Understanding Micheli #4: The Staged Scene - Who Returned To Move Meredith?

Posted by Brian S

Please be warned that this is sad and hard-going, although many other passages from the Micheli report we will never post on here are even more harrowing.

Just to recap. Judge Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing and the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January he made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining key areas of the report so that we too may decide on the rationales.

This post is about the final position of the body. Why this matters so much is that if the evidence holds firm, all by itself it will prove that there was a major rearrangement of the crime scene, to try to throw investigators off the trail.

This is as near to an 80,000 pound gorilla in the room as we are likely to see in this trial. And it may even be on the trial agenda for this coming Friday and Saturday.

Reports by the crime-scene investigators and Dr Lalli are summarised in Judge Micheli’s report. They describe the detail of the scene discovered in Meredith’s room. The investigators measured and photographed the position and state of everything, including blood, as it was in the room before anything was moved.

Amongst the items noted was a white bra. Some parts were soaked in blood, particularly the right shoulder strap and the outside of the left cup. They also noted that a portion of the backstrap with its clasp fixings was missing. Meredith herself was lying on her back midway between the wardrobe and the bed, without her jeans, a pillow under her buttocks and her top rolled up to reveal her chest.

Following this survey, Meredith’s body was then turned and moved by the investigators. This revealed the other items on which her body had lain. A tennis shoe, a white sheet from the bed and a blue zipped top, all with blood stains. Also a green bath towel and an ivory bath towel, both soaked in blood, and underneath the pillow was the missing clasp section of the bra back-strap.

Judge Micheli notes that Amanda’s defence claimed that “the small round spots of blood” apparent on Meredith’s chest indicated that she was not wearing her bra when she was killed. He agreed that it was likely that these spots fell from Meredith’s gasps for breath as she lay on her back after she had been stabbed. However, he could not agree with their conclusion that her bra had been removed before this time, as similar small round spots were also found on Meredith’s bra.

Micheli reasoned that this indicated that Meredith was still wearing her bra as she gasped for breath, but that her top was rolled up and the bra moved also. Thus indicating the sexual nature of the original attack, but also allowing the small round spots to fall on both chest and bra. Furthermore, other blood evidence involving the bra indicated that it wasn’t removed until some time after Meredith had died.

He said that Meredith’s bra was found by investigators away from other possible blood contamination on the floor, near to her feet. Photographs of Meredith’s body show clear white areas where the bra prevented blood from falling onto Merediths body. These white areas corresponded to those areas where blood was found on her bra. This was particularly true in the area of the right shoulder strap which was soaked from the wound to Meredith’s neck.

Micheli said that evidence showed that Meredith had lain on one shoulder near the wardrobe. She lay in that position long enough for the imprint of her shoulder and bra strap to remain fixed in the pool of blood after she was moved to the position in which her body was finally found. Photographs of blood on her shoulder matched the imprint by the wardrobe and her shoulder itself also showed signs that she had remained in that position for some time.

Based on all this, Judge Micheli concluded that there could be no doubt that Meredith’s body was moved away from the wardrobe and her bra removed quite some time after her death.

Neighbor Nara Capezzali had testified that people fled from the cottage within a minute of Meredith’s final scream. There was no time for any alteration of the crime scene in those very few moments.

Judge Micheli asks in his report, who could have returned later and staged the scene which was found? Who later moved Meredith’s body and cut off her bra? He reasons it could only be someone who had an interest in changing what would become a crime scene found at the cottage. Who else but someone who lived there, and who wanted to mislead the coming investigation?

It couldn’t have been Laura, she was in Rome. It couldn’t have been Filomena, she was staying with her boyfriend. It was very unlikely that it was Rudy Guede, all proofs of his presence were left untouched.

The culprits ran from the cottage in different directions and there is no reason to believe they met up again before some or one of them returned. Judge Micheli stated that, in his opinion, this just left Knox who would seem to have an interest in arranging the scene the police would find.

Bloody footprints made visible with luminol in Filomena’s room contain Meredith’s DNA. This indicated to Judge Micheli that the scene in Filomena’s room was also staged after Meredith was killed.

In Micheli’s opinion the scene in Meredith’s room was probably staged to point the finger at Rudy Guede. All evidence related to him was left untouched, and the pillow with a partial palm print was found under Meredith’s repositioned body.

But whoever later arranged that scene in Meredith’s room also unwittingly indicated their own presence at the original sexual assault. Who else could have known that by staging an obvious rape scene, they would inevitably point the investigators towards Rudy’s DNA which they knew could be found in Meredith?

Micheli asks: Seemingly, who else could it have been but Amanda Knox? And this in part is why she was committed to trial, for her defense to contend this evidence.


These articles are very well argued and make the case much clearer. Thank you. Out of interest could you say what, if any is the one piece of evidence above all that convinces you that the right people are on trial? Circumstantial; crime scene; DNA; witness testimony?

Posted by TT on 02/26/09 at 02:19 AM | #

Logical and clearly written. As I read Conan Doyle’s famous quote jumped into my head—When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth.

Indeed, who else but Amanda Knox?....but, why?

Posted by mojo on 02/26/09 at 02:48 PM | #

To answer TT, its a combination of everything you mention above.  On their own, each of the tiny pieces of evidence seem quite innocent and probably explainable.  Add the pieces together and you have, as has been said elsewhere, either the unluckiest pair of innocent yet randomly accurate braggers in the 2000 year history of European Law or two big fat liars who killed an innocent girl.  Remove the impossible and these are the only two remaining probabilities.  Balance these probabilities and you’re left with two lying murderers.

Awesome Brian, as always! I look forward to your next piece!

Posted by daisysteiner on 02/26/09 at 07:00 PM | #

Tomorrow and Saturday should be very interesting. The Italian press are reporting that the 13 investigators in the case are to be called.

We should learn a lot more than in the previous hearings.

Posted by Kevin on 02/26/09 at 09:48 PM | #

Reader Tony posted this yesterday below our 21 January post on the Micheli report. Its contexting of the case within the wider situation and principles quite moved us. So we would like to repost Tony’s comment here for others to read. From Tony:

Unfortunately, the American media has its hands full of much more heinous crimes on a daily basis.  During the year of the crime against Meredith, at least seven young college students were viciously murdered in the towns and cities across America.  Mothers, children and young women were brutally murdered in cold blood for no apparent reason.  The loss of Meredith Kercher was such an insane loss of a beautiful person as well.

The American media fixates on crimes that are so sad and ruthless, over time it seems we seem to have lost our sensibilities toward life.

I am an American living in the southern United States, and I read online reports of sad news of killings of whole families in my country. Tragic loss of people who are not unlike each of us who one day hope to have kids, a garden, maybe a safe place to play with our grandchildren when we grow old.

I was an military serviceman stationed in Italy, Spain, and Sicily so many years ago. Italy is such a cool place to live.  The people are amazing and life there is a fantastic thing.  I have a dream one day to live there.  I have confidence Meredith will be honored there with true justice.  Just as you all expect.  The Italians will do what people expect of them.  They have been doing it for many thousands of years.  Meredith smiles at us for that reason.

Remember, find peace and justice for Meredith, and pray for peace for her family and friends.  May blessings find her mother, father, and sister.

Peace and cool, Antonio

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/27/09 at 03:37 PM | #

Also, a random drifter type of criminal or murderer would likely not return to the crime scene to clean because they would be worried other housemates would return to the home.  They would want to get out of there asap and not come back.  The only way you would “risk” going back and cleaning up the scene is if you were pretty darn sure no one else would be returning home anytime soon.  The only two who would have known that would be Amanda and Raffaele…They knew the other Laura and Filomena were away as were the boys who lived downstairs.  Having an empty house gave them ample opportunity to carry out the crime and clean later.

Posted by chira385 on 04/15/09 at 10:01 PM | #

A beautiful and moving post. Thank you, Tony

Posted by Nicki on 04/16/09 at 01:27 AM | #

I watched the CBS episode and I agree it was poorly produced however I think it did do a good job showing that Amanda and Rafael may not have been involved.  I want to play devil’s advocate here.

It seems everybody on this site for the most part is 100% sure that she is guilty.  I am curious what “fact” makes you all so certain.

I am troubled that news storeis constantly are commenting on how she acted after the murder as apposed to really outinling the facts.  I always found it tough to believe that this was a sex game gone wrong…there is not proof of that.  I think it may just be Guede is the guilty party but the prosecutor feels like a fool so continues to persue the other 2.  Rudy Guede was a thug that carried a knife and stole from people.  She was stabbed and money was taken…that’s fits his criminal past.

Question:  If Amanda and RAfael were seen by multiple people that night and supposedly a bum who saw her in a red coat….could they not just test her clothing?  That was a bloody, bloody crime scene and if they were in the room when it happended they would have blood on their shoes and clothing.

Question:  What puts them in the apartment?  Again if they were in that room one would think they would have left more DNA. Rudy left lots of DNA so I guess I am surprised that 90% of the physical evidence points to him when it should be equal amounts of each.  Did they wear gloves and he didn’t? A bra clasp that has 3 people’s DNA and was sitting in a pile of dust in the corner is not the best evidence.  It also does not surpirse me that Amanda’s DNA (not blood) was mixed with Meredith’s blood in the sink that they shared.  Both of the girls DNA was probably all over that bathroom and Ruede initally ran in there it is not that hard to believe that he dripped her blood in there.

I believe in innocent until proven guilty and I guess it troubles me that there is no smoking gun that proves that are guilty. I am looking forward to see more the physical evidence in the trial and also think that Amanda’s testimony may explain some of her odd behavior.

I also find it troubling that when Rudy was initially arrested he never mentioned Amanda.  You would think if she were in the room he would immediately point the finger at her.  I also think it could be a lone wolfe.  I know she had multiple bruises on her body, but that was probably him hitting her and he fighting back cause twice the amount of damage.

Just trying to get all the facts out there and not look so much at behavior.

Posted by kao555 on 04/16/09 at 02:09 AM | #

If Amanda was setting up the murder scene to frame Guede, why did she finger Lumumba? Again, the motive presented fails on logic.  I understand that her confession came after 14 hours of sweating her. Could it be that the detectives assumed Lumumba’s participation and kept after her until she gave them what they wanted?

Has Amanda been truthful? From the witness who saw her, no, but he doesn’t place her at the scene of the crime at the time of the murder either. He may well be her alibi.

Posted by Barry T on 04/21/09 at 10:55 PM | #

Barry, nobody who knows the case well has ever claimed that the interrogation lasted 14 hours. AK was interrogated twice in the period from about midnight to 6:00 am, once without Mignini and once with. All of the police witnesses said she was treated well, and she may get an additional charge for claiming that they didn’t treat her well. And AK had two weeks to recant her fingering of Patrick while he was locked up, but she never did.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/21/09 at 11:47 PM | #

Hi Barry,

Amanda Knox was not questioned for 14 hours. She was questioned for approximately 3 hours. Her questioning was stopped at 1.45am when she became a suspect. She was not coerced into naming Diya Lumumba as the killer. Six eyewitnesses, including three interpreters, have testified that she voluntarily offered his name to the police.

Posted by The Machine on 04/22/09 at 12:23 AM | #

You include in your comment a number of pieces of “evidence” that were just rumors. For example, no money was stolen from Meredith (Micheli discusses this in his report). Rudi wasn’t “known to carry a knife” - he had a knife in his backpack once that he had just stolen from the kitchen where he was found. Rafaelle, on the hand, was an avid knife collector and was known to walk around with them in his pocket, as even RS’s father acknowledges; in fact, when RS went to the police station for questioning they found he was carrying a knife.

As for the DNA, Rudi did not leave “lots of DNA” at the scene. In fact, he left the same amount on the outside of the victim’s body as RS and AK did, namely, none. There were 4 samples of RG’s DNA found: 1 inside of MK’s vagina (where it is easy to leave a sample, and which so one else penetrated), 1 on her bra (same as RS), 1 on her jacket cuff, and 1 on her handbag. The fact that his shoeprint and palm print were visible while AK’s and RS’s multiple footprints were not is most easily explained by the hypothesis that they clean up the scene sometime after RG fled.

Posted by malcolm on 07/03/09 at 03:01 PM | #

Does someone remember - and was puzzled like me - that Amanda claimed that Meredith’s body was “in” the wardrobe? If this is the case, could it be that she asked Raffaele to hide it so they would not have to see it during the cleaning of their evidences, and then they just placed it back on the floor?

Or maybe she did not say that at all?

Posted by Patou on 01/22/10 at 08:37 PM | #


Yes, I found what Amanda said puzzling, too, but for a different reason. When I heard that Amanda had claimed to have found Meredith’s body in the wardrobe the thought that came to my mind was how the forensics experts said that Meredith had originally been killed at the wardrobe, but had been MOVED away from the wardrobe AFTER her death, and that the proof was the imprint of her shoulder in the pool of blood there at the wardrobe. 
For Amanda to have seen Meredith’s body AT THE WARDROBE means that she saw the body before the police arrived.  No one could have seen the body before the police arrived EXCEPT THE KILLER.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 01/23/10 at 03:02 AM | #

Hi Kermit
You stated you never known anyone to mop floors in their barefeet? I do it all the time even when I use bleach to mop in.

The point is A.K. and R.S went back to clean up they probably took off their shoes as is custom in alot of places like Canada.

and which truth are we to believe that each of the defendants gave?

Posted by jasmine1998 on 01/23/10 at 09:20 AM | #

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Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry Cutting Through The Confusion Over Knox’s Status In Perugia

Or to previous entry Understanding Micheli #3: How Damning Is The DNA Evidence Coming Up?