Friday, February 5, 2010

An ordinary kitchen knife or a murder weapon?

Part VI in a series on the Knox/Sollecito case

Let’s reexamine the problems with the electropherogram of DNA allegedly arising from the knife first, then interpret the profile in light of these problems.

There are three basic problems with the profile of DNA culled from the knife. The first is the weakness of the signals, as discussed in the previous post on the knife (Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and the Murder of Meredith Kercher, Part I). The signals one typically observes are in the many hundreds or thousands of RFUs, yet 22 of 29 peaks in this electropherogram fall below 50 RFU. Dr. Tagliabracci, a defense expert witness, noted in a document on DNA and paternity testing that the lower limit of detection is not less than 50 RFU (http://www.istitutoaffarisociali.it/flex/AppData/Redational/Ejournal/Articoli/Files/D.7e1010a4daa67d625c63/indagini_genetico_forensi.pdf). In Darkness Descending, the first book on the Kercher murder, one of Italy’s top forensic scientists, General Luciano Garofano, noted that 100-150 RFU is usually considered to be the minimum. There is a suggestion in the forensic literature to set two thresholds that are related to the average noise level, as opposed to a fixed value of RFUs (Gilder et al., Journal of Forensic Science, 2007, 52(1), 97-101). Two of the coauthors are signers of the open letter on the forensics of this case (http://www.friendsofamanda.org/articles.html).

Thus there is no universal threshold, but the lowest I have been able to document is 50 RFU, with one suggestion that peaks to 40 RFU may be interpreted with caution. Moreover, there ought to be consistency within one lab. Were the other DNA samples in the lab analyzed with the same threshold or a different one? Indeed, an equally serious issue is that one should always set the threshold before doing the experiment. The machine that Dr. Stefanoni used had a preset limit of 50 RFU (http://perugia-shock.blogspot.com/2009/09/psychiatrist-and-coroner-for-amanda.html), and changing the limit after the experiment was done opens the door to bias, as discussed in the previous post on the knife (http://viewfromwilmington.blogspot.com/2010/01/amanda-knox-and-raffaele-sollecito-and.html).

The second problem with this DNA profile is the appearance of two extra peaks in locus D3S1358, both of which have a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of about 20*. They have fifteen and sixteen repeats, respectively, and neither of which is part of Meredith’s profile, which has fourteen and eighteen repeats at this locus. There is one peak in locus D7S820 with a S/N ratio of only 15, which is interpreted to be part of Meredith’s profile. Why should this latter peak be treated as part of Meredith’s profile and the two other peaks ignored?

The third problem with this profile is that eight loci, D7S820, D16S539, D19S433, vWA, TPOX, D18S51, D5S818, FGA, have pairs of peaks in which the smaller peak is less than 70% of the height of the larger one. This value is typically 70-100% in a single source sample, and there are two peaks because there are usually two different alleles, one from each parent (Butler, Forensic DNA Typing, 2nd ed., pp. 155-156). Ordinarily, peaks below 70% that are not stutters (a type of artifact) are thought to indicate that the DNA arises from more than one person (is a mixture). In this case, a reasonable alternate explanation is that the peak heights are different because there are very few copies of the DNA template, perhaps 10-20. The special issues with low copy number DNA will be the subject of a future post. The problems noted above all support taking a conservative interpretation of the profile, as the signers of the open letter did. They refer to it as a “partial profile.” I lean toward referring it as a possible partial profile.

If the profile is Meredith’s, the question is how did it arise. Dr. Elizabeth Johnson said, “if someone had a knife covered in blood and they tried to

clean it very well, they would remove their ability to detect the DNA before they removed the ability to detect the chemical traces of blood.” The segment can be viewed at http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/AmandaKnox...cutorswitched-motives/story?id=9215634. Therefore, the lack of blood makes it impossible for there to be DNA on the knife, and the DNA that was observed has to arise from contamination from mechanisms similar to those documented in the previous post, “Forensic DNA Contamination,” such as the Mixer murder. General Garofano said, “they say it was cleaned with bleach. If an object is cleaned with bleach, there is no DNA left. And if any were left there would be the same amount of DNA belonging to Amanda Knox as to Meredith Kercher. Next to nothing…So the fact that there is a lot of Amanda Knox's DNA and a little of Meredith's doesn't sound logical to me.”

Dr. Johnson’s words on the ABC segment are more adamant than in the open letter. One might instead argue that it is only improbable that some DNA would remain on the knife. If so, then one would be left with choosing between two events, contamination or DNA somehow escaping removal, and deciding which seems more likely.

Dr. Donald Riley wrote (http://www.scientific.org/tutorials/articles/riley/riley.html):

(1) A partial profile essentially proves that one is operating outside of well-characterized and recommended limits.
(2) Contaminating DNA usually presents as a partial profile, although not always. For this reason, the risk that the result is a contaminant is greater than for samples that present as full profiles.
(3) A partial profile is at risk of being incomplete and misleading. The partial nature of it proves that DNA molecules have been missed. There is no way of firmly determining what the complete profile would have been, except by seeking other samples that may present a full profile.

Recall that we appear to be dealing with a partial profile in this instance.

The Italian forensics team might have made a stronger case for the DNA profile originating from blood on the knife, not contamination, had they done several things differently. General Garofano said**, “Did they open the knife to see if blood had dripped between the metal part of the handle and the plastic? No? Pity. That would have been a sure place to find blood if there was blood." Checking the knife more thoroughly for blood is the first thing that the forensics team should have done.

Second, the forensics team failed to perform a control experiment that would have shed light on whether or not the profile arose from contamination. Recently, I was fortunate enough to discuss this case with a graduate of our department who is now a forensic scientist in a municipal police department. When I told her about the knife, she asked whether or not they had checked other knives from the drawer for DNA (a good example of thinking like a scientist). If other knives had shown DNA from Meredith (or the other flatmates, for instance), then contamination certainly occurred.

Third, the prosecution has not released the fsa files, an almost unheard of occurrence in DNA forensics. These files allow independent forensic scientists to analyze the data. The open letter of 19 November 2009 noted their absence. Examination of these files might shed light on possible contamination and also give information on how signals were accepted or rejected as artifacts. To sum up, the lack of blood, the failure to look for DNA on other knives, and the lack of independent review greatly reduce the value of this DNA profile.

The authors of the open letter wrote, “There exists the real possibility that the low level, partial profile attributed to the knife blade is a result of unintended transfer in the laboratory during sample handling… No credible scientific evidence has been presented to associate this kitchen knife with the murder of Meredith Kercher.” That statement is more than sufficient to create reasonable doubt that this knife is a murder weapon, in addition to the many other problems associated with this knife (http://perugia-shock.blogspot.com/2009/09/neutral-expert-dismisses-murder-weapon.html). Sometimes a kitchen knife is just a kitchen knife.

*Update 11 February 2010. The words "signal-to-noise ratio" should be changed to "peak height" in this paragraph. All of the numbers are in RFUs. I am sorry about this error; however, their interpretation is not changed by this correction. **Update 17 February 2010. Corrected the spelling of General Garofano's name.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris, Thanks again for your excellent essays.

Closer examination of the case from any angle invariably makes it look weaker, never stronger.

And the weakness of the DNA evidence looks exculpatory rather than incriminating.

Observer

allie said...

Thanks for this. The devastating thing about this case is that the talking points sound so bad - but they completely fall apart on closer inspection. Thanks for your careful analysis.

Anonymous said...

http://www.barristermagazine.com/articles/issue31/Jamieson.html

This is an article on LCN DNA. Thought you would find it interesting.

Observer

Joe said...

Chris,
Thank you for your posts. This comment doesn't refer to this specific post, but to my general frustration with the dissemination of information and facts about the case and trial. After the verdict, in trying to find as much information that I could,Perugia Shock seemed to offer the most objective and thorough coverage of what went on before the trial and what was presented during the trial. Frank believes AK and RS are not guilty, but I believe he objectively came to that conclusion based on a logical study of the evidence and testimony, as he followed the case from day one.

Then I read Darkness Descending, where there is a disconnect between Frank's reporting and posts and what Russell and Johnson wrote in their book.
Three examples:
1) The mixed DNA samples of AK and MK. Frank described them as being purely circumstantial because they shared the same space. Russell and Johnson described them as being much more incriminating.
2) The luminol-positive footprints. Frank described them as not being related to the murder, but again, Russell and Johnson describe them as being incriminating.
3) The interaction between AK/RS and the postal police when they arrived before the discovery of the body. Same scenario as above.

From reading all of Frank's posts, it seemed like he was there for all of the testimony, except when the public was excluded due to the graphic nature of the presentations and testimony. I found it interesting that in their Acknowledgements, Russell and Johnson thanked so many in the "anti-Knox" camp (Maresca, Mignini, Biscotti, Gentile, etc.) for their insights into the case.

As I don't know AK, I have no personal investment (aside from my time spent researching) other than a desire for justice, both for the victim and those accused and now convicted. It is frustrating not knowing the facts from the fiction in this case.

Anonymous said...

Chris,
Thanks for all the information and research. For me the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit. When all the books and appeals come out,
I am going to be prepared to judge the judges and the writers.
TM

Evergreen said...

Chris, I only found your blog a few weeks ago, but find it interesting and informative on this case. That goes for those who comment here too. Just about everywhere else, it gets into an argument and character assassination fest, and they attack each other too. I like to see the opinion of those who have some background, as I admit, I am not a lawyer nor scientist. I am just a lifelong resident of Seattle, never met Amanda Knox, went to the rival high school, but as it looked like the prosecutor's case was unraveling, I thought there was hope. Unfortunately, many who had staked a position on guilt early on were attacking press and bloggers as part of a PR Machine. The slander charges against her and her parents, and now the lawyers.

I thought you might want to see this article on classmates of her father rallying around him, and her. Interesting because, I never saw this in the coverage before, her father grew up not in Seattle, but on Vashon Island. A few miles but a world away from West Seattle. Very big difference. The island is connected to the rest of the state by three ferry runs(It's a big island land wise, one links the southern part of the Island to Tacoma, the other two the northern part to Seattle). Seattlepi.com got the article from a newspaper on the island, the newspaper is taking a big risk publishing that, the West Seattle Herald was attacked by the prosecutor in this case for reporting what some people said about him. I don't think they were editorializing, just reporting, wanted our government to block the website of the paper. I picked up a print edition of that paper last week(I rarely get to West Seattle, but just happened to be passing through), and it had the article on the prosecutor's conviction. They got the title wrong, but other than that, it was a good article.

http://www.seattlepi.com/sound/415301_sound83913432.html?source=rss

Evergreen said...

Just wanted to clarify, I did go to the rival high school, but I graduated from high school in the mid 1990s. Probably put too much information on that one, sorry.

Debrah said...

I'm not sure why friends and former classmates of Knox's father would think he'd have a choice to do anything else but stand by his daughter.

What else could be do?

Vashon Island, like most satellite spaces around Seattle, is more like a small town.

Most places accessible only by ferry would be considered almost rural compared to the greater Seattle area.

I'm sure Knox's father---while tossing and turning at night, no doubt, as he and his wife become paupers---wishes that he'd raised Amanda on the island.

It strikes me that she may have been quite an impressionable young woman to have found herself inside such a grisly European drama.

Joe said...

I'm not sure why friends and former classmates of Knox's father would think he'd have a choice to do anything else but stand by his daughter.

What else could be do?

Vashon Island, like most satellite spaces around Seattle, is more like a small town.

Most places accessible only by ferry would be considered almost rural compared to the greater Seattle area.

I'm sure Knox's father---while tossing and turning at night, no doubt, as he and his wife become paupers---wishes that he'd raised Amanda on the island.

It strikes me that she may have been quite an impressionable young woman to have found herself inside such a grisly European drama.

February 11, 2010 11:00 PM

Debra,
What is exactly the point of this post? I'm just a simple man who says what I mean and mean what I say. Why don't you just write what you mean?

Joe

Evergreen said...

Sorry I posted the link. I read the same article on the actual Vashon/Maury Island paper. At one point 7 comments, their webmaster was much more braver than the PI was. Removed 3 comments, all by the same guy, that were very offensive. Vashon/Maury Island 10,000 residents, small by comparison to Seattle's 600,000. Kitsap County just to the east is about 230,000, with the Navy a major employer(Bremerton and Bangor).

Also, the paper was mainly focused on the class reunion, but had a little info on the broader case. It left out something about the Knox family that I have seen in all the other media coverage. Her parents are divorced and re-married. I originally was just going to comment on thanking Chris for the essays, I probably should have just stayed with that, or avoided commenting.

Anonymous said...

Evergreen and Debrah, thanks for posting the link to the article. It's important that the quiet and principled support for Mr. Knox and the rest of the Knox family be noted. Those who militantly ignore the myriad problems with the case have made way to much of the "PR machine" in an effort to discredit anyone with concerns about the case.

Observer

Debrah said...

TO "Joe"--

Even though you excluded the usual quotation marks when quoting my entire comment, I'm sure readers easily glean that you have an issue with something I wrote.

As Chris, "Observer", and others have ably illustrated, this case is chock-full of inconsistencies and prosecutorial misconduct---if not criminal prosecutorial conduct.

However, that said, in my view that does not set the stage for absolutely nothing to be illuminated about Amanda Knox's and her friend's behavior that might be glaringly negative.

I'm reminded of the way Reade Seligmann conducted himself throughout the horrific injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Hoax.

For that matter, Collin Finnerty and David Evans behaved in stellar fashion as well. Under the direst of conditions.

But Reade stands out above anyone else. He's a walking example for no matter how inexperienced you might be in the world, an intelligent person takes possession of their demeanor in the public arena when the stakes are so high.

When your own life is on the line for all to see.

If I were a member of Amanda Knox's family, I'd have taken her aside and instructed her to watch how she behaved in front of the media. I might have even instructed her on facial expression.

It's astonishing that someone in such serious circumstances would have come off so nonchalantly in many ways.

I don't look over the cartwheel scenario.

I don't look over the idiotic expressions she sported in the courtroom as some do.

It's time to refrain from blaming "youth and inexperience" for everything.

Knox projected the vibe of someone who didn't know or care about the grave circumstances in which she was found.

Inside some totally clueless nexus of her brian did she think....."I'm American and this 'Italian stuff' is so ridiculous. I'll get out of this in no time flat once I tell them my story." ???

Those of us who have lived for any period of time in other countries know quite well that you develop a healthy respect for the structures of those societies.

Especially most European countries.

The only places who will still take the "ugly American" attitude are a few in the Far East.

I also question the reckless behavior of Knox.

She was in Italy for study, yet she quickly developed a milieu of cohabitation with some goofy Italian guy.

And NO. I am not "blaming" Knox for being framed---if that turns out to be the case.

I am merely highlighting the obvious.

Her own behavior---the only aspect of this saga under her control---was stupid in many ways.

She badly needs to take a few lessons from Reade Seligmann.

There's a tendency to try to deify those who are shown to have been "wronged".

Knox often fanned the flames of the negative media coverage.

**************************

To "Evergreen"--

I have no idea why you are "sorry for posting the link".

Review of this case should not become a pep rally for Knox and company.

All aspects should be discussed or don't bother discussing anything at all.

RoseMontague said...

Nice post Debrah. I also feel it is important not to overlook things.
I have also wondered why Amanda Knox's legal team did not do a better job coaching her on what to wear and how to act in the courtroom. I also think it is a big mistake to think of her as stupid. She speaks 3 or 4 languages and was reading and quoting poetry while in prison. I believe she is a very intelligent person that is somewhat lacking in common sense. This is also one of the problems I have with her confusion, changing stories, and lack of memory on certain things.

RoseMontague said...

Honors student in High School, Dean's List in college while working three jobs to save up for Italy. English, German, Italian languages and a student of Latin and Japanese as well.

halides1 said...

Joe,

With respect to "Darkness Descending," I have started reading it, and my impression is that it is a biased book. For example, the author admires the prosecutor for changing his motive during the course of the trial (the author calls it something like refining the motive). I think that a prosecutor should have the motive worked out by day one of the trial. If not, why is the case even being tried? Moreover, the author reports on a conversation between Sollecito and Guede that never happened. The forensic comments of General Garofano of the Carabinieri are the only parts of the book that make it worth the modest cover price, IMHO. I don't agree with every comment General Garofano makes, but at least he has some thoughtful points.

Chris

Debrah said...

TO "Rose" (I'm assuming "Mark" from the Cave and also hoping that you've found a new screen saver by now)--

While the information that Knox was a good student and someone who strives for polyglot-dom is interesting, it does little to explain her behavior with regard to this subject matter.

With all due respect to Chris, I'm sure we have all witnessed many, many times that scholarship does not always translate into a truly intelligent human being.

Taking an exam or displaying multilingual talents---(except perhaps Italian in this circumstance)---does not necessarily inform one in the methods of self-preservation when a syllabus cannot be found.

Anonymous said...

Deborah,
You are correct on both counts. It is good to be able to have a discussion with you, and the screen-saver comment was just a result of a minor flame war between myself and imho.

The thing about her faulty and lacking memory bugs me however, and I doubt it can be explained by smoking pot. I could be mistaken, but I would guess that people that are good with different languages should have pretty good memories as well.

Rose

Debrah said...

TO "Rose"--

Yes, of course, facility with languages would require a good memory; however, it's mostly a "right-brain" thing, no?

I'd say that Chris' discipline requires more from the "left-brain".

In any case, I have not suggested that Knox is a "bad person" or "dumb".

Simply a reckless and sometimes, apparently, an unthinking one.

And someone who is very lucky to have a loyal family who will support her financially even though she is certainly an adult.

Joe said...

Debrah,
Thank you for clarifying your thoughts (for me at least). In your first post, I thought you were implying that her family upbringing was responsible for her committing the crime.

halides1 said...

Evergreen,

Thanks for the link. I especially was intrigued by the following quote, "My gut feeling is that when this is done, she’s going to become some sort of advocate for others who are wrongly imprisoned,” Curt Knox said. Shades of Duke lacrosse (Sorry, Rose)

As for the comments, clearly there are some trolls from True Justice for Meredith and Perugia Murder File. Nuff said.

Chis

Anonymous said...

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann

Probably, you are all familiar with this excellent article on the execution of an almost certainly innocent man in Texas. As suspicion settled on the defendant, his neighbors and acquaintances gradually began to see his behavior as increasingly suspicious and his miserable journey toward death row and finally execution began to accelerate.

BTW the discussion of the forensic evidence in the article is riveting.

This article is one of the reasons the prosecution's use of Amanda Knox's smiles, cartwheel(s), hugs and kisses to bolster the case against her bothers me. That, plus the fact my cheerleader/gymnist friends from younger days often turned a cartwheel or slipped into the splits at peculiar moments, even in the middle of conversation...especially if they had been unable to move around for some period of time. It was a way to get the blood flowing and loosen up some muscles.

Do I wish Ms. Knox had been more serious and circumspect in her actions? Sure, but mostly because of the negative response the cartwheel(s) (and pizza eating) generated.

I know you guys are not reading the behavior as evidence of guilt, but as we well know, many did and still do.

Observer

Evergreen said...

Chris, your welcome.

The Vashon paper article reminded me of something about how, despite being in King County, and their state and Federal reps being from Seattle Districts, the Islanders love being independent. They once turned back a ferry operator they did not like with pitchforks(Historylink.org had a good story on that incident, which happenned in 1948, 3 years before Washington State bought the Black Ball lIne out) because they liked their own service they had started instead, better. Maybe it got passed on to later generations that moved off island.

Observer,

I also do seem to notice how demeanor can be an issue. Especially media perception, the media used sometimes the same image of her smiling to her parents. If that image was going to become an issue, should not have given them that. Though the way this case has been covered, and the fact the jury had access to the coverage of the trial as they were not sequestered, it probably would have focused on the opposite of what she did, as a lack of emotion. The ticket from the wild party in 2007, the SPD thought it was closed, fine paid. Perception parsed the report of rock throwing with a designation S1(Suspect 1, Ms. Knox), even though the patrol officer did not say there was any proof that S1 had thrown the rocks, but saw some in the road, but no property damage. It does leave the SPD open to the same criticism her defenders level at the police in Italy, maybe if the cop had investigated more, might have helped the defense, but we cannot predict the future.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/archives/171292.asp

Also, something bothered me on the forensics. I believe it has been discussed somewhere over whether the crime scene investigators changed gloves when handling different evidence. Another temp job I have had is janitorial, on that one, I had frequent glove changes, to avoid bringing contaminants from one room I was cleaning into the production area.

Evergreen said...

The ticket I mentioned, I had accidentally removed before posting a few things, especially where the prosecutor in the trial stretched it, because it was the only record with law enforcement the SPD had. It seemed like the normal college party according to the article, that just got out of hand. Although maybe if the UW had been more forceful in extending on-campus discipline to off-campus areas a few years ago, things may have been different. In 2005-2006, there was talk of doing just that. The neighbors there had been complaining for years, to the UW, City Hall, and the State Legislature in Olympia. Although I am sure many(but not all) universities have some kind of similar problem with wild parties, just outside their jurisdictional reach. Maybe once this is over, the UW can use it in dealing with Greek Row and other off campus areas. Just bring up this case, and how long it can take to get final resolution, either way. (I myself went to EWU in Cheney, Washington, but we had some problems, but not as bad)

Also, the part where I was giving a little info on how tough the islanders were once at defending island interest, I generalized, the article I read on HistoryLink said it was many different agricultural implements.

Debrah said...

Let me assure everyone here that I am not a "troll", if, indeed, that worn-out term is being thrown my way, albeit ever so subtly.

"Troll" went out of vogue about a decade ago and the last time I saw it used seriously was about the same time that the New York Times decided to begin charging for their online publication.

A "troll" is someone who uses a pseudonym and shows up on blogs to flame or create discord for no reason at all.

I am someone who has spent over three years, along with innumerable others, on the blog "Durham in Wonderland" (which has now effectively achieved its goal) and written many opinion pieces over the years...as freelance writing has been a hobby.

Though there are many pseudonymous freaks on the internet, I am not one of them.

Let me add that I have many relatives in Seattle and as a little girl I lived on Puget Sound (Alki Avenue) before my family moved back to the East Coast.

Consequently, I have some knowledge of the Seattle area.

If the negative aspects of the Knox case cannot be illuminated without gratuitous discord, then perhaps this case deserves to be ignored.

Sadly, some of us have already witnessed the negative results when free exchanges and dialogue are cut off by a heavy hand of personal agendas in blog land.

halides1 said...

Debrah,

Your point about Reade Seligmann's behavior is well taken. In addition I think that Mr. Evans performed in an exemplary manner on the courthouse steps in May of 2006, especially by proclaiming Mr. Seligmann's and Mr. Finnerty's innocence as well as his own. No wonder he was a co-captain.

I believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (perhaps more so) have not been their own best friends in terms of how they have acted and what they have written. However, Ms. Knox was the same age as Mr. Seligmann when each was charged, and she certainly did not have the financial resources needed for her defense any more than he did. It is a shame that when one is a defendant in a trial, the bill runs to six or seven figures. BTW, Edda and Chris Mellas are absolutely convinced of Ms. Knox's innocence, and that carries enormous weight with me.

My comment about trolls was strictly in reference to those I saw in the comments section on the link that Evergreen provided. I am grateful to all commenters here for their insights and courtesy.

Chris

halides1 said...

Observer,

The deeply flawed forensics of in the Todd Willingham case were what drew me back into blogging after a hiatus. But the way that the eyewitnesses changed their testimony once Mr. Willingham became a suspect is equally important. It would be worth examining Laura and Filomena's (the other flatmates) statements over time.

Chris

Debrah said...

Thanks for clarifying that, Chris.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, Debrah, don't you know we love ya?!?

Re: trolls or whatever we call them...I am AMAZED that this blog has not attracted any so far because they are legion on other blogs about this case. I only classify those who are competely and utterly unreasonable and inflamatory as "trolls."

Observer

Observer

Anonymous said...

Chris,

If only we had a record of Laura and Filomena's statements...preferably in English. Mr. Perugia Shock probably has more access than most to these statements. Maybe he will put them under a microscope for us.

Observer

RoseMontague said...

I had posted part of Filomena's testimony previously where she made it clear that the burglary was staged. I believe Amanda acted hurt by some of the two Italian girl's comments about how they did the majority of the cleaning. There was also disagreement over Amanda's claim that Meredith kept her door locked when she was out.

I had also seen a report that these two met with Amanda a day or two after the murder to grill her on her statement to the police that it was not unusual to see Meredith's door locked and they were unable to get an answer from her and at that point they were suspicious of her. This is one of those fact or fiction questions I would like the answer to if anyone has a solid source on this.

Debrah as thedivatroll? LOL. She would be a good one.

Evergreen said...

The behavior issue being picked apart had some interesting parts. Now the photo of them at the crime scene as the police found the body was incriminating, but again a story later got stretched. The shopping trip, it was to replace some items of clothing she was unable to get to because she shared what had become the crime scene with Ms. Kercher. Although I would not expect a policeman to allow persons of interest(let alone suspects) to rummage around and take items from the scene, even if they needed a change of clothes for wherever they were staying that night while the investigation was underway. Unfortunately, how does one explain to judge and jury that, and that if you asked for family to send something, it would not get there for at least a day.

Besides what the news sites and blogs were saying, I was finding it interesting how slow the trial was going, only 2 days a week, and the summer break, and they said this was a quick trial by some standards over there? Other details, was the fact she did not run, when she had relatives in Germany offering a place to stay. Once they did have her in custody, I can see why during the rest of the investigation they wanted to hold her, extradition is tough. I remember the Pang Warehouse Fire in Seattle. The arson killed 4 Seattle Firefighters, and the suspect was arrested in Brazil. We got extradition, but one charge had to be taken off the table, Aggravated Murder. Under Washington Law, murder of a Firefighter in the course of his duty qualifies for that charge, not in Brazil. Now if Ms. Knox had fled, and ended up back home, a judge here probably would have been in position to ask, can we see the evidence first. Although I admit that is speculation on my part, we will never know.

Debrah said...

On this rapturous Valentine's Day morning, where I hope I find at least a few of you in the throes of elated bliss, emerging from the silky veils of ardor.......

........I want to bring this NYTimes article for your perusal.

There are several reasons for my doing so.

One, I have always maintained a healthy skepticism of organized religion.

Two, and anyone whose sole existence and livlihood revolve around organized religion.

Three, when religion is coupled with issues of race---real or concocted---you have an almost manic environment of hyperbolic pretensions so as to contaminate current reality.

Four, this Tyson character might be one of the most odious individuals one has encountered who is not yet housed inside an insane asylum with padded rooms.

Yet in the mainstream media he is glorified.

The corn pone, tobacco road eructations make him all the more loathsome.

Unlike the culprits in the Knox case, most of those who promoted and sustained the Duke Lacrosse Hoax have been left to their same devices....even as it was proven very early on that they gleefully and systematically attempted to thwart due process.

For those of you who are not acquainted with open and unapologetic racism, race-hustling and harming innocent people so a personal agenda can be promoted......

.......take a listen to these video/audio offerings.

This is the very same Timothy Tyson who is being praised in the current NYTimes article above.

In those audio/videos, Tyson is in "preacher mode" as he harks back to archaic tales of the first half of the 20th century and tries to draw a parallel of guilt as he slanders and maligns the Duke lacrosse players before there was ANY EVIDENCE of guilt.

To this day, he "stands by his words".

Yet his prim little book whose subject matter has been worn and tattered beyond periphrastic meaninglessness is touted as subject matter for a "film".

It should be noted that another culprit from the Duke Lacrosse Hoax, the very wealthy Robert Steel, has financed this "film".

For a superbly enriching experience sure to nauseate, check out the open use of profanity and vulgarity by this "professor/preacher" on this silly page as Tyson touts the "film" among his fellow yahoos.

There's been no word of explanation as to how someone who has written about and virtually lives off the subject of "civil rights" found, and still finds, nothing morally, ethically, or, indeed, criminally wrong with trying to take away those rights he "values" from others whom he cannot exploit so easily.

Indeed, the Knox case is troubling; however, right here in our own country, true justice has yet to be found with regard to so many of the egregious players in the lacrosse case.

And few seem to care.

And Justice For All?

All sonorous pretensions aside, few have the guts to take on "race issues". They had rather "move on".

Even most of those who profess such concern with regard to the Lacrosse Hoax "move on" to safer topics.

Unfortunate, that.

Joe said...

Rose,
Because you mentioned it in your last post, I would like to comment on the alleged staged b&e. I find it interesting that there are no crime scene photos (at least that I have seen) of the alleged glass on top of the clothes. The only two photos I have seen are of a close up of the window and a wide shot of the room.

I am not a detective, but logic would tell me that they would take photos, such as the glass on the clothes,if they suspected the b&e to be staged.

Also, I believe that I read in one of Frank's posts on Perugia Shock that there was no documentation in the detectives' notes, from the initial investigation, that they suspected the b&e to be staged. Again, my logic would tell me that as the detectives were going through the house, one would write something to the affect of "Break in staged?" in their notes. But, that's just my logic.

I would also like to see the report about the grilling of Amanda, about the locked door, by Laura and Filomena. Is this one of those myths that should be dropped, such as those of the washing machine was running when police arrived, AK and RS were standing outside with a mop when police arrived, etc.?

Joe

Anonymous said...

What a bracing refresher of the LAX nightmare you have offered up for us this Valentine's Day, Debrah. Somehow I missed those clips when KC originally posted them, but they are just as revealing several years out.

Mr. Tyson's quote from James Baldwin to the effect that we cannot escape history...it lives in us...seems to be particularly apt for Mr. Tyson. Perhaps, his immersion in the past has rendered him without critical thinking capacity for the present.

Mr. Tyson's readily reaffirmed position that Duke must coerce the LAX team's "cooperation" with what was an utterly corrupt "investigation" (this despite extensive cooperation at the outset) into an entirely false accusation should disturb anyone who cares about justice.

How is this position defensible?

Imagine how despicable the world would find affirmations of similarly groundless admonitions to the other politically expedient and falsely accused defendants who sadly surface throughout human history? I am thinking of Alfred Dreyfuss (remembering that Emile Zola faced trial for slander in February of 1898 based on the publishing of "J'accuse," an indictment of the French government for its politically motivated and false prosecution of Mr. Dreyfuss...sound familiar?), the Scottsboro boys, and is it too much to add Jesus Christ...surely the most well know falsely accused defendant of all time?

The point is not that our modern day judicial train wrecks compete in importance with the touchstone travesties of ages past, but these incidents do share common themes with which Mr. Tyson must be quite familiar.

Surely, one significant theme is the "status degradation ritual" which Tannehill, analyzing the procedures that led to Christ's execution, describes thus: "Societies have various ways of publicly removing the honor of certain persons and labeling them as social deviants who can be abused." Mocking and shaming are an integral part of this ritual.

This is precisely what Mr. Tyson was doing in these clips. By equating the Duke LAX team with the rich Southern bad boys of yesteryear, he was participating in a "social degradation ritual." And this is precisely what Mr. Nifong and Mr. Mignini put in place with their false and inflammatory portrayals of the young adults caught in their crosshairs.

With great media fanfare Mr. Nifong and Mr. Mignini degraded their politically expedient prey by sculpting the defendants' public images into people who did not resemble at all the extra bright and relatively conscientious college kids they were; instead, their carefully manipulated public images took the forms of violent and predatory sexual deviants who could be held out to the gullible, the biased and even the well intended for further abuse.

Such is the power of the prosecutorial office and the public trust in that office.

Mr. Tyson was among the biased many at Duke who were only too happy to assist the prosecutor in his efforts.

But no regret has he. And no regret have any of the like minded Duke faculty.

Lucky for Mr. Tyson, few absorbed this particular piece of his personal history deeply enough to hold him accountable. With nary a cautionary peep, the NYT embraces Mr. Tyson, and the contemporary racial mythology to which Mr. Tyson misguidedly adheres seems only to have enhanced his appeal.

Observer

PS Happy Valentine's Day! `

Debrah said...

TO "Observer"--

An excellent analysis.

"With great media fanfare Mr. Nifong and Mr. Mignini degraded their politically expedient prey by sculpting the defendants' public images...."

And the Duke Gang of 88, along with their most vocal mascot Timothy Tyson handed Nifong a fertile field in which to run.

As I'm sure Mignini had his own enablers who paved the way for his misdeeds and his agenda.

However, I am more optimistic that Mignini will meet justice in the end in some form.

Not so for most players in the Lacrosse Hoax.

Again, can anyone who followed the Hoax do anything but shriek in disbelief that someone like Tyson would now have a film made from his "book" dealing with the subject of "civil rights"?

And none of us is up in arms in a public way?

This Knox case is very troubling; however, I can't seem to get as upset about it as I do this issue which is happening in real time right here in this country.

It makes me wish I were Rupert Murdoch or Warren Buffet or Donald Trump right now.

That film would be shut down....or at least there would be a vast orchestrated public démarche against it.

Where are all the lacrosse bloggers on this?

Where is justice?

Anonymous said...

Joe,
Filomena's testimony on the glass and the not normally locked door are very compelling. I don't see any reason for her to have made this up. The police mishandled the physical evidence in Filomena's room and the crime scene was compromised. The investigators made not have realized that Filomena's room was normally kept tidy and the glass on the clothes may not have had an impact on them at that time. Or they were just not sharp enough to catch it until it was too late.

I have seen the same 2 photo's you describe and it is not clear. However her testimony is very clear in this regard.

Rose

halides1 said...

One of the more annoying moments I had in some time here at UNCW was listening to Allan Gurganous read here last fall. He is an accomplished writer, and his reading held my attention. But then he fielded a question about his series of novels covering several centuries of American history. The question was something to the effect that it must have taken a fair bit of research to do this, and his answer was yes. I was tempted to ask him about his research for “Blue Devils Made Them Do It,” his NYT error-filled column in April of 2006, but I had somewhere else to be.

But perhaps a consideration of the G88 and their ilk might be helpful here. Who was a better judge of the characters of the Duke three, Mr. Tyson or Reade’s high school counselor who said that if (s)he had a son, (s)he would like him to be just like Reade? Mr. Gurganous, or a dorm mate of Reade’s and Collin’s, who said that as soon as she heard that they were the two players who were indicted, she knew it was a hoax? Houston Baker or the couple who said that they would be happy to let Collin babysit for them again? My point is that the people who knew the Duke three knew that the charges were ludicrous. So far, the people who know Amanda best have stood steadfastly behind her. I know less of Raffaele Sollecito, but from what I can gather, the same holds true. However, there are some aspects of Ms. Knox’s behavior that ought to be examined. My posting will be a bit sporadic for the next month or so, but I am happy to let people talk on their own, and issues of character and behavior deserve close, objective inspection.

Chris

halides1 said...

Rose,

Here a post from Candace Dempsey on whether or not the break-in were staged:

http://blog.seattlepi.com/dempsey/archives/172993.asp

Chris

Anonymous said...

It's good as misdirection, Chris. Anyone (including someone with gymnastic talent)could have climbed up there and busted the window. They should have thought to ransack the room after, and not before the busting of said window. Again, nobody has given me a reason to doubt Filomena's testimony. The fact is that Filomena's room as evidence was compromised on several occasions. If you pick something up to examine or look under it, the glass will fall off, as happened with her computer as described in her statement. The pictures are meaningless either in support of Amanda or to point to possible guilt.

Rose

halides1 said...

Rose,

IIRC, Filomena was off by about half an hour with reference to the time of a phone call between Amanda and her on 2 November. Perhaps she made a mistake with reference to the state of her room. However, even if the break-in were staged, I know of no reason to exclude Mr. Guede as the perpetrator of the staging.

Chris

Anonymous said...

The staging of the body eliminates Rudy as the stager of that event. Occam's razor again. The chances of 2 different stagers are remote. Rudy was long gone by the time the body was staged.

It is also interesting that Amanda confirms Filomena's reaction to the locked door: "Mama Mia, that door is never locked". I think it's interesting she recalls that with such detail but can't seem to recall a phone call to her Mom just minutes beforehand.


She said that, knowing by then that the window of her bedroom had been smashed, her first instinct on returning to the flat had been to go to her room. What she saw was "a disaster". Her clothes were on the floor and her cupboard was open. But none of her jewelery was missing, nor her designer sunglasses and handbags. Her laptop was among the clothes. She said there was glass on top of the pile of clothes: "I remember that in lifting the computer I realized that I was picking up bits of glass because there were bits of glass on top and it was all covered with glass."

Rose

halides1 said...

Rose,

I wonder if you are putting more stock in the Micheli report than I do. For one thing, the time of death is always hard to determine. In this case, the temperature of the body was not taken for two days, not that there are not problems with temperature as an indicator.

http://www.dundee.ac.uk/forensicmedicine/notes/timedeath.pdf

I am tempted to put the time of death much earlier, say 9:30 or so than the prosecution did.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should discount every conclusion made by investigators, Chris. Even if her time of death is earlier than estimated, from the evidence it is clear that Rudy would have had to have waited around that apartment an hour or two before he repositioned the body, or left and returned hours later. I don't see it happening that way but maybe you can convince me.

As to the locked door, here is an interesting article from an interview with Raffaele. Quoting from the article: "We went into the bedroom of Philomena (another flatmate who was away) and it had been ransacked, like someone had been looking for something. But when we tried Meredith's room, the door was locked. She never normally locked her bedroom door and that really made us frightened."


More Rubbish or Hidden Treasure?

One thing is clear to me from this statement. The information about the "never normally locked" door that Raffaele relates is most likely coming from Amanda. LOL.

Rose

Debrah said...

I have to agree with "Rose".

However, let me qualify this with the fact that I am not following this case as closely, nor do I have the time to peruse every article regarding this case, the way some of you have done and are doing.......however.......

.......there are things that just don't seem right so that total "innocence" can be declared.

It's just a vibe I get.

halides1 said...

Rose,

I have read a comment elsewhere about the story in the Sunday Mirror, the one to which you linked. The commenter noted the idiomatic English attributed to Raffaele and expressed the belief that his command of English was not that strong. This story is the only one of which I am aware where Raffaele talks about going to a party the night of the murder. So I am hesitant to put too much weight on this account.

Chris

halides1 said...

Debrah,

One wishes for definitive proof of innocence or guilt in this case, but so far we have neither. I come back to the destruction of the three hard drives in police hands, though; there might have been something in those drives on which to hang one's hat.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Chris,
I e-mailed the reporter about this and will let you know if I get an answer back. I agree with the diva here that there some things about this case that seem to cause these bad vibes. I call them red flags. I don't see it as evidence of guilt so much as evidence that they are hiding something. The what and why of this hiding remains a mystery.

I don't think that blaming a lot of these self incriminating statements on translation or poor English or Italian is something that should be constantly fallen back on. It's an easy excuse but not one that is perfect by any means.

Rose

halides1 said...

Rose,

Would Sollecito use words like "ransacked" and "eerily?" I am not convinced he would.

Chris

halides1 said...

Rose,

With respect to the glass, suppose the intruder breaks the window putting glass on item X. Then he or she later throws the clothes around, then finally lifts item X up, depositing glass on the clothes. What I am missing here?

Chris

halides1 said...

Rose,

I should add that item X might be the laptop, except it sounds as if it, too, had glass on top.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Chris, I could be mistaken but the Italian word for eerily is well, eerily. Nothing so simple as the translation for ransacked evidently.

halides1 said...

When I went to

http://www.wordreference.com/enit/eerily

I received the message that the word was not found. "Eerie" produced "inquietante."

Anonymous said...

From what I read of Filomena's testimony I found nothing incriminating of Miss Knox. Glass shards fell of the computer when she picked it up. So what? Also I think she mentioned something about the washing machine being warm. How can this be? Washing machines are not even warm when they are running. Her testimony from what I understand was quite long but not much made it into the press.
TM

halides1 said...

Rose,

I am not sure that this is entirely germane, but here is something on issue of when Ms. Kercher's body was moved. From Darkness Descending, pp. 383-4, and quoting General Garofano of the Carabinieri:

“Look at the clotted blood. Where there are large blood clots it indicates that she was long enough in that position to create a puddle of blood. With that kind of wound it wouldn’t have taken long—tens of seconds, not minutes.
Then while she is bleeding, so still alive, she is flipped over and moved to a supine position where her wound continues to bleed in the corner between the wall and the wardrobe. Now this is very interesting. Look at the wardrobe side here. She is still coughing little droplets of blood. The blood pattern analysis done by the police is good. It indicates that highly oxygenated blood droplets coming from her airways are coughed in a nice oval pattern on to the wardrobe door, but she goes on coughing all the time, right up to being supine with her head almost against the wardrobe. She is still alive and gasping for air as the blood oozes into her lungs, coughing it up all the time. The fact that the autopsy says there are droplets on her chest indicates she was still coughing while supine.”

Chris

Anonymous said...

With respect to the glass, suppose the intruder breaks the window putting glass on item X. Then he or she later throws the clothes around, then finally lifts item X up, depositing glass on the clothes. What I am missing here?

I think you are missing a cartwheel after that stretch, Chris.

The commenter noted the idiomatic English attributed to Raffaele and expressed the belief that his command of English was not that strong.

It is pretty clear that RS translated for Amanda on occasion, putting his English speaking ability beyond her Italian. I think it's hard to show that they were scared because the door was always locked if he just mixed up never for always. It doesn't seem reasonable to me that this is a possible "Lost In Translation" quote.

Rose

Annie Robertson said...

All these knives are necessity in kitchen and you should always remember, the expensive they are better they will work.
Kitchen Knives

Anonymous said...

Thanks Annie, can I just use my intuition and pick out just one of your knives for testing. I suspect it will be the 2nd murder weapon with both Amanda's fingerprints and Meredith's DNA all over it.

Andrewgede said...

I was searching information on pedicure and your blog proved to be the best on the same. Please keep updating beauty tips in your blog.
Kitchen knives

kitchens cheltenham said...

Think about what tasks you may need to use a knife for. Remember different cutting jobs require different blades and knife sizes, using the proper blade is safer and makes preparation easier.

Kitchen Knife Sets said...

There is a suggestion in the forensic literature to set two thresholds that are ... 2kitchenknifesets.blogspot.com