘A crime scene must be completely sterile’.  We are roundly informed that this crime scene was not, based on Conti’s word for it.




Next, enter his co-partner, the other ‘independent’ expert hired by the Hellmann appeal court to evaluate the evidence concerning he DNA identified on the presumed murder weapon knife, and the bra clasp sample: Carla Vecchiotti.


Carla Vecchiotti claims that the issue of contamination of the DNA ‘was raised by the court’.  Shot moves to the scientific police as she continues, ‘ it could have been by other people’.

She then throws in a red herring.  ‘There was the DNA of two unknown males on the clasp’, which we can dispense with straight away.  In reality they were fragments of DNA, no more than 6 – 8 alleles, and precisely of the type of dust contamination Conti is talking about.  This effectively subverts the issue away from the strong DNA profile of Sollecito found on the clasp.




Vecchiotti then continues the theme of the film that the prosecutor Mignini was acting entirely intuitively.  ‘You can’t just make it what you want it to be’.

She claims there are ‘problems with contamination in the laboratory’, yet in court she insisted the alleged contamination was at the collection stage, and not at the laboratory.  A picture of the knife comes up.




Vecchiotti comments, ‘The Knox DNA profile is a very good one.’

Of the Kercher DNA on the blade she states, ‘It’s so small.  So scarce, the likelihood of contamination is very high.’

From this, she concludes the Kercher DNA is ‘inconclusive’.

The film makers show us the picture at least three times with ‘INCONCLUSIVE’ in bold red letters.  ‘I asked Dr Stefanoni (the forensic police chief in charge of this case) how she concluded this is the murder weapon without any other evidence?’

However, the courts upheld, and Conti and Vecchiotti themselves concurred under oath, that far from being inconclusive, it was a strong profile of Meredith, at 15 alleles.




Again, Vecchiotti repeats the lie that the laboratory was contaminated, when no such finding was upheld by any court, including Hellmann’s, by referring to Stefanoni stating she had examined fifty of Meredith’s samples at the same time, see above.  She insinuates Stefanoni overrode standards so that they would not have to close the lab up between samples.




The film then cuts to clips of US media outrage at Vecchiotti’s findings of ‘contamination’, even dragging in Donald Trump, no doubt sucking on a tic tac, with just a small cameo of Mignini for ‘balance’, stating that ‘all evidence’ needs to be looked at, implying that Mignini accepted the alleged contamination and was now trying to deflect from it onto other evidence.  The reader should bear in mind, that in fact, there was no such finding of contamination in Stefanoni’s labs.

Nor does she or her co-partner ever once in the film, and nor do the film makers mention that their report was discredited by the Chieffi Supreme court and Hellmann expunged.




Having established – falsely – that Vecchiotti and Conti had proven contamination to an unwary audience, the film then cuts to Amanda Knox claiming, ‘There is no trace of me in the murder room’.

We are shown a diagram of eight black spots of Rudy Guede’s traces and one white one for Sollecito, some distance away from the body, underneath which it was actually found.  A police mug shot of Guede appears on screen, whom Knox describes as ‘ a guy who regularly committed burglaries’.

From this we are led to believe Guede is a seasoned criminal career burglar, when as of the time, he had no convictions at all.  The film makers inform the audience it is, ‘a burglary gone wrong’, not a finding by any court, apart from the vacated Hellmann court.  The balance (at roughly six to one against, in terms of time coverage) once again is provided by Mignini who points out its unfairness, given the evidence found at the trial.




The film then cuts to Conti, who makes an astonishing confession – for a scientific professional expert witness and professor –  stating, ‘What happened inside that room between Guede and Meredith, was not a job assigned to me.’

So now it is out in the open, Vecchiotti and Conti, far from protecting their professional integrity by following their ethical code, which states that they are expected to act with objectivity in their professional role and should safeguard this by recusing themselves should they feel that they have become advocates for a party, in the film do not even hide their partisanship.

Conti feels confident in this ‘documentary’, now as a global film star, to declare his advocacy for Knox and Sollecito with the above statement.




The Vecchiotti and Conti sequence of the film ends with a drawn out episode of a supercilious Conti leaning back in an attitude of condescension, no doubt aimed at Mignini, when he concludes,

‘Cicero once said’ – pause – ‘ Any man can err, but only a fool perseveres.’

Next, the film completely ignores that his and Vechiotti’s 2011 report was unceremoniously ridiculed in 2013 by the next level court – Chieffi, Supreme Court – and the pair branded as ‘intellectually dishonest’.  It ignores that the case was remitted back to a completely different Appeal Court, in a completely different area, from Umbria to Tuscany, and under a completely different judge.

In the Netflix film, a diagram showing Knox’ DNA on the knife handle is admired as a strong profile.  Meredith’s DNA on the blade is highlighted as a question mark.  About three times, the viewer is shown the same diagram with the word ‘INCONCLUSIVE’ above the Meredith DNA in red letters.

The truth is, ALL of the defence experts – including Vecchiotti and Conti – accepted it was a strong DNA profile of Meredith (15-allele) so we see a blatant misrepresentation here, that rather than the confidently strong profile it is, Vecchiotti declares that it is ‘inconclusive’, and leads the viewer to believe this was because of proven contamination.

This deception is underlined by the film makers immediately galloping to the 2011 Hellman Court after the Vecchiotti & Conti interview, with wild scenes of Hellmann freeing the pair and declaring them innocent.

The connection is made: the knife DNA – and the bra clasp – is ‘contaminated’ and that is why the pair were freed.  ‘This was the only flimsy evidence,’ is the message conveyed. Thanks to the lurid and putrid imaginings of Mignini and Pisa, those kids suffered, the viewer is told.

Cue mass media bombardment by the outraged Netflix viewers, on Twitter and Facebook excoriating Pisa, mostly, and also Mignini as having botched up the whole case and ruined the lives of these two kids.

3. What Was Left Out

Part 3 is perhaps twice as long as Part 2 because Netflix lied by omission to its audience on such a grand scale. These are the areas to be covered.

  • I will look at Vecchiotti and Conti’s true track record, which is appalling. The husband of a murder victim was denied justice for a staggering NINETEEN years, as DNA investigator Vecchiotti, et al, negligently refused to investigate the DNA of the perpetrator of the murder.

  • How did Vecchiotti and Conti get appointed by Hellmann court at all? I reveal how the US contingent of pro-Amanda Knox scientists helped ‘fix’ it.

  • I will highlight the legerdemain ploys adopted by the pair in preparing their report, which predicated Hellmann freeing the pair from prison. It was a moot point henceforth as to whether they would ever return.

  • I will set out Chieffi’s and Nencini’s damning criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti in the case.  Crini points out, in the Nencini report, that Vecchiotti’s own laboratory fridge did not have a thermometer!

  • I will show how the elaborate ‘heist’ of the judicial system in springing ‘the kids’ from jail happened. A US scientist, using Boise University resources Greg Hampikian was bragging to courts in the US under oath, even as Hellmann had been expunged and Nencini had just recommenced the appeal, that, ‘I am still working on the Amanda Knox case’.

  • My analysis exposes the interconnections between US advocates Hampikian, Bruce Budowle and British forensic expert, Dr Peter Gill, with Vecchiotti and Conti, which casts grave doubt on the pair being ‘independent’ expert witnesses at all.



Vecchiotti lab

The Conti and Vecchiotti Track Record

On 21 April 2016, Carla Vechiotti, together with Pascali, Vicenza and Arberello, was found guilty in a civil suit of gross negligence in the examination of the murder of Contessa Ogliata, dating from 1991, and ordered to pay €150,000 in damages.  Vecchiotti appears to have a reputation for cutting more corners than Stirling Moss, with other cases often quoted, with which she is associated.

Recently, Conti and Vecchiotti’s laboratory in Rome was closed down due to public health issues. Contamination almost certainly occurred in their laboratory.  Rotting cadavers unclaimed by relatives, were said to have piled up in the corridors.  Stefanoni’s laboratory, which followed all the conventional standards of the day was never proven to have been contaminated.
Carla Vecchiotti’s reputation is in tatters. She has made a number of shocking errors in a couple of murder cases, she repeatedly misled the appeal court - Judge Nencini described her and Conti’s work as “misleading” and “reprehensible”.



Vecchiotti lab

The Hellmann Court (Appeal Court)

On 18 Dec 2010 at the Hellmann appeal the defences made three unusual requests, (a) to get an independent review of the DNA and (b) to bring in Alessi to challenge Guede’s testimony and (c) Aviello, a mobster.  Hellmann agreed to appoint Conti & Vecchiotti from La Sapienza University in Rome.  In the interim 16 Dec 2010, Rudy Guede was definitively convicted.

Request (a) was challenged by Comodi, saying there were many experts for both sides already.  Hellmann argued a judge did not have sufficient expertise to evaluate the experts’ opinions.  Having achieved the appointment of Conti & Vecchiotti , Conti & Vecchiotti [‘the experts’] delivered the coup de grâce: claiming international standards were not met, contamination could not be ruled out, and that the DNA profile of Meredith could not be reliable.

The pair made the claim the DNA could have ‘come from dust’, strongly rebutted by Stefanoni, who said in that case, there should have been contamination elsewhere, not just on the bra clasp.

Contamination from the laboratory was completely ruled out, contrary to the claims made in the Netflix film, after which, ‘the experts’ moved to a stance that the contamination happened before it even got to the laboratories.  At the hearing, Conti was constantly asked what the criteria were for alleging contamination, to which he replied, ‘Anything is possible’.  As a scientist, a proper evaluation of probability was expected of him.

In their report they claimed, ‘The electrophoretic profiles exhibited reveal that the sample indicated by the letter B (blade of knife) was a Low Copy Number (LCN) sample, and, as such, all of the precautions indicated by the international scientific community should have been applied.’

It transpired ‘the experts’ had decided to use the US standards of Bruce Budowle and supported by Gill, et al., that the threshold for Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA should be raised to 200 picograms, from the hitherto conventional 100 picograms.

In addition, ‘the experts’ argued, the US standard of 50 RFU’s should be used in place of the then Italian standard of 30 RFU’s.  Analysis of DNA below these levels introduces a higher risk of ‘background noise’; contamination from alien sources, i.e., everyday dust, which may contain DNA fragments.

Hellmann, ‘the experts’ and the US scientists getting involved, by virtue of ‘the experts’ quoting extensively from their papers, erred in presupposing that Dr Stefanoni knew nothing about these issues.  Professor Novelli, for the state, challenged the claim that there was any contamination.  Indeed ‘the experts’ were unable to demonstrate this other than by quoting lengthy academic papers which had little to do with mundane case law and more to do with ivory towers.

Vecchiotti, born 1951 with a long CV from medical student days would have known what Italian standards were, yet tried to subvert them in retrospect.

A complaint was lodged by the prosecution about the pair being seen to openly fraternise with Sollecito’s defence team during the hearing, a strict Bar Standard ‘no, no’ for an independent expert witness.

‘The experts’ refused to analyse a further sample of DNA found on the knife, giving the reason it was LCN, and they ‘didn’t want to make the same mistake as Stefanoni.’

Hellmann accepted ‘the experts’ findings and acquitted Knox and Sollecito declaring them innocent, aside from the calunnia for Knox, together with finding that Guede acted alone, as a ‘burglar disturbed.’

For the film makers, this defines the end of the film.

The Chieffi Court (Supreme Court)

In 2013 the next level of appeal court overturned completely Hellman’s findings.  It rebutted that the DNA sample of Meredith’s was ipso facto low quality just because it was LCN.

‘The experts’ had claimed, relying on their US sources that LCN sampling should only be done on special projects, such as missing persons or cadaver identification, and that there was not the technology as it was ‘too innovative’.

Chieffi did not buy this, pointing to embryology studies.  He scoffed at the idea of ‘the experts’ being more expert than Professor Novelli or Dr Torricelli.  He censured Hellmann for failing to consider their equivalent expert knowledge.  Chieffi was particularly critical of ‘the experts’ refusing to test the remaining knife sample, calling their reasoning, ‘intellectually dishonest’.

On 25 March 2013, Chieffi ordered the case back to the Appeal court to consider the DNA evidence again, amongst other issues, and that the knife sample be tested.  One suspects ‘the experts’ were loath to test the sample in case it turned out be further DNA of Meredith, and this may be why Chieffi smelt a rat.

The Nencini Court (Appeal Court)

In 2014 Judge Nencini made it clear in a newspaper interview it was not within his remit to criticise ‘the experts’, but rather, to assess the legal rectitude of the Massei court decision, which Hellmann patently failed to do.  However, criticise he does. 

He directs Dr Barni, witness for the Carabinieri Lab, that ‘no US standards’ are to be quoted which C&V had done profusely. In upholding the findings of the Massei court he makes the following point in his reasoning about the DNA of the knife and bra clasp:

“… The consultant holds furthermore that the most appropriate technical approach to interpret the genetic profile arising from trace 165B and to avoid subjective interpretations is to “call upon”, meaning to consider as valid, all of the alleles with RFU > 50, independently of their position or whether or not they might be stutter.

Once the complete profile is determined, given that there may also be more than two contributors to the trace, we feel that the only statistical approach that can be used adequately here is the RMNE (Random Man Not Excluded) method.

This statistical approach makes it possible to estimate the possible error due to a chance compatibility, meaning that of a person chosen randomly from the population and who by pure chance is fully compatible with the genetic characteristics of the individual represented in the trace.

The higher and nearer to 1 that probability is, the more likely it is that the profile could be the result of a random choice and thus the higher the probability of an error in the attribution of the genetic profile to a given individual. In this case, as seen in Table 5, the profile of Raffaele Sollecito is compatible at all the loci analyzed in the mixture of DNA found on Exhibit 165B.

The probability that a random individual from the population would also be compatible (the inclusion probability) [245] was calculated, and came out to be equal to 3.05592 x 10^-6, which is about 1 in 327 thousand. This computation is considered to be extremely conservative, since all of the allelic components are taken into consideration together with their frequency in the reference population.” (Pages 15-17 of the technical report submitted at the 6 September 2011 hearing before the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Perugia.)

The same investigative method was also suggested by the consultant of the Prosecutor in relation to the interpretation of the genetic profile of the markers located on the Y chromosome of trace 165B. Here again, all alleles with RFU>50 were considered, giving the following table:



[246] On the basis of the data in the above table, applying the method of statistical calculation indicated above, Prof. Novelli estimated the probability of a chance inclusion of a random person from the population in the mixed profile, together with the chance compatibility of this random individual with the major contributor to the Y chromosome, as about 1 in 3 billion.”

He upholds that the Forensic Police, aside from some human error, acted correctly and dismissed defence claims that Stefanoni had withheld raw data, and as claimed by ‘the experts’, citing documentary proof the information had been deposited.  Nencini reinstated the convictions, 31 January 2014, and dismissed the claim of contamination.

The sample on the knife ‘the experts’ had claimed was ‘starch’ and ‘too low LCN’ was successfully tested and found to be that of Amanda Knox.  None of this is mentioned by Vecchiotti & Conti in the film and nor do the film makers point it out, leaving their audience to believe ‘the experts’ claim of ‘contamination is proven’.

A key finding was that Professors Novelli and Torricelli had already been the target of the criticisms raised specifically by Prof. Adriano Tagliabracci, technical consultant for the Sollecito defense, at the first instance trial court, and thus was a matter settled (res judicata).

This is important to note, for Marasca later describes Tagliabracci in glowing terms as ‘world renowned’ when he reinstates the Hellmann findings in this matter, at the next level.  Nencini observes, ‘Finally, it is observed that Prof. Tagliabracci’s criticism is founded on an unproven and unprovable suspicion, namely that the biologist doing the work being already in possession of reference samples supposedly used the “suspect-centric” method.’

Nencini also found that the second instance [Hellman] court undervalued the fact that the tests carried out took place during the preliminary investigation [of which the Defence was notified and had the right to attend], that at the time of those tests, there were no objections concerning the sampling and laboratory activity, nor was a pre‐trial hearing requested regarding the testing, all of which proves agreement with the [laboratory] procedures.



Nencini

Was There Contamination?

There were NO full male DNA profiles on the bra, apart from Sollecito and Guede’s.

Vecchiotti and Conti, significantly, in the film, try to detract from this highly incriminating scientific fact, by making reference to everyday dust fragments, as if that could possibly account for it.

The assertion by Conti in the film that ‘a crime scene must be kept sterile,’ is meaningless for there are many environmental pollutants at every crime scene.

The expert witness testimony of Professor David Balding, to the court is as follows, and who, until October 2009 was Professor in Statistical Genetics at Imperial College, London, where he still retains an affiliation as Visiting Professor. He is an editor of the Handbook of Statistical Genetics.

“Sollecito’s alleles are all represented and these generate the highest peaks, but there are some low peaks not attributable to him; so at least one of the additional contributors of low-level DNA to the sample was male.”

“They correctly criticised the scientific police for ignoring these: many do appear to be stutter peaks which are usually ignored, but 4 are not and definitely indicate DNA from another individual.  The extra peaks are all low, so the extra individuals contributed very little DNA.

That kind of extraneous DNA is routine in low-template work: our environment is covered with DNA from breath and touch, including a lot of fragmentary DNA from degraded cells that can show up in low-template analyses.  There is virtually no crime sample that doesn’t have some environmental DNA on it, from individuals not directly involved in the crime.

This does create additional uncertainty in the analysis because of the extra ambiguity about the true profile of the contributor of interest, but as long as it is correctly allowed for in the analysis there is no problem - it is completely routine.” (David Balding).

“in some cases we have peaks that correspond to a fourth person.”

“The fourth person is not Guede, it seems. This mystery fourth person hasn’t been mentioned much. (Luciano Garofano, Darkness Descending).

“But because Sollecito is fully represented in the stain at 16 loci (we still only use 10 in the UK, as the legal threshold, so 16 is a lot), the evidence against him is strong.”

“In this case all the peaks associated with Sollecito seem clear and distinct so I think there can be no concern about the quality of the result as far as it concerns him or Kercher.”

The Italian Scientific Police follow the guidelines of the ENFSI - the European Network Forensic Science Institutes. Dr Stefanoni observed that they followed these specific guidelines whereas Conti and Vecchiotti basically picked and mixed a random selection of international opinions:

“We followed the guidelines of the ENFSI, theirs is just a collage of different international opinions”.

In other words, Conti and Vecchiotti were not referring to the specific guidelines and recommendation of one particular international forensic organisations despite giving that impression at the appeal in Perugia.

They cited a number of obscure American publications such as the the Missouri State Highway Patrol Handbook and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Physical Evidence Handbook. The Italian Scientific Police are under no obligation to follow the DNA protocols of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory.

Professor Novelli also pointed out that contamination has to be proved:

“The contaminant must be demonstrated, where it originated from and where it is. The hook contaminated by dust? It’s more likely for a meteorite to fall and bring this court down to the ground.”

Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it. Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result.

Back in 2008 pre-trial there was an independent review of the forensic evidence.

Dr Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the Scientific Police, reviewed Dr Stefanoni’s investigation and the forensic findings. He testified at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in October 2008 and confirmed that all the forensic findings were accurate and reliable. He also praised the work of Dr. Stefanoni and her team.

“We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.”

So thus we have a pointer as to why Conti introduced his presentation by claiming ‘DNA is spread like dust.’

To the bottom line, then, WAS there any possibility of contamination, as Vecchiotti and Conti are now claiming in the film?

    1. Conti and Vecchiotti didn’t prove there had been any contamination. Judge Chieffi pointed this out.

    2. Conti and Vecchiotti lied to the appeal court - Judge Nencini pointed this out - and they didn’t test the DNA sample despite the fact they were specifically instructed to do so.

    3. Numerous DNA experts believe the bra clasp is strong evidence - Professor Balding, Professor Novelli, Luciano Garofano, Professor Torricelli and Dr Biondo.

    4. It’s impossible that the knife was contaminated.

    5. There is no universally accepted DNA standards for collecting and testing DNA evidence. DNA protocols vary from country to country.

    6. Conti and Vecchiotti cited obscure sources, They didn’t refer to the specific guidelines of an international forensic organisation.

    7. Conti and Vecchiotti excluded contamination in the laboratory.

    8. The defence experts had no objections when the DNA evidence was tested.

    9. Vecchiotti made calamitous errors in other cases and her lab was closed down.

    10. Does anyone really believe Sollecito’s DNA floated on a speck of dust under Meredith’s door and landed on the exact part of her bra clasp that had been bent out of shape during the attack on her?

The Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court (Final)

In the final Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court appeal, the short-form provisional 48- page reasoning from March 2015, the guilty verdicts as upheld by Massei and Nencini are overturned, and Vecchiotti & Conti‘s report reinstalled.

“The second reason [the first reason being: The first reason challenged the violation and inobservance of the criminal law], highlights a problem of great relevance in the circumstance of the present judgment, that is the right interpretation of the scientific examination results from a perspective of respect of the evaluation standards according to article 192 of the criminal procedural code and the relevance of the genetic evaluation in the absence of repeatable amplification, as a consequence of the minimal amount of the sample and, more generally, the reliability coefficient of investigations carried out without following the regulations dictated by the international protocols, both during the collecting phase and the analysis.

Particularly, anomalies were challenged in the retrieval of the knife (item 36) and the victim’s brassiere hook, which do not exclude the possibility of contamination, as correctly outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report, ordered by the Perugian Court of assizes, which also notified the unreliability of the scientific data, precisely because it was not subject to a further examination.

It was also denied that the retrieved knife would have been the crime weapon.”

Thus, we see the First (Chieffi) Supreme Court Chambers directly challenged by the Fifth Chambers and the criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti swept aside, as though they had never happened.

Judges Marasca & Bruno write:

‘In fact, no trace of Sollecito was found in the room of the murder. The only element of proof against him was represented by the DNA trace retrieved on the brassiere hook of the victim; trace of which relation with the indicted was actually denied by the Vecchiotti-Conti report, which, in this regard, had accepted the observations of the defense advisor Professor Tagliabracci, world-renowned geneticist.’

It further states:

‘12) Also erroneous was the interpretation of the results of the genetic evidence on item 36) …[…]

14) Obvious also was the flawed reasoning on the results of the genetic investigations on the bra hook, …[…]…

With regard to the possible contamination of the item, the appeal judges overlooked the photographic material placed before the court, which clearly demonstrated the possible contamination, regarding the way the hook was treated, with a “hand to hand” passage carried out by persons who wore dirty latex gloves.

Furthermore, a second amplification was not carried out on the hook …[…]… With regard to this, the objections by the defense and the contrary conclusions of the defense adviser professor Tagliabracci, were not considered.’

In other words, the DNA evidence for the knife and the bra clasp is completely dismissed.  We see no proper rationale by Judge Marasca, just a few handfuls of abstractions along the lines of Conti’s famous, ‘Anything is possible.’

It takes on board Gill’s theories of ‘secondary’ and ‘tertiary’ transfer of DNA, when Gill himself appears to have overlooked that he himself wrote, that ‘this is highly improbable after 24 hours have passed’.

If Marasca’s rulings are considered bizarre, then light is shed when one realises that Bongiorno, for Sollecito, was given NINE times longer to present her appeal than any of the other parties, so it is fair comment to assume its reasoning is based on Bongiorno’s appeal points.

Nobody from either the Perugia or Florence prosecution teams was even present.

In addition, her 306 page appeal was appended with Gill’s advocacy report. Gill was never cross-examined.

The resuscitation of the hitherto presumed decaying corpse of Vecchiotti & Conti is remarkable, given the cadaver of their report to Hellmann was picked raw, first by the First Chambers Supreme Court (Chieffi) and then Judge Nencini.

Vecchiotti and Conti have risen like Lazarus from a car crash, shrouded in the malodorous cloth of something fishy.



Illegal intruder Hampikian

How the ‘Heist’ was pulled off.

Andrea Vogt wrote of the Marasca reasoning:  ‘In my opinion, their report is superficial at best and intellectually dishonest at worst, when even the most minimal amount of Quellenkritik is applied’.

Andrea Vogt writes an incisive analysis of the US influence on the C&V reports, which I cannot better here, so do read it for yourself.

However, I will repeat her prophecy, ironic in hindsight:

“If Knox is acquitted at the end of this month, the quiet American hand in her forensic defense will be heralded as the turnkey that made the ultimate difference in her case. But if she is convicted, there are legitimate questions to be asked about exactly what public resources were spent on this international defense.”

Vogt uncovered what appears to be a whole secret network that she was unable to penetrate through the fog of Freedom of Information law, which enabled Hampikian to claim ‘trade secrets’ as a project of Boise University, where his laboratory is based, to evade the question of, ‘Who was funding his Amanda Knox advocacy work?’

If then it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that both Meredith’s and Sollecito’s DNA is strong and background contamination ruled out by the trial courts, why then does the film revisit the discredited testimony of ‘court experts’ Vecchiotti & Conti?

We can link this back to the film makers own self-professed strong pro-Knox beliefs in her innocence.  Thus we have come full circle.

The defence managed to convince the now expunged Hellmann court to appoint ‘independent experts’; the Chieffi Supreme Court ruled that, whilst this was within Hellmann’s remit, he did not provide adequate reasoning for doing so. 

Vecchiotti & Conti, remarkably, in their report, relied heavily on US standards, thus making the straw man claim that Italy hadn’t followed them, notwithstanding their strong academic and legal background in Italy.  This therefore cannot have been due to ignorance, so we have to point to their own volition to be influenced strongly by Knox-advocates.

For example, Hampikian, funded by Boise University grants and protected by a blanket of secrecy, citing ‘trade secrets’ when journalist Andrea Vogt requested information under the Freedom of Information statutes.

In addition, Bruce Budowle, a more conservative ex-FBI forensic expert, was heavily relied upon, together with peers Gill, et al.  It was at this stage Gill may have got roped in.  His later book draws on Vecchiotti &Conti’s Hellmann’s Report.

Thus, we see a band of pro-Amanda Knox advocates determined to influence the so-called ‘independent’ experts, even when both Hampikian’s and Budowle’s reports were rejected as depositions by the courts.  Even when ‘the experts’ were spiked by the Chieffi Supreme court, Hampikian was still averring, ‘I am involved in the Amanda Knox case’.

Friends of Amanda Knox even today lovingly quote Hellmann despite his de facto ex-communication from the judiciary.  Little surprise we see the film makers eager to include Vecchiotti and Conti, who made it all possible for the birds to fly.

On the subject of Dr Peter Gill, who is widely regarded as having influenced the Fifth Chambers, via Bongiorno’s Appeal, to which his theories were attached, is now drawing on Vecchiotti and Conti as his main source, so we have a case of the experts’ racing car, as it were, driven by the man referred to devoutly by the defence as ‘the father of forensic science’.

Dr Naseer Ahmed of PMF.net was moved to comment:

– A look at his sources show that the chapter on Meredith Kercher was directly influenced by the Conti-Vecchiotti report.

– He argues contamination, but doesn’t prove a path of transmission.

– He cites papers on secondary transfer of DNA, but misses the point his suggested routes, RS>door handle>investigator’s latex glove>bra clasp is tertiary transfer.

– He argues the low cell count of Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA on the knife suggests contamination without considering that rigorous washing with household bleach might degrade it. (Yet miraculously those cells did provide a full match with Meredith’s DNA)

– The shoe box belonging to Meredith story has been shot down.

– He clearly has not read Inspector Gubbiotti or Finci’s testimonies, which removes all possible paths of ‘innocent transfer’.

– Reading the actual research papers he cites, there is no way that such significant amounts of DNA could actually transfer to the bra clasp.

– He did not review Patrizia Stefanoni’s Scientific Report or any of her notes, instead relying on the IIP translated C&V report and Hellmann decision.

– He refers to the Meredith Kercher wiki, but never even looked at the DNA segments which would have alerted him to problems with the C&V report.

– He may have had indirect input from Sollecito’s first DNA expert, Vincenzo Pascali, and Carla Vecchiotti, but does not seem to know of Vecchiotti’s colorful record of falsifying evidence.

Last, and worst of all, he did not refer to the Supreme Court decision annulling Hellmann even though the translation was widely available almost ten months before his book was published.

There is no way he could not have known this, since we had been in contact with him since earlier this year. It is unconscionable that he chose this route to promote his theories. Elsevier under its new ownership and editorial policies seem to have allowed any number of self-published books to be written.

If Professor Gill had written a scholarly text book it would have to be reviewed by an editorial board and sent for peer review, which might have led to professional experts critiquing and hopefully pointing out his errors.

Instead, he wrote a slim, unreviewed ‘popular’ book to promote his own theories, which, embarrassing perhaps for him, is being critiqued and torn apart by lay persons, ahem.

Misleading DNA Evidence – Reasons for Miscarriages of Justice, Peter Gill, Academic Press.  Quote:

Recommendation 1: The expert should provide the court with an unbiased list of all possible modes of transfer of DNA evidence (pg 20).”

The irony is not lost.



Illegal intruder Gill

My Main Sources:

Thanks to Naseer Ahmed and The Machine, for the section on ‘Contamination?’

The Machine’s analysis of 50 of the most common myths still promoted.

The Meredith Case Wiki

The Perugia Murder File Forum (Net Version)

The Nencini Sentencing Report.

The Chieffi Sentencing Report.

The Massei Report.

The Marasca-Bruno Report:

My thanks to the wonderful translators and everybody who helped me with material.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Why “Buyer Beware” Re Amanda Knox Could Be A Very Good Idea For The Innocence Project

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




1. Innocence Project Conference

The annual national conference of Barry Sheck’s Innocence Project is to take place on Friday and Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

Dozens of American who claim they were unfairly treated by the American justice system will share their stories and give pointers for measures that paid off for them.

We tend to believe them. We have long highlighted that in terms of fairness and carefulness the American system and Italian system are poles apart.

At this conference Amanda Knox will try to get the Project’s support.

However. Knox may be the least useful convicted perp on the planet for the Innocence Project to get behind or learn anything from.

  • First, the Italian system is not remotely as she and her colleague Sollecito describe it. It is in fact a system the United States is starting to emulate. If widely adopted the Innocence Project would have a very light load and most of those at the conference would not even have had cause to be there.

  • Second, the case against Knox and Sollecito is an overwhelming one with far more and far stronger evidence points than UK and US courts normally require for conviction. The 2011 appeal was automatic; in the US and UK grounds for allowing an appeal would have been considered lacking. (The Supreme Court ordered the 2013 appeal.)

  • Third, the Knox-Mellases have run a despicable multi-million-dollar PR campaign. That has proved not only ineffectual but massively damaging to many good people, and a source of tension between two countries. The blood money Knox and Sollecito have achieved from their dishonest books and endless money-grubbing create a new world record for illegally profiting from a crime.

  • Fourth, a drooling and irresponsible academic who represents the Innocence Project in Idaho, who may be beholden to the mafias, and who criminally inserted himself into the appeal process in Italy, claims to be beating the drum for Knox at the conference.

Barry Scheck and REAL victims everywhere would really be best served by taking these wise precautions

(1) kicking the foolish grandstanding mafia tool Greg Hampikian out of the Innocence Project,

(2) learning things from the very impressive Italian system, which could help many REAL victims,

(3) deny Knox yet another forum to frame Italians, mislead Americans, and make even more illegal blood-money .

For Barry Scheck and genuine justice and REAL victims everywhere, distancing themselves from Knox would be the smart outcome.  Let her stick to autographing this in the lobby.


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




Friday, August 09, 2013

How Greg Hampikian Abuses Two Positions of Trust In Serially Misrepresenting The Hard Evidence

Posted by The Machine




Overview

Greg Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project,

His use or misuse of his Innocence Project mantle via a case way outside his official area in Italy to leverage his prominence is particularly questionable. Few Italians know who he is or can read him and so challenge him, and Italy’s justice system probably allows less false convictions than any other, though he never makes that fact clear.

This post explains how the investigations of local Innocence Project representatives are not always reliable - and how Hampikian for his own benefit serially misrepresents the evidence in Meredith’s case. 

Michael Naughton

The Innocence Project is mostly professionally staffed by cool-headed, competent law and genetics professors who are more interested in promoting truth and justice than their own place in world history. But as another case in the news also shows, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Yesterday’s breaking news shocked many in England. Convicted killer Simon Hall finally admitted that he was indeed guilty of the murder in 2001 of Joan Albert, a pensioner who was savagely stabbed five times.

Simon Hall had been vehemently protesting his innocence for 12 years.  There are some striking similarities between this case and the Meredith Kercher case.

  • The perp’s mother convinced that her child is innocent of murder? Yes.

  • Politicians, legal experts, journalists and members of the public convinced that person convicted of murder is innocent? Yes.

  • Television documentary casting doubt on the conviction? Yes.

  • Criticisms of police investigation and claims there is no DNA evidence and no motive? Yes.

  • Website set up in order to convince the public that the person convicted of murder is actually innocent? Yes.

  • An academic staff member of the Innocence Project leaps on board and starts pontificating before closely looking? Yes.

Simon Hall’s confession has made his most adamant defender Dr. Michael Naughton, the local director of the Innocence Project at Bristol University (image below). look like a real dupe, and may have destroyed his credibility as an expert and a campaigner on wrongful convictions.

Dr. Naughton long campaigned hard for the release of Simon Hall, and called repeatedly for his conviction to be quashed. Simon Hall’s public reversal will set back both the Innocence Project and his own career.



[Above: the hapless Dr. Michael Naughton, made to look a fool by a manipulative murderer]

Greg Hampikian

Greg Hampikian has been widely observed on TV and in print, and in front of his own students and other assemblies, proclaiming that he solved the DNA part of the case and was key to the defenses achieving Knox’s part-acquittal and Sollecito’s acquittal in 2011 (annulled last March).

Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project, which New York law teachers Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld co-founded to ensure correct outcomes in American DNA-based cases.

Whenever Greg Hampikian speaks about the Meredith Kercher case, his university and his Innocence Project credentials are invariably emphasized. This is presumably to convince a generally ill-informed or wrongly informed public that he is the most credible expert, whose opinion that Amanda Knox is innocent can be trusted completely.

But can Greg Hampikian really be trusted when it comes to the Meredith Kercher case?

The simple answer to this question is no. When you listen to or read Greg Hampikian’s comments about the case in the interviews, it becomes abundantly clear that:

  • He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

  • He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

  • He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

  • He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

  • Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Hampikian and Knox

In ignoring most of the evidence against Amanda Knox, he repeatedly pretends there was only ONE hard piece of evidence against her. He claimed in an interview with John Curly on Kiro FM that the ONLY evidence that implicates Amanda Knox is the DNA on the large knife.

You only have to read the Massei report to know that this is not true. For sake of brevity, I’ll summarise just some of the multitude of evidence that Hampikian doesn’t even mention in his media interviews, let alone refute.

1. Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs (192).

2. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mingled together in a bare bloody footprint revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found in Filomena’s room (380).

3. Three bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway and one in Amanda Knox’s room were attributed to Knox (247).

4. Hampikian doesn’t say anything about Amanda Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Diya Lumumba which Massei concluded was done to lead investigators down the wrong track (389).

5. Hampikian ignores the evidence that shows that the break-in at the cottage was staged such as the corroborative eyewitness testimony that stated there were shards of glass on top of clothes and objects on Filomena’s room (53) and the fact that Rudy Guede’s bloody shoeprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the cottage (44) which indicates that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

6. Hampikian doesn’t address Amanda Knox’s numerous lies never mind provide a plausible innocent explanation for them.

Judge Massei outlined numerous examples of these lies in his report: she falsely claimed she received a text message from Diya Lumumba when she was at Sollecito’s apartment (322); there are various discrepancies in her statements about the time she and Sollecito ate dinner (78); her claim that she and Sollecito had a peaceful night of continuous and prolonged sleep is contradicted by Sollecito’s activity on his computer, the turning on of his cell phone and the testimony of Marc Quintavalle (85). Hampikian doesn’t explain why Amanda Knox gave multiple conflicting alibis.

7. Hampikian has said nothing about the Umbria Procurator General Galati’s observation that Knox knew specific details of the crime that she could have only known if he had been present when Meredith was killed. I suspect Greg Hampikian is blissfully ignorant of Galati’s appeal.

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

  • Dr Galati pointed out in his appeal that Knox described the spot where Meredith was murdered and described the state of the body, the room and the injury to Meredith’s throat. He concluded that Knox knew everything because she was in the room at the time of the murder and when Meredith was left in the condition in which she was discovered. The judges at the Italian Supreme Court who annulled the acquittals also noted that Knox had known these details and that Judge Hellmann had ignored these clues.



[Above: Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld, who co-founded and manage the Innocence Project]

Hampikian and Sollecito

Greg Hampikian also ignores the other key pieces of evidence against Raffaele Sollecito.  In an interview that was posted on the KPLU 88 website Hampikian made the astonishing claim that none of the evidence collected from the crime scene belonged to either Knox or Sollecito:

All of the evidence taken from the crime scene belonged to either Meredith Kercher or this guy Rudy Guide (sic). There’s no reason to invoke (sic) these other two people,” Hampikian said.

Really?! This bizarre claim was made even though Hampikian essentially conceded that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp in an open letter he signed along with a number of other scientists:

DNA testing of this item using the Identifiler kit showed a mixture of DNA, with the majority of DNA consistent with that of the victim. Raffaele Sollecito could not be excluded as a source of a minor component of DNA with peaks of approximately 200 rfu. Y-STR testing confirmed that the male haplotype detected was consistent with the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito.

Hampikian goes on to claim that the bra clasp was contaminated, without offering any scenario or proof of this. He ignores all the other evidence against Sollecito. Again for the sake of brevity, I will briefly outline some of the key pieces of this evidence.

1. Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and the other was on the blue bathmat in the bathroom. Andrea Vogt explained how detailed the analysis of the footprint was in a report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

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.

2. Computer and telephone records provide irrefutable proof that Sollecito lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing on 1 and 2 November 2007: he didn’t speak to his father at 11.00pm; he wasn’t surfing the Internet from 11.00am to 1.00am and he didn’t sleep until around 10.00am because he played music on his computer from approximately 5.30am for half an hour and he used his mobile at about 6.00am.

3. Sollecito gave at least three completely different alibis which all turned out to be false. He even admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police. Hampikian has never addressed Sollecito’s multiple false alibis and numerous lies.

Hampikian and Guede

Greg Hampikian exaggerates the evidence against Rudy Guede

1. Greg Hampikian told an audience of about 200 at Boise State University that Rudy Guede’s DNA was all over the victim:  “You had one guy whose DNA was all over the victim.”

This is a common FOA myth which has been repeated by journalists in the media ad nauseam. If Greg Hampikian had bothered to read the official court reports such as the Micheli report and the Massei report, he would have known that there was only one sample of Guede’s DNA on Meredith’s body.

You would expect a scientist to be give precise factual statements, not vague, untrue comments. Listen to him closely and he resembles a dishonest second-hand car salesman who relies on hyperbole and rhetoric with these comments rather than an objective scientist. Hampikian’s intention in this instance was clearly to persuade and not inform.

2. Greg Hampikian makes unsubstantiated claims about Rudy Guede’s criminal history

In his interview with Joey Ortega Greg Hampikian claimed that Rudy Guede “had committed crimes before”. He didn’t specify what these crimes were let alone support his opinion that Guede had committed any crimes before with any proof i.e. specifically refer to any criminal convictions.

The reason why he didn’t refer to any specific criminal convictions is that Rudy Guede didn’t even have any convictions at the time of the murder. It would have been more accurate for him to have said that some people suspect Guede has committed crimes before and give some specific examples.

3. Hampikian seems intent on portraying Guede as a hardened criminal. He falsely claimed in a number of interviews (see here and here) that Guede was already in the criminal DNA database at the time of the murder.

According to Barbie Nadeau, Rudy Guede was identified by fingerprints found in Meredith’s room. The police had to go to his apartment to take DNA samples from a hairbrush. Within a few days, that DNA was matched to the DNA found at the cottage (Angel Face, page105, Kindle Edition).



[Above: Greg Hampikian with Knox-Mellas family member and enabler - shown getting his marching orders?]

Hampikian and Italian experts

Hampikian incessantly tries to discredit the police investigation. In this he doesn’t limit himself to his own area of expertise - biology - but speaks out about other aspects about the case and gets basic facts wrong.

1. For example, he falsely claimed in an interview with CNN that the authorities didn’t like the way Amanda Knox behaved and that’s why they wanted to investigate her, Sollecito and Lumumba:

They didn’t like the way Amanda behaved, whatever that means, and so they wanted to investigate her and Raffaele and her boss.

The real reasons why Knox and Sollecito officially became suspects and were arrested actually had nothing to do with Amanda Knox’s odd behaviour. On 5 November 2007, Sollecito admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police, and he stated that Amanda Knox wasn’t at his apartment on the night of the murder. He was arrested and taken into custody.

After Knox was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she repeatedly stated in her witness statements that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She too became a suspect and was arrested. Hampikian has completely ignored these crucial details.

2. Hampikian regurgitates another common FOA myth with his claim that the authorities weren’t able to say why they took Sollecito’s kitchen knife from his apartment. In Boise Weekly: “They aren’t able to say why they took that (knife).”

The usual FOA claim is that the knife was randomly selected. Hampikian has clearly relied on Amanda Knox’s supporters for this misinformation and not on the testimony of the person who actually selected the knife - Armando Finzi.

Mr Finzi testified in court that he chose the knife because it was the only one compatible with the wound as it had been described to him.

“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him

3. Hampikian has never proved that there was any contamination.

As I’ve already pointed out in my previous post, the Italian Supreme Court has explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

Greg Hampikian has never described the specific place and time where contamination could have plausibly occurred. It’s not good enough to claim that it was possible or probable. 

Dr Galati made the following common sense observation in his appeal:

“It is evident that the “non-exclusion” of the occurrence of a certain phenomenon is not equivalent to affirming its occurrence, nor even that the probability that it did occur.” (57).

He goes on to explain that unless there is proof of contamination of the knife and bra clasp, you can’t simply claim there was in order to nullify this evidence:

...if one is not able to [67] affirm where, how and when they would have happened, they cannot enter into a logical-juridical reasoning aimed at nullifying elements already acquired, above all if scientific in nature.” (57).

It doesn’t seem to have ever crossed Greg Hampikian’s mind that the bra clasp and knife really might not have been contaminated.

Final Thoughts

Greg Hampikian is in a privileged position of trust because he is often interviewed about the case in the media and gives presentations about the case at academic institutions. His impressive credentials mean that he is trusted by many members of the general public and by people in the media. However, he has abused this trust by not bothering to get acquainted with the details of the case, getting basics facts wrong and completely misrepresenting the evidence against Knox, Sollecito and Guede.

I hope Simon Hall’s confession will make Hampikian realise that sometimes the truth isn’t always what you want it to be and Innocence Project experts on wrongful convictions can be duped and get it wrong.

Perhaps the next time Hampikian is interviewed about the case he’ll avoid hyperbole and rhetoric and just stick to the facts and his own area of expertise. But I wouldn’t count on it.

Posted on 08/09/13 at 06:18 PM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesDNA and luminolHoaxers, tools, dupesKnox-Mellas teamGreg HampikianMore hoaxers
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Monday, August 05, 2013

A New DNA Analysis Strongly Implicating Sollecito Seems to Have The Defense Forces Rattled

Posted by The Machine


F
[Above: DNA professional Professor David Balding; at bottom, DNA amateurs Barras and Halkides]


The Supreme Court has already shown strong disdain for the myriad dirty tricks of the defense forces, and legal action is building against them (see our post next week).

That the defense forces in this context attempt to put out even more misleading information seems a sure sign that their backs are to the wall, and that they will risk anything to again tilt the playing field. 

Colin Barras

“Software says Amanda Knox’s DNA wasn’t at crime scene”  This highly misleading header appeared above an article by Colin Barras on the New Scientist website last month.

It should be pointed out that Colin Barras isn’t a DNA expert. He has never been involved in a forensic investigation. He has never provided expert testimony in a court case. He is simply a freelance British science writer with degrees in geology, palaeobiology and palaentology - the palaentology of Jurassic sea urchins.

Barras explains in his article that Professor David Balding, a Professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, has developed new software for interpreting Low Template DNA evidence.

This is true. However, Barras then goes on to make the following claim:

Using the software on data from Knox’s trial suggests that it was very unlikely that her DNA was at the crime scene.

In fact Professor Balding and his software suggested nothing of the sort. Professor Balding was referring specifically to an incomplete DNA profile on Meredith Kercher’s bra clasp which has never been at much issue.

He did not refer to all the other DNA evidence that was collected at the crime scene and presented as evidence in court.

It’s important to clarify what this crime scene actually is, because the defense forces of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito constantly move the goalposts in relation to this case depending on who they are talking about.

When they talk about the evidence against Knox and Sollecito, their version of the crime scene is strictly limited to Meredith’s room. When they discuss the evidence against Guede, their version of the crime scene includes other rooms in the cottage i.e. the other bathroom and the hallway. And when they discuss the collection of the DNA evidence, their version of the crime scene suddenly includes the flat downstairs, even though no crime was committed there.

According to Wikipedia “A crime scene is a location where a crime took place (or another location where evidence of the crime may be found), and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by law enforcement personnel, crime scene investigators (CSIs) or in rare circumstances, forensic scientists.”

The Scientific Police from Rome and the Forensic Police from Perugia clearly regarded most of the cottage as a crime scene. The Forensic Police from Perugia catalogued potential evidence by placing letters and numbers in different rooms in the cottage. (The Massei report, p200).

The Scientific Police then collected DNA and forensic evidence from Meredith’s room, Amanda Knox’s room, the hallway, the kitchen, the blood-spattered bathroom, the other bathroom which was used by Filomena and Laura and Filomena’s room where the break-in was allegedly staged. That’s a total of seven rooms.

And the Scientific Police didn’t actually claim at the trial that the incomplete profile on the bra clasp belonged to Amanda Knox. It was Sollecito’s forensic expert Professor Vinci who claimed that Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra. His findings were presented in court at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in 2008.

So Colin Barras has used a straw-man argument. He has completely ignored the six pieces of DNA evidence that place Amanda Knox at the crime scene on the night of the murder.

According to the prosecution’s experts, Amanda Knox’s blood was found mingled with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs.

Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mixed together in a bare bloody footprint which was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found on the floor in Filomena’s room.

Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of Sollecito’s kitchen knife and a number of forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Greg Hampikian and Elizabeth Johnson - have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade.

Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory. Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment, so contamination away from the laboratory was impossible.

The knife is still in evidence and remains compelling evidence against Knox and Sollecito.

Ominously for Knox and Sollecito, the Supreme Court explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

The burden of proof is on the person who asserts contamination, not the person who denies it.

In other words, if the defence lawyers claim the DNA evidence was contaminated, they must describe the specific place and time where it could have plausibly occurred.

Nobody has ever proved that the bra clasp and knife evidence were contaminated and it’s difficult to see how the defence lawyers’s experts are going to do this at the new appeal.

Chris Halkides

Chris Halkides is one of Amanda Knox’s most effusive supporters. He has pontificated extensively about the case on his blog View from Wilimington and on other Internet websites.

On 30 July, he was finally prompted to post an interview with Professor Balding done some months previously. I suspect Halkides had been very keen to interview Professor Balding after reading Colin Barras’ article on the New Scientist website; but was holding back on posting it because it went against his own claims.

Indeed,  his interview has turned out to be quite a slap in the face for the Friends of Amanda and Colin Barras, because Professor Balding categorically described the DNA evidence against Sollecito to Halkidis as “strong”.

It’s worth summarising Professor Balding’s impressive academic record which for this case is topnotch, perhaps the best .

He is currently the Chair of Statistical Genetics at University College in London. He has a first-class honours degree and a PhD in Mathematics. And he has written many journal articles and co-authored a number of books on a range of topics.

This is apparently the whole of Chris Halkides’ interview with Professor Balding:

TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2013

An interview with David Balding

Part 36 in the Knox/Sollecito case

Professor David Balding recently published an analysis of the bra clasp DNA.  It may be helpful to explain some terms found in this article.  John Butler (Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing) defines the likelihood ratio (LR) as “The ratio of the probabilities of the same event under different hypotheses, and he explains that the prosecution’s hypothesis is usually the numerator, and the defense’s hypothesis is usually the denominator.  A ban is a unit of expressing the weight of evidence (WoE).  This scale is logarithmic; a likelihood ratio of three bans is equal to one thousand.  Some months ago Dr. Balding was kind enough to answer some of my questions about this work.

Does Raffaele Sollecito¹s DNA fall into the category of low template DNA, and if so, should two separate amplifications have been run?

There’s no strict definition of “low-template” but broadly yes the peaks associated with Sollecito are low (but not those associated with Kercher, they are high).  Conti-Vecchiotti discuss a threshold of 50 rfu below which a peak should not be relied on; in the UK, that threshold was used in the past but nowadays as techniques have improved the threshold is often lower, 25 or 30. 

However that doesn’t matter here as all the peaks associated with Sollecito are well above 50: there is a 65, a 70 and a 98, all the 26 other peaks are above 100.  So it is not extremely low template - many low-template cases are successfully prosecuted in the UK even when some peaks fall below the threshold and so are discounted.  In this case all the peaks associated with Sollecito seem clear and distinct so I think there can be no concern about the quality of the result as far as it concerns him or Kercher.

Replication is generally a good thing and is nowadays done in most cases in my experience, but not all - one problem is that replication splits the sample and so can increase the chance of not getting a usable result.  But although replication is desirable it is not essential.  (In a sense there already is replication, because each of the 15 loci is an independent test.) 

This is all a matter of weight of evidence, which Conti-Vecchiotti paid no attention to: if you measure the weight of evidence properly, that accounts for the extra assurance that comes from replication and gives a stronger result (or conversely gives a weaker result if there is not replication).  But because Sollecito is fully represented in the stain at 15 loci (we still only use 10 in the UK, so 15 is a lot), the evidence against him is strong even allowing for the additional uncertainty due to non-replication.

Are there contributors other than Raffaele Sollecito and Meredith Kercher to the autosomal profiles?  If so, how does the presence of this additional DNA affect the bra clasp as evidence?

Yes, Conti-Vecchiotti identified a further 12 above-threshold peaks at alleles that could not have come from Sollecito or Kercher.  They correctly criticised the scientific police for ignoring these: many do appear to be stutter peaks which are usually ignored, but 4 are not and definitely indicate DNA from another individual.  The extra peaks are all low, so the extra individuals contributed very little DNA.  That kind of extraneous DNA is routine in low-template work: our environment is covered with DNA from breath and touch, including a lot of fragmentary DNA from degraded cells that can show up in low-template analyses. 

There is virtually no crime sample that doesn’t have some environmental DNA on it, from individuals not directly involved in the crime.  This does create additional uncertainty in the analysis because of the extra ambiguity about the true profile of the contributor of interest, but as long as it is correctly allowed for in the analysis there is no problem - it is completely routine.

Are there contributors to the Y-STR profile other than Raffaele Sollecito?  If so, how does the presence of this DNA affect our interpretation of the bra clasp as evidence?

I haven’t looked closely at the Y evidence - there seems no need for it because the autosomal evidence is overwhelming for the presence of DNA from Sollecito.  But from a look at Conti-Vecchiotti, it seems to back up the conclusion from the autosomal profiles: Sollecito’s alleles are all represented and these generate the highest peaks, but there are some low peaks not attributable to him; so at least one of the additional contributors of low-level DNA to the sample was male.

The bra clasp was collected about 47 days after the murder, and it was found in a different location from where it was initially observed.  In the interim many people entered the cottage and items from her room were removed.  Are these concerns sufficient for the clasp to be excluded as evidence?

The only worry would be if somehow DNA from Sollecito was brought into the room and deposited on item 165B.  I don’t know enough about what happened to say if that was likely but I’d guess that people walking in and out of the room etc would be unlikely to do that.

The clasp was collected with gloves that were not clean, not with disposable tweezers (videos here and here).  The glove was handled by more than one person.  Are these concerns sufficient for the clasp to be excluded as evidence? If not, should the clasp be given less weight as evidence because of them?

Same comment - the only concern is if any of this could have transferred DNA from Sollecito onto item 165B.

Would you care to comment on the storage of the clasp after the forensic police tested it?

I know nothing about it.

Did you analyze the electronic data files?  Did you examine the laboratory¹s own protocols and machine logs?

I have only seen the epgs for the autosomal DNA profiles of 165B.  There is an unclear version of them in the Conti-Vecchiotti report, but Prof Vecchiotti kindly provided me with a clean set.

Did you examine the negative controls?

No

Fellow main poster Stilicho highlighted the most important conclusions from this interview on the PMF Forum where the quality of the DNA discussion is very informed.

The interview contains a few things that have been vigorously denied by the FOA:

The 50 RFU level is not sacred or inviolable.

It is improbable that Sollecito’s DNA got there by secondary transfer or by contamination.

The likelihood that the DNA on the bra clasp is Sollecito’s DNA is “overwhelming”.

...the interview doesn’t contain anything not already known to both sides but it contains several key elements that are not accepted by both sides.

Chris Halkides asked two-part leading questions and didn’t get the answers that would be needed to continue to falsely assert that Sollecito’s DNA is not abundant on the clasp or that, if it was there, it likely got there by some other route.

All the other inferences about environmental contamination are irrelevant to Balding’s main point: it is Sollecito’s DNA on that clasp and it didn’t get there by accident.

Final Thoughts

Some credit must go to Chris Halkides for finally posting the interview with Professor Balding even though it categorically said the DNA evidence against Sollecito is strong. I’m not sure he’ll be invited to any FOA events in the future.

Shame though on Colin Barras, for writing such a misleading article, and for using a straw man argument to highly misrepresent the DNA evidence against Amanda Knox which was then deliberately fed to the Italian media.

He completely ignored the six pieces of evidence that place her at the crime scene on the night of the murder. He also completely ignored the most important of Professor Balding’s findings.  ie that the DNA evidence against Sollecito is strong.

This finding implicates Knox and places her at the crime scene when Meredith was killed, and makes a mockery of Barras’s headline that suggested otherwise.


[Below: the wannabe crime-scene DNA experts Colin Barras, left, and Chris Halkides, right]

Posted on 08/05/13 at 05:25 PM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtRaff SollecitoThe officially involvedThe defensesEvidence & witnessesDNA and luminolHoaxers, tools, dupesGreg Hampikian
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ominous Development For Sollecito And Knox: A DNA Conviction Based On A Tiny Sample Of DNA

Posted by The Machine



[Burgess, image below, murdered Yolande Waddington and, above, Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams]


There is a HUGE dagger hanging over Sollecito and Knox. A UK case resolved this week indicates why.

New tests on the DNA sample on the large knife found in Sollecito’s house which the independent DNA experts refused to do, and the judges failed to re-order despite a strong prosecution request, could result in Knox and Sollecito being ultimately convicted and secure Knox’s extradition to serve out her term.

Lawyers consider it a dead certainty that the Supreme Court will order those tests -  that is if they dont throw out the entire Hellman/Zanetti judgment for illegal scope, or throw out the DNA report for illegally having been ordered in the first place.


(1) Summary of the UK case

David Burgess this week was convicted in Reading of murdering Yolande Waddington, 17, some 46 years after the crime was committed, thanks to all the advances in DNA technology. Back then, he was already convicted of killing Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams.

Burgess is the latest person in Britain to have been finally found guilty of murder years after his crime was committed. Nat Fraser, Gary Dobson and David Norris had been convicted of murder this year after evading justice for a number of years.

In September 2010, Thames Valley Police reviewed the case and with advances in DNA techniques finally gathered the evidence which resulted in Burgess being convicted of Yolande Waddington’s murder.

Forensic experts obtained a partial DNA profile from the blood samples using a new technique called MiniFiler. It differs from previous methods as it can obtain information from smaller pieces of DNA. This is ideal for older cases where samples have degraded over time.

According to the manufacturer’s website

[The MiniFiler kit] increases your ability to obtain DNA results from compromised samples that previously would have yielded limited or no genetic data. This means cold cases can come off the shelf for re-analysis and new, challenging samples have a better chance of delivering interpretable results.

When David Burgess attacked Yolande, he left blood on a number of Yolande’s items, including her hair band and comb. Tests showed the chances of the DNA found on the comb and hair band not being Burgess’s were not more than one in a billion.


[Below: David Burgess then and now who had taunted the police a year ago to “prove it”]




(2) Here are the implications for RS and AK

It puts the 46-day delay (caused by the defenses) in retrieving the bra clasp into perspective.

It’s not the first case of somebody being convicted of murder decades after the crime took place on the strength of DNA evidence. Ronald Castree was convicted of murdering Lesley Molseed 32 years later.

It also highlights the arrogant negligence of the DNA consultants Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti who had refused to carry out ordered test on the knife for flimsy reasons (“the technology is experimental” when it wasn’t) that no US or UK court would have accepted. They had been specifically instructed to do the tests if possible by Judge Hellmann.

At trial in 2009 it was accepted that Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the knife sequestered from Sollecito’s kitchen. There still is no argument about that.

And a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Francesca Torricelli and former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano - had all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was found on the blade.

Even Greg Hampikian, a forensic expert who argues Knox is innocent, concedes that Meredith’s DNA was definitely found on the blade.

Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti didn’t know that Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife a long six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. Contamination couldn’t possibly have occurred in the laboratory after so long a gap.

At the appeal, Professor Guiseppe Novelli testified that there are a number of laboratories that now have the latest accepted technology to carry out a new test on the remaining DNA on the knife.

The fact that Judge Hellmann denied the prosecution the opportunity to present evidence to the contrary was a violation of the procedure code. Italian law states the following:

If new evidence about a point is admitted, evidence a contrario proposed by the opposing party must always be admitted too.

Dr Giovanni Galati has now argued in his appeal to the Supreme Court that Judge Hellmann should have allowed a new test to be performed because the technology is NOT experimental but cutting edge. Summary here:

The second [point concerns] the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

As remarked at the top, if the entire judgment or the DNA report are not thrown out for illegal scope, Judge Hellman’s refusal to allow the prosecution’s request to allow a new test on the knife will be the main reason why his verdict will be revoked.

Under Italian law RS and AK still stand accused until the Supreme Court signs off. Anyone who is concerned with the truth and justice and what Meredith stood for and the good name of Italy will want to know whether the remaining DNA on the knife is Meredith’s.

If Meredith’s DNA is identified on the knife it should make conviction and extradition a slam dunk..


[Below: ViaDellaPergola’s video first posted 18 months ago and still relevant]


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