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;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSIThe wider contextsPerugia context
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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;
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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?


Friday, April 24, 2009

Owner Says The House Will Be Available For Rent

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click for the report by Nick Pisa.

Seems to us a sad and rather disrespectful move. But the owner (who is retired) may have her own pressures. Apparently some compensation from the state will be claimed.

And it is again wrenching to read about the state of the interior, and the fact that some terrible signs of Meredith’s final fight for her life have never ever been removed.

There have been suggestions in the past that the action most respectful to Meredith would be to simply pull the place down, and add the land to the existing orchard.

Kermit did a Powerpoint presentation of why this rather strange house came to be, just outside of and below the city wall.

Our own shots of the house are here and here and here.

Posted on 04/24/09 at 12:59 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedEvidence & witnessesThe locationsThe wider contextsPerugia contextAmanda Knox
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Trial: More On The Crime Scene Video

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click for the Times report above.

Mr Intini said that persistent allegations by defence lawyers that forensic evidence from the murder scene had been contaminated because objects such as the mattress and wardrobe doors had been moved between the first inspection of the cottage on November 2, 2007 and the second on December 18, were misplaced because moving objects was normal practice.

 

 

Posted on 04/24/09 at 09:30 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSITrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: The Showing Of The Crime Scene Video

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report

Amanda Knox buried her face in her hands as a graphic police video of her alleged murder victim Meredith Kercher’s lifeless body was shown in court.

Minutes before the footage was screened Knox, 21, had been laughing and whispering to her former boyfriend, computer studies graduate Raffaele Sollecito, 25….

Gioia Brocci from the forensic department in Rome told the court that Miss 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.’‘

The court also heard from fingerprint expert Agatino Giunta who said that one fingerprint of Miss Knox was found on a glass in the kitchen, despite the fact she lived in the house.

Posted on 04/24/09 at 09:23 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSITrials 2008 & 2009
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

End To A Long And Unnecessary Charade Over The House

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

ANSA is reporting that the Court of Assizes of Perugia has acceded to the request of the owner of 7 Via Pergola to have his house back.

Well over one year ago the prosecutors had no objection to this. The crime scene had been thoroughly processed many weeks before, and there was no further evidentiary value.

However, the defense teams claimed they might want to run various tests and inspections. These happened only many months later. We posted on them here and here.

Nothing of value that we are aware of ever emerged from these exercises. If anything, they failed, rather conspicuously.

During the period of the very long defense-induced delay, the house was suspiciously broken into, twice, and the contents was severely disarrayed. Amazingly, defense supporters tried to win points out of this.

So the crime scene was processed well over one year ago, and everything since was pure distraction. And where Meredith lived for two months has been thoroughly desecrated.

We’re glad the defenses are FINALLY calling it quits on this sad charade.

Posted on 04/23/09 at 06:04 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesEvidence & witnessesThe locationsThe wider contextsPerugia context
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Understanding Why The DNA Is On The Knife

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]




Our DNA poster Nicki has been careful not to exaggerate the impact as evidence of the DNA on the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment.

She accepts that in the eyes of the court there could be question marks over the size of the sample and the fact that the tests could not be repeated.

However, as the knife appeared to have been thoroughly cleaned with bleach, some remain intrigued that any DNA at all was found.

Here is a short piece explaining why. This article by Juliet Lapidos was posted on the Slate site in November 2007. But we haven’t seen better, and it is still often referred to.

Slate 20 Nov 2007
How To Clean a Bloody Knife: Does DNA come off with soap and water?
By Juliet Lapidos NYTimes Staff Writer

Investigators in Perugia, Italy, have found new evidence linking a 20-year-old American exchange student, Amanda Knox, to the brutal stabbing death of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher. According to the latest reports, Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raphael Sollecito, cleaned the alleged murder weapon—an 8-inch black-handled kitchen knife—with bleach. Nevertheless, police discovered Kercher’s DNA on the tip and Knox’s DNA by the handle. Is it possible to clean DNA off a knife?

Yes, if you know what you’re doing. Knox and Sollecito were on the right track: Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, an extremely corrosive chemical that can break the hydrogen bonds between DNA base pairs and thus degrade or “denature” a DNA sample. In fact, bleach is so effective that crime labs use a 10 percent solution (one part commercial bleach to nine parts water) to clean workspaces (PDF) so that old samples don’t contaminate fresh evidence. Likewise, when examining ancient skeletal remains (PDF), researchers first douse the remains in diluted bleach to eliminate modern DNA from the surface of bones or teeth.
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So, why did Knox and Sollecito’s bleaching gambit fail? It’s difficult to swab a knife thoroughly. Dried blood can stick to the nooks and crannies in a wood handle, to the serrated edge of a blade, or become lodged in the slit between the blade and the hilt. With help from a Q-tip, it’s possible to eliminate most stains, but what’s not visible to the naked eye might still be visible to a microscope, and sophisticated crime labs need only about 10 cells to build a DNA profile.

Bleach is perhaps the most effective DNA-remover (though evidently no methodology is failsafe), but it’s not the only option. Deoxyribonuclease enzymes, available at biological supply houses, and certain harsh chemicals, like hydrochloric acid, also degrade DNA strands. It’s even possible to wipe a knife clean of DNA-laden hair follicles, saliva, and white blood cells with generic soap and warm water. The drawback to this last method is that the tell-tale cells don’t just disappear once off the knife. They linger on sponges, in drains, and even in sink traps, where wily investigators search for trace evidence.

There appears to be a great deal more DNA evidence than merely what is on the knife, of course, and early in the trial the known luminol-evidence universe also expanded.

The court was told that AK-sized and RS-sized footprints appeared under luminol on the floor of Filomena’s room.

Nicki’s two Powerpoints on the DNA can be seen here and here and Kermit’s Powerpoint (pre the new evidence) on the luminol can be seen here.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Raffaele Sollecito… Trapped, In His Own Words

Posted by The Machine

[click for larger image]

When the prosecutors present the forensic evidence, the defence lawyers will do their level best to try and muddy the waters, by claiming that much of the damning forensic evidence is due to contamination.

Well, good luck with that one. There is a FAR greater danger for them lurking…

We have already described in among other places here and here how Amanda Knox has boxed herself in with her own words.

Raffaele Sollecito has done precisely the same. Sollecito has also said things that are demonstrably untrue, and they now seriously haunt him and his team.

There is no question that Raffaele Sollecito has deliberately and repeatedly lied. He even himself admitted that he told the police “un sacco di cazzate” (a load of rubbish), and the judges at the Italian Supreme Court noted that he had lied and was reluctant to cooperate.

False claim one. Raffaele Sollecito first claimed in an interview with Kate Mansey from the Sunday Mirror that he and Amanda Knox were at a friend’s party on the night of the murder.

It would have been obviously a tad difficult for Sollecito to find any witnesses who had attended an imaginary party to provide him and Knox with an alibi. This alibi was predictably abandoned very quickly.

False claim two. Sollecito then claimed that he was his apartment with Amanda Knox.

This alibi is flatly contradicted by a silent witness: forensic evidence. According to the scientific police, there are six separate pieces of forensic evidence, including an abundant amount of his DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, that place him in the cottage on Via della Pergola on the night of the murder.

False claim three. Sollecito then came up with a third alibi. He claimed that he was alone at his apartment and that Knox had gone out from 9pm to 1am.

Phone records and computer records dont support him being at home at that time. Nor does the eye-witness who claims to have seen him in the park. Nor do the forensics in the house.

Both Sollecito and Knox gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they doing on the night of the murder. These weren’t small inconsistencies but huge whopping lies.

False claims four and five. Sollecito and Knox told the postal police that he had called the police before the postal police had turned up at the cottage and were waiting for them.

Sollecito himself later admitted that this was not true and that he had lied because he had believed Amanda Knox’s version of what had happened.  He said he went outside

... “to see if I could climb up to Meredith’s window” but could not. “I tried to force the door but couldn’t, and at that point I decided to call my sister for advice because she is a Carabinieri officer. She told me to dial 112 (the Italian emergency number) but at that moment the postal police arrived”.

He added: “In my former statement I told you a load of rubbish because I believed Amanda’s version of what happened and did not think about the inconsistencies.” (The Times, 7 November, 2007).

False claim six. Knox and Sollecito said they couldn’t remember most of what happened on the night of the murder, because they had smoked cannabis.

It is medically impossible for cannabis to cause such dramatic amnesia and there are no studies that have ever demonstrated that this is possible.

Long term use of cannabis may affect short-term memory, which means that users might have difficulty recalling a telephone number. But it won’t wipe out whole chunks of an evening from their memory banks.

False claim seven. Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11pm.

Phone records show that there was no telephone conversation at this time. Sollecito’s father had called him a couple of hours earlier at 8.40pm.

False claim eight. Sollecito claimed that he was surfing the Internet from 11pm to 1am.

The Kercher’s lawyer, Franco Maresca, pointed out that credible witnesses had shattered Sollecito’s alibi for the night of the murder. Sollecito still maintained he was home that night, working on his computer.

But computer specialists have testified that his computer was not used for an eight-hour period on the night of Meredith’s murder

False claim nine. Sollecito claimed that he had slept until 10pm the next day.

However, he used his computer at 5.32am and turned on his mobile phone at 6.02am. The Italian Supreme Court remarked that his night was “sleepless” to say the least.

False claim ten. When Sollecito heard that the scientific police had found Meredith’s DNA on the double DNA knife in his apartment, he told a cock and bull story about accidentally pricking Meredith’s hand whilst cooking at his apartment.

“The fact that Meredith’s DNA is on my kitchen knife is because once, when we were all cooking together, I accidentally pricked her hand.’‘

But Meredith had never ever been to Sollecito’s apartment. Sollecito could not have accidentally pricked her hand whilst cooking.

It’s highly telling that Sollecito wasn’t surprised that the forensic police had found Meredith’s DNA on the double DNA knife in his apartment. He obviously knew Meredith’s DNA was on the blade, which is why he made up the cock and bull story.

He was attempting to explain the presence of Meredith’s DNA on the blade, but in doing so, he further incriminated himself and Amanda Knox.

Manuela Comodi, the deputy prosecutor, explained during the hearings that the prosecution had not called either Knox or Sollecito as witnesses “because there is no point. Every time they were questioned during the pre-trial investigation they lied or tried to derail the inquiry.”

Judge Paolo Micheli, who presided over Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial and sent Knox and Sollecito to trial, didn’t believe many of their claims. He noted that they had given multiple alibis and had lied in attempt to cover for each other.

Sollecito’s lawyers claim that he lied out of confusion and fear. However, Sollecito lied from the very first time he spoke to the police long before he and Knox were suspects. His lies cannot be attributed to confusion and fear.

Like Amanda, he has boxed himself in.

Posted on 04/19/09 at 06:46 AM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedEvidence & witnessesRaff SollecitoSollecito team27 Single alibi hoax
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trial: Another Objective Report From ABC News

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Images above and below: the lay judges and lawyers tour the crime scene]

Rome-based Ann Wise reports.

1) More on the issue of the second knife.

With journalists unable to attend the hearing, information on what Dr. Bacci said in court today came from lawyers as they emerged from the courthouse and, as always, interpretations differed.

Francesco Maresca, who represents the family of Meredith Kercher, is a firm believer in the prosecution’s theory that the murder was the result of a sex game gone wrong between all three defendants—Knox, Sollecito and Guede. He told journalists outside the courthouse that Dr. Bacci told the court that whoever attacked Kercher first tried to strangle her, and then stabbed her in the throat, possibly with two different knives.

Bacci said that the knife the prosecutors believe is the murder weapon is compatible with the largest and deepest cut in Kercher’s throat but is not compatible with another, smaller wound. This is the first time a witness for the prosecution has mentioned the possibility that more than one knife might have been used…

Maresca also told reporters that according to Dr. Bacci “injuries suggest” that Kercher had probably participated in a nonconsensual sexual act before she died.

Luca Maori, one of Sollecito’s lawyers, told journalists that based on Dr. Bacci’s conclusions, the knife prosecutors believe is the murder weapon is “only abstractly compatible” with the wounds found.

2) And more on the visit by the judges, jury and lawyers to the house - sadly, extremely disarrayed, it seems..

The afternoon was the occasion for the court in its entirety—minus the two defendants, who chose not to attend—to visit the scene of the crime. A small crowd, comprised of the two judges, six jurors and their substitutes, the prosecutors and a bevy of lawyers, gathered outside the charming cottage-with-a-view on the edge of old-town Perugia. On the road just above, another crowd of journalists and photographers and some hangers-on watched as policemen activated a generator (the electricity in the house has been cut off) and opened the door to the house.

“The court looked closely at the inside and the outside of the house,” [Prosecutor] Comodi said. The court spent a good amount of time in the room where the murder took place and discussed the position of the corpse. Carlo Dalla Vedova, a lawyer for Amanda Knox, told reporters the house “was a mess, and it was important that the jurors see this. Amanda’s clothes were thrown all over the place.”

There have been many press reports of bad forensic work and bad handling of the scene of the crime on the part of investigators, and this is expected to be an important part of the case the defense will make. The house where the crime took place has also been subjected to two break-ins in recent months, adding to the sorry state of the premises. The house is in “terrible condition,” Bongiorno said. “The mess made by the searches was compounded by the two beak-ins.”

 


Trial: Short Video By AP Of Today’s Happenings

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 04/18/09 at 03:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: The Lone Wolf Theory Takes Yet ANOTHER Huge Hit

Posted by Peter Quennell

Judge Micheli devoted many pages to eliminating the possibility that just one perpetrator (a lone wolf) could have carried out such a violent and prolonged crime.

He based his analysis both on the overwhelming signs from the autopsy of a group struggle and the overwhelming signs of a clean-up, which he concluded only Knox would have had a motive for.

The independent consultant, Mauro Bacci, has now testified at trial that there were attempts to strangle Meredith, and that TWO knives were used in the attack on her. The large knife found at Sollecito’s house with DNA on it is compatible with the final, irrevocable blow.

Posted on 04/18/09 at 08:40 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesThe officially involvedEvidence & witnessesThe two knivesTrials 2008 & 2009Hoaxes re Guede33 Sole attacker hoax
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Trial: One Busy Day On The Court Agenda For The Judges And Jury

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Nick Pisa’s summary of planned events. We expect to have some shots in due course.

Posted on 04/18/09 at 03:14 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesDNA and luminolOther physicalTrials 2008 & 2009
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Best Shot At Making Amanda Knox’s Timeline Alibi Work

Posted by FinnMacCool


Amanda Knox’s first encounters with police and other witnesses the day after go to the very heart of her credibility.

Of her truth-telling or otherwise about events, and of her whole innocence or otherwise in the crime. 

On Sunday 4 November 2007 Amanda Knox wrote an email to a student welfare officer at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Knox related what she said had happened at the house on Friday the 2nd before the communication police arrived to establish why Meredith’s two mobile phones were tossed into a garden a kilometer away.

This email was written while Amanda was alone and under no pressure.

Copies went to various relatives and friends. For many of her supporters, it represents the essential truth of what happened, before Amanda was interrogated by the police and began changing her story.

This analysis covers the period from noon to a quarter past one on the Friday, the day that Meredith Kercher’s murder was discovered.

It compares the claims in the email with cellphone records for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the period.

The contents of the email

According to the email, Amanda and Raffaele were initially at Raffaele’s apartment at noon on November 2nd. The email describes how Amanda spoke with Filomena Romanelli and then tried to reach Meredith Kercher by phone.

It then explains that Amanda and Raffaele returned to the cottage, where they found evidence of a break-in, alongside some bloodstains which Amanda had already noticed.

They also observed that Meredith’s door was locked. After they tried and failed to break down this door, they phoned the police.

After that, Amanda claims she called Filomena once again, who said she would return to the cottage.

Cellphone records do not support this story, and nor do the police.

Two police officers arrived at the cottage to investigate Meredith’s two phones, which had been found in a neighbor’s garden. The police claim they arrived at 12:25, and video evidence appears to support this.

Amanda and Raffaele dispute the video evidence. They claim that the police arrived much later, after the call to the emergency services which Raffaele made at 12:55.

Below, we look first at the scenario described by Amanda, followed by the scenario described by the police, with a view to determining what really happened in that crucial hour between noon and one. 

First scenario: Amanda Knox’s email is essentially true, the police account is essentially inaccurate

If we assume that the police are basically incorrect, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically correct, in their respective rememberings of what happened on November 2 between noon and 1315, that leaves us with several puzzling questions. Here are some of them:

1. Where was Amanda at 1208?

At 1208, Amanda calls Filomena. Amanda claims that she made this call from Raffaele’s house.

However, in his prison diary, Raffaele describes the same conversation as taking place at the cottage.

Filomena says that Amanda explained, in that conversation, that she was at the cottage, and was on her way to fetch Raffaele.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Even though Amanda claims to have walked alone to the cottage, and to have been concerned enough about the bloodstains to want to bring Raffaele to have a look at them, she never attempted to phone Raffaele at all during the whole of that morning.

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda first tried calling Meredith’s Italian phone at 12:07. At 12:08 she calls Filomena, who advises her to try Meredith’s phones. She doesn’t tell Filomena that she tried the UK phone just a minute ago (nor does she mention this in her email).

In the email, Amanda says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena – cellphone records support this claim. But she also says that the Italian phone “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her cellphone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (The WeAnswer Call service, which prides itself on how quickly it answers its customers’ calls, boasts that their average speed-of-answer is 5.5 seconds.)

Next, Amanda claims that she returns to the cottage with Raffaele.

But why doesn’t she try Meredith’s phones again? If the Italian phone was going to continually ring again – even for just three seconds – she’d now be able to hear it through the bedroom door (assuming Meredith had it with her).

But this doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Amanda or Raffaele.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

In the 12:08 call, Amanda told Filomena she would try Meredith’s phones and then call her back.

In the email, Amanda claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later – after Raffaele’s finished calling the police at 12:55.

But cellphone records show that Amanda never called Filomena back at all.

On the other hand, Filomena DOES call Amanda back – at 12:12 and 12:20. It’s not clear whether Filomena receives an answer to these calls, or simply leaves a message – certainly, Amanda’s email makes no mention of having received these calls.

Then Filomena tries a third time, at 12:34, which is when Amanda tells her that Filomena’s own room has been broken into.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Her cellphone records also show that Amanda called her mother at 12:47 – but she makes no mention of this call in her email.

Edda Mellas claims that she told Amanda to hang up and call the police – but Amanda makes no mention of this advice in describing their decision to call the police.

The email describes the decision to call the police as something between herself and Raffaele, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

But in the ten minutes before Raffaele calls his sister (an officer in the carabinieri), Raffaele has received a call from his father (at 12:40:03) and Amanda has made a call to her mother (at 12:47:23) – neither of which calls is mentioned in the email.

Raffaele’s sister gives him the same advice that Edda Mellas gave Amanda: hang up and call the cops.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

Raffaele makes the successful emergency call (lasting nearly a minute) at 12:54:39.

Meredith’s UK phone is activated at Police HQ at 13:00 – as part of a conversation which the postal police at the cottage are having about that phone with staff at HQ.

This conversation mentions Filomena’s arrival, and the information she’s given them about it being a UK phone.

This means that we need to fit the following activities into those five minutes, if Amanda’s email is to be believed:

  • The postal police arrive later than 12:55
  • Amanda and Raffaele give them a tour of the cottage, including the suspected break-in and the bloodstains in the bathroom
  • Amanda writes down Meredith’s phone numbers for them, on a post-it note which Luca Altieri notices on the kitchen table when he arrives
  • Marco and Luca arrive (and they see the post-it note) and have a conversation with the police about the ownership of the phones
  • A few minutes later, Filomena and Paola Grande arrive. Filomena explains to the police about Meredith’s phones (one lent by Filomena, and the other a UK phone)
  • The postal police make contact with their HQ
  • During this call, Meredith’s phone is activated (at 13:00)

In addition, at some point, Paola sees Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom – but it’s not clear whether this happened before or after 13:00. It could have been after.

But even if we move this emergence from the bedroom to after 1300, there simply isn’t enough time for all those other activities to take place in a period of less than five minutes.

Second scenario: the police account is basically accurate,  Amanda Knox’s email is essentially untrue

Let us take the opposite scenario, and assume that the police are basically correct, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically incorrect.

This then provides us with answers to those puzzles above, and also fills in some of the gaps that were otherwise missing from the timeline.

We also find that this new timeline is supported by evidence from other witnesses.

1. Where was Amanda at 12:08?

Amanda was at the cottage, and so was Raffaele.

Amanda was not telling the truth when she said she was going to fetch Raffaele – since Raffaele was in the room with her when she made the call.

This matches with the versions of both Filomena and Raffaele, who both believed that the call was made from the cottage.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Amanda never called Raffaele that morning because they were with each other the whole time – just as they continued to be with each other every moment until their arrest (except when separated for interrogations).

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda called from the cottage in the first place, so there is no longer a question of why she called Meredith only from Raffaele’s apartment.

Also, she allowed the phone to ring only for three or four seconds because she knew that Meredith would not (and could not) pick up – she knew Meredith was dead.

The purpose of making these calls was simply for them to appear on her own cellphone record, to help construct an attempted alibi.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

This question can be answered if we accept the hypothesis that Amanda’s intention was for Meredith’s body to be discovered by Filomena and/or Filomena’s friends.

When the police found the couple outside the property “waiting”, they were really waiting for the one living person that they had called that morning – Filomena.

Amanda ignores the calls at 12:12 and 12:20 because she wants Filomena to arrive at the cottage and to be the one who makes the “discoveries” of the break-in, and the locked bedroom.

So that when Filomena arrived at the cottage, Amanda and Raffaele (at the front of the house) could have said, “Oh, we decided to wait for you. Let’s go in together.”

However, Amanda answers Filomena’s 12:34 call because the police are already at the cottage and have already discovered the alleged break-in.

So now Amanda needs Filomena to arrive as quickly as possible – and at this point she tells Filomena about the break-in and the locked door.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, Filomena decides to call Marco and get himself and Luca to go there first – knowing that they will be able to reach the cottage much more quickly.

Amanda tries to delay the breaking open of the room by telling the police, and by telling Luca, that it’s normal for Meredith to lock her own door.

She does this because, when it comes to the breaking down of the door, they want the others to be the first ones on the scene - and we can see that when the door is broken down for real, Amanda and Raffaele withdraw to the kitchen.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, she can’t resist boasting later to Meredith’s English friends that she herself was the first on the scene.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Amanda’s email is essentially fictional.

The police arrived around 12:30, which is when they said, and this is corroborated by the CCTV evidence from the car park (timed at 12:25).

So the police have been in the cottage for about a quarter of an hour when Amanda calls her mother.

Amanda is first called away from the police to answer Filomena’s 12:34 call, just as Raffaele is called away a few minutes later to answer a call from his father at 12:40.

However, it is not until the arrival of Marco and Luca that they are able to escape to the privacy of Amanda’s bedroom, where they make the phone calls first to Amanda’s mother, then to Raffaele’s sister, and then the two calls to the police.

Notice that Edda and Raffaele’s sister both give the same advice: Hang up and call the police. And that’s exactly what they do, in fact.

However, in trying to create a fictional backdrop for making the emergency calls, Amanda forgets that she’s already called her mother.

Now she tries to explain that she and Raffaele called the police because of their panic over the locked room – panic which seems not to exist when Amanda is telling Luca that Meredith usually locks her door.

(Notice that in this version, we don’t need to believe that nobody can understand what Amanda says.)

After making these calls, Amanda and Raffaele emerge from the bedroom, as described by Paola Grande.

Paola’s memory of arriving at the cottage just before one is supported by the activation of Meredith’s cellphone at 1300.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

It doesn’t. The tour of the cottage takes a more realistic fifteen minutes (roughly 12:30 to 12:45).

The police spend ten minutes talking to Luca and Marco about the phones, and about the suspected break-in, and so on (roughly 12:46 to 12:55), while they await the arrival of Filomena and Paola.

The girls arrive shortly before one, as the girls said, and as the phone records support, and explain the situation of the phones to the police (roughly 12:56 to 13:00).

There follows another fifteen minute examination of the house, culminating in the breaking down of the door by Luca Altieri at 13:15.

Conclusion

This version may or may not be accurate, but at least it is supported by external evidence, not contradicted by it.

It is easy to see why Judge Micheli’s report found that the cellphone records do not support Raffaele Sollecito’s claim to have called the flying squad before the postal police arrived.

It is also easy to see why these timings undermine other stories told by the two defendants – such as Amanda’s December 2007 claim that she thought the postal police were in fact the police that Raffaele had just called.

Such a claim is absurd, given that Battistelli contacts HQ with a status report less than five minutes after Raffaele’s 112 call was made.

The bottom line is that this does not look promising for Amanda Knox.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Plight Of CBS Network: Anti Justice For Meredith Is Increasingly Bad Business

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: billionaire Sumner Redstone, largest CBS stockholder and big loser]

For the record TJMK, our not-for-profit tribute to Meredith, has been one of the fastest-growing new websites in the world.

At 1,669,013 world-wide now (out of about 7 million) it has more than twice the readership of any other site on the case except pro-Meredith PMF.

But it is less easy being an American television network in this day and age.

In the last three months of 2008, broadcast networks lost nearly three million viewers, or about 7 percent of their total audience. Overall television viewing is up, however, and some big cable networks, like USA and TNT, are attracting new viewers.

Broadcast networks still bring in the largest audiences, but now they are facing a deep advertising recession that is hitting both the networks and their local stations.

That sorta explains why over two years the stock of CBS which broadcast last Saturday’s trashy report has really tanked. 

While the US stockmarket as a whole is down less than 40 percent, CBS stock is now down by MORE THAN 80 PERCENT.

Which may help to explain why CEO Leslie Moonves (image at bottom here) is now running scared for his job.

CBS has a classy and successful lineup among the evening drama shows. But its evening news broadcast (with Katie Couric) is relentlessly at third place, and its prestigious “60 Minutes” expose franchise has seen better days.

And CBS’s tabloid “48 Hours” expose franchise, which broadcast the trashy “Amanda Knox Show” last saturday night at 10, is really down there in the bargain basement.

The “48 Hours” report rarely breaks into the top 20 among CBS’s own shows And it rarely breaks into the top 100 among all US television shows - it was 101 overall last year.

CBS seem to have tried very hard to promote its “48 Hours” on the Perugia case. But there’s zero buzz in the US and, as our poster Nicki reported from Italy, the “48 Hours” was just a tiresome yawn there.

So far, I haven’t seen any report of the scandalous 48 Hours show on this side, and this indifference speaks volumes to me… In the collective imagination, the FOA PR machine has done a great job in representing America at its lowest: arrogant, xenophobic and unreasonable.

Evidently the Italians have got past indignation and are bored of being lectured about the serious flaws of their judicial system and their third-world-country incompetence level. They’ve got more important thing to worry about, like the recent earthquake and the economic crisis to name a few.

So, let the Perugia trial take its course, and the guilty be sentenced to the maximum penalty. This is what the general feeling is on this side of the ocean.

Viewers of the trashy “48 Hours” were few in the US, probably below 4 million. And by the look of the advertising that the show carried, they were mainly elderly and of lower income.

Very nice people of course, but not really the demographic the networks would now die for.

In strong contrast, the prestigious NBC Dateline expose franchise did a wonderful job of explaining the case while remaining highly objective.

  • Meredith’s memory was respected by Dateline, rather than repeatedly trashed with the use of very sick images
  • There was no one-note Captain Ahab on a manic vendetta, obviously way out of his depth on the actual evidence
  • There was no spurious recreation of what a witness heard that got the basic facts about her very seriously wrong.
  • There was no piling on to Italy and all things Italian - and some real live Italians were interviewed for the piece.

And guess what? The audience for NBC’s Dateline was MORE THAN TWICE AS LARGE as CBS’s. And a lot more upscale and sought-after.

NBC very deservedly came out ahead on the heavy investment in its painstaking report. And NBC certainly did not have to get down into the gutter to achieve it.

Learn something from this please, CBS, before you become a dinosaur in the tar-sands.

There is no longer a profit to be made out of trashing poor Meredith.



[above: Leslie Moonves, the beleagured CEO of the CBS network]

Posted on 04/15/09 at 08:38 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, April 13, 2009

CBS Report Sets New Record For Trashing Of Meredith, Xenophobia, Multi-Inaccuracies, Possible Libels

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: the CBS producer Doug Longhini]

Those who really know the case well were widely appalled at this vicious and highly misleading piece of propaganda.

A number of complaints have been registered. In the next several days, we’ll be analyzing the CBS report and the reaction at length.

Meanwhile, for those who did not see the CBS report and would like to, try clicking on the image above. It should just open and play.

And if it does not work for you, please tell us, or download and play this zipped version.

Posted on 04/13/09 at 03:22 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe prosecutorsHoaxers from 2007Paul CiolinoMore hoaxersNews media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contexts
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meredith’s Perugia #8: Heart Of A Humane And Very Civilized Part Of The World

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Posted on 04/12/09 at 08:04 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

CBS Reporter’s Bizarre Claims About Prosecutor And Reporters

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





Peter Van Sant of CBS is the slightly confused-looking reporter in the images above and below.

In promoting his “48 Hours” report tonight, which by all accounts seems intent on equaling CBS’s record for worst report on the case, Mr Van Sant has come out with an interview which is an absolute classic for how not to do such things.

First, consider Mr Van Sant’s remarks about one of the prosecutors in the case. 

As for the accusation that Kercher was killed over a sex game, Van Sant cites an Italian blogger for putting that notion into the prosecutor’s mind. Van Sant said the blogger claims that she speaks to a dead priest who tells her what happened at crime scenes.

The blogger told the main prosecutor in the Knox trial, Giuliano Minnini (sic), that this was a satanic sex game and that’s how the theory started, Van Sant said.

Sliming of a prosecutor in this fashion has already been strongly protested against by Amanda Knox’s own defense team.

And the prosecutor in question, one of two (real name: Mignini), many weeks ago made clear that he had NOT listened to the Rome blogger (had locked her up in fact), is NOT especially pushing any particular theory of motive for the crime, is NOT especially central to the continued momentum of the trial - and has actually started a lawsuit against PRECISELY this kind of libel!

Second, consider Mr Van Sant’s remarks about the reporting of the case.

Among the many (actually rather neutral and non-inflammatory) journalists on the case that Mr Van Sant seems intent on sliming is of course Andrea Vogt of the Seattle PI. He all but refers to her by name and it seems rather obvious who he had in mind.

Ms Vogt is the reporter from the Pacific Northwest who is based in Bologna, Italy and who has been covering this case for the Seattle PI for over a year. Many observers have been impressed with her thorough, objective and factual reporting, particularly since the trial phase began.

Anyone who has been following the case knows how non-objective and pro-defense much of the reporting has been in the US, and how much fluffy air time has actually been arranged by the family-hired PR firm Marriott and company.

So the particular focus of Mr Van Sant’s criticism is really surprising. After claiming that Italy has the most irresponsible tabloid press on the planet and that local Seattle papers like the Times and the PI can’t afford to send reporters to Italy to cover the story, he explained that they hire “stringers”. Apparently these stringers simply translate articles from the Italian tabloids into English and, via the local newspaper circuit which publishes them, they get recycled and become legitimate news.

Mr Van Sant actually uses the terms “filtered” or “laundered”, as if he were talking about Mafia money being invested in life insurance policies.

The Seattle PI has enough problems without having to deal with this irresponsible and possibly defamatory remark. And Andrea Vogt, who to our knowledge is the only “stringer” working on this case who is filing stories for the PI, has been providing some of the best coverage of this case to US readers.

There are many good reasons for this: Ms Vogt is fluent in Italian and lives in Italy for much of the year; and she is a talented writer and an intelligent reporter. But most important, she has been making the trek from Bologna to Perugia and back, and spending Fridays and Saturdays in the courtroom for hours on end.

She recently wrote a piece on the mood in Seattle for Panorama, an Italian publication. For that article, she interviewed people in Seattle—including friends of Amanda Knox.

I would imagine that as soon as each daylong court session ends, she sits down - like the other serious reporters covering this case - and tries to turn out a fair and accurate report of the day’s event under very tight deadlines. Her reporting for the PI has been excellent and fair.

It is not only unfair, it is also dishonest to imply that Andrea Vogt is translating Italian tabloids and trying to pass it off as original reporting. If this interview with Mr Van Sant is any indication, then CBS viewers tonight may be in for an evening of fiction.

In which case, I think I’ll watch “The Greatest Story Ever Told” or “The Sound of Music” instead. Closer to reality than is CBS….



Friday, April 10, 2009

Rumors In Manhattan About Ludicrously Bad CBS Report

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Click above for the CBS promo for a “48 Hours” report this Saturday night.

Early in the case CBS seriously shot itself in the foot. Now Manhattan lawyers and media people who are following the case are really amused that CBS seems to be about to do it again.

And CBS is said to be very, very nervous at putting itself out on such a limb. The best report by a US network so far would have to be that put together by NBC. And the worst report by a US network so far would have to be that put together by CBS.

The previous CBS report was confused on many of the basic facts of the case. And CBS tried to trash a key witness who gave some very convincing testimony a few weeks ago.

The apparent mainstays of this new report? The old chestnuts again. Prosecutor Mignini is REALLY evil!  And Amanda Knox was somehow coerced into fingering Lumumba - and that in the course of a 14-hour interrrogation.

Talk about time-warp.

Not only have the claimed hitting of Knox and the endless interrogation already been discredited at trial by a number of witnesses. But the “evil” prosecutor has initiated an investigation into whether she committed slander against the interrogators.

More after the CBS broadcast. This should be most interesting.

Posted on 04/10/09 at 01:23 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Meredith Stories In Croydon Guardian Now Top Ninety

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Above: the new shot of Meredith that the UK’s Croydon Guardian is now running with its stories which appear about weekly.

Meredith was not born in Croydon half an hour south of the center of London. But she went to school there, and she lived most of her first 18 years there.

Although she made many friends during her two years at Leeds University, and quite a few in Perugia, those friends she would have known longest all lived in this area.

In our early days, a Croydon Guardian reporter reached out to us, and the paper ran a story on TJMK. We got to be labeled “conspiracy theorists” whereas our main role is just the opposite, but the story meant well and we keep an eye on the website.

The paper’s reports on the case have all been factual and sympathetic Even if they were the only source of news on the case locally, Croydonites would be better informed on the case than most Brits. Nothing in-depth written about Meredith herself, though, and no friends of Meredith ever quoted as of yet.

She appears to be wearing braces in the shot above, by the way. Setting herself up for a lifetime of nice smiles.

Posted on 04/08/09 at 09:43 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reporting
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