Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eighteen false or misleading claims about Edda Mellas

Part 22 in the Knox/Sollecito case

In the previous entry I invited my readers to examine the claims that Edda Mellas made eighteen false claims, a view that was advanced at the site True Justice for Meredith by an anonymous individual calling herself “The Machine.” The following condensation is my synthesis of many of those comments. Thanks to Bob, Bruce Fisher, Kate, Mary H, Rose Montague, and all of the other contributors.

False claim 1: “The prosecution had changed the motive four times during the trial. and at the end they finally had to say we don’t have a motive but it doesn’t matter.” (minute 4.22 above)
Barbie Nadeau pointed out that the prosecutors had changed their theory, but only rather slightly:
“The prosecution lawyers began their case in January 2009 by arguing that Kercher was killed during a sex game gone awry. When it came time for closing arguments, they had changed the theory slightly, trying to make the case that Knox resented her prissy British roommate and killed her in hatred” A sex attack was still involved.
Prosecutor Mignini also suggested that a hards (sic) drug like cocaine might have been involved, and certainly never said that they didn’t have a motive. Co-Prosecutor Manuela Comodi said that she didn’t know precisely what the motive was, but certainly never claimed that there was none.

It is misleading to begin the clock at January 2009. The motive progression was: **Beginning motive (Nov. 2007) – Conspired satanic group sex activity.
**Beginning of trial – Conspired group sex activity.
**End of trial per Mignini– Knox’s resentment of her prissy British roommate--i.e., Knox’s hatred of Meredith.
**End of trial per Comodi – No motive but it doesn’t matter.
**Motivation report – Lust and marijuana induced aggression.

Finally, Ms. Nadeau herself reported (Angel Face, p. 158) that Mignini wanted to reintroduce the Satanic ritual, but Comodi blocked this.

False claim 2: “He (Rudy Guede) all of a sudden had money that he didn’t have earlier in the day” (minute 3.22 above)
Edda Mellas is plucking “facts” out thin air with this claim. No evidence was presented at any court hearing that showed that Rudy Guede suddenly had money that he didn’t have earlier in the day on 1 November 2007.

No one knows for sure whether Rudy Guede was able to buy a train ticket to Germany or simply avoided paying. However, he had not worked in two months. The facts that Meredith’s rent money was missing, his DNA was found on the zip of her purse point toward him as the thief. By contrast, neither Amanda nor Raffaele had money problems, despite the latter having a low bank account.

False claim 3: “There is no murder weapon.” (minute 4.32 above)
Judge Massei indicates in the sentencing report that Amanda Knox’s judges concluded that the double DNA knife, the larger of the two indicated by Meredith’s autopsy, is indeed the murder weapon.
It is totally compatible with the deep puncture wound in Meredith’s neck, and according to a number of independent forensic experts, it contained Meredith’s DNA on the blade..

Besides the problems with the DNA on the knife (see Response 13), it neither matched two of the three major wounds nor the bloody outline of a knife on the bed. If this were the murder weapon, it would have had blood on the handle, which would need to be cleaned off. This would remove the putative murderer’s fingerprints at the same time. The forensic police did not disassemble the knife to look for blood, as General Garofano pointed out in the book Darkness Descending. Why not? Perhaps even they doubt that Raffaele’s ordinary kitchen knife is a credible murder weapon.

False claim 4: “The Italian Supreme Court found the interrogation illegal” (minute 7.54 above)
Though this claim has been repeated in different ways, the Italian Supreme Court has NEVER ruled that Amanda Knox’s interrogation either as a witness or a suspect was illegal. In the suspect interview, she had both a lawyer and interpreter present.

The Machine is being cagey with respect to what constituted the suspect interview. The Supreme Court ruled that any information resulting from the interrogation was inadmissible in the Knox/Sollecito trial, but, in a mockery of justice and a violation of basic human rights, interrogation information was entered into the trial due to the Lumumba defamation/slander case.

False claim 5: “They admit to the fact they really have no physical evidence” (minute 7.54 above)
As it took the prosecutors four or five months to present it, they have never admitted that they have no physical evidence. The stop-start-stop nature of the defense phase of the trial showed how very telling the evidence was.

If the prosecution had solid physical evidence they would not be trampling all over Amanda’s rights by withholding evidence and lying as per the following:

*The prosecution withheld crucial testing information from the defense for the first 6 months of the trial of first instance.
*The prosecution lied for the first 6 months of the trial when they continually repeated that the footprints revealed by luminol were not tested for blood—documents released to the defense by the judge’s order show that the footprints were tested and that the results were negative, i.e., no blood.
*The prosecution is still withholding crucial testing information--the electronic data files (.fsa files), the instrument log files, and (if they exist) the contamination log files.

A succinct description of the lack of evidence for the prosecutor’s case is found here.

False claim 6: “They believe Meredith was killed at about 9.30pm” on Larry King Live (minute 0.54 here)
The prosecutors didn’t claim this at the trial. According to Mignini’s timeline, which he used when presenting his scenario for what happened to the judges and jury at trial, Meredith was killed at about 11.50pm.

The Machine ignores the fact that Public Minister Mignini moved the time of death back an hour during his closing statement. There are several reasons for rejecting Mignini’s revised time of death, not the least of which are the contents of Meredith’s stomach.

However, the cell phone evidence is perhaps the most exculpatory. The cell phone evidence is very clear and Raffaele’s appeal makes a very good argument that it is a good indication of a time of death between 
9 and 10 pm.
At 8:56 pm there is an attempt to call Meredith’s parents that does not go through. There is no further attempt despite the fact that her normal habits as shown by her phone records has her calling them before she went to bed on a regular basis.
 Just a few minutes before 10 pm there is an attempt to call voicemail that is ended before the message was heard and at 10 pm there is an attempt made to call her bank that does not use the international code prefix and does not go through.
At 10:13 the cell phone shows there is a GRPS (mms) reception to the cell phone from a tower that does cover Meredith’s place but not as strongly as the tower that normally covers her flat. This is the first time she has gotten a call covered by this particular mast. The next incoming call at 10 past midnight shows the location of the phones in the garden where they were found based on the mast that covers that area.
 The Massei report speculates that Meredith was just playing around with her phone at the times all these earlier calls. The defense had the idea of testing an area between Meredith’s apartment and the garden where they were found and discovered that this particular mast (the one showing the 10:13 call) covers an area between Meredith’s flat and the garden where they were found, meaning that at 10:13 the phone was in route to the garden and Meredith was already dead.

False claim 7: Amanda Knox didn’t know Rudy Guede (minute 1.02 here)
Unbelievably, Edda Mellas claimed that Amanda Knox didn’t know Rudy Guede despite the fact that Amanda Knox testified IN COURT that she had met Rudy Guede on several occasions.
Here’s the actual court transcript:
Carlo Pacelli (CP), Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer: In what circumstances did you meet him (Rudy)?
Amanda Knox (AK): I was in the center, near the church. It was during an evening when I met the guys that lived underneath in the apartment underneath us, and while I was mingling with them, they introduced me to Rudy.
CP: So it was on the occasion of a party at the house of the neighbors downstairs?
AK: Yes. What we did is, they introduced me to him downtown just to say “This is Rudy, this is Amanda”, and then I spent most of my time with Meredith, but we all went back to the house together.
CP: Did you also know him, or at least see him, in the pub “Le Chic”, Rudy?
AK: I think I saw him there once.
CP: Listen, this party at the neighbors, it took place in the second half of October? What period, end of October? 2007?
AK: I think it was more in the middle of October.

“To meet” is to be introduced or come together at a particular time and place.
 “To know” in this case would be “to be acquainted or familiar with.” in other words she didn’t know Guede personally. She knew who he was but didn’t know him. 
Apparently The Machine must havea hard time understanding American English. Amanda met the guy 1 time and might have saw him at a club 1 time. That does not mean she knows him. The Machine is pretending that the there is no difference between the two.

False claim 8: Rudy Guede’s DNA was in Meredith’s purse (minute 3.16 here
Edda Mellas’s claim that Rudy Guede’s DNA was in Meredith’s purse is completely untrue. According to the Micheli report, which was made available to the public in January 2008, Guede’s DNA was found on the zip of Meredith’s purse and not inside it.

The Machine is making a distinction without a difference. Rudy Guede’s DNA was found on her purse, on the sleeve of her sweatshirt and in her body. The lack of Amanda’s or Raffaele’s DNA on Meredith’s body is a problem for the prosecution’s case.

False claim 9: “Even the Italian Supreme Court ruled that her rights were repeatedly violated.” (minute 5:32 here)
The Italian Supreme Court has NEVER ruled that Amanda Knox’s rights were repeatedly violated. Not even her own lawyers claimed that, and no complaint was ever lodged.
The first of Knox’s two written statements couldn’t be used against her simply because she wasn’t represented by a lawyer when she made it – and she volunteered that statement, in a seeming state of panic, when she was told Sollecito was no longer supporting her alibi..
We continue next with Edda Mellas making claims in an interview for the CBS Early Show.
Whilen Edda Mellas was in Perugia, she was interviewed by CBS’s Chris Wragge. (Embedding of this CBS video YouTube on sites like TJMK is disabled, which suggests that CBS might be worried that the claims made were wrong and they should have been challenged on-air.)

An even higher court is beginning to realize that Amanda’s rights were repeatedly violated—society, which demands fundamental justice and the rule of law:

*Denial of legal representation
*Interrogation statements ruled to be inadmissible by the Supreme Court were thrust into the trial due to the Lumumba defamation/slander case.
*The prosecution withheld crucial testing information from the defense for the first 6 months of the trial of first instance.
*The prosecution lied for the first 6 months of the trial when they continually repeated that the footprints revealed by luminol were not tested for blood—documents released to the defense by a judge’s order revealed that the footprints were tested and that the results were negative, i.e., no blood.
*The prosecution is still withholding crucial testing information--the electronic data files (.fsa files), the instrument log files, and (if they exist) the contamination log files.
*Amanda Knox has been charged with slander for defending herself in court.

False claim 10: The double DNA knife is incompatible with the wounds on Meredith’s body. (minute 0.16 above)
In the interview Edda Mellas made the following claim: “The knife they think is the murder weapon is way too big and demonstrated how it had to have been a much smaller knife that caused all the wounds.”
Edda Mellas’s claim above is simply not true.
Barbie Nadeau reported directly from the courtroom in Perugia that multiple witnesses for the defence, including Dr. Carlo Torre, conceded that the double DNA knife was compatible with the deep puncture wound in Meredith’s neck.
“According to multiple witnesses for the defense, the knife is compatible with at least one of the three wounds on Kercher’s neck, but it was likely too large for the other two.” (Barbie Nadeau, Newsweek).
“He (Dr. Carlo Torre) conceded that a third larger wound could have been made with the knife, but said it was more likely it was made by twisting a smaller knife.” (Barbie Nadeau, The Daily Beast).
Judge Massei categorically states in the judges’ sentencing report that the double DNA knife was compatible with the large wound on Meredith’s neck.

The problems with the knife as evidence are discussed in Responses 3 and 13, however it is worth repeating that any knife could have made the larger wound, including the one that made the other two wounds on Meredith’s neck. What makes no sense is why Amanda and Raffaele would take a knife from his apartment even if their intent were to scare Meredith that night. There were knives at the girls’ flat. The notion that Amanda carried the large kitchen knife for protection (in a cloth bag, no less) is absurd.

False claim 11: Meredith’s room was so tiny, there wasn’t enough room for four people in some kind of tussle. (minute 0.27 above)
In the same interview with Chris Wragge, Edda Mellas asserts that there couldn’t have been an attack on Meredith involving three assailants.
“The space available this crime happened is so tiny you can’t have had four people in that room in some kind of tussle.”
The Violent Crimes Unit itself used detailed images at the trial (this is one below) to show that there was more than enough room for an attack involving three attackers.

Edda may have been questioning whether a struggle involving four people would create more damage in the room than was observed. If three people attacked Meredith, where are Knox’s or Sollecito’s shoeprints or fingerprints? If they restrained her and throttled her, why is there no DNA evidence of this contact?

Update 15 September 2010
It was originally Raffaele Sollecito’s expert witness, Francesco Introna, who argued that the room was too small for three people to assault Meredith Kercher.

False claim 12: There is no evidence of Amanda Knox at the actual crime scene. (minute 2.06 above)
“I fact at the actual crime scene there is no physical evidence of Amanda; not a hair, not a fingerprint, not a nothing.”
The crime scene involves the whole cottage and it isn’t limited to Meredith’s room. Knox and Sollecito were both CONVICTED of staging the break-in and tampering with the crime scene.
Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence actually placing Amanda Knox in Meredith’s room on the night of the murder: the double DNA knife, and the blood she tracked into the bathroom, the hallway, Filomena’s room, and her own room.
According to two imprint experts, there was a woman’s bloody shoeprint on the pillow under Meredith’s body which matched Knox’s foot size.
Even Sollecito’s forensic consultant, Professor Vinci, claimed that he had found Amanda Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra.

Because the date at which DNA arrived on an object cannot be known and because Amanda used the knife when she cooked at Raffaele’s flat, the presence of Amanda Knox’s DNA on the handle is strictly meaningless.

Every single shoe print found in the murder room belongs to Rudy Guede. The two imprint experts that The Machine is referring to were proven wrong. The Machine and everyone else at TJMK and PMF are well aware that this information has been refuted but they continue to spread this lie. Raffaele Sollecito’s forensics expert Francesco Vinci showed in great detail, in court, that all of the prints found in the murder room belonged to Rudy Guede. 

The prosecution had originally stated that there was one shoe print matching Raffaele Sollecito’s shoes found on the tile floor. They also stated that one shoe print of a woman’s size 37 shoe was found on a pillow case. The shoe print said to be a woman’s shoe was attributed to Amanda.

The truth is, all of the shoe prints match Rudy’s Nike Outbreak 2 shoes.

The Machine’s reasoning with respect to staging the break-in and tampering with the crime scene assumes Knox’s and Sollecito’s guilt, which are the very questions under dispute. In addition, luminol is a presumptive test for blood, no more. The luminol-positive footprints were negative by the TMB test and did not have Meredith’s DNA; therefore, there is no reason to believe that they originated from blood.

If one claimed that the DNA on the bra clasp is conclusive evidence of guilt, one would have to begin searching for the three unidentified individuals also deposited DNA on the clasp. One thing that the bra clasp implies is that contamination might be alive and well in the Rome testing laboratory. Either that or secondary transfer could explain all of the DNA on the clasp.

False claim 13: “The DNA is so insignificant. It’s this tiny spot. It’s not blood.” (minute 2.16 above)
Three independent DNA experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, and Professor Francesca Torricelli – confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was definitely on the blade of the double DNA.
The DNA charts themselves show a clear and unmistakable match. Edda Mellas doesn’t seem to understand that DNA evidence almost always involves only microscopic traces of DNA.
Dr. Stefanoni testified at the trial that the DNA on the blade could indeed have come from Meredith’s blood.
We continue next with Edda Mellas in an Interview with Linda Byron on Seattle TV station King 5.

The Machine ignores that Meredith’s DNA was in the low copy number (LCN) range, demonstrating that she understands less about DNA profiling than Edda Mellas does. First, LCN samples should be tested at least twice, and only those alleles that show up in both runs are should be counted. Second, Stefanoni did not use standard LCN conditions in other ways, such as the number of cycles of the amplification step and working under lighting and air-handling conditions that minimize the possibility of DNA contamination. New methods are typically vetted in peer-reviewed journals before they are accepted. Third, the Machine also ignores the well known possibility of contamination, as well as the fact that contamination is a greater risk for samples in the LCN range.

There are some problems with The Machine’s assertion that there is a “clear and unmistakable match.” First, in locus D3S1358 there are two peaks, each with peak height of about 20 RFU, which are not seen in Meredith’s reference profile. They have 15 and 16 repeats, respectively, but Meredith’s profile has peaks at 14 and 18 repeats. Second, in the D21S11 locus, the knife profile has a peak at 30 repeats, but Meredith’s profile has peaks at 30 and 33.2 repeats. It is possible to explain the two extra and one missing peak as a consequence of the amount of DNA being in the LCN range. Yet, this explanation only underscores the fact that Stefanoni should have used the services of a lab that has proper facilities and experience, instead of making up her own inferior method.

It is now well known that Stefanoni went ahead with the analysis, despite the fact that her instrument read “too low,” meaning that there was not enough DNA to continue. What is less well appreciated is the fact that Stefanoni treated this sample differently from other samples, where she discontinued the analysis under similar circumstances. The Machine ignores Stefanoni’s apparent inconsistency.

Dr. Stefanoni’s assertion that the DNA could have come from Meredith’s blood is extremely dubious. The knife tested negative for blood with tetramethylbenzidine (TMB), and Dr. Elizabeth Johnson and Professor Gregory Hampikian indicated that the test for blood is more sensitive than the test for DNA. In other words, if a bloody knife were cleaned of all traces of blood, all traces of DNA would also be removed. They and the cosigners of an open letter on the DNA evidence in this case publish regularly in the field of DNA forensics. The same cannot be said of Dr. Stefanoni.

Furthermore, The Machine ignores the fact that Stefanoni did not turn over the electronic data files or the machine logs. This failure to abide by the international standards of discovery of DNA evidence means that any claim about the quality of the results is suspect. The defense expert witnesses did not have all of the information that they would need to evaluate Stefanoni’s dubious results.

False claim 14: Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito maintained the same story (minute 3.17)
Edda Mellas claimed in this interview with Linda Byron that Amanda Knox had maintained the same story for over a year when she was asked whether her daughter had lied. In another interview with Linda Byron in November 2009, Edda Mellas bizarrely claimed that Amanda Knox hadn’t changed her story. KING 5 Investigator Linda Byron asked her: “Did she change her story?”
Edda Mellas responded: “No, no. For this whole year they have maintained the story – what they did that night. They stayed at Raffaele’s, they made dinner, they watched a movie. That’s it, that’s the story.”
Edda Mellas’s statement that Amanda Knox didn’t change her story and that she and Sollecito maintained the same story is yet another incorrect and misleading claim. Knox and Sollecito both gave three different alibis. The posts on their alibis are linked-to up at the top here. Knox gave at least three different times for when she and Sollecito had dinner on the night of the murder.
Knox gave different reasons for writing her handwritten confession, and she gave different accounts of seeing the blood in the bathroom which contradict each other.
And most devastating of all, Sollecito stopped providing Knox with an alibi on 5 November 2007. Sollecito is STILL nearly three years later refusing to corroborate her alibi. He clearly hasn’t maintained that Knox was with him at his apartment – actually he claimed that she went out for four hours.

Amanda has had two basic accounts; before and after the night of 5-6 November, she said that she was with Raffaele. Only on the night of the interrogation did she say anything different, and she almost immediately backed away from what she said that night. Amanda’s own words and actions and the observations of others all indicate that Amanda was physically and emotionally worn out by the time of her interrogation. We will never know how her interrogation progressed, because the police either lost it or never made a recording of it.

The claim that Raffaele stopped providing an alibi for Amanda after 1 November 2007 is among The Machine’s most serious misstatements. The accounts in Murder in Italy and Darkness Descending both indicate that Raffaele backed Amanda up, although Ms. Dempsey indicates that Raffaele got some of the times wrong. Raffaele has always stated that to the best of his knowledge Amanda spent the entire night with him on 1 November 2007. He does add that it would have been possible for Amanda to have sneaked out for maybe an hour without his knowledge.

Raffaele’s lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court in the spring of 2008 to argue for his release, inasmuch as he had not even been formally charged at this point. Their words are sometimes taken as evidence that he was claiming he was not with her on the night of 5 November. His lawyers used words that were translated as “erroneous assumption” at Perugia-Shock that they were together, but a better translation is undeserved or unwarranted assumption. The key to understanding his lawyers’ argument is that they did not call it an erroneous belief, which would be a denial that they were together. The lawyers are saying that any evidence that would place Amanda outside Raffaele’s flat ought not be counted as evidence that Raffaele were outside his flat. As Kate wrote, “She’s not saying they were together or that they weren’t together; she’s challenging the Court to provide the evidence it NEEDS to provide if it’s going to transfer evidence to Sollecito on the basis of an unsupported assumption.”

False claim 15: Amanda Knox wasn’t provided with an interpreter (minute 2.37)
Edda Mellas made this false claim, which has been widely propagated by Knox groupies, in an interview with Linda Byron on King5. It’s not difficult to prove that this claim is completely false. Knox’s interpreter on 5 November 2007, Anna Donninio, even testified at the trial. And Amanda Knox herself spoke about her interpreter when she gave testimony at the trial.
We continue next with the claims of Edda Mellas on ABC TV.

The interpreter in this case was a participant in the interrogation process. According to Andrea Vogt, “But Knox said her interpreter's ‘traumatization’ was actually used to pressure her. ‘Ms. Donnino then later suggested that ... perhaps I didn't remember well because I had been traumatized, and so I should try to remember something else.’”

John Hooper reported on Ms. Donnio’s testimony: “Under cross-examination she described her role as that of a ‘mediator’ rather than a mere translator of words.”

Knox Clashes With Interpreter." 

That seems to be an unusual role for an interpreter. One wonders whether there is a defined role that an interpreter can play and if there are limits to what role they can take, as proscribed in Italian law.

False claim 16: “Amanda Knox is incredibly honest” (minute 11.25)
In an interview with ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas (ABC have rendered this video not embeddable) Edda Mellas claimed that her daughter is “incredibly honest”. And Edda Mellas told The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone that “Amanda doesn’t know how to lie.”
In fact, Amanda Knox’s mobile phone records, data recovered from Sollecito’s computer, and corroborative testimony of numerous witnesses, provide irrefutable proof that Amanda Knox has lied – again and again. For example, her lies about him directly led to Diya Lumumba, an innocent man, spending two weeks in prison – even though as recorded in prison she told her mother Edda Mellas that her claims were not true.

The Machine provides no specifics for her claims. Blaming Ms. Knox for what she said during an interrogation without knowing what went on between 11 PM and 5:45 AM the next morning is jumping to conclusions without facts. The authorities knew that Ms. Knox had already backed away from her statements about Lumumba long before she spoke to her mother. And the fact that this interview was recorded means that ILE knew exactly how Ms. Knox perceived her false statement. If they had decided her statement were false on the basis of what she said to her mother, they could have released Mr. Lumumba. Moreover, the authorities were not proactive with respect to an exculpatory witness for Mr. Lumumba; he came to Perugia on his own initiative.

Amanda’s family and all of her friends have always said that Amanda is ‘honest to a fault’. Why would anyone wish to accuse Amanda’s family and all of her friends of being liars?

False claim 17: Amanda Knox could have left Italy, but she chose to stay and help the police.
In an earlier interview with Larry King in October 2009, Edda Mellas told him that Amanda Knox could have left Italy, but she chose to stay and help the police: “After the murder, Mellas said, friends and family told Knox to leave Italy—to either come home or stay with relatives in Germany—but Knox refused because she wanted to help find the killer and prove that she had nothing to do with it.”
“Many people asked her to leave, but she said no. ‘I’m going to stay. I’m going to try and help. I’m going to try and finish school,’ ” Mellas said.” Edda Mellas’s claim is flatly contradicted by Amanda Knox herself, in the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007: “I then bought some underwear because as it turns out I wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house”
And along with one of Meredith’s friends who walked home with Meredith on the night, the police told Amanda Knox pretty promptly that as her status was (then) a primary witness, she was not to go anywhere. The fact that Knox did stay was of little help to the investigation – in fact, she seemed to work hard to derail it – and one of her main concerns at the time, a pretty callous one, was whether she would be staying or moving out of the house and getting a rent refund.

The following statement from Judge Matteini indicates that Amanda was free to leave Italy and didn’t:

"Your family lives in the United States, so it would be extremely easy for you to leave the country," Matteini wrote. "The fact that you did not do so before you were arrested is totally irrelevant. We must remind you that your arrest was made very early, and was affected purposely before the arrival of your mother in order to avoid just such a possibility."

False claim 18: Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not under the influence of drugs on the night of the murder (BBC Radio)
In an interview with BBC Radio after the verdict, Edda Mellas apparently stated that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not under the influence of drugs on the night of the murder.
This is despite the fact that both Knox and Sollecito had both themselves actually claimed they had smoked cannabis. The prosecution believed they might have been on a hard drug like cocaine, which also seems the general belief around Perugia.

The Machine is engaging in rumor-mongering. There was no evidence presented at the trial about cocaine or any other drug. Amanda never used cocaine in her life. Knox and Sollecito have stated that they had smoked cannabis. One suspects that Amanda’s parents were implying that they (Amanda and Raffaele) were not under the influence of ‘hard’ drugs as opposed to mildly euphoriant-like cannabis which does not induce aggressive behavior.

Part 3. And Some Conclusions
The fact that Edda Mellas has been able to propagate so many wrong claims in the media for so long without being challenged seems to speaks volumes about the naivety and unprofessionalism of her interviewers, and of the media organisations they work for. As they usually do, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, King 5, and other media outlets should have interviewed objective crime-case professionals, who don’t have a vested interest in the case.
Instead they have relied again and again on Amanda Knox’s mother and other family members as primary sources.
Amanda Knox is not an innocent political prisoner who was railroaded in some Third World country for some very murky reason. She was unanimously convicted after a lengthy trial at which the evidence was absolutely overwhelming.
As the Christian Longo and Scott Peterson cases that we posted on below go to prove, seemingly quite normal people commit horrific murders. Probably the vast majority of murders are committed by people who to many seemed normal.
It seems downright perverse that some of the journalists who have interviewed Edda Mellas treat Amanda Knox as a victim, and with cloying sympathy ask “How is Amanda doing?” They wouldn’t dream of asking Charles Manson’s mum how the Manson girls are doing.
It is time for the sake of the truth, the legitimacy of the verdict, the relations between the US and Italy, and the peace of mind of Meredith’s family and friends, that from now on they hold Edda Mellas’s feet to the fire..

The premise of The Machine’s article is flawed. The Machine presented no evidence that the press has ever relied heavily on Edda Mellas as a primary source of information. Have they actually relied on family members as “primary sources?” Or are the interviews with Amanda’s parents intended to focus on the subjective, human-interest aspects of the story? The comparison to Charles Manson and the references to cocaine use (again without providing any evidence to support this claim) make it clear that The Machine has no business complaining about another person's lack of impartiality. Moreover, Ms. Knox’s lawyers made many of the same arguments as Edda Mellas; therefore, there is no reason to single her out. The Machine has chosen to personalize the debate for no good reason.

Many of the Non-errors that The Machine cites are repeated in the defense appeals and should not be taken as errors simply because it doesn't fit with the prosecution’s case or the Massei report. Many of these issues are disputed for good reason. The Machine’s credibility for posting accurate and objective information has to be evaluated in light of her many errors in this article and others. Moreover, since the posting of the previous entry, The Machine has neither explained why the arguments are incorrect, nor made any alterations in or retractions to her essay, further damaging her credibility.


RoseMontague said...

Fantastic post. I can see that this took a lot of time and effort to pull together. I would say thank you but the last time I did that, several heads exploded.

Anonymous said...


My head is still in one piece. :)

And, yes, Chris does put time and effort into his posts. I may not always agree with his theories or opinions, however, I don't doubt he is sincere in his beliefs.


Paul said...

It is interesting that you think the Machine is female. Any special insight there?

Just when I thought it was impossible for the guilter crowd to sink any lower something like this comes up. Imagine criticizing a woman for fighting for her own daughter! And the idea that a Seattle school teacher could hoodwink large segments of the national media is breathtakingly stupid. The defense has gotten traction with the media for one reason only: the prosecution case disintegrates completely if you make any effort to understand the forensics.

With regard to the double DNA knife it is misleading to suggest that the renowned experts for the defense conceded that the kitchen knife could have made the fatal wound. They conceded that in a simple minded way the measurements could work, but insisted that the large knife was totally incompatible with the wounds given the force that was used. One of them noted that that large a knife would have cut Meredith's head off if it had been used with as much force as was evident here. These same experts explained in great detail, and with concrete references to other cases, how a smaller knife like the knife of the bloody imprint could have made all of the wounds.

Debrah said...


Just doing a drive-by and I see that Chris has outdone himself on this post.

And no. I haven't read it all!

However, I'm beginning to think that someone will have to commission Chris to work on this case in Italy.

I can see it now.......

Inside one of these dissections an unimpeachable defense will emerge.

Italy is taken by storm.

It's Halkides-time!

Chris is hailed as a forensic genius from Wilmington.

After the media kliegs die down and his weary brow softens, he takes a break by the Wilmington shore......

........and writes what will become a bestseller on the case.

While on the book tour and the TV talk show circuit he meets and falls madly in love with a make-up artist from one of the networks.

Inside the throes of fame's kliegs and carnal bliss, Chris decides that he needs a change.

So......he pulls up roots on the East Coast and moves to Mercer Island with his new wife and lives happily ever after!

Bob said...

Debrah posted: "Just doing a drive-by and I see that Chris has outdone himself on this post.

And no. I haven't read it all!"

Interesting that Debrah didn't read all of Chris's post yet feels qualified to comment on it.

She says that she was just 'driving by'. Guess she found time to stop and create a lengthy, derogatory comment. Hmmmm . . .?

Chris Halkides said...

Rose and Christiana,

Thank you for your kind words.


Call it a hunch.


Debrah has been commenting at this blog for quite some time, so I doubt that she intended to be derogatory. Were there any responses out of the eighteen that you would like to amend in any way? Should we take on another of The Machine's lists?


Debrah said...


Chris is right.

He's well-acquainted with my comments which are sometimes designed to add embroidery to the more grave aspects of life.

Get a dose.

As many have already mentioned, along with Chris' full academic schedule, he has managed to painstakingly sift through the forensic features of this case.

For those of us who do not have a background in the hard sciences, this often seems more challenging than suffering through root canal.

It's also worth mentioning that in Chris' field of study inside the academy, there's infinitely more blood, sweat, and tears required than disciplines in the humanities.

He has combined first-rate commentary along with in-depth forensic analyses.

This must take a great deal of time and energy.

My quest was to suggest a story line that is not altogether impossible.

Your reaction shows that the Diva magic hits a nerve every time!

You don't have to be worried about Chris.

RoseMontague said...

In fairness to Bob, he is not familiar with The Diva's distinctive style. Bob, when Debrah does not agree with something, you will have no difficulty picking that up.

Bob said...

Sorry for the misinterpretation.

Chris Halkides said...


No worries. About claim 14 and their alibis, I have been looking into how the police came to erase the time that Sollecito and Knox last accessed a file to the movie Stardust. Both Andrea Vogt and Frank Sfarzo reported this in late September of 2009. If they watched this movie around 10, it would put them into the clear if one accepts that Meredith was attacked between 9 and 10. Both Meredith's stomach contents and her cell phone records point toward this time period, not the one offered by PM Mignini, as the time of the attack.

Anonymous said...


I have been looking at the appeal of Raffaele (Italian) and the Massei Motivations concerning computer activity. (Please note - all times are approximate for I do not have the appeal document in front of me.)

From what I can perceive from the appeal there is a possible last activity on Raffaele's computer approximately 21:15 on 1 November, 2007. The appeal also mentions that the laptop of Raffaele was retrieved by police from his flat on 6 November, 2007 at approximately 13:30 (I don't believe the appeal states that the police were there earlier viewing the internet or interfering in files, i.e. the early morning 6 November, 2007 activity, just that there is possible human activity on the computer during the time Sollecito and Knox are being questioned at the Questera).

The appeal is asking for more forensic evaluation to be done concerning the time frame of 1 November, 2007 18:00 to 2 November, 2007 8:00 (perhaps using other software than encase to monitor activity on the computer?).

I believe the defense view is that the activity occurring on the computer during the different listed times is human; Massei says that isn't necessarily so (with the exception of the 00:58 4-second activity on 2 November 2007).

It is difficult for me to understand (and probably more difficult for those to understand what I have written here), however, one can read what I have tried to condense here from Raffaele's appeal document (starting at page 25, I think) and the PMF English translated Massei Motivations starting on page 308 for the defense technical report (and pages before and after for the police evaluation and Massei's hypothesis). Please feel free to correct or expand as needed.

Christiana and said...

Amanda Knox Show-Down? Libya's Gaddafi heads to Italy with tent, 'Amazonian' bodyguards and 30Berber horses

Chris Halkides said...

On the subject of the money (false claim 2), an anonymous poster, DanO, had this to say on another site, “The statements made by Rudy may be lies. But it is an established fact that he said them. That he mentions Merediths's rent money before it was public knowledge that the money was stollen and before anyone even questioned him about the money is evidence that Rudy was aware of the money being stolen even though what he said about the money was a fabrication.” said...

There are new developments going on. The Empire strikes back:
New Italian book against Amanda, with suspiciously big publicity...

RoseMontague said...

Chris and Christiana,
Thanks for the posts on computer activity. If the date of last viewing is overwritten each time that movie file is accessed, it may be forever a moot question. It does make the police look either incompetent for playing with his computer or may even be considered suspicious activity on the part of the police.

I don't recall seeing this (watching Stardust at 10PM) mentioned in the appeal as something that the defense is definitely claiming happened.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

I follow your blog regularly, and admire your work on this case. In my opinion, the conviction of AK and RS hasn't passed the smell test from the very beginning.

The following article is an interesting case from Nebraska, having a lot of parallels to the Meridith Kercher case.


boldeagle said...

I thought you wanted to write about Edda, but all I see is Machine, Machine and more Machine. Why such obsession?

Chris Halkides said...

Bold Eagle,

I think you should ask The Machine why she has such an obsession with Edda Mellas. The Machine unnecessarily made the debate personal. This article was intended to rebut the eighteen claims rather than get into peripheral issues.

Harry R. Wilkens said...

In case anybody is still interested in the Amanda Knox case and to get this girl out of hell, help me to promote:
1) her new Italian webpage
2) the Amanda song

You find all this under and can retweet it.
This afternoon of September 10 I will post it also under

Many thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

No, Harry, no. PLEASE no Amanda song.

Cmon this is a murder trial, not a product launch.

Harry R. Wilkens said...

This song, and the site where it is published, is like a chapel in Amanda's memory.
Another option would be to send Amandas sisters to Tripoli to ask Muammar Gaddhafi to free her. Gaddhafi is the most powerful man in Italy. said...

You are sure that it's not a product launch?

Amanda Knox's family hopes a heavy-hitter will help bring their daughter home.

RighteousThug said...


Hey Chris, saw this article and thought of your interest in the Amanda Knox case:

Just FYI, not sayin' nothin', really!

Chris Halkides said...

Righteous Thug,

Thanks for the link. Speaking only for myself, I have found much to admire and much to criticize in the Italian judicial system as a whole. I never saw the verdict as being anti-American (Raffaele Sollecito is Italian, after all), but I did and do see it as erroneous in several respects. I think that the Perugian authorities did not exceed the Durham authorities in misconduct, but maybe they roughly equaled it.

I am not sure I buy into the notion that retired FBI agent Steve Moore’s involvement is unhelpful. He seems to have drawn attention to a case that had slipped a little from the public eye. A retired lawyer from the Justice Department, S. Michael Scadron, has an article in the Christian Science Monitor that may have been prompted by Moore’s involvement.

Chris Halkides said...

I made a minor addition today, in the form of a lin, to the claim regarding the size of the room. This is something that Introna, one of Sollecito's expert witnesses said.

Anonymous said...

I made a minor addition today, in the form of a lin, to the claim regarding the size of the room. This is something that Introna, one of Sollecito's expert witnesses said.

I don't understand what this means.

As for the two new articles listed and the new people speaking on behalf of Amanda, I agree that it is not bad. Their credentials appear to be solid. I think the negative perception of their involvement, if there is any, may come from the journalists writing about, or interviewing them. Sometimes things are misunderstood which are then put into print or a broadcast.


Ros ⋚ said...

I think he meant link according to his update in the post. It is another argument made by the defense team that Edda Mellas is repeating.

Seems to me the press is really heating up in advance of the appeals.

The latest Forensic articles at Bruce's place regarding the break in are very good. The point made about the TV cable is a good one that is new to me. It is hard to write four articles like that and not expect someone to take one line or lin out of it to make an issue of the writer's character. Go figure.

RoseMontague said...

That scuff mark on top of the top of the first window ledge (the one with the grate)is also new to me as well as the information that there was a second nail hole near the nail that may or may not have been dislodged.
The break-in has always been the sticking point for me as far as unanswered questions. This series of articles addresses some of the concerns that I have about the possibility of a staged break-in.

Chris Halkides said...


Rose is correct. I meant to say that I added a link to the discussion of claim #11, concerning the size of the room. One problem I continue to have with The Machine's article is that it personalizes the debate unnecessarily. Edda Mellas did not say that the room was too small by herself; if The Machine wants to attack anyone, it should be Dr. Introna.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to write four articles like that and not expect someone to take one line or lin out of it to make an issue of the writer's character. Go figure.


I promise I was not making an issue about Chris's post (or character - I respect what he brings to this discussion), I just did not understand what it meant or what it was applicable to.

I have read part of the new articles at Bruce's site. I still have doubts that the flat could have been accessed by either climbing to the window from the ground or from the planter. Reenactments, photos and measurements would probably aid those opinions.


RoseMontague said...

I am sorry if I did not make myself clear. I was talking about the 4 articles about the break in and not about Chris and his typo. I know you and Chris respect each other. My bad.

Anonymous said...

Righteous Thug,

I have three problems with the Newsweek article you linked to:

1. The author of the Newsweek article wrote a guilt-presuming book on this case "Angel , and therefore has a pecuniary motive to have the conviction upheld. One would think that would be at least disclosed in the article.

2. What kind of dog-logic brings one to the conclusion that it is better for the defendants to let all of the guilt-presuming nonsense out there go on without any balancing opinions?

3. The premise of the article, that the Italian justice system places more weight on perceived slights to the system than on the facts and guilt or innocense of the defendants should be more offensive to Italy than anything posted by folks who believe in the innocense of AK and RS.


Anonymous said...

*sorry, I posted before looking up the title of the book... "Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox"

Guilt-presuming enough?


Chris Halkides said...


Points well made and well taken. Bruce Fisher has written an essay in response to Barbie Nadeau.

Debrah said...


You should think about doing another post on Barbie Nadeau.

If you recall, that subject was always good for an emotional dust-up! :>)

By the way, here's a nice quote that could serve as a frame for your blog:

"Science is not only a disciple of reason, but one of romance and passion." Stephen Hawking

Rose Montague said...

It is an interesting quote, and his choice of the word disciple rather than discipline is curious. What do you think he is trying to say?

Debrah said...

Well, Rose.

I suppose that people like Hawking who have devoted their every waking hour to their professions would, necessarily, choose to humanize the discussion.

And in the hard sciences it would seem that every effort and successful outcome would rely mainly on "reason".

Hence, the "disciple" allusion is not only more dramatic, but more fully explains his dedication to science.

Anyway, that's my best Barbie Nadeau take on the matter!


Debrah said...

Two recent items of interest.

Knox lawyers aren't pleased with upcoming film.

Casting has already taken place for a Lifetime movie which will employ the idea of "Foxy Knoxy" as a sensational tool.


Barbie Nadeau must be salivating!