Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Trial: Andrea Vogt Provides More Detail On The Bloody Footprints

Posted by Peter Quennell



Click above for the report on the Seattle PI website.

1) From the prosecution testimony

Over the opposition of both defense teams, Lorenzo Rinaldi demonstrated to jurors using a precise Power Point presentation why the visible bloody footprint left on the cotton bath mat in the bathroom is attributable to Sollecito, who is on trial along with Knox for murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in November 2007….

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

The next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

Two luminol-enhanced bare footprints were also found compatible with Knox’s right foot, Rinaldi said, one exiting her own room and another in the corridor outside Kercher’s door, facing toward the room.

All the bloody shoeprints in the room where Kercher was found were compatible with the size 11 Nike Outbreak 2 shoes believed to be Guede’s, Rinaldi said, except for one smaller, unattributed shoeprint found on the pillow that was under Kercher’s body.

Presiding Judge Giancarlo Massei asked Rinaldi what size that shoe print was, he responded “37 or 38.” He then asked what size Knox wears, and Rinaldi said according to other shoes sequestered from the crime scene, she wears a 37.

A second print expert later testified that he believed the shoeprint to be that of a woman’s size 37.5 Asics tennis shoe. No Asics tennis shoes were among the 22 pairs sequestered by police from the three’s apartments.

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


2) And from the cross-examination

On cross examination, one of Knox’s defense team, Rome lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova, questioned the certainty with which the prints could be considered compatible with Knox’s foot. He noted that a match with Sollecito and Guede’s footprints was excluded, but asked why the luminol print was not compared with the other two female roommates in the house.

Under cross, Rinaldi also confirmed that luminol, a substance used by forensic police to reveal non-visible traces of blood, also could react to other substances that contain iron, such as fruit juices, chlorophyll or rust, as well as bleach.

When asked what substance the print was made in, Rinaldi said he does only image analysis and such a determination would have to be made by a forensic biologist. That witness is scheduled to testify at the next hearing. Defense teams have all hired their own forensic experts to testify during their presentations.

Posted on 05/10/09 at 12:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009
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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Trial: Italian-Language Video Report On Today’s Session

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the video. It starts immediately.

Much of the focus is on Sollecito and his lawyer discussing the luminol-enhanced footprints - we hope not for the first time.

The lawyer in shirt-sleeves who stands up near the end is Mr Maresca, the Kercher family’s representative at the trial.

We are presuming that he will have a role in presenting the family’s testimonies, which may happen in three or four weeks.

Posted on 05/09/09 at 12:21 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Trial: At The Most Dramatic Day So Far, Bloody Footprints Seem Strong Matches To Defendants

Posted by Peter Quennell





This was a very dramatic day in court.

The footprint expert Dr Lorenzo Rinaldi [above], unit head from the Scientific Police in Rome, and Pietro Boemia were like pitbulls. The defenses were in shrill disarray,

Sollecito intervened very nervously and incredibly lamely (which did him real harm). And the judges’ eyes were glued to the presentation screen.

Click above for Nick Pisa’s lunchtime report.

Bloodstained footprints found at the house where British student Meredith Kercher was stabbed to death fit her alleged killers, a court has heard.

Forensic scientists found one imprint on a bath mat and three more in the corridor leading from Meredith’s bedroom to that of suspect Amanda Knox.

The court heard how imprints were taken of Knox, 21, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25….

Police scientist Dr Lorenzo Rinaldi told the Italian court his forensic evidence was discovered by using Luminol - a substance that turns blue in the presence of blood.

“From our investigations we were able to conclude that the footprint found on the bath mat was compatible with that of Sollecito as was one found in the corridor using Luminol,” Dr Rinaldi said.

“We also found that a naked footprint found in Knox’s bedroom and in the corridor outside, again using Luminol, was compatible with the one taken from her in prison.”

Dr Rinaldi explained to the court how microscopic point to point measurements such as ‘‘heel to toe’’ or ‘‘toe and arch width’’ were used to identify the imprints.

Subsequently Andrea Vogt of the Seattle PI reported at more length:

Bloody and luminol-enhanced footprints left in the villa where Meredith Kercher was murdered are those of Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede, the director of print identity in the Rome forensic police division testified Saturday.

Over the opposition of both defense teams, Lorenzo Rinaldi demonstrated to jurors using a precise Power Point presentation why the visible bloody footprint left on the cotton bath mat in the bathroom is attributable to Sollecito, who is on trial along with Knox for murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in November 2007. Guede was convicted and sentenced to 30 years prison for his role in the crime in a separate fast-track trial last October.

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

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement after the lunch break. He and Knox maintain they were at his apartment the night Kercher was killed. “They are not mine.”

But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

Two luminol-enhanced bare footprints were also found compatible with Knox’s right foot, Rinaldi said, one exiting her own room and another in the corridor outside Kercher’s door, facing toward the room.

All the bloody shoeprints in the room where Kercher was found were compatible with the size 11 Nike Outbreak 2 shoes believed to be Guede’s, Rinaldi said, except for one smaller, unattributed shoeprint found on the pillow that was under Kercher’s body.

Presiding Judge Giancarlo Massei asked Rinaldi what size that shoe print was, he responded “37 or 38.” He then asked what size Knox wears, and Rinaldi said according to other shoes sequestered from the crime scene, she wears a 37. A second print expert later testified that he believed the shoeprint to be that of a woman’s size 37.5 Asics tennis shoe. No Asics tennis shoes were among the 22 pairs sequestered by police from the three’s apartments.

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

On cross examination, one of Knox’s defense team, Rome lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova, questioned the certainty with which the prints could be considered compatible with Knox’s foot. He noted that a match with Sollecito and Guede’s footprints was excluded, but asked why the luminol print was not compared with the other two female roommates in the house.

Under cross, Rinaldi also confirmed that luminol, a substance used by forensic police to reveal non-visible traces of blood, also could react to other substances that contain iron, such as fruit juices, chlorophyll or rust, as well as bleach.

When asked what substance the print was made in, Rinaldi said he does only image analysis and such a determination would have to be made by a forensic biologist. That witness is scheduled to testify at the next hearing. Defense teams have all hired their own forensic experts to testify during their presentations.

Posted on 05/09/09 at 10:05 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, May 08, 2009

Trial: Defendant Amanda Knox Arrives In Court Today

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Posted on 05/08/09 at 08:49 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Trial: The Trial Agenda For Today And Tomorrow Is Physical And Forensic Evidence

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for NIck Pisa’s report.

This is some of the more telling and contentious evidence. The same evidence was not successfully rebutted Last October at the trial of Rudy Guede.

1) The items in evidence

The court is now set to hear details of how DNA was found on a knife and bloodied bra strap.

Key to the proceedings will be evidence relating to a 30cm kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat days after the murder in November 2007. Forensic experts say DNA from Meredith was discovered on the blade.

They claim Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the knife, which they say is compatible with the murder weapon that has never been found.

The experts will also detail how DNA from computer studies graduate Sollecito was found on a piece of bloodied bra. The material is believed to have been ripped from Meredith’s body.,,

Besides the knife, the prosecution also claims Knox’s DNA was found mixed in blood spots from Meredith found at the scene in the shower and sink.

2) The forensics team

The forensics specialists include chief of the Italian Scientific Police Unit in Rome, Patrizia Stefanoni. She was part of the Disaster Investigations Team sent to the scene of the 2004 tsunami to identify victims…

Ms Stefanoni has given evidence that her team used gloves and tweezers at all times. She insisted that, despite claims from the defence, there was “no possibility” of contamination.

Knox and Sollecito’s lawyers insist the DNA evidence is tainted as it was poorly handled. They have also pointed out how the bra fragment was only picked up six weeks after the killing during a second search of the scene.

Posted on 05/08/09 at 06:57 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, May 07, 2009

“An American Student Kills 62 Years Old Retired Bankteller”

Posted by Nicki

[click for larger image]

Corriere reports that this crime took place yesterday.

The American student was under the effect of psychotic drugs. He was wandering through the streets of Florence. He tried to force entry through a garage door while the victim was in the process of locking it.

The student attacked the retired bankteller and cut his throat with a mirror sliver. He covered the body with a piece of cloth and then left.

Police found him sitting on a bench nearby, a few hours after the murder was discovered. He has already confessed the murder.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Puzzle Of The Cell Phones: Was Rudy Doomed From The Start?

Posted by Arnold_Layne


Current thinking is that about a year after the three were arrested, Rudy Guede’s team decided to request a fast-track trial because his team thought Knox and Sollecito might craft a defense that made Guede appear more guilty. 

After he was convicted, defense supporters of course seized upon his conviction as the basis for the “lone wolf theory”.  It is possible, however, that Guede’s defense team was more correct all along than they might have realized - that he really was being set up.

What did Knox and Sollecito actually have planned?  Admittedly Sollecito had his knife fetish, and Knox’s sexuality was, well, you know.  But since none had committed any violent crimes in the past, it is unlikely that they planned to commit one quite so significant as a murder at this point. 

Contrary to what I had previously thought, Mignini may also be correct in his game theory.  Their plan might have been to coerce Meredith into having sex with someone.  If they couldn’t “talk her into it” they planned on intimidating her with the very large knife they brought along.

There is an inconsistency in the various scenarios that have been put forth.  In one scenario, all three came to the cottage intending to physically harm Meredith, and that is why they brought the knife and turned their cell phones off.  This doesn’t really make much sense because, for a murder, or even an assault with a knife, it was incredibly poorly planned. 

Additionally, and more importantly, none of these people had a criminal past and so it is unlikely they would plan on committing quite such a horrible crime.

Another scenario, which is along Mignini’s lines, is that the three planned to use the knife only to intimidate Meredith into doing what they wanted – which was to get involved in a sex act with Guede by coercing and threatening her.  This activity could be considered a sex game. 

If the terrifying trio had planned on going to see Meredith merely to play a game, then why did Sollecito and Knox turn their cell phones off?

They must have realized that there was a possibility that what they were setting out to do could end poorly.  If Meredith went along with what they planned, all would be okay.  Hopefully, she’d be a good sport when it was over.  If this is how it played out, there would have been no need to turn their cell phones off. 

But on the other hand, if she wasn’t a good sport, and called the police, they would be able to move to Plan B: blame Rudy, and deny that they were even there.  Turning their cell phones off fits with this outcome.

What this all suggests is that Rudy Guede really might have been set up. 

He clearly would have left evidence of a sexual attack; but the two others, not so much.  In fact, they may have planned to set Rudy up before they even asked him to participate.  Their plan right from the start might have been to bring in a third person to take the fall if things didn’t go well.

So Sollecito and Knox might have planned a plausible sequence of events as an alibi in which Guede would be the only perp and they could be at Sollecito’s smoking hash and watching Internet movies. 

So they needed someone who the police could easily accuse of the crime, and Rudy Guede filled the bill.

Why did they turn their cell phones off if they were only going to play a game?  I think they had already planned to get a bit more serious, and to implicate Guede as the perp.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Increasing Drug Clampdown In Perugia - Is It Case-Related?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Perugia has taken a lot of knocks in the past one-year-plus for being way too tolerant of drugs.

“Cocaine capital” and other comparisons hardly encourage the tourism or (we hope!) the student enrolments.

Click above for the latest (in Italian) in a stream of stories suggesting a major hit-back is now in progress. This story involved two pairs of drug-dealers (one Albanian, one Tunisian) dealing in large quantities of hashish and cocaine.

A connection? We don’t know. Cops don’t talk readily about this kind of stuff. But the size of the clampdown is unusual.

Posted on 05/04/09 at 12:34 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Meredith Was A Part Of Several Very Big Trends

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for a new report on European education trends.

Many more European students are enrolled and graduating these days, especially women, and many more students are studying outside their own country.

It appears that the UK percentage (18.3%) of students that study abroad might be the highest in the world.

Posted on 05/04/09 at 09:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, May 01, 2009

Underlying All Scenarios: The Organised Versus The Disorganised Offender?

Posted by Miss Represented




An Overview

This post is cross-posted here from my own website.

The recent 48 Hours mystery show once again attempted to lend credibility to the virtually laughable lone wolf theory. Despite its inaccuracies it seems fairly clear that the friends and family of Amanda Knox in all likelihood encouraged the 48 Hours show to air before the presentation of the crucial DNA evidence shortly to be discussed in court.

Timing is after all everything and it may have been the last time anyone would actually take the show seriously, especially considering the main theme of the show boiled down to the simply ludicrous suggestion that Amanda Knox is somehow a victim in this case and the lone wolf theory is still a credible and valid scenario for what happened that night. For those of you who are still unaware of precisely what that means, it is the idea that Rudy Guede scaled a virtually un-climbable wall and crawled in through a window of the cottage in order to sexually assault and murder Meredith Kercher.

Many following the case long ago dismissed the theory as fantasy, even Guede himself who in his statements to police and diaries admits he was not the only person in the cottage that night. Yet we must also consider that this is virtually the only scenario that the defence can now use to exonerate Amanda and Raffaele as they both strenuously deny any involvement in Meredith’s murder.

Despite the physical evidence suggesting their possible role, copious amounts of physical evidence of Guede’s involvement was found at the crime scene and a smaller amount of evidence leading to the defendants. The defence maintain this is the result of contamination and the abundance of his fingerprints and DNA suggests Guede and Guede alone killed Meredith. The prosecution allege that both Amanda and Raffaele were present in the cottage the night Meredith was killed and that once Guede had fled, a well organised and methodical clean up took place to conceal any physical evidence linking them to the crime scene. Unsurprisingly plenty of Guede’s DNA and fingerprints were left for investigators to find.

I discussed the lone wolf theory a few months ago, but as I have often found with this case, new information, ideas and personal reflection often encourages me to revisit important areas in more detail or with a slightly different perspective. I have decided to take a fresh look at this theory and explain why it is completely at odds with current psychology research and how evidence available about the set up and implementation of the crime further discredit this theory as a possibility. I have decided to write this at what is possibly the most crucial part of the trial proceeding so far: The presentation of the physical evidence linking Amanda and Raffaele to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The Organised vs. Disorganised Offender

Although the definition of homicide is reasonably clear cut, the definition of sexual homicide is much more ambiguous. There are several clear differences seen in sexual murders: Firstly the idea that killing itself is sexually arousing, secondly that the murder is carried out in order to cover up a sexual crime and finally that the offence is a homicide that has some sexual component, but in which the exact motivational dynamics remain unclear (Schlesinger, 2007). The latter seems to be the most likely scenario in this case, despite the definition being slight ambiguous it does seem clear that the murder of Meredith Kercher was a sex related homicide, possibly with a rape/sodomy motivation.

According to ‘The Handbook of Psychological Approaches with Violent Offenders’, the organised vs. disorganised crime scene characterisation of sexual homicide offenders provides a useful insight into these types of crime (Ressler et al, 1986). Clues left at the crime scene can often indicate possible personality characteristics or clues about those involved, as can the nature of the offence, the way it was planned and executed.

The organised offender

Crimes committed by an organised offender are often carefully planned and executed, there is often evidence suggesting the offender brought with them items necessary to commit the crime (such as rope or tape to bind and silence the victim), especially those that might ensure they are able to fulfil certain needs or fantasies through the act of committing the crime. There is often evidence of careful planning and as a result these offenders are usually harder to catch as they are careful about leaving trace evidence behind.

The disorganised offender

A disorganised offender on the other hand often leaves a chaotic scene behind with evidence suggesting a spontaneous or unplanned attack with very little prior planning or pre preparation. The staging of a crime scene often occurs as a direct result of a spontaneous disorganised offence and is usually spotted by investigating officers as the resulting scene is conflicted and full of red flags. By their very nature, organised offenders have no need to stage a scene as theoretically they perceive to have prepared sufficiently to avoid detection in other ways. Disorganised offenders will often stage a crime scene to cover the spontaneity of the act and the inevitable fear of being caught.

The murder of Meredith Kercher

The evidence available so far indicates that this was a disorganised offence. The crime scene photos that have been released show a messy and chaotic scene, clothes all over the floor and blood everywhere. Evidence of staging also indicates a disorganised offence as does the alleged clean up attempt. Despite the evidence suggesting a certain amount of premeditation with the murder weapon having been taken from Raffaele’s apartment to the cottage, there is no way of proving that the intention was to kill Meredith with this knife therefore we cannot necessarily conclude this was an organised offence based solely on this information. Similarly, injuries sustained by the victim also suggest she was forcibly held and that some attempt was made to silence her, yet if we are to conclude this was an organised offence, surely the offender would have brought something with which to bind and/or gag the victim?

This does not seem to be the case but rather a spontaneous group attack that resulted in a violent and chaotic murder with a subsequent panicked attempt at concealing the truth about what had happened. This leads me to conclude that the murder of Meredith Kercher is an example of a disorganised sexual homicide. None of the group had any history of violence which can in part be explained by a group dynamic. Unsurprisingly, research indicates that 64% of first time violent sexual homicides can be classified as disorganised.

Further Confusion

Despite certain pieces of evidence suggesting that this was a disorganised offence, there are elements of the crime that do not fit this conclusion. Meredith was almost certainly sexually assaulted whilst she was still alive, an attempt was made to restrain her and evidence from a break down truck driver suggests that Raffaele’s Audi may have been in the driveway of the cottage that night. Sexual assault on a live victim, evidence of restraint and evidence suggesting an offender may have driven to the scene of the crime are all associated with organised offenders. This coupled with the suggestion that the murder weapon may have been taken to the crime scene rather confuses a possible classification of a disorganised offence

As I have said many times with these types of theory and research based pieces, no theory is ever perfect especially one as reductionist as the organised/disorganised offender. This theory has been criticised for these reasons in the past. Despite this, many profilers and police officers find these sorts of classifications useful and can usually see evidence pointing to one type or another.

I believe this theory is perhaps too simplistic as it does not take into account the involvement of one or more persons in a violent sexual homicide. The slight confusion we have already seen in typology and classification of violence, added to this new confusion about whether this was an organised or disorganised offence only serves to encourage my belief that several motives, ideas and schemas about ‘how to humiliate/wind-up/hurt Meredith’ may have come into play that night. I have already suggested the possibility that there may have been a sadist in the room as well as very different motives for each of the individuals involved. The idea that certain elements of the crime are organised whilst others are disorganised not only encourages the idea that more than one person was involved but also suggests that at least one group member was firmly out of the loop.

The Blitz Attack

If Rudy Guede really had been a lone wolf killer, apart from the evidence suggesting that the break in was staged, he would almost certainly be a disorganised offender. Aside from the abundance of his DNA and fingerprints left at the scene, there are certain things we would expect to see from a lone disorganised offender that do not seem to be evident in this case.

Firstly, disorganised offenders often feel inadequate and their attacks are usually sexual in nature. These types of assailants, especially those with the intention of sexually assaulting or raping the victim, will often approach the victim from behind and due to the spontaneous nature of these offences they will usually initiate what’s known as a blitz attack. The blitz attack is primarily concerned with ensuring the victim is unable to resist or fight usually because the offender doubts their own ability to subdue the victim. The most common method of ensuring compliance is to render the victim unconscious. Unfortunately due to the amount of force employed when administering blows to (often) the head, the victim usually suffers horrendous blunt force injuries which more often than not result in serious injury or death. Meredith had no such injuries and any injuries she did sustain came much later than the initial attack.

If we are to conclude that Rudy Guede was a typical lone, first time, disorganised killer we can surely conclude he would have participated in this style of ambush, after all in one study 82% of young offenders who engaged in sexual attacks of this nature did so by initiating a blitz attack on their victims. Similarly the lone wolf theory suggests that Guede climbed through a window in order to access Meredith when he could quite easily have knocked on the door and pounced or at least chosen a method of entry that was easier and less noisy. If we are to accept the lone wolf theory as credible then we must also accept that by climbing through the window, Rudy Guede was aiming to surprise Meredith by initiating an attack to subdue, sexually assault and kill her yet the evidence suggests no such blitz attack ever took place and that the victim was very much conscious throughout most if not all of her ordeal.

The injuries sustained by Meredith are concrete, unchangeable and unchallengeable. These injuries cannot be manipulated or denied to suit. Meredith sustained defensive knife injuries to her hands in what the medical examiner likely concluded was an attempt to fight off an attack from a person standing in front of her brandishing a knife. Victims of disorganised offenders especially those that adopt the element of surprise (as the lone wolf theory suggests by insinuating Rudy climbed through the window), very rarely have defensive injuries suggesting a struggle, Meredith had several including various bruises.

Similarly research about these types of offenders indicates they often mutilate the victim by cutting or slashing the breasts, face, abdomen and genital area. Meredith sustained no post mortem mutilation. These types of offenders will often sexually assault or rape the victim after death, the medical examiner has stated he believes Meredith was in all likelihood sexually assaulted before she was seriously injured and later killed, this itself indicates some kind of restraint would have been necessary,yet this type of behaviour is not associated with disorganised offenders. The victims of certain sexual homicides often suffer injuries consistent with those found on Meredith’s body, injuries such as evidence of manual strangulation and those consistent with overkill, yet the injuries sustained by the victim do not fit the current theory of what we would expect to find in a lone, first time disorganised offender like Rudy Guede also he had no history of violence.

The crime reconstruction and evidence from injuries sustained by the victim suggests she was ambushed rather than blitzed. This in itself could suggest a planned attack, a sudden burst of ‘group’ anger or an escalation of a previously planned event.

I have previously spoken about how three people with no history of violence could easily be just as, if not more violent than a single individual with a history of violence. I still maintain that Rudy Guede would be extremely unlikely to commit this sort of violent offence alone and without provocation or consultation with anyone else. The same questions remain, why did he choose Meredith? How did he know she would be alone?

These are all questions that are never likely to be answered. This theory quite simply does not fit. It will never fit because it didn’t actually happen and insinuating that it did not only makes the 48 hours show and everyone associated with it look incredibly stupid, it also attempts to challenge an awful lot of literature and an awful lot of people, much smarter and more knowledgeable than I that will tell you exactly the same thing. Rudy Guede has not, will not and will never be proven a lone wolf killer.

A Toilet Break?

If we are to believe that Rudy Guede was a lone wolf, so overcome by lust for Meredith he broke into her house in order to rape and or kill her then we’d have almost certainly seen further evidence of sexual activity. So far the sexual assault Meredith suffered seemed to have been abandoned at some point, a point I believe Rudy ‘bottled it’ and, possibly due to excitement, fear or drugs, headed for the toilet. These sorts of actions in a lone offender do not make sense. Something spooked him that’s for sure and if he had been a lone offender there is absolutely no way he’d have left his victim in a position to escape or alert the police by going to the toilet in the middle of the attack.

Rudy admits to being at the cottage the night Meredith was killed and maintains he was on the toilet after eating a spicy Kebab when someone came into the house and stabbed Meredith. He claims to have tried to help her and then became scared and ran away. I don’t need to tell you that most of this story is what one judge accurately described as a ‘highly improbable fantasy’ yet his faeces was found in the toilet the next day indicating that he had at some point gone to the toilet. Some people believe that Rudy Guede’s version of events, despite being absurd do actually have some basis in truth as he has the awful habit of attempting to explain away things he knows the investigating officers can incriminate him with.

Like the faeces he left in the toilet for example. Rudy’s own version of events actually explains that he rushed off the toilet, had a confrontation with the killer and tried to help Meredith by stemming the flow of blood with towels, allegedly two blood soaked towels were found at the crime scene. With this in mind we could consider that Rudy became overly excited or scared during the attack, resulting in the need to visit the toilet, we could also suggest he was in the toilet before Meredith was killed. It seems highly likely that as the faeces was found in the toilet and Rudy attempted to explain it that he actually used the bathroom before Meredith was killed and certainly before he fled the cottage, after all I doubt he would hang around to use the loo after the piercing scream and the resulting knife wound, as Brian S explains in his theory, probably caused them all to flee. If the lone wolf theory is to be believed, doesn’t it seem a bit odd that Guede would be sat on the loo whilst the victim was left to her own devices? I think a far more likely scenario is that Guede was not alone in the cottage that night, Amanda and Raffaele were ‘taking care of Meredith’ while he dashed to the loo.

The Neck

I am still struggling to understand exactly how all three came to be present in the cottage that night and the exact sequence of events that led to the attack on Meredith. Arnold Layne recently put forward an excellent possible scenario as did Brian S, both can be found on TJMK.

Some evidence such as the knife and possibly Raffaele’s car in the driveway suggests an element of planning, yet other factors suggest it was anything but, as the crime itself seems rather disorganised. There certainly seem to be a number of fantasies coming through, specifically hinting at one or more of those involved gaining some kind of enjoyment in watching the victim suffer and, due to the nature of the injuries some possible fantasies linked to the victims neck.

Meredith sustained several neck injuries consistent with being manually strangled, cut with a knife before being fatally stabbed. The crime reconstruction has one of the defendants holding Meredith from behind, the other to the side holding her head up and exposing the neck with the third member of the group attacking with the knife.

So what is this apparent fascination with the neck? If they’d wanted to ensure the victim did not scream why not attempt to use a rudimentary gag such as a cloth or a sock? Though many have suggested that the neck injuries were specifically inflicted to ensure the victim didn’t scream it could (and this is where it gets pretty distressing) also be suggested that the attackers wanted to hear poor Meredith plead and beg for her life, they probably hadn’t counted on her screaming.

Any sex related homicide will usually reveal something that has a special kind of significance for the killer. I believe this may have been Meredith’s neck. They could have silenced her in any number of ways yet I believe they chose not to and underestimated her capacity to scream, it was in all likelihood her final scream, heard by a witness, that may have encouraged the fatal ‘panic blow’. It could be suggested that as this was possibly a panic blow, that the offenders had not yet finished ‘playing’ with Meredith, her final scream may have sadly sealed her fate but also ensured her suffering was not prolonged further.

Before she was fatally injured the medical examiner also determined that Meredith had been strangled. This attempt was clearly unsuccessful. According to this report:

“Only eleven pounds of pressure placed on both carotid arteries for ten seconds is necessary to cause unconsciousness.4 How-ever, if pressure is released immediately, consciousness will be regained within ten seconds. To completely close off the trachea, three times as much pressure (33 lbs.) is required. Brain death will occur in 4 to 5 minutes, if strangulation persists”

As Meredith was still very much alive when she was stabbed it could be suggested that whoever tried to strangle her, could not complete the act or believed they already had. Strangulation is more closely associated with sexual homicide than other injuries present. Most offenders who engage in strangulation apply the wrong type of pressure, use an incorrect and not yet perfected ‘technique’ especially if they are using their hands, I can imagine it’s very difficult to strangle someone if you don’t know what you are doing and especially if they are kicking and resisting. Meredith may have temporarily lost conscious, regained it and attempted to break free. This may have been the critical moment when the assailants decided to fatally injure her with the knife but not before she was taunted viciously.

Evidence available about the manner in which Meredith died suggests not only a vicious group attack but an apparent fascination with a specific area of her body upon which she sustained injuries above and beyond what was necessary to subdue or kill. This apparent fascination with Meredith’s neck could indicate the role of certain fantasies or schemas about ‘how to kill someone’. It seems odd that the assailants specifically chose to focus on her neck, after all stab wounds to the heart or abdomen are just as fatal. What was it about Meredith’s neck that provoked the injuries she sustained? I’m afraid we will never know but it is an important point to consider especially if we are to conclude that sexual fantasy may have played a role in her death.

The Two Stages of the Motive

If we consider that the murder itself was not premeditated we could also consider the motive in two different stages, this is not to suggest they are not inextricably linked as they inevitably are, however it’s a lot harder to consider the motive for the murder when attempting to understand not only the complex group dynamic but the crime as a whole. The initial motive for the attack on Meredith is still unclear. It may seem difficult to separate these two but when we do it becomes a little easier to understand.

At some stage and for whatever reason Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede ended up at 7 Via Della Pergola. They may have been high, they may have been sober or they may have intended to scare Meredith, initiate a group sex activity, even commit an act of violence. Though it may seem ridiculous to suggest this is unimportant, it really is the case. The crime scene evidence suggests the involvement of all three and though clarity and closure for the family would be ideal I fear we will never really know how or why this attack started. So it follows that we must study the trail of evidence left both at the crime scene and on the victim’s body itself. The evidence put forward so far suggests that if the plan was not to kill Meredith that night that the motive of the group may have suddenly changed at a critical point.

At one point the motive of the group changed and although the motive for the initial attack seems unclear, the motive for the later stage of the attack is not. At one point it changed from the sexual assault, argument or game, to killing Meredith.

This became the primary motive of one or all members of the group, why else would Meredith have been so viciously strangled? Why did this not kill her? Why was the attempt at strangulation abandoned in favour of the more intrusive method which caused the injury she sustained to the neck that later caused her death? Why were the group so determined to kill Meredith Kercher?

That part at least is probably easily explainable. She knew them, she could identify them and the attack had already gone so far they knew that letting her get out alive would almost certainly mean serving a long jail sentence. They decided to silence her forever. They cut her throat, took her mobile phones, locked her in her bedroom and left her to die. Later having realised the chaos and incriminating evidence left behind, two of them returned to begin the clean-up and staging of the crime scene, the other went to dance the night away.

This is why, with the evidence available so far that I believe the right people are on trial for their role in the senseless and brutal murder of Meredith Kercher. If any of you are coming here for the first time having watched the 48 hours show I implore you to seek out more information. The show barely touched the surface of how brutal and cruel the murder of poor Meredith actually was and hopefully with the aid of a little psychology theory I have successfully achieved my objective of showing how, aside from merely the physical evidence suggesting it is in fact an impossible scenario, the lone wolf theory has no credibility and doesn’t make any sense in the real world.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good Ol’ Seattle - The Other Disjunction

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Disjunction: a sharp cleavage…

We are certainly looking at a disjunction in Perugia, a pretty, gentle, and likable town which a lot of students and a lot of tourists make a beeline for. And where, despite some drugs, violence only happens about once every 10 blue moons.

Seattle is not so very different. It is a pretty, gentle and likable town which a lot of students and a lot of tourists make a beeline for. And where, despite some drugs, violence only happens about once every 10 blue moons.

Okay, maybe every five blue moons! But still, Seatle is a smart, safe town, with a high median IQ and a great university and some exceptional industries (Boeing and Microsoft). All in all, a very desirable place to live.

In both cities (twin cities, by the way) there is something of a pinch-me quality about the case we are following.

And now in the news? Seattle’s comparatively firm property values are reflecting this. It seems that people want to live in Seattle more than they do in many other places.

Posted on 04/30/09 at 01:02 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda Knox
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Tough Financial Hurdles Students Abroad Must Overcome

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for a good take on what students face financially these days if they want to study abroad, and how so many of them never quite make it.

Neither Meredith nor Amanda Knox came from particularly wealthy families, but they were both clearly driven to make it to Italy, and both worked hard to be able to do so.

In the case of Meredith, she got onto the EC’s excellent Erasmus program, which would have covered most of her bills. She may have been in line for a waitress job at Le Chic.

Amanda Knox seems to have been fully self-funded. She worked long hours in World Cup, a coffee shop near the University of Washington, and she also needed to keep working in Perugia.

Money worries and job worries might have been a contributing factor in the case. This from the Fairfield article might be one of the learning experiences of this sad affair.

Fairfield University is actually a very supportive school in terms of study abroad. It is one of the few schools that allow financial aid to transfer overseas.  “I am going to Italy so (Fairfield) is adjusting my scholarship accordingly,” said Loral DeSalvio ’

Posted on 04/29/09 at 11:11 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The wider contexts
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

US Carmaker To Be Saved By…. Italian Carmaker

Posted by Peter Quennell


It’s no secret that all of our posters and many of our readers have a passion for Italy and things Italian.

We have been saddened by the sliming of Italy as a “backward country” for the handling of this case, as sustained most recently (on steroids) by the CBS Network.

Nicki’s post on the true nature of the Italian justice system was an important part of our effort to share the real truth on a civilized and very humane country.

Now it is a matter of some joy and amusement that Italy’s FIAT is stepping in to stop the US’s Chrysler from going down the tubes.

In fact (click above for Bloomberg’s report) FIAT is so strong that it is probably one of the eight car companies predicted to be still around in the long term.

And Italy’s economy is not seeing a particularly bad economic slowdown. Though GDP shrinkage is forecast, Reuters reports that consumer morale is now at a 16-month high;

Consumers in Italy have remained surprisingly perky so far this year with the recession not producing large-scale job losses and lower inflation benefiting many families.

Unemployment is seen rising to 8.0 percent this year, according to a Reuters poll released earlier this month, but would still be lower than elsewhere in the euro zone. Spain reported last week that unemployment reached 17.4 percent in the first quarter.

ISAE said that workers’ fears of losing their jobs eased in April and their ‘view of Italy’s overall economy situation registered a strong improvement’.

It seems our Italian friends are doing something seriously right. Meredith chose well to like Italy.

Posted on 04/28/09 at 07:25 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The wider contexts
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Italian Media Is Reporting On The House Now The Owner Has It Back

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]




Above: the panoramic view, from north-east to north-west, that Meredith would have looked out onto from her window.

The last shot above is approximately in the direction of her family and her home in the UK.

Meredith’s room and other places in the house where there was still trace-evidence of her murder were cleaned over the weekend.

Her books, photos and other personal items, all of which her family want back, were long ago removed as evidence. They are in police custody and all will end up in their possession.

This afternoon the owner through her lawyer made the house available to the two other women who lived upstairs and the men who lived downstairs. They and their families and representatives were invited to come by and collect all their possessions.

ANSA reports that only Knox’s father Curt Knox showed up.

Meredith’s two flatmates Filomena and Laura did not appear, though it is believed that they still live in Perugia. Apparently none of the boys showed up either.

Knox’s father filled a plastic bag and a suitcase with Amanda Knox’s gear. He left the house in the rain. “Personal things of my daughter,” he said to journalists without wanting to reveal what they were.

Apparently the items did include mountain-climbing gear. Knox to our knowledge had not done any climbing in Europe prior to her being arrested.

The interior of 7 Via della Pergola has apparently so far not been made available to any journalists. But it seems the owner has received big offers for exclusive pictures.

Craftsmen have already begun installing bars on the windows, to make the house more secure in the future. They are also assessing the interior work needed to make the place once again rentable.

A woman who was apparently the wife of one of the craftsmen entered the cottage with a holy picture. She left it in the room where Meredith breathed her last.

A pity that the owner seems less caring.

Posted on 04/27/09 at 09:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesThe locationsOther witnessesThe wider contextsPerugia context
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Explaining The Italian Theory Of The Attack That Is Being Lost In Translation

Posted by Arnold_Layne





At the trial, Gioia Brocci from the forensic department in Rome just told the court that Knox had reacted visibly when taken into the house’s kitchen after the murder.

She said: ‘’A drawer with cutlery in it was opened, and I remember that Knox started to tremble, she closed her eyes and put her hands over her ears…. She reacted in such a way that she had to be escorted out of the room and taken into the corridor by the officers from the Perugia Flying Squad who were with her.’’

Here is one explanation that extends from that testimony. It is in sharp contrast to “A Drug-Fuelled Extreme-Sex Game Gone Awry” which definitely is not what Italians are hearing. 

This scenario leads to the inference that it starts as something of a pre-intended taunting and hazing led by an angry Knox intent on payback. It does not start as a preconceived murder because there seems no preparation for a premeditated murder.

When Knox and Sollecito arrive at the cottage, they bring a jackknife and a kitchen knife.  The kitchen knife may be wrapped in paper and carried in Knox’s handbag.  When they arrive, Sollecito perhaps puts the large knife someplace inconspicuous but handy. 

That place could of course be the knife drawer in the kitchen that Knox later reacted to.

They have collected Guede in the park, Knox lets him in, and the Treacherous Trio is complete. They gather with Meredith in the place where most people welcoming their guests congregate, the kitchen.  They may even munch on some mushrooms.

At some point, whatever has been worked out with Guede ahead of time is initiated.  What some might regard as BDSM, others, like me, consider more along the lines of aggregated sexual assault and battery with a deadly weapon. 

Knox retrieves the kitchen knife from the drawer.  She uses it as an extremely threatening weapon, to intimidate Meredith.  Sollecito and Guede physically restrain her while Guede sexually assaults her.  Possibly Knox directs Sollecito to physically assault her with the small knife to make her be more compliant.

Meredith is anything but compliant, fights back, and pleads with them. 

This leads to the jackknife wounds to her neck and eventually to her being strangled.  Meredith Kercher does not go gently into that good night.  She fights her way back up to her feet, and she screams. 

This perhaps is when Knox delivers the fatal blow to her neck with the kitchen knife, to stop her screaming and getting away to seek help.

They then drag her to her room and lock the door.  At this point, Guede grabs some toilet paper to clean the blood off himself, and they flee.  Rudy goes dancing, and the Deadly Duo go to the park till the way is clear for a clean-up.

Knox and Sollecito return after the broken-down car is removed, arrange the bedroom leaving the bra clasp, stage the break-in, and clean the rooms where they had been.  They have not been in the bedroom very much so this is left pretty much alone. 

They cleanse the kitchen of all DNA and fingerprints and perhaps bring more bleach when the Conad store opens in the morning.

Until Amanda Knox pulls the kitchen knife from the drawer, each of them, Guede, Sollecito, and Knox are acting as individuals with their consciences and moral upbringing intact.

When the knife comes out, they become something else, and the group becomes responsible for what happens, not each themselves.

Is it possible that the reason they are being so tight-lipped is that if any one of them identifies the other’s actions, then that person would have to accept responsibility for what he or she also actually did do? 

Does it stay a group action only if the group remains intact?


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