Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why I believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent

Part 25 in the Knox/Sollecito case

The molehill of evidence
It is the evidence that is not there that is the prosecution’s weakest point, as former FBI agent Steve Moore pointed out. Consider blood spatter, for instance: “t is inconceivable that the person stabbing Meredith was not contaminated by blood spatter. Guede was. Anybody holding Meredith (such as was alleged by the prosecution) would be within the spatter zone. Again; blood on clothes and skin.”

There is no evidence that Amanda or Raffaele had any contact with Rudi Guede on the night of the murder. There is no evidence that they took any drugs other than cannabis. There is no DNA of Amanda’s in the murder room, and the only evidence of Raffaele’s is the highly contested bra clasp. Forensic Engineer Ron Hendry refuted the arguments of the prosecution that the break-in was staged. The difference in the amount of evidence against Guede versus Knox and Sollecito can be likened to a strong versus a weak signal, and only by pretending that the strong evidence is no better than the weak evidence can one come to the conclusion that all three are culpable.

The interrogation on the night of the 5th of November
The police seemed to have prior knowledge of Amanda’s text message to Patrick on the night of the murder, and the police may have known that the two of them met on the afternoon of the 5th. We also know from both Amanda’s contemporaneous statements and those of others that she was tired and scared in the days leading up to this interrogation (Candace Dempsey, Murder in Italy, Chapters 5-8).

There are many instances of people making a combined false accusation and confession, and this is one of them. The interrogation started around 11 PM and produced two statements, one around 1:45 AM and the other around 5:45 AM. She asked whether she needed a lawyer and was told that would only make things worse. Her statement the next morning shows considerable confusion. Also, if she had been completely rational during the interrogation, she would never have accused Patrick, whether she were innocent or guilty. She believed that he was at the bar that night, which should give him a rock-solid alibi. Again, Steve Moore’s comments are extremely useful and thought-provoking: “Why would detectives schedule an interrogation overnight? ...the reason they interrogated Amanda all night was to break her. Not get the truth, not get answers, not make Perugia safer; but to break her so that she would say what they wanted her to say.”

An ordinary kitchen knife, not the murder weapon
The large knife from Raffaele's flat did not match at least one and probably not two of the three major wounds. It did not match the bloody outline of a knife in Meredith’s bedroom. The DNA on the handle from Amanda was probably deposited when she used it for cooking at Raffaele’s flat. Although the arguments are sometimes detailed, Meredith’s DNA on the knife is probably due to contamination in the laboratory itself, but it may have been contaminated during its transport.

Shoeprint and footprint evidence
The police tried to insinuate some of the luminol-positive footprints were due to Knox and Sollecito and that all were set in blood. This attempt was intellectually dishonest. All of the shoeprints matched Guede’s sneakers. The luminol-positive footprints in the hall do not appear to be Meredith’s blood, inasmuch as they did not have Meredith’s DNA. The one bloody footprint in the bathroom looks a little bit more like Guede’s foot than Sollecito’s foot, but attributing it to either person unequivocally is questionable at best.

Cognitive bias and tunnel vision
If they are innocent, then how did they get convicted? Amanda and Raffaele were detained and held without charge before the forensic evidence came back implicating Rudy Guede. The day of their arrest the police paraded them through the old town with lights on and horns blaring. This had only happened one time previously in Perugia, according to the memory of one citizen, when a mafia figure was arrested. By the time Guede was becoming a suspect, a major figure in the Rome police department had put Ms. Knox’s picture in the hallway, right next to the arrest of Bernardo Provenzano.

This was not a conspiracy in the sense of a bunch of people sitting around a big table. I think it is a case where the police and public minister (PM) Mignini had made a bold claim about Knox and Sollecito’s involvement and could not back down. It may have been a situation where the forensic police (especially) felt, “To get along, go along.” In addition, the forensic scientists might have really believed that Knox and Sollecito were guilty and subconsciously tilted their results in that direction. Koppl and Balko wrote, “To the extent that it's possible, evidence should be stripped of all context before being sent to the lab.” Given that Knox and Sollecito were already in custody in a high-profile case before some of the evidence was even collected, it is difficult to see how all cognitive bias could have been avoided.

Poor forensics and lack of discovery
The prosecution’s misrepresenting which tests were or were not done and their withholding of electronic data files underlying the DNA forensics suggests that they know how weak their case really is. But it is remarkable how much they did wrong or did not do at all, for no reason that I can understand. There is a possible semen stain on Meredith’s bed that was never followed up with a confirmatory test. There were three computer hard drives that the police so badly mishandled that recovery of the data has been difficult or not even attempted. The collection of the DNA evidence with dirty gloves that were seldom changed is just plain sloppy. There is evidence of Meredith’s blood mixed with Amanda’s DNA in certain places in the flat, but the prosecution misleadingly implied that the samples were from Knox’s blood. Since Amanda lived at the flat, finding her DNA there is not inculpatory at all.

Exculpatory evidence
Meredith is known to have returned home around 9 PM. Many small pieces of evidence point to an earlier time of death, before 10 PM, than the prosecution indicated, about 11:40 PM. Meredith had left a load of laundry in the washing machine, presumably when she left to visit her friends for dinner. Yet the laundry had not been removed. Meredith was probably still wearing her zippered sweatshirt when she was attacked, the garment she wore when she was walking home on a brisk evening. Meredith unsuccessfully tried to call her ailing mother around 8:56 PM but did not attempt to reach her again. Atypically, Meredith did not send any text messages that evening. There were two calls around 10 PM that the Massei motivation report ascribes dubiously to Meredith playing with her cell phone. These activities may be evidence of her attacker trying to turn the phones off. A different cell tower sent a MMS to her phone at 10:13 PM; this falls short of proof that the cell phone had left her flat by this time, but it is consistent with the phone’s being transported at this time.

Meredith’s stomach content and the lack of any material in the duodenum are difficult to reconcile with the time of her last meal (of pizza, then apple crumble), which started around 6:30 PM or earlier. Her friends watched a movie after eating pizza, and they stopped to eat apple crumble. Raffaele’s appeal argues that Meredith’s stomach contents indicate a much earlier time of death, by roughly two hours, to about 9:30 or so. Some argue that TOD cannot be accurately determined by stomach contents alone, but that argument can be taken too far: it is known that Meredith was alive until at least 9 PM. In lieu of a lengthy discussion of physiology, let us take a simple path. Patients are advised not to eat for six to eight hours prior to surgery involving intravenous anesthesia. This avoids the possibility that the patient will vomit and aspirate stomach contents into the lungs. Why would anesthesiology guidelines suggest six hours for a small meal if the stomach remained full after 5 to 5.5 hours?

If her death occurred before 10 PM, then it is somewhere between unlikely and impossible that Amanda and Raffaele are guilty. They were known to be acting normally as of about 8:45 PM, when Ms. Popovic came over. Raffaele’s appeal argues that there was some computer activity long after this time, and the police who examined his computer may have not been experienced with MacIntosh products enough to know where to look. Even if the undisputed computer activity ended around 9:10 PM, it is extremely difficult to see how the two of them had time to get so messed up that they lost control enough to murder someone before 10 PM.

Final thoughts
The appeals process has begun with an examination of the DNA forensics of the kitchen knife and the bra clasp. If the computer evidence is reexamined and the stomach contents are reevaluated, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have a reasonable chance of exoneration as a result of their appeal.

63 comments:

Kaosium said...

Outstanding article, Chris.

I am often puzzled by those who object when it is said that 'there's no evidence' against Raffaele and Amanda. I wonder if they are thinking that some of us are pretending that many of the things you list above don't exist? Naturally I know that they were presented in court by the prosecution as 'evidence' of murder, there would be no trial at all if the prosecution didn't haven't anything at all to place before the court.

However, as is the case with every acquittal of murder when it becomes known that the defendant was definitely not guilty, notably ones where the real offender is later, what the prosecution presented in this case was not evidence of murder in my mind.

The footprints inside the cottage outside Meredith's room are an especially good example of that. They may have shown up with luminol, but they were tested for blood and found negative, they could have been made by any of the girls at the cottage, and they don't ascribe to any definitive pattern--in fact they're kinda scattered and isolated.

They are not evidence of murder as I see it, but in a very real sense the fact they were even presented as such suggests how weak the case against Raffaele and Amanda really is. It's not a 'mountain of evidence' to include items of this nature, it's a mountain of crap trying to obscure the fact no real evidence of Raffaele and Amanda's involvement really exists.

It's kinda like pretending at a hypothetical murder scene that every single carpet stain somehow is involved in the crime, when in fact that's just silly. Some of those stains in this imaginary example are no doubt from long ago, perhaps some from a super bowl party where the salsa got spilled and ground into the carpet during a touchdown celebration, and others from later when a partier spewed his guts having tried to drown his sorrows overmuch after a loss. A 'detective' who tried to pretend they must have been involved in a crime would be making a fool of themselves if there was nothing to corroborate those marks as being part of a murder, just because those marks existed.

That's the case with the footprints outside Meredith's door for instance. There's no reason to think they were blood, no reason to think they were Amanda's, no way of connecting them in any way in a reconstruction, and no reason to think they had anything to do with the murder. The only way they'd be used is if in fact the prosecution has no real evidence of murder and they are so desperate they just used every 'stain on the carpet'--like the example above--to pretend they had 'overwhelming evidence.'

All of the physical 'evidence' against Raffaele and Amanda is like that. It doesn't make me suspicious of them in the slightest, it makes me look askance at the prosecution for even presenting it.

Rose said...

Just a question for both Chris and Kaosium. If you have one presumptive test that is positive and a second presumptive test that is negative, what would you do?

halides1 said...

Kaosium,

I like your carpet analogy very much.

Rose Montague,

I might run a confirmatory test, anyway. However, some confirmatory tests are less sensitive than the presumptive tests, which is a problem. If I did not run a confirmatory test, I would certainly report the results of both tests and probably say that the result was inconclusive. Not reporting the result of a test is not ethical IMO, but I have seen examples of it.

A history/review article on blood stains that I read indicated one group of authors who felt that if one had several presumptive tests which all gave positive results, that one could conclude the substance was blood, as long as the presumptive tests were subject to different false positives. I don't think that this position is universally held.

Kaosium said...

If you are speaking of a blood test, then it is my understanding that a negative is absolute, it's just positives that need to be confirmed. However, in the case that it was very important, like a murder trial, I'd think repeating the presumptive test would be worthwhile, and even a confirmation test might be in order.

If they tested negative, then I would think it rational to conclude the results were negative. I wouldn't hide the fact a false positive came up though, people should realize that's going to happen, and to conceal one sounds to me like a good way to get yourself into trouble!

Rose said...

Yes,
Many thanks for confirming my suspicion that a third test was done (and not reported). To think she stopped with the TMB test does not make sense to me.

Kaosium said...

That's a *very* good point, Rose, I've never thought about that. Why on earth would she stop at two tests?

Actually I did just think of a potential reason. They became so desperate to compile a 'mountain of evidence' when they had nothing really, they went back and used every little thing they could; including these footprints which they tested negative and didn't actually plan on using until they realized how little they had.

Here's something I just re-learned, I don't think I've come across it since my first foray through the evidence. No wonder I forgot about the 'footprints' revealed with Luminol attributed to Raffaele that Chris linked in his article!

That's absolutely ridiculous! Who could pretend those splotches could be matched with *anything?* No wonder I haven't heard much about them, not even the adamant believer in Amanda and Raffaele's guilt has brought them up in months, and now I see two posts on them, one at JREF and one at Perugia Shock.

I think I might have some fun with this. :P

Anonymous said...

very well written piece.

thats the best summing to date i've read, a overview.

like driving lost, the wrong turn seems to have happened at the interrogation.

i agree fully with your comment of "to get along, an employee goes along".

Marco2006 said...

After examining the various articles about the forensic evidence from afar I cannot believe Amanda and Raffaele were convicted. The court clearly has the real killer in Rudy Guede. As the noted retired FBI profiler has said "behavior reflects personality." There is nothing in Amanda and Raffaele's past that would indicate a sex crazed drug ritual killing.

Why would Amanda and Raffaele bring a knife over to Amanda's apartment to commit a killing then bring it home and put in his kitchen drawer? It is just one of the many incongruities in the prosecutor's case.

What I see is a determined effort to cherry pick dubious evidence by incompetent crime scene & lab technicians, avoid exculpatory evidence, and slime Amanda & Raffaele in the press & in court. That is exactly what happen in Durham and the Duke Lacrosse Hoax.

This case is an example of being "Nifonged in Perugia."

halides1 said...

Marco2006 an anonymous at 4:48 PM,

I believe that the comparison to the Duke lacrosse case is well warranted. I hope that the defense is able to show computer activity during the time in question. If they do, the prosecution's case is holed below the waterline.

Randy said...

It looks like this new judge is more open to examining things from both sides. Whatever these experts find in their 90 day review- at least there is a review...

I thought this was interesting in a story over on the huffingtonpost...

"The two independent experts can either make new analyses on the DNA traces that were found, or, if that isn't possible, review the analyses that had been carried out by previous forensic experts and assess whether they are reliable, according to the mandate of the court.

But they might look to go a bit further. Conti, one of the independent experts, asked if he could open up the handle of the knife, to determine if blood or other traces might have seeped through. This led prosecutors and a lawyer representing the Kercher family to argue that such an analysis would go beyond the boundaries of the experts' mandate."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/22/amanda-knox-dna-evidence-_n_812594.html#

Maybe there is hope that the computers can be brought to life again. I can't believe this is not possible.

This business with trying to prove the buses going to the discos. Was that not attempted at the initial trial? Is that Ted Simon's influence?

just have to wait and see what happens.

Bob said...

Right on Chris!

Not only is there not enough evidence for conviction, it can be argued that there isn’t even enough evidence for suspicion.
-

Bob said...

Chris, I feel the following is not stressed enough when the guilt or innocence of Amanda Knox is being considered:

The misstatement surrendered by Amanda when confronted by 12 interrogators on the night of Nov. 5, 2007 was undeniably a result of coercion. However, this is not to be a factor when determining her guilt or innocence since the Italian supreme court ruled the statement to be inadmissible in the court of first instance.

Amanda's freely given 'gift' was ruled to be admissible, but the written statement is hardly condemning unless one lifts phrases out of context as Judge Massei did in his Motivations Report.

What does all this mean? The guilt or innocence of Amanda Knox is not to be influenced or determined in any way by the Nov. 5, 2007 interrogation.
-

Anonymous said...

Even if this ridiculous case finally is resolved favorably for Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, the ineptitude of the "experts" and the illogical progressions in Perugian thinking will remain an extraordinary blot on the Italian justice system--worse even than the blot that will long define Durham.

Observer

halides1 said...

Randy,

The fact that the defense did not object to opening the knife but the prosecution did was one of the most telling moments in the whole case. I have long said that not only do I not think that the kitchen knife is the murder weapon, but neither does the Italian law enforcement, or they would have opened it up long ago. I recently found one of Andrea Vogt’s articles from the fall of 2009. About Judge Massei’s having ruled against having an independent review she wrote, “Immediately after the judge's announcement, Sollecito bowed his head and briefly wept, as lawyers began haggling over court dates for closing arguments.” Raffaele is much maligned in some quarters, but he and Amanda have been equally victimized.

Bob,

Thanks. I recently reread Ms. Knox’s memoriale from the following day. She sounds thoroughly confused. One wonders whether one of Judge Massei’s ancestors were a cherry picker, since he does it so well. I agree with Steve Moore; Raffaele and Amanda did not deserve a second look as suspects.

Observer,

Nice to see you back. Ray Turner’s blog is called “The ridiculous case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.” In some ways there hasn’t been anything to say about the case since he started blogging on it, so perfectly did his title sum it up.

Kaosium said...

I agree especially with your assessment of the 'Gift' statement, in fact it was reading through that which kinda gave me an epiphany on the case. I was sitting there trying to find 'evidence' of it being written by a scheming liar, or by a girl who broke down and confessed and was trying to squirm out of it and what I saw was something completely different.

All that I had read about the interrogations, and the 'Statements' and her e-mail came to me at once and I realized this was the product of a scared, confused girl trying bravely to figure out what happened to her and help the police anyway! The truly sad thing is there is more, and better, investigative technique in that note than the police in Perugia displayed during the entire 'investigation!'

Dene said...

This is a really good read, with everything that has been said on these posts made by everyone.

I believe the media played a big part in everything and have influence over peoples minds and any slight fault is dug out. I think the only issue was if they had any association with Guede. Further more how the trials were separated and all the attention wasnt on Guede but Raffaele and Knox

the 90 day review, when is this going to be ready for?

Kaosium said...

I too think the media played a huge part in this debacle, Dene. From the very beginning, up through the trial. Amanda Knox was Italy's Woman of the year for 2009! Thankfully it appears the media is undoing some of the damage done to her character and exposing some of the facts of the case. According to the Italian at the Injustice in Perugia site, all news in Italy has been good as of late.

I suspect the prosecution is going to have to try to tie Amanda and Raffaele closer to Rudy. As it stands, the only contact between them was at a party where they were introduced and later on a hash spinello was smoked. Also Amanda testified that she thought she might have seen him come into Le Chic once.

However in the event that the prosecution loses the DNA 'evidence' and Curatolo is discredited as he should have been at the initial trial, there is little to possibly implicate Amanda and Raffaele. It wouldn't surprise me if the prosecution were to petition to add a 'witness' to a closer relationship between Rudy and Amanda and Raffaele, though I am uncertain how that would work at this point as Judge Hellmann has already ruled on additional witnesses at the outset of the appeal.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
You can write them at , freeraffele@gmail.com
and Amanda at, letterstoamanda@live.com
I found this information on facebook there is a free Amanda and Raffele facebook page.

Anonymous said...

she is guilty - the jury found her guilty - there's much more evidence than the DNA - if you think there as not evidence to convict her i guess you must really think Scott Peterson got a raw deal (very very little evidence against him)

Chris Halkides said...

The jury also found the Norfolk Four guilty, but it does not make them guilty in fact, only in law. What time do you think that Meredith Kercher died, and what are your reasons?

Still Convinced of Guilt said...
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Still Convinced of Guilt said...
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Still Convinced of Guilt said...

For the sake of this discussion, remove all the DNA evidence and pretend none of it exists.

There still remains the evidence of the phone records and computer records, which contradict their statements of where they were and when. Both amanda and rafaelle give statements implicating themselves - rafaelle contradicts amanda's statement saying she was not at his house, she was at her house until almost one in the morning on the night of the murder; amanda falsely accuses another person and even in that accusation she says she was at her home (not at rafalle's) when the person she accuses killed meredith - she mentions hearing meredith scream. Later on of course both of them change their story and say they were never there, they spent the whole night and most of the next morning at raffaele's place - contradicted once again by phone records, computer records, and witnesses, one of which is rafalle's father. There are also witnesses who saw them in the area that night and then early in the morning of the following day when they said they were at home. Even Rafalle's own father's statement about what time he called Rafalle contradicts what his son said about where he was and when - and of course a father has no reason to try to convict his own son. All of their accounts are filled with lies and contradictions - hardly something an innocent person would do, or would even need to do.

For some reason everyone seems to think that the elimination of the DNA evidence - which is being contested on procedural grounds only - means there is no other evidence. There is lots of other evidence. Even the third party, Rudy, says they were there - he's already convicted, what could he possibly gain from making that up? It's not as though saying such a thing will now get him off the hook.

Okay, back to the DNA evidence we discarded for this discussion - add it in on top of all the other evidence. It correlates with all the other evidence and supports it. The DNA of meredith was found on the blade of a knife which was found in Rafaelle's apartment. Now how did THAT happen? If the DNA evidence showed DNA of people other than the three accused/convicted people, you could certainly question whether they have the right parties - but it does not. None of it does. And excluding the DNA evidence outright does not negate the rest of the evidence either.

Chris Halkides said...

Still Convinced of Guilt,

The DNA evidence is not being contested on procedural grounds; it is being contested because it is unsound. Your statement is close to claiming that Amanda and Raffaele will get off on a technicality, and I completely disagree with that implication. Moreover, the bra clasp suffers from precisely the problem that you mention, namely the presence of DNA from other people.

Let’s briefly consider the other evidence. You don’t name the witness who puts Amanda and Raffaele elsewhere, so I will: Curatolo. He is a heroin user and a small time drug dealer whom the police have known about since 2003. This is his third trial in which he has testified in a way that is favorable to the prosecution. He has zero credibility as far as I am concerned. You are carefully vague about which phone and computer records you mean. The last undisputed computer interaction is at 9:08 and the last disputed one was at 9:26 in the first trial. However, Raffaele’s screensaver log file indicates usage of his computer much later than this. The police inadvertently lost meta-data such as the time at which the Stardust file was accessed, data that might have given Amanda and Raffaele a more complete alibi. Yet even the uncontested information is enough to put the prosecution’s case in serious doubt. The combination of Meredith’s stomach contents, the lack of phone calls or text messages, and other factors make it likely that Meredith was attacked shortly after she arrived at the flat, when Amanda and Raffaele were still at his place.

Rudi changed his story more often than Elizabeth Taylor changed husbands. Yet his first story, before he was arrested, was that Amanda and Raffaele were not there. He has nothing to lose by sticking with his latest story, but he does have something to gain. There were always be some people who believe that he is innocent and others who believe that he had a subsidiary role in Meredith’s murder.

Still Convinced of Guilt said...
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Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Chris. This is a very effective way to explain this case; a simple point by point explanation of the evidence in plain English. A good follow up piece would be a point by point takedown of the tired old handful of silly-assed, long discredited talking points the Guilters keep falling back on.. and if you do it, dont forget the cartwheel and the thong shopping.. those seem to be at the very core of the colpovisti theory of the crime.
Ciao! ~ Jake Holmes/Seattle

RoseMontague said...

I'm curious about Still Convinced of Guilt's posts. Something they said about phone and computer records. What exactly in the phone and computer records shows guilt? As far as being convinced by Rudy's fourth different statement that it could have been or looked like Amanda, LOL. And Curatolo? You are kidding me. One interesting thing we learned at Curatolo's embarrassing visit to the appeal court is the cops asked him the day after if he saw anything and he said he saw nothing! I guess Amanda is guilty of calling her MOM but what exactly is in their conversation that proves guilt of murder? This person obviously is convinced rather easily.

Paul Smyth said...

Still convinced is just repeating the prosecution line but obviously hasn't thought about any of it deeply. We have almost forgotten at this point that in April 2010 the defense filed a long, detailed,point-by-point rebuttal of the original sentencing report. The defense filings address every prosecution claim and are,in my view, plausible and convincing. Judge Hellmann read the defense appeals before the second trial began and there is every reason to believe he was influenced by them.

Still Convinced of Guilt said...

Paul Smyth is just repeating the defence line but obviously hasn't thought about any of it deeply. Many of you are stating your opinions, but they do not amount to facts. Perhaps you have not reviewed all the material as carefully as I thought. Wishing things to be true does not make them so.

Still Convinced of Guilt said...

Rose:

The issue with the phone and comuter records was that Rafaelle and Amanda give the alibi that they were home all night, and didn't even get up until mid-morning of the following day. If you were innocent you would have not reason to make up a story about what times you were at home or what time you got up at - the phone records for example, show that Rafaelle turned on his phone at 6:02 a.m. on the morning after the muder and read a text message - his statement however says they both slept in until mid-morning, but obviously that cannot be true - Amanda, who also says they slept in until mid-morning was found waiting outside the local store at 7:00 am to buy, among other things, bleach - again, this contradicts their alibi's of how they were both asleep at home for most of the morning after the murder.

Amanda's phone records shows she called her mother in Seattle at 12:47 p.m. on Nov 2nd - four minutes before Rafaelle called the local police. In a later intercept by the police, Amanda's mother asks Amanda how she knew about the situation at the time she called her, because nothing had happened yet - in other words why call mom to express your concern about the dire situation, minutes before it was officially learned by the police - and how would you know what the situation was before the body was discovered unless.... I don't doubt that her mother has figured it out for herself, but like any mother, she wants to protect her daughter.

As you might imagine, I can't really cut and paste the whole texts here - and there's a lot of it - but a little research online will find them for you, and explain all the details and why they're important - hope that answered your question.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I'm having no end of computer troubles here - I keep trying to post this, it appears as posted and then somehow disappears - so, my apologies, but thinking it may be a size limit thing, I'm going to try breaking it down into 3 parts.

On behalf of Still Convinced of Guilt, reply to Chris Halkides - part 1...

Actually, there was nothing vague, carefully or otherwise - it is a lengthy amount of material, and one would surmise that you already know the details, otherwise how could you discuss them - something borne out by the fact that your knowledge allowed you to name one of the witnesses - Curatolo.

There is no premise to assume that Curatolo's addictions (if that's true) means that he didn't see what he saw. The fact that you subjectively feel he has no credibility is simply an opinion. That's something like saying a prostitute witnessed a murder, but we shouldn't believe her because she's a prostitute. The other witness is the gentleman who owns the store where he saw Amanda waiting outside his shop first thing in the morning, (around 7:00 a.m.?), despite her saying neither she nor Rafaelle left the house until mid-morning. Another witness is Rafaelle's father - part of their alibi is that late in the evening around 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. is when they ate dinner and had the water spill after dinner - R's father said he phoned them about 8:30 pm or so, and that his son told him about the water spill having already occurred at that time - his son therefore mentioned it to him about 2 and half hours before it occurred, according to their statements. This contradicts the stories of Amanda and Rafaelle both.

Unknown said...

On behalf of Still Convinced of Guilt, reply to Chris Halkides - part 2...

Further to your suggestion about being vague regarding phone and computer records, there is more to these records than just the computer - their cell phones record times and dates when they were active - contradicting their statements about being in Rafaelle's home and asleep - It seems unlikely that one can both activate and use a cell phone while asleep. As for the computer, let's say it is proven to have had human interaction at the time of the murder - that might then correlate with one of Rafaelle's statements that he was surfing the net the night of the murder until Amanda came to his place from hers at about one in the morning - accordingly, that may clear Rafaelle but in turn it removes Amanda's alibi about how she was at Rafaelle's all night. You appear to be avoiding these details. This also contradicts your sentence about Amanda and Rafaelle both being at Rafaelle's place at the time of the murder - now here is one of the accused/convicted persons saying that Amanda was not at home with him while the murder was being committed, and that she did not come home until one in the morning.

You mention Rudy changing his story, but you avoid mentioning how many times Amanda and Rafaelle changed theirs. You have said that Rudy has something to gain, but you avoid saying what that is - what does he have to gain? Unless your following sentences about what people might believe is what you think he will gain, which is not any kind of gain at all.

(hang on, only one more...)

Unknown said...

On behalf of Still Convinced of Guilt, reply to Chris Halkides - part 3 - last one!

Speaking of being vague, I noticed you did not address the conflicting information provided by Amanda and Rafaelle - Rafaelle himself saying that Amanda was not at home with him. Then - as you would say - they changed their story more often than Elizabeth Taylor has been married. Innocent people do not need to make up stories, falsely accuse someone else, or keep changing their stories.

I make no implication about a technicality despite whatever inferences you may subjectively draw - I state clearly that many people seem to believe that excluding the DNA evidence means that all the rest of the evidence is of no probative value, and of course that is not true. As for the DNA, it was hashed out in court and collection and examination procedures were described in detail - of course everyone thinks that the DNA for Rudy was just fine, but for Amanda and Rafaelle suddenly it was done wrong.

In a police intercept, even Amanda's own mother questions Amanda about he she knew certain facts and was able to say them to her mother, before the matter was discovered to be a murder. How's that for a witness?

Chris Halkides said...

Still Convinced,

Perhaps you need to split your comments into sections. Curatolo acknowledged using heroin, so I don’t think that his habit is in doubt. In addition, he would not be the first witness to attempt to curry favor by giving testimony that the police wanted to hear. But even if these issues were not evident, there would still be his getting the date wrong.

Chris Halkides said...

Unknown,


I don’t have a problem with someone’s getting up, making a songlist on the computer, then going back to bed and then just provided the time that they got up for good. Taken to its extreme, a demand that someone do otherwise begins to look absurd. Would it be incriminating if Sollecito got up to urinate, went back to sleep, and then neglected to inform the police of this?

I do have a couple of problems with those who point to the alleged lies of Raffaele and Amanda as evidence of guilt. One is that the incidents can often be explained as slips of memory or misunderstandings due to language barriers. The latter is what I think is responsible for the question of how frequently Meredith locked her door. The other problem I have with this argument is that it is applied in an inconsistent manner. By that I mean that we know that the police spoke or leaked false information on the nonexistent bleach receipts, the Harry Potter book and clothing that were right where Amanda said they were, the arrival time of the postal police relative to Raffaele’s call to the carabinieri, the CCTV footage, and the amount of DNA on the knife to pick just some examples. If the police have so little regard for the truth that they either carelessly or willfully got these things wrong, why should a reasonable person trust them when they make claims such as the complete lack of contamination over a seven-year period.

Chris Halkides said...

Unknown,

Amanda and Raffaele both have two basic stories, what they said on the night of 5-6 November and what they said both before and after that date. I think that Raffaele either got confused or bullied into substituting Amanda’s actions on 31 November (where she did go out) for what her actions were on 1 November. Even if I felt his account were correct, he would still be being consistent in placing himself at his own flat. Therefore, if you believe him, you cannot believe ILE’s absurd conspiracy theory of what happened.

Rudy’s DNA is between his lawyers and ILE. They may have seen the electropherograms, but I have not. I accept the DNA evidence against him provisionally; if it is as flawed as the evidence against Amanda and Raffaele, then his lawyers should have contested it more vigorously. Another important difference between Rudy’s DNA and Amanda’s DNA is that Rudy had no business being at the cottage. Therefore, any of his DNA being there is incriminating. However, the DNA is not the main evidence agains Rudy; instead, his bloody handprint would be enough to convict him alone. His shoeprints, his fleeing the country, and his own words place him at the crime scene at the time of the murder. In contrast, the bra clasp, the knife, and the mixed DNA, flawed as they are, are the best pieces of evidence against the two.

You will have to be more specific with respect to what you mean regarding Amanda’s conversation with her mother. Amanda got the placement of the body wrong in conversations subsequent to the murder. She knew nothing that only the murderer would know. She imagined that Meredith screamed? Well, I imagine that Meredith screamed also. This was a terrible crime, but it was a simple crime.

Chris Halkides said...

Unknown,


Amanda and Raffaele both have two basic stories, what they said on the night of 5-6 November and what they said both before and after that date. I think that Raffaele either got confused or bullied into substituting Amanda’s actions on 31 November (where she did go out) for what her actions were on 1 November. Even if I felt his account were correct, he would still be being consistent in placing himself at his own flat. Therefore, if you believe him, you cannot believe ILE’s absurd conspiracy theory of what happened.

Rudy’s DNA is between his lawyers and ILE. They may have seen the electropherograms, but I have not. I accept the DNA evidence against him provisionally; if it is as flawed as the evidence against Amanda and Raffaele, then his lawyers should have contested it more vigorously. Another important difference between Rudy’s DNA and Amanda’s DNA is that Rudy had no business being at the cottage. Therefore, any of his DNA being there is incriminating. However, the DNA is not the main evidence agains Rudy; instead, his bloody handprint would be enough to convict him alone. His shoeprints, his fleeing the country, and his own words place him at the crime scene at the time of the murder. In contrast, the bra clasp, the knife, and the mixed DNA, flawed as they are, are the best pieces of evidence against the two.

You will have to be more specific with respect to what you mean regarding Amanda’s conversation with her mother. Amanda got the placement of the body wrong in conversations subsequent to the murder. She knew nothing that only the murderer would know. She imagined that Meredith screamed? Well, I imagine that Meredith screamed also. This was a terrible crime, but it was a simple crime.

I think that there is confusion with respect to the time at which Raffaele and Amanda ate dinner. IIRC, Raffaele mentioned doing the dishes when his father called, but that does not mean that they were finished with dinner at that time. Perhaps Raffaele needed/wanted to clean the dishes from earlier in the day or from some food preparation that he had just done. Raffaele especially and Amanda to some extent seem to get times wrong on multiple occasions. The pipe had been a problem for Raffaele on more than one occasion, IIUC.

Chris Halkides said...

Unknown,


If there is computer interaction during the time of the murder, then it clears one of them, and this holes the prosecution’s case below the waterline. Moreover, if Raffaele really were working on his computer that night, it strikes me as unlikely that he would say otherwise to protect his girlfriend of less than a week. He could have denied her an alibi in front of Judge Matteini and possibly walked, but he did not.

With respect to Rudy’s story, he has been given an extraordinarily lenient sentence for murder and sexual assault (he received mitigation in addition to the reduction from the fast track trial). Why should he tell the truth, when lying has served him so well. I am not certain that if he admitted that he took part in the killing and Amanda and Raffaele were not there (which I believe would both be true statements), whether or not he could face legal repercussions, but I think it is conceivable. Moreover, it may be psychologically easier for Rudy to claim innocence than to face the world for what he is.

Chris Halkides said...

With respect to the details of Raffaele's call to his father, I don't have the details. Does anyone have a good source?

RoseMontague said...

I answer a phone or turn on the TV before I get up many times, I still consider the time I got up to be the time I left the bed and started my daily activities. I sleep in sometimes but i am not asleep the entire time. This is just a parsing of words trying to show some sign of guilt and means nothing.

Amanda called her Mom for the same reason Raffaele called his sister, for advice. Much had happened, including the discovery of the real actual HTG break-in committed by that nefarious bumbling window breaking bathroom messing knife carrying, help your selfing to the fridge dude, Rudy Guede.

Unknown said...

At the end of the day, all of us are referencing whatever material we have at hand. None of us knows for sure who said what or who did what. The police have first hand information, so do the room-mates, so do the lawyers, so do the accused for that matter. So did the judge who found their was enough evidence for an arrest warrant and to commit them to trial, so did the judges who actually tried the case, so did the members of the jury. Somehow it is to be believed that they all got it wrong.

Oddly enough, if Amanda's appeal is won, those who wanted to believe her innocent will believe that everyone else got it wrong, but somehow this judge got it right. Those who believe she is guilty will in turn believe that the appeal judge got it wrong.

Still Convinced of Guilt said...

I see the comment about the parsing of words, but that is what all of you are doing as well. Things taken to extreme like urinating in the middle of the night are just that - things taken to extreme. If I say I was surfing the net until one in the morning that's not the same as getting up in the middle of the night for a few moments to use the washroom. If I say we slept in until mid-morning (about 10:30 they said) and didn't leave the house until then, and a shop owner sees me at his front door before 7:00 a.m., that's not the same as sleeping in but not being asleep the entire time. You are offering explanations along the lines of this 'may' be why such and such an event occurred, and refer as well to areas where you think there may be confusion. Hypothesis and opinion. An awful lot of things are being watered down with claims of confusion. (by the way, none of the room-mates are 'confused' about where they were that night, or about whether Meredith usually locked her door - they should all be as traumatized as Amanda about the event, but none of them have falsely accused an innocent person, none of them have given incorrect information, and all of their information has withstood investigation - only Amanda's and Rafaelle's has not.)

'Amanda called her Mom for the same reason Raffaele called his sister, for advice.' How exactly do you know that's why she called her? Of course you don't. Hypotheses and opinion. And even if that is why she called her, her own mother observed that Amanda gave information at that time before she possibly could have known it, saying “But this was before anything happened…” She phoned her mother at 12:47 p.m., the police did not even arrive until 1:00 p.m. – so thirteen minutes before the police arrived, and however many minutes before they discovered the body, Amanda was giving her mother facts she should not have known. From the judges written decision: "However, the perplexity shown by the mother indicates that in this phone call Amanda had told her of circumstances which, if she was a stranger to what had occurred, she could not have known."

(Part 2 to follow...)

Still Convinced of Guilt said...

Part 2

The question of washing dishes you raise about possibly being before dinner is not the issue - the water leak is the issue, however the fact of it being after dinner is made out by amanda and rafaelle themselves in their version of events. Firstly, both Amanda and Rafaelle said the water leak happened after dinner, and in his phone conversation with his father he told him about the water leak - ergo it had to be after dinner, according to their own story. Secondly, they went on to say they didn't bother with cleaning up the leaked water at that time because it was so late at night. (about 11:00 p.m.) This was part of their alibi to show they were still at rafaelle's place when the murder was being committed. Of course his Father's phone call at 8:42 p.m. is almost two and a half hours before their story says it happened - this undermines their alibi of still being at home washing dishes at 11:00 o'clock at night. Amanda waiting outside the shop just before 7:00 a.m. for it to open the next morning is not someone getting up to urinate or turn on the TV or being awake but still in bed - she is dressed and in the public street three and a half hours before she said she left the house - so much for sleeping in until about 10:30 a.m.
The shop keeper is one of the other witnesses I referred to besides curatolo. Is the shop keeper a heroin addict too? Is he also magically 'confused'? He is a business man who opens a shop in the morning, and he has nothing to gain by making up stories about Amanda waiting outside his shop for him to open.

In the totality of the circumstances, no part of the information given by Amanda and Rafaelle holds up under close scrutiny.

Still Convinced of Guilt said...

So now we come back to Curatolo.

Rafaelle's own father gives information that contradicts his son's alibi. As far as we know, he, like the shop keeper, is not a heroin addict either, nor is he 'confused. In fact, the phone records correlate and confirm the time of the phone call and to who it was made.

The previously mentioned shop keeper provides information about Amanda being at his shop early in the morning.

Both of these people contradict the information given the Amanda and Rafaelle.

Curatolo's information is between them both, and his information accurately correlates with other information, including the time of the murder and the timings given by witnesses who heard Meredith scream. We're willing to believe that the before and after information (Rafaelle's father and the shop keeper) is fine, that the witnesses who heard the scream are fine, but the information from Curatolo must be wrong?

Rose said...

LOL. Massei is not only biased , he is an idiot. Does he ever say what those circumstances were that Amanda told her Mom? Nope. It sure must have been something that made her guilty though.

Amanda's Mom was perplexed because Amanda forgot about the phone call. She did remember the one later that afternoon.

Rose said...

Here is what the Amazing Mignini hisself said about Curatolo:

The prosecutor Giuliano Mignini called the homeless "One of the key points and most important of the evidence. Credible credibilissimo absolute trustworthiness and reliability of ... ... proof, full circle, full stop. "

BWAHAHAHAHA, Too funny.

Maniac Mignininini

Chris Halkides said...

Unknown,

If Judge Hellman's court finds them innocent, it will change my opinion of the average acumen of Italian judges, but it will not change my opinion of the case. At this point there is enough information available to anyone who wants it, to form opinions about the case. Judge Massei's reasoning was flawed, and this can be discerned just by reading his report.

I am not sure whether or not you are an American, so I don't know how much my examples would mean. However, I think that courts got the Mixer murder, the Norfolk Four case, and the Billy Wayne Cope case completely wrong, just to name a few. My recollection is that a total of eleven reviews of the Cameron Todd Willingham case were done over about a ten-year period, and he was still executed, despite what is now seen as a complete lack of evidence of arson. So for me to say that the Massei court got this case wrong is not much of a leap.

Chris Halkides said...

Still Convinced,

I think that the pipe was an ongoing problem. If they washed dishes twice that evening, then it probably leaked twice. However, suppose for a moment that it could be conclusively proved that AK and RS had an early dinner that night. I don't see what difference it makes. They said that they were home the whole evening, so the order of events is secondary to that fact.

Tom Rawstorne reported, "He knew Sollecito and Knox by sight and was interviewed by police days after the murder, telling officers they had not been in his shop on the morning after the killing.
Seven months later, he told a newspaper reporter he had, in fact, seen Sollecito and Knox in the shop that morning and recalled them buying two bottles of bleach, which the prosecution alleged had been used as part of the clean-up of the murder scene.
However, another of the shop assistants that day was Marina Chiriboga, who also worked part-time cleaning student apartments.
She was able to refute Quintavalle's new version of events because she was also in the shop on the morning of November 2, 2007, and did not see Sollecito or Knox."

I think Quintavalle has convinced himself that he saw Knox, but I do not believe that he did. We know from the Willingham case that witnesses' memories sometimes change over time, to become more aligned with their beliefs about guilt or innocence. Others may be less charitable in their interpretations of his comments.

Chris Halkides said...

Still Convinced,

Do you think that Meredith was killed after 11:30 PM? I don't, and that is why Nara's testimony is irrelevant.

Chris Halkides said...

Still Convinced,

If it could be shown conclusively that Quintavalle were wrong, what conclusions would you draw?

Still Convinced of Guilt said...

Hypothesis and opinion. Still. I find a lot of the comments have "I think" and "If" - we can all think a lot of things, but it's a guess. Your personal opinions of the Judge amount to nothing - but really, name calling now? This is what you're using for your own personal 'evidence'?. That sure helps to illuminate your mind set however.

"I think" that the pipe was an ongoing problem. But you don't know. "If" they washed dishes twice that evening, then it probably leaked twice. "If" it could be shown conclusively that Quintavalle were wrong - but it hasn't been shown.

'I think' and 'If'. Opinion. Hypothesis.

Quoted excerpt: "Raffaele, after having eaten, had washed the dishes, but a break in the pipes had occurred under the sink. And water was leaking, with flooding on the floor. Since they didn’t have a mop, they decided that they would do the cleaning the next day with a mop that she could get from her house. She added that they were very tired and that it had to have been quite late at that point: her next memory brought her to the morning of November 2, around 10:00 am, when she woke up and took a plastic bag in which she placed her own dirty clothing to take home."

This is not "I think", it's verbatim.

You could take every single court case from anywhere in the world, at any time in history and dissect it and second-guess it to death.

It's very plain that you simply do not want to hear it. Maybe if Amanda gets off on appeal, she can join up with OJ Simpson (once he gets out), and they can both search for the 'real' murderers.

Chris Halkides said...

Still Convinced,

Would you mind answering my question?

Chris Halkides said...

Still Convinced,

I don't believe that you have read my replies very carefully. Quintavalle's testimony contradicted his own previous account, as well as being at odds with his assistant. As far as I am concerned, his testimony is discredited. The question I asked you was if you came to the same conclusion, what further inferences would you draw?

Nothing I wrote is name-calling with respect to the Italian judges.

The prosecution's timeline ignores basic human physiology. Once you correct for that, there is just not enough time for Knox and Sollecito to get high on drugs, find Rudy and murder Meredith.The issue of the pipe is basically unimportant. It does not matter whether they ate first then watched movies or vice versa, because they were at his flat the whole time.

The real murderer (Guede) is already in prison, but not for as long as he should be.

Galooli said...

Good post,Chris. I too thought Amanda may be innocent until I really delved into the details of this case. I'm curious, since you wrote this, have you come around to concluding her guilt?

One of many key things that convicted her was her Flatmates testimony.

I think the key to understanding the Kercher murder is realizing that the break-in was staged. This alone is damning, but combined with the cell phone and computer records that destroy Raffaele and Amanda's alibis and you've got your conviction.

And to top it off, we have Raffaele and Amanda's own testimony and attempts to hide the truth that have ultimately sealed their fate.

While DNA collection should be scrutinized closely, in this case there's so much additional evidence to corroborate the findings from the scientific evidence that, let's face it, these convictions will and should stand.

Chris Halkides said...

Galooli,

I think that it is unlikely (but not impossible) that RG would have staged a burglary. Therefore, if the burglary could be conclusively demonstrated to be staged, then that would be strong evidence against AK and RS. However, the evidence for staging is pretty thin gruel. I think that there are two possible reasons why things were not taken from Filomena’s room. One, RG needed cash for rent (and he had not had much luck fencing stuff, anyway). Two, I think Meredith came back shortly after his break-in and while he was on the toilet. The claim of glass on the clothes means very little with no photographs. We do know that Filomena inadvertently altered the distribution of glass when she went to retrieve her computer. We also don’t know with certainty which of her clothes were in the open before the break-in. Testimony to the effect that she was a tidy person is worth almost nothing.

ILE damaged the hard drives and inadvertently lost some meta-data, such as the time that Stardust was previously accessed. My definition of alibi is that it is one’s account of where one was when a crime was committed. Therefore, even if I agreed with you that AK and RS lied about what they did on the morning of 2 November, it would be irrelevant to their alibi. Meredith was dead by 10:00 at the very outside, more likely closer to 9 than to 10. There was an undisputed interaction on Sollecito’s computer at 9:08, and the defense argue that there was the opening of the Naruto file at 9:26 or thereabouts.

Anonymous said...

to halides: You think you are smarter than professional CSI investigators? Isn't that rather arrogant attitude to take. You wrote that you don't believe that the shop owner saw Amanda buying two bottles of bleach in the morning after the murder. That makes you a lier, because these eyewitnesses usually testifies in court and they swear their testimony on the Bible. And you have the arrogancy of saying; I don't believe him. It's also stupid to say:if the other person in that shop didn't see Amanda, it MUST mean either the other saw. You must know that is ridiculous. if you go to a shop, and one person sees you, and the other doesn't, what is your conclusion of it: simply that the first person didn't look at you, but you still were there, and other one DID see you, he was paying attention on you. Your way of thinking is very dishonest and unlogigal.A&R lied thousand times to police and investigators, that's all I need to know about this case, since innocent don't lie when you have to swear on Bible and you have nothing to lose.They go back to prison very soon.

Anonymous said...

Halidas: you also constatly say: I don't believe eyewitnesses are telling the truth. You say: I don't believe Filomena was tidy like everyone are saying...and so on.These eyewitness have nothing to lose by telling the truth, usually people don't lie when it comes to murder investigation, because if they do, they would be part of it in the eyes of God.And they would be later in trouble by law.It's illegal to lie to police, you assume ALL lie, as habit.I find that atttitude dishonest from your part. Normally people don't lie when it comes to something there is no reason to lie.You don't even believe when police say the glass WAS on top of messed clothes, then why do you even bother to read about this case or anything if you automaticly believe that EVERYBODY lies and EVERYBODY in the world are dishonest(newspapers, police, csi,eyewitnesses,neighbourghs, etc)You shouldn't then believe AK or RS either if you don't believe anyone else too, that would be logical.It's hopeless to try to discuss with someone who says sworn testimony is a lie, as if you were there and know better, that's slander by the way, and you are looking for slander charges against you if you keep saying that.

Anonymous said...

all the phone records are found about this case: "Perugia murder file" web page. Go there to: "timelines", for example.Also page "true justice for Meredith Kercher" has ccell phone activity timelines.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see images of the crime scene photos you can go to the website www.murderperugiafile.org
You will have to become a member to see all the photos.
Once you see the photos you will be able to tell which stories about this case were created with false information.
There is a lot of scientific information and also information about the DNA test that you seem to think is false. The method has been used and accepted in other cases and they are referenced.
Sorry you don't want to believe that Amanda and Sollecito are somehow involved. The appeal is happening. Her family can waste more money fighting extradition. Sollecito's father is no longer financing his defence. That has to tell you something. Sollecito's book didn't sell, he is asking for donations, he is unemployed. I wonder if he will give up and tell the truth of that night.
Still think they are guilty has laid out some very hard facts in the discussion. I feel sorry for Amanda's grandmother. Do you know she mortgaged her home so Amanda's family could mount a defence? Shouldn't happen like that. America is not a nice place to be old and without a roof over your head.

Chris Halkides said...

If you wish to discuss the DNA evidence, that is fine, but please do it as I do, with appropriate references. The same goes for the luminol-positive areas.

Chris Halkides said...

Former FBI profiler John Douglas and Mark Olshaker wrote, "Moreover, for any well-trained and experienced homicide investigator or an FBI profiler, determining whether a crime scene represents one or multiple offenders is one of the most basic skills. Few scenes are ambiguous on this point, and this was not one of those." Mr. Douglas believes that Rudy Guede is the sole perpetrator. I think that the man whose bloody handprint is under the body is the culprit.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you read the comments on your old post or not but wish to point out one little point I've never heard anyone else make. The claim of a staged break-in is supposed to implicate Knox, but to me it could also implicate Guede. Guede could reasonably suspect the cops would look closely at everyone who knew Kercher if there was no break in, and he knew he'd been caught burglarizing a place very shortly before, with a knife yet. So he had strong reason to try to make the cops think it was a random burglary. If it was a random burglary they would not be looking closely at everyone who knew the victim. By the way, either talking his way in because Kercher recognized him, or accosting her at the door, the same principle applies, lead the cops away from people who knew the house. Speculation but considering how much has been put into this staged break in idea -- and by the way, if Guede did it with someone else who knew the house, even more motive to lead the cops astray, and explains the two perpetrator theory.