One Hand Clapping

Opinion: Amanda Knox Memoir, Truth Or Fiction?

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

   |21 Comments

Is Amanda Knox guilty of murder? One Italian jury said yes. Then a second jury said no. Now the case is being sent back for another trial.

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What's being said

  • Chris_Halkides

    The largest wound on Meredith's neck was a slash wound. Some have said it that could have been made by any sharp knife, but not everyone agrees. The far more important question is whether or not the kitchen knife could have made the other wounds, and the consensus is that it was too large. Meredith's neck showed bruising, which probably arose from the hilt of the knife. The key point is that a smaller knife could have made all of the wounds.

    Ms. Knox's first memoriale already shows doubt about the statements that she signed. Her second memoriale is a complete retraction. Harry Rag and his cohorts have been saying otherwise for years. It's time they stopped.

  • Matt Ryan

    After years of Harry the Rag’s blather, I would like to put forward another theory, that based on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Impact of the Highly Improbable, The Black Swan. One page 144, he writes, “The problem is that our ideas are sticky: once we produce a theory, we are not likely to change our minds. ... When you develop your opinions based on weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate.”

    The police interrogators went into that 5 November session believing that there were multiple perps. They broke two innocent people. What they got from Amanda would not have convicted Patrik because there was no substantiating forensic evidence. She would not have been a credible witness because she would have said what she said in court. This ought to have been their conclusion when their initial scenario blew up with a solid alibi. Instead, the Black Swan effect prevailed. They hung tough with the original theory with the substitution of Guede for Patrik, in spite of the fact that Raffaele had never met Guede and Amanda had been introduced to him and served him once with no other contact.

    Here is their dilemma: They’ve already convicted Amanda in the media complete with a ceremony hanging a mug shot on the wall at headquarters. There has been blowback regarding Amanda’s questioning that could result in criminal charges [added charges for Mignini]. Whether pressure was applied to forensic police or not, evidence gathering showed signs of looking at the suspects rather than looking for suspects. Somewhere in this process, I believe that these people came to realize their mistakes. How else can you interpret Mignini’s five scenarios and taking Amanda from being the point-woman with the knife to sitting in the director’s chair in the next room? The Black Swan swam into the Italian Supreme Court because they have been duped into this three killer theory. Italian pride could be at stake.

    It’s time for justice to trump pride and let these two innocents go on with their lives.

  • Matt Ryan

    After years of Harry the Rag’s blather, I would like to put forward another theory, that based on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Impact of the Highly Improbable, The Black Swan. One page 144, he writes, “The problem is that our ideas are sticky: once we produce a theory, we are not likely to change our minds. ... When you develop your opinions based on weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate.”

    The police interrogators went into that 5 November session believing that there were multiple perps. They broke two innocent people. What they got from Amanda would not have convicted Patrik because there was no substantiating forensic evidence. She would not have been a credible witness because she would have said what she said in court. This ought to have been their conclusion when their initial scenario blew up with a solid alibi. Instead, the Black Swan effect prevailed. They hung tough with the original theory with the substitution of Guede for Patrik, in spite of the fact that Raffaele had never met Guede and Amanda had been introduced to him and served him once with no other contact.

    Here is their dilemma: They’ve already convicted Amanda in the media complete with a ceremony hanging a mug shot on the wall at headquarters. There has been blowback regarding Amanda’s questioning that could result in criminal charges [added charges for Mignini]. Whether pressure was applied to forensic police or not, evidence gathering showed signs of looking at the suspects rather than looking for suspects. Somewhere in this process, I believe that these people came to realize their mistakes. How else can you interpret Mignini’s five scenarios and taking Amanda from being the point-woman with the knife to sitting in the director’s chair in the next room? The Black Swan swam into the Italian Supreme Court because they have been duped into this three killer theory. Italian pride could be at stake.

    It’s time for justice to trump pride and let these two innocents go on with their lives.

  • Harry Rag

    @Paul Symth,

    The fact that Steve Moore uses his real name and is a former FBI agent is completely irrelevant. He's ignorant of the basic of the case. Here are some of his false claims:

    1. The large knife does not match the large wound on Meredith’s neck.
    2. They want you to believe that Amanda Knox inflicted all three wounds on Meredith’s neck.
    3. Meredith had no defensive wounds on her hands.
    4. Rudy left his hair and fluid samples on Meredith’s body.
    5. Amanda and Raffaele did not step in blood and that can’t be avoided.
    6. None of the luminol prints or stains contained Meredith’s DNA.
    7. The prosecutor through fierce interrogation coerced Amanda into implicating someone else in the case.
    8. Amanda Knox was not given food or drinks when she was questioned by the police.
    9. Amanda Knox was interrogated in Italian on 5 November 2007.
    10. Amanda Knox recanted her accusation against Diya Lumumba as soon as she got some food.

    http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/ten_examples_of_how_the_former_campus_cop_steve_moore_serially_mischar/

  • Paul Smyth

    Again, I challenge Harry Rag to use his real name in these discussions. His failing to do so is cowardly and wrong. I am using my own name and Dr. Halkides is using his. It is all too easy to offer up outrageous comments and distortions when no one can hold you accountable for them. People have a right to know your name, your academic and/or professional credentials, and your personal connections to the case.

    So, come on Harry, use your own name--it's liberating. My name is Paul Smyth. I live in Michigan. Who are you and where do you live.

    The fact is that Rag has been offering up these same stale lies and distortions for about four years now. He like a birther or a Holocaust denier. It does not matter how many times you show him the error of his ways. He knows what he knows and is impervious to fact and reason.

    This may be an instance where a simple appeal to authority is useful. Bruce Budowle, John Douglas, and Steve Moore are all former FBI officials of some considerable professional accomplishments and standing. Bruce Budowle is one of the most highly regarded forensic geneticists in the world. John Douglas is one of the father's of modern criminal profiling. Steve Moore was a versatile and decorated agent who, among a great many other things, supervised major terrorism investigations.

    All three of these distinguished professionals agreed to look into the evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito subject to two conditions: 1) That they would have access to the entire case record and 2) that it was understood that they did not work for the defense. If they believed Knox and Sollecito were guilty, they would say so.

    All three examined the evidence in the case closely and all three came to an identical conclusion: Knox and Sollecito were plainly NOT GUILTY.

    Specifically, Budowle found that there was nothing in the DNA evidence that was damning to Knox and Sollecito. Douglas found that Amanda Knox was among the least violently inclined people he had ever encountered. And Moore concluded that the police work in this case was a classic, text book instance of an investigation run badly amuck where evidence manipulated and distorted almost endlessly. Moore famously stated that if any agents working for him had ever behaved like the police in Italy behaved her would have seen them prosecuted.

    All three have written about their conclusions or offered them at professional conferences.

    So it is really up to you. Do you want to believe three highly credentialed ex-FBI officers who spent a career putting bad people behind bars? Or do you want to believe an anonymous coward like Harry Rag?

    Rag may be able to fool casual, uninformed observers and armchair detectives but he cannot for a minute fool people who really know their stuff.

  • DaveAlexander

    And what are your credentials, Chris Halkides? From what I understand, you're not even " The DNA guy", academically speaking. Kind of intellectually dishonest, isn't it? Never mind that you've blindly swallowed whole the explanation of Sollecito's selective rewriting of his own words. I guess that there a rationalization for anything and everything when it comes to proven liars being worshiped by sheep.

    And how is Harry Rag a troll? He has a right to anonymity on the internet and his opinion (which seems to be based on fact).

  • Chris_Halkides

    Mr. Rag, Mr. Sollecito cooked at the women's flat, and his book makes it clear that he was thinking of an incident there, not at his flat. Mr. Sollecito's initial comments were put into a diary, not made to the police; therefore, even if he were wrong, that cannot be construed as lying to police, unless one is hopelessly locked into a pro-guilt mindset. Mr. Sollecito confused October 31st with November 1st during his interrogation, an error the police could have helped him correct if they had let him look at a calendar (as he requested). As for confusing whether a call came in on a landline (as it usually did) or as a message to one's cell phone, I consider this to be an understandable error, unless one is permanently wedded to a pro-guilt point of view. As far as the computer records go, some have argued that the police used the wrong type of software to analyze the interactions on his computer. Given the fact that they damaged three hard drives in their custody, their competence is not above being questioned.

  • Harry Rag

    @Chris Halkides,

    Stefano Gubbiotti was wearing gloves when handled the knife:

    "Homicide unit captain Stefano Gubbiotti then testified later at police headquarters he took the knife out of the envelope (also while wearing gloves) and placed it in a cardboard box he had in his office before it would be sent to Rome for forensic analysis."

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Knox-ex-boyfriend-refute-police-testimony-1301356.php#ixzz2T6vjTaac

  • Harry Rag

    @Chris Halkides,

    Stefano Gubbiotti was wearing gloves when handled the knife:

    "Homicide unit captain Stefano Gubbiotti then testified later at police headquarters he took the knife out of the envelope (also while wearing gloves) and placed it in a cardboard box he had in his office before it would be sent to Rome for forensic analysis."

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Knox-ex-boyfriend-refute-police-testimony-1301356.php#ixzz2T6vjTaac

  • Harry Rag

    @Chris Halkides,

    Stefano Gubbiotti was wearing gloves when handled the knife:

    "Homicide unit captain Stefano Gubbiotti then testified later at police headquarters he took the knife out of the envelope (also while wearing gloves) and placed it in a cardboard box he had in his office before it would be sent to Rome for forensic analysis."

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Knox-ex-boyfriend-refute-police-testimony-1301356.php#ixzz2T6vjTaac

  • Harry Rag

    @Chris Halkides,

    Sollecito lied before and after his questioning on 5 November 2007, so his lies cannot be attributed to police coercion. For example, he claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11.00pm and surfed the Internet from 11.00pm to 1.00am. His computer and telephone records provide irrefutable proof that these claims are not true. He was asked to go to the police station on 5 November 2007 because his telephone records contradicted what he had told them previously e.g. he had slept until about 10.00am the day after the murder. He claimed in his prison diary that he had accidentally pricked Meredith's hand whilst cooking. Meredith had never been to his apartment.

  • Chris_Halkides

    Officer Guibbiotti had been at the women's flat earlier in the same day he mishandled the knife. There is no excuse for unpackaging an item of evidence after it has been packaged. None whatsoever. There are many plausible scenarios of how he or someone else could have transferred DNA onto the knife inadvertantly, but to delve into them is to make the mistake of reversing the burden of proof. The prosecution must prove that it handled the items of evidence correctly. It is not for the defense to have to prove the means of contamination. If I go to my doctor with symptoms of a disease, he or she is unlikely to say, "Unless you can show me how you picked up an infection, I must assume that you are well."

  • Chris_Halkides

    Mr. Rag, You are using a tabloid newspaper story as evidence? That is absurd. Mr. Sollecito and Ms. Knox have given two basic accounts of what they did on the night of the murder; what they said during their interrogations, and what they said every other time, before and after that night. We are all agreed that the their accounts given on the night of the interrogation are false. I suggest that we all listen to the recordings of the interrogations themselves to figure out why.

  • Chris_Halkides

    Mr. Rag, The worlds leading DNA forensic experts are adamant that one needs the electronic data files to do a case review properly; the ABA guidelines on this subject correctly reflect this view. If they had been released, then the negative controls would have been released as part of the complete set of data. According to one of Ms. Knox's lawyers, this never happened. IIRC one of the observers of the tests did object, although observing the tests is nowhere near as important as having the EDFs.

  • Harry Rag

    @Chris Halkides,

    Sollecito is a proven liar. He gave three completely different alibis - he was at party with Knox, he was at his apartment with Knox and he was home alone. All these alibis turned out to be false. He even admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police. Why should anyone believe anything he says?

  • Chris_Halkides

    Mr. Sollecito's account of his interrogation and his description of Ms. Knox crying for help supports her version of events. There have been so many breaches of sound legal principles as to make it difficult to recall them in a single setting. However, Benjamin Sayagh's manuscript on precautionary detention is as good a place to start as anywhere.

  • Harry Rag

    @Chris Halkides,

    You wrote:

    "The knife was taken out and repackaged at one point, and it was handled at one point by an officer who had been to Meredith's flat."

    Are you suggesting that this officer transferred Meredith's DNA from the cottage onto the knife days after he had been to the cottage? If this was the case, why didn't transfer his own DNA onto the blade or do you think he was still wearing the same gloves?

    The negative controls were performed and filed with another judge. The defence experts would have known these tests had been carried out if they had bothered to witness the tests at the laboratory. They were all invited to attend.

    Third party certification for DNA laboratories is not a legal requirement in England or Italy. I don't recall any of the defence experts criticising the laboratory at the time. How do you know that Dr. Stefanoni's laboratory was not designed for LCN DNA analysis? Have you visited it? Are you a DNA expert? Have you ever processed a crime scene or carried out DNA tests for the police?

  • Christopher Halkides

    What Harry Rag said about the DNA on the bra clasp is impossible. The dominant profile on the clasp is that of Meredith Kercher. Raffaele Sollecito shares about ten alleles with Ms. Kercher, but even if his DNA were there in small amounts, at those positions, it would be overwhelmed by the DNA from Ms. Kercher.

    The correct way to judge for contamination is to perform negative controls, but if the controls were ever done, they were not given to the defense. It is blatantly false to say that 'unless contamination is proved, it does not exist." Quite the contrary: it is up to the prosecution to show that proper precautions against contamination were followed, and the forensic police made one mistake after another in this case. The gloves that were used to mishandle the bra clasp were manifestly dirty. The knife was taken out and repackaged at one point, and it was handled at one point by an officer who had been to Meredith's flat. The amount of DNA allegedly found on the knife was so small that it should have been subjected to special handling protocols (it should have been treated in the same way as low copy number samples are treated in Britain and New Zealand). Ms. Stefanoni's laboratory was not even certified at this time, let alone one designed especially for LCN DNA forensics.

    Worse still is that the defense repeatedly asked for the electronic data files so that they could give them to their consultants for analysis, but they were always withheld, trampling the right of discovery. The right of the defense to have access to these files is a near universal norm, according to Professor Dan Krane. When it comes to forensics, Mr. Rag proves that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  • Harry Rag

    @Paul Smyth,

    How can every word I say be damnably and provably false? That is a nonsensical comment.

    You were not present when Knox and Sollecito were questioned, so you are not in a position to provide a definitive eyewitness account of what happened. Sollecito admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police and stated that Knox was not at his apartment that evening. When Knox was informed Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she admitted she was at the cottage. She stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. All the witnesses who were present when Knox was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath that Knox was treated well and was not hit. Judge Massei and his jury had to decide whether to believe the corroborative testimony of numerous upstanding witnesses or the word of a someone who had lied repeatedly. It would have been an easy decision to make.

    Conti and Vecchiotti did not prove there had been any contamination.

    Alberto Intini, the head of the Italian police forensic science unit, pointed out that unless contamination has been proved, it does not exist.

    Professor Novelli also pointed out that contamination has to be proved:

    'The contaminant must be demonstrated, where it originated from and where it is. The hook contaminated by dust? It is more likely for a meteorite to fall and bring this court down to the ground.'

    Conti and Vecchiotti did not visit the laboratories of the scientific police or ask about their cleaning procedures. They did not know that the negative tests had been filed with another judge. They did not know that Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA or that she last handled Sollecito’s DNA 12 days before she analysed the bra clasp. This means that contamination could not have occurred in the laboratory. Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment, so contamination away from the laboratory was impossible.

    Galati made the following common sense observation in his appeal:

    'It is evident that the 'non-exclusion' of the occurrence of a certain phenomenon is not equivalent to affirming its occurrence, nor even that the probability that it did occur.' (The Galati appeal, page 57).

    He goes on to explain that unless there is proof of contamination of the knife and bra clasp, you cannot simply claim there was in order to nullify this evidence:

    '...if one is not able to [67] affirm where, how and when they would have happened, they cannot enter into a logical-juridical reasoning aimed at nullifying elements already acquired, above all if scientific in nature.' (p57).

    Conti and Vecchiotti regarded the downstairs flat as part of the crime scene even though no crime was committed there.

    Worst of all, they did not carry out a new test on the knife despite the fact they were specifically instructed to do so and there are a number of laboratories that have the technology to carry out a test on the remaining the DNA.

    Incidentally, Vecchiotti was appointed by a judge at the Cosenza court and the judge did not accept her findings. Other experts were appointed and they found incriminating DNA evidence that she had missed. The suspect admitted his guilt.

    It should be noted that the Italian Scientific Police follow the guidelines of the ENFSI - European Network Forensic Science Institutes. Dr. Stefanoni observed that they followed these specific guidelines whereas Conti and Vecchiotti basically picked and mixed a random selection of international opinions:

    'We followed the guidelines of the ENFSI, theirs is just a collage of different international opinions'.

  • Paul Smyth

    Norm Pattis and the editors should be aware that "Harry Rag" is the name used by a vicious Internet troll who has posted this same bilge more or less constantly for the past four years. He also posts under the odd name of "The Machine" and it has emerged that he is a friend of the victim's family. The website he references is one of several professional "Amanda Knox Hate Sites" as described by Nina Bureligh in Time and author Douglas Preston in his Kindle Single "Trial by Fury."

    Every word that Rag says is damnably and provably false. The evidence against Knox and Sollecito is weak to the point of non-existence. The confused stories Knox and Sollecito told are the product of coercive and abusive interrogations that would not be allowed in any civilized country. Knox did not willingly accuse an innocent person--she was pressured and manipulated into confirming a police hunch.The DNA evidence was ridiculed by two court appointed Italian experts who documented some 50 glaring errors. Knox did not track any blood anywhere. And so on--you get the point.

    On the other hand, the evidence against against Rudy Guede is overwhelming and incontrovertible. He admitted being at the scene. Rather than remain in Perugia as Knox and Sollecito did, he fled to Germany and had to be extradited. In the 33 days leading up to the murder, he was arrested 5 times and his modus operandi in these crimes matched details of the Kercher murder to a "T". A bloody imprint of a knife similar to the one Guede was known to carry was found at the scene. His bloody foot, palm, and finger prints were in the room where the victim was killed. Guede's DNA was on the victim, in the victim, and on her personal property.

    In that same room there is zero sign of Amanda Knox--zero, zip, zilch, nada, NOTHING. Who is kidding whom here?

    What needs especially to be emphasized is that the Perugian authorities are engaged in a massive misdirection and coverup. The effort to frame Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is linked to an equally aggressive effort to deflect attention from Guede and minimize the powerful indications that he was the lone killer. The question is why? The answer has to do with the fact that although Guede was arrested five times he was always released after making a few phone calls. Several responsible journalists have speculated that he might be a police informer. But this much is clear: had he been taken off the streets Ms. Kercher might very well be alive today.

    The incompetent cops in Perugia arrested three innocent people, declared the case closed, and gave themselves what amounted to a ticker tape parade--all before a single speck of the physical evidence was analyzed. When it was analyzed it all pointed in one direction--to Rudy Guede. It was bad enough that they arrested three innocent people--and even worse to discover that the real killer was someone they should previously have arrested. So they began their corrupt framing and spinning operations.

    It is literally that simple.

    One more thing. Civilized discourse requires that we use our real names so that we can be held accountable for our opinions. I am using my real name. Why won't Rag ever use his?

  • Harry Rag

    The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is overwhelming. They gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis despite three attempts each. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified. Innocent people don't give multiple conflicting alibis and lie repeatedly to the police.

    The DNA didn't miraculously deposit itself in the most incriminating of places.

    An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito's DNA was found on Meredith's bra clasp. His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. Professor Novelli pointed out there's more likelihood of meteorite striking the courtroom in Perguia than there is of the bra clasp being contaminated by dust.

    According to Sollecito's forensic expert, Professor Vinci, Knox's DNA was also on Meredith's bra.

    Amanda Knox's DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli and Luciano Garofano - categorically stated that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade. Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

    According to the prosecution's experts, there were five instances of Knox's DNA or blood with Meredith's blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even Amanda Knox's lawyers conceded that her blood had mingled with Meredith's blood. In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the sametime.

    Knox tracked Meredith's blood into the bathroom, the hallway, her room and Filomena's room, where the break-in was staged. Knox's DNA and Meredith's blood was found mixed together in Filomena's room, in a bare bloody footprint in the hallway and in three places in the bathroom.

    Rudy Guede's bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith's room and out of the house. This means that he didn't stage the break-in in Filomena's room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

    The bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Knox's and Sollecito's bare bloody footprints were revealed by luminol in the hallway.

    It's not a coincidence that the three people - Knox, Sollecito and Guede - who kept telling the police a pack of lies are all implicated by the DNA and forensic evidence.

    Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith's murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. After she was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox's alibi that she was at his apartment.

    Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite the fact she knew he was completely innocent. She didn't recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison. She admitted that it was her fault that Lumumba was in prison in an intercepted conversation with her mother on 10 November 2007.

    http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php

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