Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fourth Appeal Hearing: Updates On Today’s Court Hearing Which Is Mainly Procedural

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: Sapienza University is the largest European university and the oldest of Rome’s three state-funded universities.

  • At noon Italian time ANSA reported that the two DNA experts from Sapienza University have been given 90 days to do their retesting. They will begin their review on Feb. 9, conclude by May 9 and report their findings to the court on May 21.
  • The witness in the square on the night who said he saw Sollecito and Knox, Antonio Curatolo, will be re-examined. This is at the prosecution’s request, not at the defenses’.
  • The DNA experts have asked to break open the handle of the knife they are asked to retest. If Meredith’s blood is found to have seeped into the handle, by itself that will be case closed and verdict confirmed. Decision on hold.
  • The examinations will be carried out in the presence of representatives of all parties. Among them will be Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, the technical director of the forensic laboratory that conducted the original DNA investigations.
  • The prosecution requested Rudy Guede as a witness and that too was put on hold. Yet another shot across the bows of the defense. If Alessi or Aviello are put on the stand then Guede will also be there to heatedly rebut them.
  • The next appeal hearings scheduled by the court of appeal have been set for 12 and 26 March, and April 16 and May 21. May 21 is when the DNA experts will report back so just three days for examination of witnesses.

Judge Hellman is allowing no defense fishing expeditions, and he is giving the prosecution full latitude. Good reason for Giulia Boingiorno not to be in court: her baby was delivered today in Rome. We like her and wish her and the baby well.

Below, images of the two court-appointed DNA experts and of Amanda Knox. The Reuters caption says her lawyers are consoling her. Chris Mellas’s remarks later made it sound like the family is already trying to let her down gently.


thanks for the update, Peter.

“The DNA experts have asked to break open the handle of the knife they are asked to retest. If Meredith’s blood is found to have seeped into the handle, by itself that will be case closed and verdict confirmed for sure.”

sounds as though this could become a case of “be careful what you wish for”....

also, just to add—all of the analysis was superb! many thanks to all.

Posted by mojo on 01/22/11 at 04:40 PM | #

Hi mojo. Yeah our reading is that the defenses tried to circumscribe their request for the retesting of the knife to not include the handle.

The experts request on the handle seems to have seriously disconcerted Chris Mellas in comments just reported and as you wisely say “be careful what you wish for”!!!

Terrific day for the prosecution and with so little going for it the defense now has to decide whether to request to examine three possible land mines.

Names are Guede, Alessi and Aviello.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/22/11 at 05:40 PM | #

The defenses began with a big shopping list but pushed it without much enthusiasm. See previous remark re land mines.

Judge Hellman and his team are very on top of the papers from the two trials (RG and AK-RS) and will soon have the report from Cassation on Guede’s final appeal.

They are making up their own minds as to what on the shopping list serves THEIR further needs. So far the rest of the DNA doesnt.

If you are familiar with the zany klutzy amateur “work” of Bruce Fisher and Steve Moore and other assorted nuts, perverts and conspiracists, there is something incredibly ironic and even funny in all of this.

They thought one wrong defense fact on their lines would bring the whole prosecution case and Micheli and Massei and Cassation on Guede crashing down.

The reality today looks like the exact opposite. Any one of the various landmines could bring the defense/Fisher/Moore/etc house of cards crashing down.

You really have to love it. No wonder Chris Mellas today is looking queasy.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/22/11 at 06:05 PM | #

Hi Peter,

The appeal court developments today bode well for justice to Meredith Kercher and her family.

In the above photo the court appointed DNA expert, Stefano Conti resembles Alfredo in the endearing movie Cinema Paradiso.

In the other photo, Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga appears to be tallying up the additional years Knox will have to spend in Capanne Prison after a life sentence is likely to be rendered.

Posted by True North on 01/22/11 at 06:41 PM | #

So we must wait four months for the resolution of a case on which the world is focused. (I have just returned from a Jakarta paper in search of more on Chris Mellas…)

I find fascinating: (a) The enormity of the crime (b) & its utter senselessness inasmuch as Meredith offered to trace of provocation for this monstrous revenge. (c) Not least, the incongruity between the “nice” appearance of Amanda & Sollecito & the inhuman brutality of rape & murder imputed to this pair. Myself, I put it down to Amanda’s incitements & Sollecito’s weakness.

Although no crime buff I was once deeply taken—& even frightened, over the course of three nights—by Truman Capote’s book, In Cold Blood. Amanda’s sole redemption in the long run would lie in her producing her own thoroughgoing, scrupulous counterpart (as seems unlikely.)

It is especially the psychopathic aspect which fascinates. The latent psychopath in each awakens so quickly in the presence of the other—almost as if the mere latency had seized its opportunity to emerge.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 01/22/11 at 07:24 PM | #

Thanks again to all the wonderful posters of true fact and real information on this case.  I can’t find the reference now, but I read that the scientists assigned to re-evaluate and re-test two pieces of evidence have to receive approval to separate the handle from the blade of the double-DNA knife.  Is there a chance that request would not be approved?  What is involved in that request and when is an official response likely to come?  I hope more than anything that there IS more DNA found, and that it puts this case to rest, i.e. confirms the guilt of AK and RS, which we already know from all the valid evidence and the just verdict of the original trial.

Posted by all4justice on 01/22/11 at 08:38 PM | #

Hi Peter and all the other site experts.  I’ve found the reference at URL—>

The quote from that article, which forms the matter of my questions (my post above) is, “Mr Conti asked the judge for permission to remove the knife handle to test for DNA traces on the blade. He was told he would have to make a formal request.”

Comments?  Thanks in advance.  😊

Posted by all4justice on 01/22/11 at 10:10 PM | #

Hi all4justice,

Luciano Garofano thinks that Meredith’s blood might have seeped into the knife’s handle and said he would have have separated the handle from the knife and checked.

The fact that the two independent experts have requested permission to open up the handle of the knife indicates that they think it’s a definite possibility that Meredith’s blood or DNA is inside the handle.

I’m sure the two independent experts are aware of Professor Vinci’s claim that Amanda Knox’s DNA is on Meredith’s bra and will check to see whether this is true or not. Sollecito’s chief forensic consultant, Vincenzo Pascali, hinted that Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra. I suspect this is the reason why he walked off the case.

The defence teams’ insistence on an independent review could really explode in their faces.

Posted by The Machine on 01/22/11 at 11:06 PM | #

What are the odds that their appeal will be successful in anyway?

Posted by DougPDX on 01/23/11 at 08:09 AM | #

is this mellas at nydailynews with his inane questions and “planted” evidence theories??

Posted by mojo on 01/23/11 at 09:10 AM | #

Hi DougPDX. Absolute zero now, I’d say, that the appeal is successful. The Supreme Court of Cassation has made up its mind already that they were involved based on the massive evidence and Judge Hellman and his court know that.

The defenses just seem to be going through the motions of an appeal and are very circumscribed by what Judge Hellman has allowed. None of the conspiracy theorists are achieving anything but harm to the appeal effort or to Amanda Knox herself.

Chris Mellas even seems to be preparing Knox for the reality headed down the pike and seems to be figuring out how to let her down gently and not descend into terminal depression. His more candid statements in Perugia suggest he knows Knox did it and is cooked.

I think there will come a time when the treatments she is already getting and time served may impact her to the extent that she realizes fully what she has done and might possibly show real contrition, even if she never explains all. That will finally bring at least some peace to Meredith’s family and large circle of hurt friends. Rest in peace Meredith.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/23/11 at 09:24 AM | #

Hi mojo. I think not Chris Mellas. As I suggested just above Chris Mellas seems to be cooling it now and is being careful not to rile the court.

That reads to me more like Bruce Fisher or maybe CD Host We have people looking at Bruce isher’s cherrypicking book on Kindle and it displays a similar psychology and exactly these theories. His book frankly seems rather obsessive.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/23/11 at 09:33 AM | #

I’ve just seen a picture of her from yesterday, she looks very pleased with herself - I’m assuming it was taken just after she arrived at court and things obviously went steadily downhill from there…

Posted by Allison on 01/23/11 at 10:18 AM | #

Hi Allison. Right. Take a look at the YouTube now on the post directly underneath. You can see her mood change in a flash several times.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/23/11 at 10:56 AM | #

Peter I am really impressed by this site and grateful that you approved my registration.

Is there any way to set up some kind of memorial fund for the Kercher family? if anything, to put a memorial for her somewhere in Perugia? from what I read, she had many friends and I’m sure many would contribute, including myself.

Posted by DougPDX on 01/23/11 at 11:26 AM | #


Planted Evidence under the knife blade?


Posted by DougPDX on 01/23/11 at 11:37 AM | #

Peter you have indicated that it was the defense who did not want the handle to be re-tested, but the passage bellow from the seattlepi site has reported that it was in fact the prosecution and Kerecher lawyer who did not want to allow further tests (is this a reliable source)...while the defenses said they were happy with any tests that would lead to the truth.

At first, the judge appeared to agree that the additional step was appropriate. Forensic police did not check for blood or DNA evidence inside the handle of the knife, and some have suggested the joint where the blade meets the handle could be an important point for testing. But prosecutors and the attorneys representing the Kercher family immediate launched a strongly worded objection, saying if the court approved such an expansion of forensic inquiry without additional debate, the appeal would be getting off to “a very bad start.”

I understand the prosecution’s objection to the expansion of forensic investigation, and it would be a aggravating due to the possibility of their clear cut case being open to debate if no DNA is found under the blade. But, here I have to agree with Chris Mellas who questions the intentions of the lawyer for the Kercher family - why did he object - after all he is the only one that has/should have no interest other than true justice for Meredith Kercher.

Since the scratches on the knife suggest that it was scrubbed cleaned rather than dunked in a bowl of bleach, I would assume that any traces under the handle will still be there (that is, if there was room for such substances to seep in, in the first place). Also as the knife was not inserted fully into Meredith’s neck, there is room for argument that the blood would never get there in the first place…So all IMHO in all this examination may make the case again! but its unlikely that it will break this case.

Posted by Giselle on 01/23/11 at 11:37 AM | #

Hi Giselle. Andrea Vogt’s report is the new top post. What I said was “our reading is that the defenses tried to circumscribe their request for the retesting of the knife to not include the handle.” I wrote that late morning and didn’t intend it as a fact..

Looks like it may concern the type of knife. It may have a heat-bonded plastic handle (the images suggest that) with almost no possibility of anything between the handle and the top of the blade.

The prosecution and Maresca would presumably prefer to head off a fishing expedition where the result of an examination could therefore easily come back negative, and then that is blown into something very big that undermines the legitimacy of the outcome of the appeal.

Maresca acted just fine. He is seeking justice for Meredith but he is also seeking for justice to be seen to be done and and for some relief from the conspiracy theorists for Meredith’s hard-pressed family and friends.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/23/11 at 11:51 AM | #
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Or to next entry Andrea Vogt Reports Chris Mellas To His Credit Throwing The Conspiracy Theorists To The Wolves

Or to previous entry The Fourth Appeal Hearing Today Saturday: The Main Items On The Court’s Agenda