The Casey Anthony And Sollecito/Knox Outcomes Spark A New Discussion Of The CSI Effect

Posted by Peter Quennell

That seems a good explanation of the so-called CSI effect in the Fox Kansas City video above.

Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

The graph at bottom (which we’d like to see updated) showed how the US Feds are still winning juries over and maintaining amazingly high conviction rates.  And at state level and lower, judges and lawyers are also taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

The jury is still out on what really swayed the Perugia appeal jury. Their sentencing report is due out in the New Year. They sure didnt look at very much except for a small fraction of the DNA.

Which leaves us with a big question. How did Judge Hellman brief his jury? Did he warn against the CSI Effect? We’re told this might be his first DNA case, so Cassation will surely look closely at that.


No need to wait for the Hellmann report. Here it is right now:

-The statements to police were coerced
-Knox is still guilty of calunnia because she didn’t retract her accusation in a timely fashion
-Curatolo is not credible; the two young lovers were never seen outside Sollecito’s apartment
-Guede’s statement is not credible; there is no evidence the two lovers were with Guede that night
-The bra clasp is not credible; there is no evidence Sollecito was at the cottage
-The bathmat footprint is not credible because footprint analysis is an inexact science
-The other footprint evidence is not credible because luminol reacts with other things besides blood, and TMB was negative
-The mixed DNA evidence is not credible because Knox lived in the house; there is no evidence Knox was at the cottage that night
-There is no evidence that the break-in was staged
-The young lovers had no credible motive

In other words, Hellmann and the other jurors bought the whole defense argument hook, line, and sinker—breaking the case into its component parts and demanding that each piece stand on its own beyond a reasonable doubt.

Of course Hellmann should understand the rules of evidence better than that. He should have more capacity for critical thought. If this were a game of darts we’d have 19 around the bull’s eye, and one dart in the middle of the Atlantic. By definition there was something odd about this appeals verdict, something fishy.

PS The chart of federal conviction above is heavily skewed because US prosecutors are blackmailing more and more defendants into taking plea bargains. Those who choose a jury trial increasingly have the very strongest cases. Bench trials are now rare.

Posted by brmull on 10/24/11 at 03:40 PM | #

-The statements to police were coerced
* that may make them inadmissible but not necessarily false

-Knox is still guilty of calunnia because she didn’t retract her accusation in a timely fashion
* no, she meant RG but forgot the name

-Curatolo is not credible; the two young lovers were never seen outside Sollecito’s apartment
* right, they were just outside AK’s apartment; how they can be at two places at the same time?

-Guede’s statement is not credible; there is no evidence the two lovers were with Guede that night
* correct, they were busy with each other and so Rudy went to the toilet

-The bra clasp is not credible; there is no evidence Sollecito was at the cottage
* we all know that RS was not using a bra; far less than a bra clasp. If his DNA is found on the bra clasp, it must be a “mistake”

-The bathmat footprint is not credible because footprint analysis is an inexact science
* the correct statement will be that no paper has been published on bathmat footprints (that was the expert opinion)

-The other footprint evidence is not credible because luminol reacts with other things besides blood, and TMB was negative
* yes, they washed their feet with strawberry juice!

-The mixed DNA evidence is not credible because Knox lived in the house; there is no evidence Knox was at the cottage that night
* I thought AK was living with RS!  They are made for each other!

-There is no evidence that the break-in was staged
* I never doubted that the break-in was real!

-The young lovers had no credible motive
* So, it is a question of credibility!

The ball is now in the court of the judges!

The golden rule: he who has the gold, makes the rule

Posted by chami on 10/24/11 at 05:53 PM | #

@brmull You wrap it up well, the reasons Hellman bought the defence smoke and mirrors.

Peter sums it up truthfully: the craving for CSI details has warped common sense thinking about clues. Evidence is behavior. Evidence comes in many forms, mostly outside a lab. Colonel Garofano agrees. He is quoted in “Darkness Descending” as saying (p. 367), “Forensics and especially DNA cannot be given the sole responsibility of condemning a person.” And he is a DNA expert!

Garofano goes on to say, “I might also add that in this particular case there are many “soft” areas where the behavior of the suspects constitutes serious evidence, although as far as I can see there is no smoking gun.”

To bring that home, let me quote again from PMF’s “In Their Own Words”. They have a transcript of Amanda’s note dated November 6, 2007 the date she was arrested. This is from her handwritten note she freely gave to Perugian police:

“This is very strange, I know, but really what happened is as confusing to me as it is to everyone else. I have been told there is hard evidence saying that I was at the place of the murder of my friend when it happened. This, I want to confirm, is something that to me, if asked a few days ago, would be impossible.”  (my comment is: how’s that for a rambling mess of a statement?)

“I know that Raffaele has placed evidence against me, saying that I was not with him on the night of Meredith’s murder, but let me tell you this. In my mind there are things I remember and things that are confused. My account of this story goes as follows, despite the evidence stacked against me:...”

(Then she goes on to detail her last hours with Meredith at the cottage and how she learned a few hours later from Patrick that she had the night off from work.)

“I told Raffaele that I didn’t have to work and that I could remain at home for the evening. After that I believe we relaxed in his room together, perhaps I checked my e-mail. Perhaps I read or studied or perhaps I made love to Raffaele. In fact, I think I did make love with him.”

“However, I admit that this period of time is rather strange because I am not quite sure. I smoked marijuana with him and I might even have fallen asleep. These things I am not sure about and I know they are important to the case and to help myself, but in reality, I don’t think I did much.”

[next follows her narration of eating fairly late with Raffaele, 11ish, but not looking at clock, seeing blood on his hands from a fish they cooked, taking a long shower with him in which he cleaned her ears, then he dried and combed her hair.
Then Raf washed the dishes but the pipe in his sink burst, flooded floor. She told him wait till morning, I’ll bring the cottage mop. It was very late by now (“though I can’t say the time”)]

.... more from Knox…

“But the truth is, I am unsure about the truth and here’s why:...”

Then she makes 3 lists of numbered points ending with a final question: “Who is the REAL murder {sic}”

The note continues, “I have a clearer mind that I’ve had before, but I’m still missing parts, which I know is bad for me. But this is the truth and this is what I’m thinking at this time.”...

So we have Amanda saying that she doesn’t really know where she was or what she was doing on the night of the murder! So why should we take her word for anything? She’s just not quite sure, of anything.

Yes, the CSI effect has made everyone lose focus on the basics. There’s the big picture. Amanda was the only roommate from the cottage left in town when Meredith died (well, Philomena was in town but had a solid alibi being away from cottage during the critical hours with a boyfriend).

Yet Amanda remains a possible culprit, a girl who says she can’t even remember WHERE she was on the night of the killing, but who had a key to the place and left her blood on the sink. We have lost perspective looking for five cells to tell us what is obvious.

Posted by Hopeful on 10/24/11 at 05:56 PM | #

For brmull, I think you have more or less got it - the defence broke down all the evidence into the individual components and then challenged them individually. The problem is its hard to argue against that - the defence could just as easily claim the prosecution had deliberately built up a case on this pretext.

I am still to be convinced either way, I do try to keep an open mind. I often visit the pro Knox sites, but time and time again come back here - truejustice for my information. Simple reason I feel more at home here, for some reason I feel like an imposter on the other sites. The articles and information here, though I do find them slanted sometimes, are intelligent and articulate. I get the feeling that the editors don’t have an ulterior motive. But that doesn’t mean we are always right.

Some aspects of the case do need to be looked at, Curatolo, for example, was he a credible witness? The injustice sites claims he was completely discredited, that he got the dates mixed up, I think they also claimed the police used him as a witness in another case. Is this true?

With regards to the staged break in, I have always thought Massei a bit weak on this. I certainly don’t agree with the scenario of climbing the wall several times, why? Most kids carry day sacks - he could have placed the rock in that and just smashed the window. I can’t imagine how Massei reckons no burglar would smash a pane of glass right beside himself for fear of injury from the glass - thats just crazy - thats what burglars do all the time. Also the bit about the nail on the wall doesn’t make any sense at all. I know these nails - my old house in Tuscany is covered with them. Nobody would ever dream of using one as a foothold - they would probably just give way - and any climber would just obviously avoid a nail because it could injure them. Massei also seems to rely on third parties to confirm the ground was wet and untrodden - not the scientific police. Did the scientific police actually state they checked the outside for broken glass and signs of tracks, and DNA on the window sill?
Regards to everybody and thanks for any replies.

Posted by John Forbes on 10/24/11 at 06:36 PM | #

Great predictions by brmull and chami and Hopeful. And thanks John. As you say we dont have a dog in this fight except to support Meredith by way of the truth. Along with PMF we have posted well over 1,000 translated pages from spin-free Italian sources. 

You ask about Filomena’s window. Nobody has made it in by that window in the past 4 years, not even the tall athletic guy working for Bongiorno, who did not come close. That window really is at a great height.

The most convincing way to accept that the breakin was staged is to actually see the house at night. Directly above are TWO sets of powerful lights, the street lights and the globe lights along the parking facility. It borders on light pollution and is maybe the brightest area on the entire Perugia massif.

Anyone trying for that window would be like a rabbit on a floodlit stage. He may as well simply prise open the front door.

Meanwhile, there are two easier routes at the south end of the house (Lauras window and the bathroom), and a much easier route up and in at the back by way of the balconey.

It is very dark around there and nobody would hear or see a thing. Two illegal and unrelated breakins by that route took place in 2008-09 and those burglars were apparently not very experienced. Our three visual guides may help.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/24/11 at 09:11 PM | #

This part of a comment by our main poster Catnip over on PMF really sees things in an interesting way. Typically Italian courts see things in a “strands in a cable” way and US-type “links in a chain” somehow displaced that (aka the CSI Effect) which yet again makes one wonder how Judge Hellman briefed the jury. 


Marcello Foa, on his [Italian blog], wrote on 04 October 2011 about being stunned and made indignant about the previous day’s verdict: “it’s the disproportion between the two verdicts: How is it possible that one court at first instance condemns the accused to a very severe penalty of 25 and 26 years’ of imprisonment, two accused who are then subsequently completely exonerated?”

[Catnip]I think that the difference between the first court’s guilty verdict (except for the theft charge) and the appeal court’s acquittal verdict (except for the calunnia/slander charge) might boil down to viewing the evidence as “strands in a cable”, on the one hand, and “links in a chain”, on the other.

In “links in a chain” evidence, each link must hold to the same standard; if one link doesn’t, the whole chain falls and the defendants are free.

In “strands in a cable” evidence, one or two strands, or several, may break under cross-examination, and the remaining strands may not, individually, be able to support the whole prosecution case on their own, but together, they point to guilt.

Further, the accumulation of the strands must be looked at, and, collectively, they must support the verdict.

As our local [Australian] bench book puts it:

“Where, however, rather than an indispensable link in a chain, the evidence consists of a number of strands in a cable from which guilt is sought to be inferred, no fact or facts being by itself/themselves necessary to the ultimate inference or conclusion, the jury should not be told to look at the evidence as to each fact or circumstance separately, but that they should consider the accumulation of the evidence and may draw an inference of guilt from a combination of facts, none of which alone might be capable of supporting that inference: Shepherd v The Queen at 580, citing R v Chamberlain (No 2) (1984) 153 CLR 521 at 535–536. The ultimate inference of guilt, however, must exclude any other reasonable explanation(s) than that of guilt, and the jury must be so directed.”

– Judicial Commission of New South Wales, Criminal Trial Courts Bench Book, Circumstantial Evidence, [2-500] Introduction

In the “links-in-a-chain” view, like the burglar climbing the wall to get in through the window and hanging on to the nail in the wall, everything hangs off the single item of the defendants being on the scene at the relevant time. If they aren’t, then all the other evidence proves nothing (when looked at individually).

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/24/11 at 09:52 PM | #


As Peter said with his “strands in a cable” analogy, the job of the jury is not just to look at individual pieces of evidence but to put them together in context:

-For all the statements to be coerced requires that not just Knox’s but Sollecito’s statements were coerced from early in the investigation, yet neither of them complained or asked for an attorney. It further requires that the police and the prosecutor skirted or broke the law.

-For Curatolo’s testimony to not be credible at all requires that all prior courts that heard his testimony and found it credible were wrong.

-For Guede’s statement to not be credible, you have to believe that he’s the lone-wolf or he is protecting accomplices of which there is no trace.

-For the bra clasp to not be credible, you have to conclude that it’s reasonably likely that Sollecito’s DNA hitched a ride into a room he had never been in, in sufficient quantity (not low-copy number) to contaminate the clasp. This was not addressed by the C-V report.

-If the bathmat footprint was from someone else, you again have to conclude that Rudy had an unknown accomplice who washed up in the bathroom while Rudy did not, and left no other trace.

-If the luminol footprints are not credible, you have to believe that someone with footprints consistent with Knox’s walked around with another luminol-reacting substance on their feet, yet no other trace of this substance was ever found.

-For the mixed DNA evidence to not be credible you have to assume that Knox’s DNA (but nobody else’s) hitched a ride to a place near Filomena’s window—a room that Knox had spent little if any time in—and deposited itself atop a spot of Meredith’s blood.

-For the break-in to be real, you have to dismiss all of the following, at a minimum: (1) at least three extremely reliable witnesses said there was glass on the clothes; (2) the defense was never able to show that it was possible throw a 4kg rock from the outside and reproduce the scuff marks and glass pattern that were found; (3) the defense was never able to show that someone could climb into the window without leaving any trace.

Posted by brmull on 10/25/11 at 07:11 AM | #

@John Forbes

Regarding the break-in. I have read the explanation on the injusticeinperugia site. It is very difficult to follow and It is full of inaccuracies. If you try to discuss the matter, you are met with a lot of abuse.
On this site you are allowed to express doubt and invite explanation. I would hate that anyone who would want logical debate be treated in the same manner on this site as you are on pro-Amanda sites.
One aspect of the break-in that needs adressing is the lighting issue.

Were the lights turned on in Filomenas room, the kitchen, the bathroom used by Guede, Merediths room and the other bathroom at the discovery of the break-in.

If Guede did break-in, he would have needed light to see what he was doing and where he was going. If he turned a light on in Filomenas room, one would have expected him to close the inner shutters to prevent people being alerted to his activities (especially Meredith on her return to the flat). We are led to beleive that he closed Filomenas door when he exited her room. He would have had to turn on the kitchen light to locate the bathroom he soiled. He may have used the kitchen light to partly illuminate the toilet.

As regards to the point of entry, why did he not attempt to kick the front door in. He would have almost certainly knocked (with a pretentious excuse) to see if anyone was at home.

If guede had closed the door to Filomenas room and Merediths room (in an effort to conceal crime), why weren’t the shutters closed on the window of Filomenas room?

Posted by starsdad on 10/25/11 at 07:14 AM | #

I’ve just ordered John Follain’s book on Amazon, there’s already one good review on the site.

Posted by Melanie on 10/25/11 at 08:23 AM | #

Q: Curatolo, for example, was he a credible witness?

A: It’s hard to say since we weren’t in the courtroom. But previous courts found him credible, and since memories usually fade over time I think they should have given his earlier testimony the benefit of the doubt. Everything I’ve read about his testimony leads me to believe that he is credible insofar as Knox and Sollecito were in the piazza that night, although the times may be off.

Q: I think they also claimed the police used him as a witness in another case. Is this true?

A: Yes, he was a witness in a couple other murder trials, but to me it’s likely that this unusually highly-educated homeless guy is a very useful witness, rather than he is in cahoots with the police.

Q: I can’t imagine how Massei reckons no burglar would smash a pane of glass right beside himself for fear of injury from the glass - thats just crazy - thats what burglars do all the time.

A: It’s a 4kg rock. Why use such a big rock? If it was in his backpack he’d have to open his backpack while holding on to the windowsill. Very difficult.

Q: Any climber would just obviously avoid a nail because it could injure them.

A: To me it’s seems not so easy to avoid the nail since it right at the point where the climber has to hoist himself up and into the window. You’re right, though, it’s just another piece of circumstantial evidence that alone isn’t very conclusive.

Q: Did the scientific police actually state they checked outside for broken glass and signs of tracks, and DNA on the window sill?

A: All that I’ve read is that the Perugia police checked outside the window. I can’t believe you could climb the wall without leaving obvious smudges, disturbing the dust on the window frame, or leaving fingerprints on the windowsill. On the crime scene videos it does appear that the scientific police took DNA samples from the window area.

Check out Kermit’s powerpoint on the break-in if you haven’t already:

Here’s my two cents:

In the picture below, transitioning from position 1 to position 2 is extremely difficult. The windowsill is out of reach. I think that’s why they didn’t release a video.

Filomena said the outer shutters were partially closed. She’s very reliable. So the climber would have had to open them. He would then have needed to break the window with this gigantic rock at an angle that is very awkard, especially for a right handed person. Otherwise he would have to climb down and throw the rock from the driveway. To hit the window at the proper angle, the position of the thrower would have to be beyond the driveway fence as seen in the picture below. What’s beyond the fence? A steep drop.

He would then have to climb back up and work the various latches on the window as shown in Kermit’s powerpoint. Very difficult.

But the most convincing evidence for me comes from the glass pattern as seen in the picture above. Looking at the mark on the inner shutter where the rock hit, and the distribution of the glass on the windowsill…

-Would you say the outer shutters were open or closed when the rock was thrown?

Looking at the following close-up of the glass on the lower part of the windowsill, which is directly underneath where the window is when closed…

-Would you say the window was open or closed at the time the rock was thrown?

Finally, assume that the rock did hit the window from the inside…

-Would the window stay still after it was hit, or would it snap back toward the windowsill and deposit more broken glass there?

Seems pretty obvious to me that the rock was thrown from the inside. The defense expert showed a mock-up without the shutters that I did not find credible at all.

Posted by brmull on 10/25/11 at 08:24 AM | #

Was it ever established with certainty that Sollecito’s car was towed away the night of the murder after being found parked close to the villa? Or was that another car? Or was there no towing at all that night?

Posted by Marcello on 10/25/11 at 08:45 AM | #

Hi Marcello. The blue car was seen in the drive outside the gate by the tow truck operator Gianfranco Lombardo and the party of four from Rome whose broken down van he towed. .

It may or may not have been Sollecito’s. From Sky News in October 2008.

    In the new development, mechanic Gianfranco Lombardo told police he saw a dark-coloured car outside the house where Meredith was found dead.

    The statement is significant because Sollecito has a dark-coloured car, but claims he was not at the house. In his statement, Mr Lombardo said:

    “It was about 11pm on the night of November 1, 2007, and I was in the area because I had been called out to fix a broken-down car.

    “When I got to Via Sant Antonio, close to where the house where Meredith Kercher was murdered, I saw a dark-coloured car parked outside and I noticed the gate on the drive was open.

    “I didn’t notice anyone in the car and I didn’t notice anyone coming or going during the eight or 10 minutes it took me to load the broken-down car onto my tow truck.”

The tow truck operator was put on the stand on March 27 2009 and essentially repeated the story above.

I think there’s no mention of the blue car in the Massei report. A pity as up to five people saw it.

The breakdown timing is mentioned on page 381 of the translation. Massei says it appears to dovetail with Curatolo’s claim of seeing RS and AK in the park waiting for something.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/25/11 at 09:58 AM | #

I thought that Amanda’s first version of water on the floor was that Raffaele had spilled it, then later amended her tale to fit his. (Would imply haste in devising a useful excuse in case they’d been seen carrying the mop: & the mop is referred to in Raffaele’s prison diary.)
Incidentally, Raffaele goes on to add to his silly version of the leak that, curiously enough, anyone inspecting those pipes would certainly wonder how any such leak could have occurred.  Thereby ruining the plausibility of his fiction.
I take the water on the floor to be a fiction.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 10/25/11 at 10:38 AM | #


With regard to your post above.
Q: Did the scientific police actually state they checked outside for broken glass and signs of tracks, and DNA on the window sill?

Gioia Brocci, photographic agent of the Questura of Perugia (I think she is part of the forensic team).
Testified “We observed both the wall…underneath the window and all of the vegetation underneath the window, and we noted that there were no traces on the wall, no traces of earth, of grass, nothing, no streaks, nothing at all, and none [39] of the vegetation underneath the window appeared to have been trampled; nothing” (p. 142 declarations of Gioia Brocci). (51)

In other words there was nothing to photograph! Why didn’t she photograph the nothingness, stupid woman. Isn’t it wonderful to have hindsight!

Posted by starsdad on 10/25/11 at 10:52 AM | #

Your reply to John is specimen piece of deductive logic in your 8-fold application.
As to the defense strategy you refer to in your first post above, I have pointed out that Amanda’s own words & Raffaele’s, too, tie in with the murder weapon.  Amanda shows anxiety (& a curious early willingness to implicate Raffaele.) While as for Raffaele’s explaining how Meredith’s blood was on the blade, self-evidently implicating.
The entire weakness of the C-V report was in its limited scope & hair-splitting logic. Although displaying at length their expert knowledge of procedures (as if writing a textbook) they have, in effect, “strained at a gnat & swallowed a camel.”
I think, myself, that their complaint about the police not changing their gloves after handling each piece of (possible) evidence absurd under the circumstances.  The police, correctly garbed, have come upon a messy murder scene which they have to make sense of, if they can.  They are not surgeons entering an antiseptic operating room.
And to say it one last time (& then good-by to all this) I think Hellman did not “buy the whole defense argument” except possibly in the sense of his taking advantage of it.  He betrayed his duty as a judge for reasons as yet unknown.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 10/25/11 at 10:56 AM | #

Q: Curatolo, for example, was he a credible witness?

I believe him so.  The reasons:

1. If he was telling lies, he would not have mixed up the dates.  After all, he would have been prepared well.  Fabricated lies are usually well rehearsed and fit perfectly to the script.

2. He has no stakes on either side.  He does not care either way.  In short, he has no incentive to tell lies. Police is eternally short of money and it is very clear that he has not been purchased.

3. Whatever his background may be, he may not be dismissed as a “another homeless man”.  He is intellectually active (he was reading a newspaper, IIRC) and generally aware of the world. For example, I cannot tell even the approximate time when I started reading this blog today.  It may be half an hour or even one hour or possibly one and half hour ago.  I think people are putting too much stress on the “homeless” factor.  Such people are often good observer.

4. Just because AK has told so many lies, we are not discarding all her statements.  Curatolo is perhaps a better witness compared to some of the “experts” who show obvious bias and talk less of science and sense.

Emotions has been used very effectively in this trial. They only serve to cloud the real truth.

Posted by chami on 10/25/11 at 11:06 AM | #

Professor Giuseppe Novelli and Dr. Emiliano Giardina have written article which destroys Vecchiotti’s and Conti’s claim of contamination. Here is the Google translation:

October 6, 2011

The advisers of the prosecutors wrote an article on Done on trial for the death of Meredith Kercher

Things happen at least in the vicinity of the original process Kercher, especially after the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. In this case, it happens that Joseph Novelli and Emiliano Giardina, consultants prosecution at the trial, wrote a newspaper article on Done to confirm the validity of the evidence rejected by the Court of Appeals. The piece, which occupies an entire page of the newspaper Padellaro and Labor, in itself is news. And it says even more:

    Recent developments regarding the process and the sentence for the murder of Meredith Kercher have generated among the public the conviction that thebiological evidence, especially based on the analysis of DNA, could lead todiametrically opposed opinions among specialists. It is not true. [...] It is equallycertain are the traces of Knox’s DNA found on the knife and Raffaele Sollecitoon the hook of the bra. To determine the invalidity of such evidence, in the process, have been invoked improbable and absurd phenomena(contamination), lacking scientific legitimacy. While it is understandable that this represents the last resort for the defenders in an attempt to delegitimize the valueof the evidence, it is unacceptable that the other is blindly supported in part byimpartial experts appointed by the court. We believe that there is no need to prepare a geneticist to understand the ace Luta unsustainability of such claim.

The experts dispute the opinions of the defense:

    In particular it was argued that the DNA on the clasp of her bra Raffaele Sollecito comes from a contamination. This hypothesis is pure fantasy. It is clear that the contamination must have a source and destination. The destination is the hook of the bra, but the source? If the hook in Meredith’s room had been contaminated with DNA from Sollecito, then it means that Sollecito’s DNA was present in that room, representing an additional incriminating evidence. But remember that was never found another trace of Sollecito in that room. In the forensic laboratories has never been a contamination in those days (hundreds of exhibits were analyzed and none of them was the suspect DNA, negative controls performed exclude this hypothesis), no experiment has ever produced profile Sollecito’s DNA, which appears only in this finding. The DNA is not created out of thin air, not flying moves, is on the hook because it was transferred by direct contact.This is the only possible explanation for the lack of alternatives.

Then they discuss the evidence of the knife:

    Knife found in the house of Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda has traces of DNA on the handle and traces of Meredith’s DNA on the blade. Clearly, the value of this test does not lie in the traces of DNA on the handle, the transfer of which is plausible since Amanda attended the house of Raphael, but the traces of Meredith on the blade. Interestingly and paradoxically, the hypothesis of contamination has been invoked here only on the blade, the handle, according to “experts” do not - and clearly undermined by the Court by the defense, has provided reliable results.But not the blade, the DNA found on the blade is the result of contamination!Here, too, given the same considerations apply to the hook. There is the source of contamination, and indeed all laboratory tests will confirm with absolute certainty, the absence. But how can a find will contaminate only a point, only the blade and only with the DNA of the victim? And the other, the hook, only one point, only once and Sollecito’s DNA?

And the question of the disputed amount of DNA found:

    When you leave traces, as a phenomenon that happens randomly and often accidentally: not determined a priori, leaving the DNA! In this case, the police examined what they found. The assessment must be done retrospectively ie after the analysis. In all the processes of DNA evidence is used because reliable, valid and objective. The problem of contamination has been known for years, and have procedures and protocols adopted in time to avoid this disadvantage and to verify its presence. Issues related to the mode of repertoire have afflicted all over the world, the old process, the beginning of the introduction - tion of DNA evidence in the nineties, when we had the necessary experience.

Their conclusions:

    We therefore reiterate with determination, confidence and belief that the results of the analysis carried out in - to this process are valid, useful and usable and that the work of forensic science has no way undermined the validity of these tests. Ultimately we believe it right to recall the sense of responsibility and professional ethics who practices the profession of consultant or expert be part of that office. A technical report must conscientiously at times his inability to perform technical analysis does not possess those skills and tools necessary to indicate to the court and perhaps the opportunity to integrate the results also turning to external laboratories (including foreign) just to provide all the necessary information. This was not done by the appointed experts: 1) a new trace of DNA was not analyzed because it was deemed low volume (but there are dozens of laboratories in the world today in a position to do so), 2) no statistical analysis was done to provide substantial support to the data that comes from the realization of experiments and often sull’incer height on the conclusions that are obtained from the data.

It will be interesting to know what they think, of what is written by two experts of the defense. Meanwhile, there is yet another short-circuit in the justice-media relationship in this strange country that is Italy.

Posted by The Machine on 10/25/11 at 12:06 PM | #

@The Machine,

I agree 100% with the comments by Novelli and Giardina.

When one challenges a scientific finding, scientific reasoning must be provided.  Just crying “contamination” is not enough.

The technology is about 25 years old and if it is not mature by now it will never be.

Posted by chami on 10/25/11 at 12:42 PM | #

I’m new here and just have a question regarding the purported ‘break in’.  Filomena was away, presumably her door would have been locked?

I haven’t seen anywhere the condition of her door at the time the murder was discovered, was it broken open?

For anyone to proceed into the rest of the cottage from her bedroom, they would surely have to break the door open from the inside, harder than from outside.

It seems a sticking point to me, apologies if this has been covered elsewhere but the concentration of attention in Filomena’s bedroom seems to be on the window and shutters.

Incredible amount of work gone into this site, phenomenal stuff.

Posted by elgrego on 10/25/11 at 02:05 PM | #

Posted by Miriam on 10/25/11 at 02:17 PM | #

Hi Miriam. Thanks for the link about Sollecito counting the minutes till he’s with AK in Seattle. They probably do need a council of war to try for the n+1 time to come up with a single story between them.

But his love interest and his hopes of a life with his first girlfriend may be rather one-way. Bon Graham included this in a report a few days ago in the Sun.

    Meanwhile, Sollecito, whose relationship with Knox collapsed after their arrest and imprisonment, was last night said to be still heartbroken they are no longer together. His father, Dr Francesco Sollecito, told The Sun: “Yes, my son is still deeply in love with Amanda, he still pines for her… maybe because she was his first serious love. He also knows she does not feel the same way about him. It is a little cooler although she still wants to remain as a close friend.”

Many of the white knights may now want a larger piece of Amanda than she (or her parents) is prepared to give them. We have long noticed a kind of jealous competitive dynamic between the white knights.

Rocco Girlanda was ostentatious in claiming the inside track when he had exclusive access to Knox in Capanne - until Paxton turned up. He may now feel he is back on the shelf. Eyebrows went up at Steve Moore’s slobbering over Knox in a recent article from Seattle. It may be only a matter of time before his wife Michelle and Knox’s parents make sure he is back on the shelf.

The stricken Bruce Fischer already seems to be shelved. David Anderson seems so too. Here is the heading of Frank Szfarzo’s latest post on Perugia Shock: “HI, AMANDA… That Night with You, on the Rollercoaster…” Is Frank feeling he’s back on the shelf?

There’s a sad hard truth in this cartoon.  Roll on with the second appeal stretching into 2013 and it may prove to be a lonely white-knightless world.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/25/11 at 02:45 PM | #

@ The Machine

Yes, Italy is a strange country, where the situation is constantly “severe but not serious” [Ennio Flaiano]. Now, let me see the reports from this, malicious, point of view: 

Università “Tor Vergata” Roma

Giuseppe Novelli
Born: 1959
Assistant professor: 1981
Associate professor: 1992
Full professor: 1999

Emiliano Giardina:
Born: 1976
Assistant professor: 2004
Phd: 2006

Università “La Sapienza” Roma

Carla Vecchiotti
Associate professor: 2001 failed examination in Napoli
Associate professor: 2007 “called” in Roma “La Sapienza” after an examination won by Susi Pelotti in Bologna in 2005

Stefano Conti
Born: 1952
Assistant professor: 2002

Any comment ?

Posted by ncountryside on 10/25/11 at 04:23 PM | #

@ Peter.

Many thanks for the info.

I guess it would make sense that, assuming Sollecito and Knox were cleaning up the scene of the crime, that Sollecito might have brought his car over so they could have tossed a garbage bag of stained clothing, shoes, etc. so he could dump the bag some where else. However, this would mean Kercher would have been murdered much earlier- maybe even an hour earlier (i.e. 10 PM or so), so that there would be sufficient time to commit the act, react in panic, run out, wait to see if police had been called, decide to clean up the crime scene, get the car, change clothes, etc.

Or perhaps use the car to move Kercher elsewhere.

It would certainly be odd for a car to be there, without anyone it, around the time of the murder.

Posted by Marcello on 10/25/11 at 04:43 PM | #

Hi Peter,

I forgot the translation as usual, glad to see you did not need it.

Really can’t see Sollecito’s father letting him out of his sight ant time soon!

On another note, will “we” be sending flowers to Meredith’s family on Nov.1?

Posted by Miriam on 10/25/11 at 04:52 PM | #

Hi ncountryside,

John Follain claims in his book that Carla Vecchiotti was appointed by a judge at the Cosenza court and that the judge didn’t accept her findings.

Posted by The Machine on 10/25/11 at 05:11 PM | #

good ole Andrea Vogt…always there with the FACTS!!  She tweet this link of a fellow journo from the Seatlle PI.

Kercher family to sue Amanda Knox? No

Posted by mojo on 10/25/11 at 05:36 PM | #

Some very interesting information on this page, not least of which was the article written by Professor Giuseppe Novelli and Dr. Emiliano Giardina.  I’m amazed that this information has remained so quiet.  I wish there was a way to get that translated into English and into the US media.  Interesting too about the AK and RS relationship.  It is hard to remember that they knew each other just for one WEEK before the murder.  I find the photos on PMF very informative, having just seen a few so far, especially the ones of Amanda surrounded by the police.  Do you see RS anywhere near, helping her to translate, even though she ‘just knew a few words of Italian’?  To me she is completely enjoying being the center of attention.  There is not a hint of being upset on her face.  It’s like a story to her. 
Portal » Board index » Gallery » AMANDA KNOX » Amanda Knox » Nov 2 - Nov 6 / 2007

Posted by believing on 10/25/11 at 06:00 PM | #

I’d like to add my two cents to the notion of the ‘CSI effect’.

Personally, I don’t think people are so much biased by the ‘CSI effect’ as much as they are not being properly instructed in what constitutes ‘reasonable doubt’. I know nothing about criminal investigations and jurisprudence in general, but intuitively, I would not be surprised if the majority of criminal cases are actually decided on very circumstantial evidence. And in such cases, one cannot look for a smoking gun or simply question one or two bits out of 10 or 20 pieces of evidence and claim that because a smoking gun was not found, or because those one or two bits don’t conform, that that constitutes reasonable doubt. In my opinion ‘reasonable’ doubt (emphasis on ‘reasonable’, i.e. ‘reasoned’) is obtained when one can present an alternative scenario to the crime where ALL the known evidence still makes sense.

So, in the case of Casey Anthony, it makes NO sense that a complete stranger would have taken Cayley and buried her with her ‘favorite blanket’, ‘favorite dress’, and buried her within a few miles of the Casey’s house. Add to that the known evidence the Casey failed to report her child missing for a month, that she wrote in her own diary that she was relieved ‘to be free’ again, that she asked for a shovel from her parents around the time of her daughter’s disappearance, and her atypical behavior in general- all this as a whole cannot be ignored and ‘leads to the conclusion’ that the mother is most likely the perpetrator of the crime (if not of murder, certainly of manslaughter.)

I think the same reasoning ought to hold true with the murder of Meredith Kercher. Evidence points to the very slim likelihood that a single person was involved in her death, in particular the knife wounds likely made by different knives- in different directions and therefore requiring a single attacker to change hands, as well as a lack of defensive wounds on the victim. Evidence clearly points to Rudy Guede being there before the fatal act and after. If he had other accomplices (likely male), it would not have made sense to further alter the crime scene (removal of bra, moving Meredith several feet over) afterwards. Nor would it have made sense to cover Meredith with a blanket and lock her door and throwaway the key. Meredith’s scream would have prompted instant reaction to flee the crime scene, had she been assaulted by Rudy and another one or two persons.

Covering the body (already a strange fact in itself) implies the attacker(s) knew the victim WELL and could not bear to see the Meredith dead afterwards. This implies the attackers lingered at the crime scene in a likely attempt to alter it. I’m not sure if any hairs were ever found on the floor of Meredith’s room but if not, this would be particularly odd and definite evidence that the room was cleaned. No matter how clean one keeps a room, hairs always collect on the floor.

There was also an attempt to illuminate the crime scene (why bring in the second lamp from Amanda’s room?)

Add to this the rather odd behavior of Amanda and Raffaele the early afternoon the crime scene was discovered (not bothering to see the room or help in breaking down the door; lying about calling the police; aloof behavior in general), followed by their different, conflicting and rather desperate statements (including falsely accusing an innocent person), one must question why they each don’t have a detailed and precise alibi, in which they can detail hour by hour what they did that night, and in a way that aligns with what the other says, and also in a way that aligns with what the evidence and other eyewitnesses indicate.

Add to this the taking of Meredith’s cell phones (for what reason?)

Add to this Raffaele’s knowledge of the butter knife outside the villa, (how did he know this?)

So the circumstantial evidence begins to strongly suggest the two are deeply involved, and, more importantly that it is almost illogical that other outsiders are involved (or certainly they would have named names or given descriptions.)

And the above still leaves out the ‘break-in’, the DNA evidence, the footprint evidence, etc.

I’m not sure if what I say makes sense, but I would have to imagine that any judge and jury would need to look at ALL the evidence holistically in order to come to a reasoned conclusion. And since judge Hellmann apparently did NOT do this, his ruling is ultimately problematic.

It will be interesting to see what he writes.

Posted by Marcello on 10/25/11 at 06:59 PM | #

Welcome, elgrego,

The answer to your question:

“Filomena was away, presumably her door would have been locked?”

is crucial, but I can’t find an explicit official source of the answer.

Apparently we have presumed that if Filomena had locked her door, this would have been stated, almost immediately, around noon on November 2nd, 2007.

Implicitly, the answer is, as you also presumed, that she had not locked her door.

Massei did say (p50):

“….. the declarations of Romanelli, which appear to be detailed and entirely likely, considering that she was actually leaving for the holiday and had some things of value in her room; already she did not feel quite safe because window-frames were in wood (…) without any grille…..”

To me this does invite the idea that she might well have locked her door, but if she had locked her door,as you asked, it would transform the situation dramatically.

IMO, an explicit official source of the answer to your question is required; implicit is not sufficient.

Any offers.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 10/25/11 at 07:30 PM | #


There is an impressive photo gallery of the flat and its rooms probaly taken by Gioia Brocci of the forensic police.  at….

As you will see there is no damage to the door, so the probable answer is that the door was not locked. In any event if it had been locked the defense would have made much of it.

Posted by starsdad on 10/25/11 at 09:32 PM | #


The question to which I am trying to find an explicit official answer is:

“Did Filomena lock her door?”

Obviously the door was not locked when the Postal Police came; nor when AK had told Filomena that her room had been broken into.

Therefore if Filomena had locked her door someone else had opened it.

There are many possibilities:

1.  Filomena had locked the door but left the key in the door.
2.  Filomena had locked the door and had not left the key in the door.
3.  Filomena had left the door unlocked but had taken the key with her.
4.  Filomena did not remember whether she had locked the door and had taken the key with her.
5.  Filomena had locked the door, but someone else had opened it from the outside.
6.  Filomena had not locked the door, and a breaker-in had lucked-out.

AK & RS want 6. to be believed.

My question is an i-dotting, t-crossing, slender thread.

Filomena could help if she testified:

“I did lock my door”, or
“I did not lock my door”, or
“I don’t remember if I locked my door”, or
“I might have locked my door”, or
“I usually lock my door”, or
“I usually don’t lock my door”, or
“I usually lock my door when I go away”, or
“I always lock my door when I go away”

Yes, the probable answer is that Filomena had not locked her door,but if Filomena had locked her door the defence could be in trouble, for the very reason that the door was not broken.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 10/26/11 at 12:54 AM | #

Can someone very familiar with the evidence please comment on what the website Injustice in Perugia says about the footprints because now I feel very confused.  Their statements about the luminol not finding any of Meredith’s blood, and that the footprints were scrubbed off within 12 hours by the forensics team, and that Stefanoni went into Filomena’s room after being in Meredith’s room and therefore transfered the DNA in there, and that the bare footprint doesn’t match RS at all.  Their explanation of RG washing off one shoe, stepping on the mat and leaving a large print, and then putting a half-washed shoe on and then running out the door seems ludicrous but the other parts of their explanations as to why we should disregard the luminol footprints have me wondering about things again. 

All the photos on the website are illuminating as one can easily see the crime scene.  One thing that struck me was how clean the kitchen was.  Most people who would come home after a night out would eat something in the morning, or drink something, and AK was not supposed to be neat, and yet all the dishes were washed up and there isn’t anything on the counters.

Posted by believing on 10/26/11 at 01:00 AM | #

And yet she didn’t flush a poo when she saw it.  Just “yuck” and then leaves it?  I don’t get that at all.

Posted by believing on 10/26/11 at 01:03 AM | #


I would not place too much meaning on the academic record and their age.  As it happens, I have a better record.  Only thing we should look into their presentations and arguments.

As you can see, one (relatively) senior (in age and qualifications) person has paired with a relatively junior staff, perhaps well known to each other.  Usually the younger person is tasked with literature search and other routine matters.  The payment will be shared as agreed in advance.  My basic question is about the person who has approached them- i.e., how the selection was made.

It is the duty of the court to see through this process.  We are doing the job that the court was expected to do but we cannot pass any judgment on our own.  Lawyers, for example, routinely criticize the judgment without showing contempt.  We are just asking relevant questions.

People must have faith in the judiciary or else we are back to the stone age.  To be effective, not only justice must be done but it must also appear to be done.

Posted by chami on 10/26/11 at 05:04 AM | #


You probably know there are several presumptive tests for blood, the most sensitive of which is luminol. One of the others is called TMB, and another is phenolphthalein (which was used in the bathroom and made everything pink).

Although luminol is at least twice as sensitive as the others, it can also react with bleach. All presumptive tests can give false positives with certain vegetable and fruit juices, metals, or rust. For this reason none of the presumptive tests PROVES a spot is blood.

All the footprints and other spots that showed up with luminol were subsequently tested with TMB to try to exclude the possibility that they were made in a bleach-containing cleaner. The TMB tests were all negative, so bleach could not be excluded. But under the best of circumstances TMB is less than half as sensitive as luminol, and this is further reduced because the spots were apparently scrubbed for DNA in between the luminol and the TMB. For this reason, as well as the context of a murder, blood would still be by far the most likely source. Except that all three footprints Knox’s bedroom were negative for Meredith’s DNA. Luminol is more sensitive than DNA testing in this situation, but having a print with both Meredith’s and Knox’s DNA in the hallway (a common area) and three of them not having Meredith’s DNA in Knox’s room (a private area) makes bleach, if not more likely, at least a significant possibility.

The most important luminol spot is in Filomena’s room because it contains both Knox’s and Meredith’s DNA, and neither one spent much if any time in Filomena’s room. The likelihood of this being due to contamination is low. Therefore the defense went to great efforts to discredit this. They claimed that the amount of DNA was small (low-copy number) but never produced the data to back up their claim. They also (at least on IJP) claim that Stefanoni came out of Meredith’s room and went into Filomena’s room. I looked at the video and Stefanoni only stood in the doorway; she did not go into the area where the spot was found.

The footprint issue is complex but I found the powerpoint presentation here at TJMK very convincing.

As to whether RG washed up in the bathroom, as I noted the other day—he DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THERE IS NO PLACE TO KEEP TOWELS IN THE BATHROOM—so almost certainly he was never there.

When IJP says all the footprints were scrubbed off within 12 hours this refers only to Guede’s visible bloody shoeprints in the hall. The reason is that the investigators didn’t want to track Guede’s blood around.

Posted by brmull on 10/26/11 at 05:49 AM | #


One thing is that there are several chemicals that can produce chemiluminescence with luminol or colour with benzidine or tetramethylbenzidine (TMB).  Luminol gives a greening blue light and benzidine or TMB produces a red color. All are almost equally good but TMB is more convenient to use (Benzidine is somewhat carcinogenic and not recommended).  Bleach is a generic term and all bleach do not give rise to a reaction with the above chemicals (it must be a chlorine containing bleach and not a peroxide bleach; the kind of bleach that leaves a strong smell).  On the other hand, phenolphthalein is not a test for blood; it will just show where common detergent has been used excessively for a clean-up.  It just indicates alkaline condition.

Wikipedia has a good article on luminol but not on TMB.

I am not sure whether common fruit juices will give a positive test with the above reagents.  I doubt very much (and I am knowledgeable in this department).  I can confidently say that horseradish juice will give an equally strong reaction (perhaps stronger) but I am also sure that you do not have this juice in your fridge.

All these tests destroy the protein (hydrogen peroxide is part of the reagent) but the DNA is more or less intact.  A strong solution of bleach (chlorine containing bleach only) will kill most of the DNA, however.  Therefore successive and consecutive tests with two different reagents is usually negative unless the amount is very significant (lots of blood).

The reason that some of the blood stays back even after cleaning is that the protein becomes insoluble (it clots) and becomes difficult to remove with ordinary detergents. 

DNA test is very specific (you can identify the source of the DNA) and also highly sensitive (you can detect even a single molecule of DNA). In my opinion, the knife had about 1-2 molecules of DNA on the blade. 

The defence suggested contamination because they know that the specificity and sensitivity of the DNA test cannot be questioned.

Posted by chami on 10/26/11 at 11:15 AM | #

Thanks a lot chami.

@Believing, the Fischer site does a lousy job with actual facts. So do all of the FOA. Our lawyer poster James Raper posted on precisely this to refute similar claims by Steve Moore back in April.

And this on TMB was posted in a comment by the Machine on 14 January.


The footprints were tested for blood. Luminol was used to detect the presence of blood at the cottage and it is the most sensitive blood detection technique commonly used by forensic investigators. Luminol has been found to be five times more sensitive than TMB (Tetramethylbenzidine). This explains why the TMB tests yielded negative results.

Furthermore, forensic investigators who regularly work on crime scene can easily distinguish between the bright blue glow of a blood trace and the much fainter glow of other reactive substances.

It should also be noted that reactive substances also produce different colour spectrums. For example, it is straightforward to distinguish between blood and bleach. The luminol couldn’t have been reacting to bleach anyway because bleach dissipates after a couple of days and there will be no trace left. The luminol tests at the cottage were carried out on 18 December 2007.

You really need to get your facts straight before posting on TJMK because at the moment you’re seriously embarrassing yourself with some ignorant comments.

Judge Massei didn’t rule out that there had been a clean-up at the cottage at all. He specifically wrote about the clean-up at the cottage:

“This action of checking and cleaning was carried out, therefore, in the very early hours of the morning of 2 November.” (The Massei Report, page 386).

Your claim Knox and Sollecito didn’t leave any trace of evidence behind is complete and utter nonsense.

Sollecito left an abundant amount of his DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp. His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17.

At Rudy Guede’s fast track trial in 2008, Sollecito’s lawyers claimed that their forensic expert, Professor Vinci, had found Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra.

The bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede.

Knox’s DNA was on the handle of the murder weapon, which was sequestered from Sollecito’s apartment. Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he twice lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

Amanda Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was found on the floor in Filomena’s room, where the break-in was staged. Rudy Guede couldn’t have staged the break-in because his bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the cottage.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/26/11 at 01:05 PM | #

Peter’s point that the bleach should have evaporated by 18 December is very important, but it leaves no satisfactory explanation for the luminol footprints consistent with Knox.

To summarize:
1. All Luminol +
2. DNA + AK&MK; in common area (hall), + for only AK in Knox’s bedroom
3. All TMB -

Chami, I wasn’t aware that phenolpthalein reacts with detergent. If so, why use it in the bathroom of all places? I agree with your point about common fruit juices. There is a list of fruits and vegetables containing peroxidase on the web. The defense talked a lot about fruit juice, I think because they didn’t want to use the B-word in front of the jury.

Anyway, the evidence is very confusing for those of us who have studied it carefully and almost impossible to explain clearly to a jury. So chami is probably right to ignore it and focus on the mixed DNA in Filomena’s bedroom.

Posted by brmull on 10/26/11 at 03:37 PM | #


Perhaps I can answer your question.  The police suspected that some cleanup has been attempted in the bathroom.  If you follow the instructions correctly no detergent will be left (it will all be washed out) but if you try to use excessive amount, a thin film of the detergent will persist (like a slime) on the surface.  I think ordinary washing powder has been used in the cleaning.  Toilet soap and shampoo will not leave a slimly surface.  Also small bathrooms are particularly tricky to clean as there are too many objects on the way and too many cracks and crevices that resist cleaning.

By the way, what are the fruit juices found in the fridge? Police must have made an inventory. And the kind of bleach (chlorine based; not peroxide based) that reacts with luminol also have a strong (and I find it offensive) smell that is difficult to ignore.  Any particular smell would have been recorded by the police on the first day itself.

Posted by chami on 10/27/11 at 11:33 AM | #

“The luminol couldn’t have been reacting to bleach anyway because bleach dissipates after a couple of days and there will be no trace left. The luminol tests at the cottage were carried out on 18 December 2007.”

I do not understand why the Luminol testing was done so much later than the arrest of AK RG and RS.  Not until 18 December???

Posted by believing on 10/30/11 at 11:20 PM | #


That’s a good point. Maybe they wanted to be sure any bleach had dissipated. Follain also notes that the scientific police knew the bra clasp was missing within a few days, so why did they wait so long to retrieve it? They must have figured at the time that it was safe at the cottage. Hindsight is 20/20.

Posted by brmull on 10/31/11 at 01:29 AM | #

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