Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Why For Prosecutors & Evidence Experts & Courts BATHROOM EVIDENCE Was Smoking Gun #1

Posted by KrissyG


Long post. Click here to go straight to Comments.


1. The Body Of Evidence Context

In 2009 at trial the formidable Scientific Police (a major ally of the FBI) outgunned the defenses day-by-day.

Blowing of smoke was attempted with the DNA, but a huge problem for the defenses was that THEIR observers had witnessed all DNA processing and not once had registered a complaint.

Unfortunately in 2011 two notorious problems in Italian justice reared their heads at the first level of automatic appeal.

    First, there was a new jury sitting there, often with a skeptical frame of mind, itching to do more than rubber-stamp. 

    Second, trial prosecutors and experts typically don’t get to show up, so the jurors have weeks of reading to grasp a complex case.

In this appeal the patently wrongly qualified judges Hellman and Zanetti were actually appointed by the Umbria chief judge to tilt the playing field.

Pretty blatantly they tried to re-run an illegal new trial, but with illegal DNA consultants, and with the prosecution component left out. Then Knox and Sollecito were prematurely released.

In early 2013 Judge Chieffi of the First Chambers of the Supreme Court scathingly annulled their outcome. At his instruction, late in 2013, in Florence, that same first appeal by RS and AK was re-run.

The Nencini appeal was not a second trial, as so widely misrepresented in the US. It was a repeat first appeal, properly run, on minimalist lines very similar to common-law appeals, under strict instructions from the Supreme Court.

So in Florence, what did we get to see? On this occasion over more than a day we got to see Florence prosecutor Crini remorselesly explain the 2009 trial prosecution’s case.

I do recommend reading these two posts, because they show just what the mountain of evidence, superbly packaged and presented, looked like, before the bent Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court in 2015 mischaracterized pretty well every point.

Click for Post:  Today Lead Prosecutor Alessandro Crini Summarises The Prosecution’s Case

Click for Post:  Prosecutor Alessandro Crini Concludes, Proposes 30 Years For AK And 26 For RS

Knox knew what was coming, and was too terrified even to be there. And this is what a terrified Sollecito did next.




2. And So To The Bathroom, Please

Among the toughest evidence the Perugia trial jury and Florence appeal jury got to hear was the forensic evidence in the BATHROOM portion of the crime scene - as correctly understood to be the entire top floor of the house, and not merely Meredith’s bedroom alone. 

One thing we do know about the night of the murder is that there was a great deal of cleaning up.  Amanda Knox writes in her police statement of 6 Nov 2007, the night of her arrest:

‘One thing I do remember is that I took a shower with Raffaele, and this may explain how we passed the time. In truth, I don’t remember exactly what day this was, but I do remember we showered and cleaned ourselves for a long time. He took care to clean my ears and dry and brush my hair.’


She claims she cannot remember when this happened, but for some reason decided to include it in her statement to the police. On the morning of 2 Nov, the day the body of Meredith Kercher was found she also explained, 

‘The next thing I remember was waking up the morning of Friday, November 2nd around 10am and I took a plastic bag to bring back dirty clothes to go back to my house.’

A second reason Knox gives for returning to the cottage that morning was:

‘After we ate Raffaele washed the dishes but the pipes under his sink broke and water flooded the floor. But because he didn’t have a mop I said we could clean it up tomorrow because we (Meredith, Laura, Filomena and I) have a mop at home’. [For more about this, see my article The Curious Incident of the Pipes in the Night-Time]


Having decided to bring back some dirty clothes and fetch a mop from the cottage, she also decides to take a shower.  Filomena testified that when she arrived home she found the washing machine had clothes inside at the end of a cycle which were still ‘omido’ (=damp or humid)

Likewise, in Knox’ email to her friends at home written in the early hours of Sunday 4 November, two days after the body was found, more talk of cleaning up:

‘ It was the day after halloween, thursday. I got home and she was still asleep, but after i had taken a shower and was fumbling around the kitchen she emerged from her room with the blood of her costume (vampire) still dripping down her chin.’
[snip]
‘after a little while of playing guitar me and raffael went to his house to watch movies and after to eat dinner and generally spend the evening and night indoors. we didnt go out. the next morning i woke up around 1030 and after grabbing my few things i left raffael’s appartment and walked the five minute walk back to my house to once again take a shower and grab a chane of clothes. i also needed to grab a mop because after dinner raffael had spilled a lot of water on the floor of his kitchen by accident and didnt have a mop to clean it up.’

Imagine. All of this, before the body was even discovered.


‘i undressed in my room and took a quick shower in one of the two bathrooms in my house, the one that is right next to meredith and my bedrooms (situated right next to one another). it was after i stepped out of the shower and onto the mat that i noticed the blood in the bathroom. it was on the mat i was using to dry my feet and there were drops of blood in the sink. at first i thought the blood might have come from my ears which i had pierced extrensively not too long ago, but then immediately i know it wasnt mine becaus the stains on the mat were too big for just droplets form my ear, and when i touched the blood in the sink it was caked on already. there was also blood smeered on the faucet. again, however, i thought it was strange, because my roommates and i are very clean and we wouldnt leave blood int he bathroom, but i assumed that perhaps meredith was having menstral issues and hadnt cleaned up yet. ew, but nothing to worry about. i left the bathroom and got dressed in my room. after i got dressed i went to the other bathroom in my house, the one that filomena dn laura use, and used their hairdryer to obviously dry my hair and it was after i was putting back the dryer that i noticed the shit that was left in the toilet, something that definately no one in out house would do. i started feeling a little uncomfortable and so i grabbed the mop from out closet and lef the house, closing and locking the door that no one had come back through while i was in the shower, and i returned to raffael’s place. after we had used the mop to clean up the kitchen i told raffael about what i had seen in the house over breakfast. the strange blood in the bathroom, the door wide open, the shit left in the toilet.’

So, blood on the bath mat, on the tap, in the sink, excrement in the toilet - and yet no attempt to flush it nor to wipe the sink clean.


In Darkness Descending by Russell, Johnson and Garofano, which is written in a largely novelish style, there are flashes of good quality expertise from scientists the authors interviewed. In particular Garofano (who created the Carabinieri forensic labs used by Nencini) and Stefanoni (head of a section in the Scientific Police labs).

Each of the pair had a great deal of experience in criminal forensics.

Forensic team leader Stefanoni’s explanation of the blood drops in the bathroom is especially elegant and noteworthy.  It is worth bearing in mind that Mignini is quoted as saying the blood stain on the light switch was the strongest evidence of Knox’ involvement for him.

Forensics officer Gioia Brocci found an ‘unusually long streak of blood’ which extended from the rim of the wash basin all the way in a line towards the plughole, and another which followed the same pattern in the bidet.

Stefanoni explains this as her theory to the authors:

‘This is the knife moving around,’ she said extending her right arm away from her hips in an arc motion, as though she was throwing a Frisbee.  ‘These blood drips were left by the knife.  Too many droplets and look, the blood in the basin and bidet is paler, so it’s the knife that has been washed at that particular point’.

Pointing to other drops, she continues, ‘The drops on the box of cotton buds and the basin are dark.  This is blood before being washed.’


At the trial the court was impressed with Stefanoni’s expert testimony.  Trial judge Massei ruled the following to be an established fact quoting Stefanoni:

‘Traces that appeared to be of a blood nature were also present on the box of cotton buds, on top of the toilet seat, on the light switch and in the bidet, ‚and there was always the drop upwards, really on the edge and the same continuity up to the bidet siphon, of the common colour and in the same line‛ (pages 134 and 135).

Traces were present also over the bathroom door, not watered down but a vivid red colour.

The evidence collecting in the small bathroom she did with a ‘carta bibula’, which is an absorbent paper [disc] and to a question put to her by the defence of Amanda Knox’, she stated the following: “when we say finding a drop upstream and a drop downstream ... on the inside for example of the sink ... a drop on the edge of the sink and for continuity there was a drop that ended up towards the sink siphon and had a continuity, is not that one was to the right, one to the left, one here and one over there; it had its own continuity, I had deemed it proper to use the same disc of absorbent paper, as they were equal in colour, pink‛.


In 2015 the Fifth Chambers’ Judge Marasca refers to this as ‘diluted blood’.

Such material singled out was pink, of “washed blood ... in the sense it did not have the characteristic red colour of blood.

The same colour other than in the bathroom sink was noted inside the bidet (p. 152).

She specified further that it was not a strip, but “more little specks… with the same continuity‛ (page 153): they were “drippings” that gave this continuity‛ and the colouring was the same, always pink.

She did not believe then it might be different traces because of the continuity between the different drops. This is important, because pro-Knox defenders like to argue, ‘So what?  Knox lived there, of course her DNA is mixed with Meredith’s.

Indeed, the reader might be telling themself ‘So the perpetrator rinsed the knife. It doesn’t prove it was Knox’.

However, the critical point is that, although the DNA mixed samples are separate, Stefanoni was able to prove conclusively to the satisfaction of the court that the DNA was deposited at the same time, together.


From Judge Massei:

In the small bathroom, three traces of the victim’s blood were found on the bathmat; on the light switch plate with two switches there were traces “of diluted blood, blood presumably mixed with water, as it was pale pink in colour’ (page 76) which also came from the victim.

A sample was taken from the front part of the faucet of the sink, which yielded the genetic profile of Amanda Knox; another sample taken from a specimen visible to the naked eye on the edge of the drain of the bidet yielded the genetic profiles of the victim and of Knox, a genetic mixture also found on the box of cotton buds near the sink.

The drippings found inside the sink appeared to be diluted blood, pink in colour, proven by testing to be human blood and yielding the genetic mixture of the victim and Knox.

On the toilet cover there was a bloody substance which yielded the genetic profile of the victim; this was also found on the door-frame. Near the toilet flush was another stain presumed to be blood, but which ended up yielding a negative result.

And:

‘Moving on to the findings taken from the small bathroom, it was pointed out that there was a substance most likely of a blood-derived nature on the ‚edge of the bidet drain‛; the sample was taken during the inspection in order to extract the specimen that yielded a genetic result of a mixed profile: victim plus Knox. It was positive for human blood.


The same procedure was done on the container of cotton swabs that was on the sink. The collected sample revealed a mixed genetic profile; victim plus Knox and it tested positive for human blood.

On the left part of the sink, there was a trace. This too was most likely of a blood-derived nature since it was of a pinkish colour, like the others.

This particular trace originated from the high part and went towards the drain, towards the lower part. The analysis provided the following results: human blood and the genetic profile of the victim plus that of Amanda Knox.

The samples taken from the toilet lid in the small bathroom provided as a genetic result: victim profile and human blood.

The trace present on the right side of the inside part of the bathroom door frame was positive for human blood and it revealed the genetic profile of the victim.


So, we now see, the (dead) victim’s blood is all over the small bathroom and the diluted blood indicates the purpose was to clean whatever item caused the continuous drips across the basin and the bidet.

So, how did Stefanoni establish that the DNA of Knox was left there at the same time as the victim’s diluted blood?  From Judge Massei:

In response to specific questions regarding these traces, she stated that if they had originated from two different people and in an independent and distinct way, one from the other, what would have formed would have been a mixture of the trace: two DNA that would be separated at the start but that would have joined to form a single trace.

She believed it improbable however, to think of such an origin for the trace, which was proven mixed, and this because of the fact that the same area was affected and because of the much diluted blood appearance.

She stressed, as well, that both of the two specimens recovered in the bidet were more abundant on the rim and on the plug on the drain, compared to the part, which is let’s say, slanted, where there is a very narrow line of the substance. However, she stressed, to the naked eye, this link was evident” (page 157).

In effect, the mixed samples came from similarly diluted ‘rivulets’ of pink liquid (water + blood).  = Deposited the same time at the same event.


It is a certain and inescapable fact that Knox and Meredith’s DNA were mixed together at the same time.  Secondly, not only deposited at the same time but shows a mixture of a highly visible substance.

This is rather chilling, when you realise the substance is blood and blood is of the newly murdered victim, rinsed with water.  It also shows, it could not possibly have been mixed ‘because Knox lived there’.  Knox’ sole coagulated blood on the tap, Stefanoni did say she could not date.

It does raise the question of why Knox and Sollecito told the police about the drops of blood in the sink without cleaning it up.  Most likely, they knew it was Meredith’s and reasoned that it didn’t matter if Knox’ possible DNA was also there, as ‘she lived there’.

Gladwell’s assertion that ‘there was no forensic evidence’ is shown to be both utterly false and ignorant.  For me, as for Stefanoni and Mignini the “smokingest gun” is the dripping blood in the bathroom.

And indeed, the final Supreme Court ruling decrees that ‘Knox did wash her hands of the victim’s blood.’


Posted by KrissyG on 11/13/19 at 11:00 PM in


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