Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trial: Defense Witnesses Testify On Cannabis Effects And Meredith’s Mobile Phone

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for Nick Pisa’s Sky News report.

1) On the effects the claimed smoking of a joint would have had

A toxicologist called by lawyers defending Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the Meredith Kercher murder trial has told the court that smoking cannabis does not make you aggressive.

Dr Maurizio Taglialatela was asked to describe the effects of the drug after the jury heard how both Knox, 22, and Sollecito, 25, had ‘‘smoked a joint’’ the night Meredith was murdered…

Dr Taglialatela said: ‘‘Marijuana can have psychotropic effects for up to six hours from the initial consumption and it can affect the memory in particular, especially short term memory.

‘‘The user will remember clearly what happened before they took the drug and after but the period they were under the influence of it will be very vague.

‘‘Marijuana affects your reaction time and it can make you dream more, it leaves you relaxed but unlike other drugs, such as cocaine, it does not make you aggressive.”

Under cross examination, Dr Taglialatela did say that a violent reaction from the use of marijuana was possible if mixed with alcohol.

2) On a transmission to Meredith’s phone a long way away from the house

The court also heard from mobile telephone expert Bruno Pellero, who was called by Sollecito’s lawyers.

He described how records showed that Meredith’s mobile phone had received a picture message at 22.13 on November 1.

He said: ‘‘This message was received on Meredith’s mobile phone via a cell which does not cover her house and is nearer to the garden where the mobile was found.’‘

The trial has already heard how Meredith returned home at around 9pm and pathologist Luca Lalli told the court he estimates time of death at around 11pm but Mr Pellero’s evidence would suggest she was killed earlier.

Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said: ‘‘This is clearly in line with Raffaele’s alibi as he was at home the whole time.

‘‘It’s clear that if Meredith’s phone had a message at 22.13 via a cell nowhere near her house, then the accusation against Raffaele is crumbling.’‘


Regarding the mobile phone claim. As our poster Jools just commented on the PMF forum:

Is this the best Bongiorno can produce? Lots of Meredith’s calls from the cottage were picked up by the cell [tower] near Mrs Lana’s garden.

The judge at the pretrial told Bongiorno and Co. that it was not at all logical to think that every time Meredith made a phone call she would walk to Mrs Lana’s garden to use her phone.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/18/09 at 05:34 PM | #

Ha… thanks Peter.

I just opened the comments to ask what the cell phone evidence is supposed to mean and see that you’ve already clarified.

I didn’t find the wording‘’... via a cell no where near her house” very clear. Judging from your comment though I’m assuming they were referring to a cell phone tower.

Even so, how is this supposed to prove that Raffaele wasn’t involved? I’m not sure how her cell phone receiving a message from a different location (if it even is an unusual tower) proves he wasn’t there?

Isn’t it clear that whomever killed her carried her phones around a bit??

Am I missing something here?

Posted by Autumn Stinar on 07/18/09 at 06:15 PM | #

well, at least sollecito’s gang is beginning to tip their hand.

Posted by mojo on 07/18/09 at 06:18 PM | #

Hi Autumn. Yes the mobile phones and their locations have been a large and interesting part of the whole nexus. Our poster Finn and several others have really studied the calls made and from where and when, and to many it is more gripping and compelling even than the DNA evidence.

All of the mobile evidence is here, two of Finn’s analyses included, and a great Powerpoint analysis by Kermit on the location being discussed today is here.

In part why Patrick looked a convincing suspect once Amanda fingered him was that his own mobile might have been pinged by a tower near the house.

What Sollecito’s people are trying to prove is that he was provably at home when Meredith’s death occurred.

Their autopsy expert tried to demonstrate that Meredith’s time of death was maybe an hour earlier than at least four prosecution experts testified to.

Now their mobile phone expert is trying to demonstrate that Meredith had met her fate and her two mobile phones had been tossed while Sollecito was at work on his computer (or whatever).

This may be making Knox’s people nervous. Signs of some separation here. You may recall that in the days after Meredith’s death Sollecito said that Amanda took off for some hours, and he has never retracted that statement.

But because of a footprint that appears to be his, his DNA in the room, the many wounds on Meredith, the prominent role of several knives, eyewitness statements, and so on, what Sollecito’s team is attempting looks like a long shot for sure.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/18/09 at 06:33 PM | #

Peter, wasn’t Guede’s trainer’s footprint also a match for the bloody print?  I don’t know if you’re familiar with the logic of “Occam’s Razor,” – Of several acceptable explanations for a phenomenon, the simplest is preferable.—  Since his bloody marks have been found in the room, that shoe print is Guede’s. 

Again using the simplest explanation, here is Guede without his cell phone and freshly released from the gaol.  What is more complex, meeting up with a pair of people at a location he had not frequented before or perhaps by chance on the street. Or to go to the flat of his friends to invite them to a party later that night?  Or look for a place to spend the night?

As for Amanda and Sollicito, the simplest explanation, based on Meredith’s friends’ testimony is not some sort of sex game, but a domestic dispute. Couldn’t some of her injuries have occurred then?  It occurred early in the evening, given the testimony of the homeless spectator.  It involved a knife wound. It was serious enough for Meredith to have left blood in the bathroom and other places where it was found. 

The phone call and the scream later in the night would be evidence that the wound of itself wasn’t fatal.  However, the loss of blood could have contributed.  Since time of death is fixed during an interval, that ping on Meredith’s cell does give credence to an earlier time of death.

And yes, Amanda did clean the place up because they couldn’t find her fingerprints.  Her attention was to areas outside the murder room. She didn’t clean the bathroom because nothing happened in the bathroom. The simplest explanation is she believed she was responsible.  Sollicito wouldn’t have provided her an alibi were he not present. 

As I understand the neck injury, it was a crushed larynx with pressure applied on the left side. Isn’t Guede right handed?  Isn’t this the sort of injury that comes from the front with the victim laying down?  Didn’t the other set of knife wounds occur after the choking?  And when she was laying down?     

I remain unconvinced of their guilt for murder.

Posted by Barry T on 07/19/09 at 03:25 AM | #

I see, so Knox and Sollecito inflict some very serious wounds, and then Meredith waits around bleeding waiting for Guede to arrive completely by coincidence and then strangle her, while Knox and Sollecito retreat to a safe distance to watch. Then Knox and Sollecito assume guilt and perform a cover up.

This unlikely chain of events does not pass “Occam’s Razor” test either.

Even in this scenario, Knox and Sollecito are barely not guilty of murder. However, your interpretation of the facts and theory are so unlikely to the point of being absurd. It doesn’t merit serious consideration.

Posted by bobc on 07/19/09 at 06:09 PM | #

Barrt T,

I think that ‘foot print’ Peter was refering to is not ‘the shoe-print’ in Meredith’s room, and which has already been identified as Guede’s; rather, it is ‘the bare foot-print’ in (Meredith’s) blood found on the bath matt in the bath/shower room next to Meredith’s bedroon.

See Kermit’s excellent presentation on this website for an analysis which demonstrates that the simplest explanation of the bare foot-print is that it is a close match to Sollecito’s, and not to Guede’s (Guede’s foot size is far larger).

So in order to follow Ockham’s Razor, we would have to reject the more complex and far-fetched hypothesis that it belonged to someone else who had accompanied Guede that night, who had joined him in the crime, got his foot stained in the victim’s blood, and who co-incidentally happened to have a foot-size identical to Sollecito’s; following Ockham’s Razor principle faithfully would entail accepting the simpler hypothesis that since it is a match to Sollecito’s foot-size, then it is most likely to be his.

Posted by Scooby on 07/19/09 at 06:48 PM | #

bobc-It was one wound by my judgment. Evidence says there were two different knives used. The evidence says the others were inflicted after she was choked, which would lead me to conclude they were made by Guede.

Scooby, Antonio Curatolo puts them outside during the period when her death occurred. Both scream and an aborted call to mum occurred later. You can argue that they flitted from the carpark to the flat and back without Guede, who remained out of sight. That fails the test of logic with me.

As to an unkown person with Guede, there is testimony,  “A second print expert later testified that he believed the shoeprint to be that of a woman’s size 37.5 Asics tennis shoe. No Asics tennis shoes were among the 22 pairs sequestered by police from the three’s apartments. “ Amanda’s shoe size is 37. Like the outline of the bloodstained knife print, it isn’t a match to the one with her DNA on it.

One of the reasons marijuana is illegal is what it does to judgment. It’s speculation on my part- They were waiting for the police to arrive as a result of what occurred earlier.  Besotted with pot, they returned to either find her dead and tried to clean it up.  Or to a locked door and tried to wipe away evidence of the earlier incident.  The news articles have stressed that there was no evidence of Amanda being in Meredith’s room.  Then there’s the presence of Guede’s. If he was a co-conspirator/participant, why didn’t they wipe away his?  Which supports a locked door theory. 

I remain a doubter.

Posted by Barry T on 07/19/09 at 10:54 PM | #

Barry T

In this case, why do not they say so? Why are they lying, saying they were at Raffaele’s home all night long and until late in the morning? Why did she accuse Lumumba? Why did she lie while calling her mother the 1st time saying she would call the police (that was there…)

Posted by Patou on 07/20/09 at 01:06 AM | #

One of the reasons marijuana is illegal is what it does to judgment. It’s speculation on my part - they were waiting for the police to arrive as a result of what occurred earlier.  Besotted with pot, they returned to either find her dead and tried to clean it up.

I’m afraid none of this adds up. Pot may impair judgment, but it does not usually lead to complete mental breakdown like other drugs. Plus, if they were on pot, why a violent dispute? Pot is not usually associated with violence.

If they were out of their heads, how come they had the presence of mind to decide to perform a clean up? Even on pot, surely they would notice that Meredith had acquired another 22 knife wounds, and also been strangled.

Why did they leave the flat after the first minor knife wound, and behave suspiciously in the park? If they were stoked up, they are more likely to lie around in a state of oblivion.

You are still suggesting an incredible sequence where a “domestic dispute” (actually a violent assault) occurs, Knox and Sollecito conveniently leave the cottage, when Guede completely by coincidence chooses this time to burgle the cottage and then kills Meredith.

Your theory is illogical and contrived, and raises many more questions than it answers. Evidence that implicates Guede is ascribed to rational actions whereas evidence that implicates Knox and Sollecito is dismissed with the “they were on pot” excuse.

It seems like a desperate attempt to lay the blame exclusively on Guede to me. It is equally plausible based on your methodology that Guede was on pot and didn’t know what was going on, whereas Knox and Sollecito were perfectly sober and attempted to frame Guede. In fact, that seems more plausible.

Posted by bobc on 07/20/09 at 10:32 PM | #

If we’re going to be illogical, why not be completely absurd?

Ak and RS are in the kitchen of the cottage preparing a romantic dinner, when M breezes through, to put a load of laundry in, or take a load of laundry out? (Amanda can’t remember which). AK is singing “Let It Be” at the top of her lungs, and RS is conducting, waving his favorite mushroom-killing knife (oops did I say killing) and accidentally cuts M’s hand.

Of course, being the gentleman we all are sure he is (he wouldn’t harm a fly, remember), he apologizes immediately, and all is forgiven. He offers M a conciliatory mushroom.

Meanwhile, that no-good drug-dealing thief, RG, who has been hiding in F’s lav, sneaks into M’s bedroom while she gathers her bloodied towels from her own lav. She steps into her room where she surprises RG in the act of pilfering her rent money, and the bottom drops out of her world.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, AK’s amazing vocalizations drown out the scuffle in the bedroom. After mushrooms, pot, hash, snogs, the lovebirds go out to take the air (while generally staying indoors, and not going outside. Much.) While mopping up after pasta spills and broken pipes at RS’s, the lovebirds get the brilliant idea that they should take this opportunity of the Italian roomies being away, and surprise them by mopping and tidying up the cottage!

RG, in their absence, has got himself all in a kerfuffle, by being too heavy-handed with knives and hands and knives, and he throws bad idea after bad, by roughing up F’s room as well. Then he takes off through the open front door, easier and less conspicuous than climbing back out through F’s broken window.

He is really confused, and has to go dance it off. But he’s not a murderer, per se, because he never intended to hurt anybody. She just somehow got dead. And AK and RS? They aren’t guilty of anything more than being silly, dizzy pot-puffing lovebirds, so caught up in each other’s gazes that they don’t know what day it is. Until the cops turn up.

I’ve seen better writing on TV (and worse). Barry, please stop squinting your eyes to see the logic in this event. We are not dealing with logical, sensible people, but with self-centered, lust-driven animals. That is why murder is so often referred to as “senseless”.

Posted by mimi on 07/21/09 at 04:09 AM | #

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