A visual guide to the purported break-in

The Massei report for the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito examined the evidence from the the room with the broken window, and concludes that the broken window and room in disarray are an “artificial representation”, i.e. that the break-in was staged. After seven pages of review of the evidence (english translation*), the report states:

“…the situation of disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window pane constitute an artificial representation created in order to orient the investigations towards a person who, not having the key to the front door, was supposed to have entered through the previously broken window and then effected the violent acts on Meredith which caused her death.”

What follows is a look at the comments in the Massei report compared with crime scene and other photos. All quotes are from the english translation prepared by unpaid volunteers at PerugiaMurderFile.org.* The section on the scenes in the bedroom begins on page 47 and continues to page 55. Some sentences in the paragraphs below have been omitted for brevity, and are included as footnotes with the notation (…#).

Amanda finds the scene:Then (Amanda) went into another room and noticed that the window had been broken and that there was glass inside. She told these things to her and the other girls present. Then she related that she had gone back to Raffaele’s house and had rung Filomena.(p38)(I)n one of the telephone calls to Romanelli, Amanda spoke of that smashed window and of the possibility that someone could have entered the house through the broken place; she said this also in the telephone call to 112 and in the first declarations to the Postal Police. Also in the e-mail of November 4, 2007, sent by Amanda to 25 people in the US (…), she hypothesises that a burglar could have entered the house and says she looked around to see if anything was missing. (p45)

Filomena Romanelli, disturbed by this phone call, had rung Amanda back without receiving a reply and when, a little later, she had succeeded in speaking to Amanda, Amanda had told her that in her room (i.e., in Ms. Romanelli’s room) the windowpane was broken, everything was in a mess, and that she should come back home. (P30) Filomena Romanelli had ascertained from a quick check of her room, even though (it was) in a complete mess with the windowpane broken, that nothing was missing. (p31)


It must be held that when Filomena Romanelli left the house in via della Pergola, she had pulled the shutters towards the interior of her room, although she did not think that she had actually closed them; furthermore, because they were old and the wood had swelled a bit, they rubbed on the windowsill; to pull them towards the room it was necessary to use some force (“they rubbed on the windowsill”); but in this way, once they had been pulled in, as Romanelli remembered doing, they remained well closed by the pressure of the swelled wood against the windowsill. (p48)It cannot be assumed – as the Defence Consultant did – that the shutters were left completely open, since this contradicts the declarations of Romanelli, which appear to be detailed and entirely likely, considering that she was actually leaving for the holiday and had some things of value in her room; already she did not feel quite safe because window-frames were in wood (…) without any grille. Also, the circumstance of the shutters being wide open does not correspond to their position when they were found and described by witnesses on November 2, and photographed (cf. photo 11 already mentioned).( p50)
Now, for a rock to have been able to break the glass of the window without shattering the outside shutters, it would have been necessary to remove the obstacle of the shutters by opening them up. (…2) Consequently, since the shutters had been pulled together and their rubbing put pressure on the windowsill on which they rested, it would have first been necessary to effect an operation with the specific goal of completely opening these shutters.The failure to find any instrument suitable for making such an opening (one cannot even see what type of instrument could be used to this end) leads one to assume that the wall would have to have been scaled a first time in order to effect the complete opening of the shutters,(…3) in order to enable the burglar to aim at the window and smash it by throwing a large stone – the one found in Romanelli’s room. (p48-49)

He would then have to have returned underneath Romanelli’s window for the second climb, and through the broken glass, open the window (balanced on his knees or feet on the outside part of the windowsill) otherwise he would not have been able to pass his arm through the hole in the glass made by the stone) and reach up to the latch that fastened the window casements, necessarily latched since otherwise, if the casements had not been latched, it would not have been necessary to throw a rock at all, but just to open the shutters and climb inside. (p49)

The “climber” (…4) would also need to rely on the fact
that the shutters were not actually latched, and also that the “scuri”(..5) had not been fastened to the window-frame to which the broken pane was attached; otherwise it would not have been possible to open them from the outside; nor would it have been possible, even breaking the glass, to make a hole giving access to the house, (…) since if these inner panels had been closed, they would have continued to provide an adequate obstacle to the possibility of opening the window, in spite of the broken pane. (p49)

This scenario appears totally unlikely, given the effort involved (going twice underneath the window, going up to throw the stone, scaling the wall twice) and taking into account the uncertainty of success (having to count on the two favourable circumstances indicated above), with a repetition of movements and behaviours, all of which could easily be seen by anyone who happened to be passing by on the street or actually coming into the house.

But beyond these considerations, there are other elements which tend to exclude the possibility that a burglar could have entered the house through the window of Romanelli’s room.The double climb necessary to attain the height of three and a half metres would have left some kind of trace or imprint on the wall, especially on the points on the wall that the “climber” would have used to support his feet, all the more as both the witnesses Romanelli and Marco Zaroli gave statements indicating that the earth, on that early November evening, must have been very wet (..6)

In fact, there are no visible signs on the wall, and furthermore, it can be observed that the nail – this was noted by this Court of Assizes during the inspection – remained where it was: it seems very unlikely that the climber, given the position of that nail and its characteristics, visible in the photo 11, did not somehow “encounter” that nail and force it, inadvertently or by using it as a foothold, causing it to fall or at least bend it. (p50)

The next fact to consider is that the pieces of glass from the broken pane were distributed in a homogeneous manner on the inside and outside parts of the windowsill, without any displacement being noted or any piece of glass being found on the ground underneath the window.

This circumstance, as confirmed also by the consultant Pasquali, tends to exclude the possibility that the rock was thrown from outside the house to create access to the house through the window after the breaking of the pane. The climber, in leaning his hands and then his feet or knees on the windowsill, would have caused at least some piece of glass to fall, or at least would have been obliged to shift some pieces of glass in order to avoid being wounded by them. Instead, no piece of glass was found under the window, and no sign of any wound was seen on the pieces of glass found in Romanelli’s room. It can moreover be observed that the presence of many pieces of glass on the outside part of the windowsill increases the probability of finding some small pieces of glass on the ground underneath, since there seems to be no reason that so many pieces of glass would all stop just at the edge of the windowsill without any of them flying beyond the edge and falling down to the garden below. (p51 & 52)

On this subject it is also useful to recall that at the hearing of April 23, 2009, the witness Gioia Brocci mentioned above declared that she had observed the exterior of the house, paying particular attention to the wall underneath the window with the broken pane, the window of the room then occupied by Filomena Romanelli. She said: “We observed both the wall…underneath the window and all of the vegetation underneath the window, and we noted that there were no traces on the wall, no traces of earth, of grass, nothing, no streaks, nothing at all, and none [39] of the vegetation underneath the window appeared to have been trampled; nothing” (p. 142 declarations of Gioia Brocci). (51)

This situation, like all the other glaring inconsistencies, is adequately and satisfactorily explained if one supposes that the rock was thrown from the inside of the room, with the two shutters pulled inwards so that they blocked the pieces of glass from falling to the ground below. Once the glass had been broken from inside, the rock was set down at some place in the room, and the shutters were pushed towards the outside, being thus opened from within the room. (p51)

But the fact that all this was in fact just a simulation, a staging, can be deduced from further circumstances. From the photos taken by the personnel of the Questura (photos 47 to 54 and 65 to 66) one can perceive an activity which appears to have been performed with the goal of creating a situation of obvious disorder in Romanelli’s room, but does not appear to be the result of actual ransacking, true searching for the kind of valuable objects that might tempt a burglar.
The drawers of the little dresser next to the bed were not even opened (photo 51 and declarations of Battistelli who noted that Romanelli was the one who opened the drawers, having found them closed and with no sign of having been rifled: see p. 66 of Battistelli’s declarations, hearing of Feb. 6, 2009).
The objects on the shelves in photo 52 appear not to have been touched at all; piles of clothes seem to have been thrown down from the closet (photo 54) but it does not seem that there was any serious search in the closet, in which some clothes and some boxes remained in place without showing any signs of an actual search for valuable items that might have been there (photo 54).

It does not appear that the boxes on the table were opened (photo 65) in a search for valuable items. And indeed, no valuable item (cf. declarations of Romanelli) was taken, or even set aside to be taken, by the – at this point we can say phantom – burglar.
What has been explained up to now thus leads to the assertion that the situation of disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window pane constitute an artificial representation created in order to orient the investigations towards a person who, not having the key to the front door, was supposed to have entered through the previously broken window and then effected the violent acts on Meredith which caused her death.

(..2) The consultant for the defence actually assumed that this had been done; in his exhibit, he assumed that the shutters were not present [in front of the window*From the translation prepared by unpaid volunteers from http://www.perugiamurderfile.org to promote a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the death of Meredith Kercher and the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the English-speaking world.

(..3): “if the shutters were closed, he could not have passed through, that is obvious”, cf. declarations of the consultant for the defence, Sergeant Francesco Pasquali, p. 22 hearing July 3, 2009.

(..4): (the window in Romanelli’s room is located at a height of more than three and a half metres from the ground underneath, cf. photo 11 from the relevant dossier)

(..5):,which are the wooden panels [scuri=non-louvered shutters in interior of room] that usually constitute the outer side (or the inner, depending on the point of view) of the window [attached to the outer edge of the inner side of the window-frame]



3 thoughts on “A visual guide to the purported break-in

  1. Massei’s analysis of the break-in is flat out wrong and was done in a contorted illogical manner solely to justify his guilty verdict for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
    Amazingly, Rudy Guede’s name is totally missing from your article about Massei’s break-in analysis. If doing a serious article critiquing the break-in, it would appear that the prime and known suspect for the break-in would merit serious discussion. After all, Guede was found guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher.
    Granted the break-in through an upstairs window would have been difficult. But was the break-in impossible? I know of no one who seriously takes that stance when considering someone with the known athletic skills of Rudy Guede. So it was possible that Guede could have gained access to the upstairs flat through the broken window.
    Did Guede have a motive for burglary? Massei conveniently fails to address this most critical point. Guede had no job and his association with several burglaries inferred he was becoming increasingly desperate for money. So he had a strong motive for breaking into a four room flat on the first night of the month over a holiday weekend when he had reason to think he might find some rent money.
    As regards opportunity, we know that Guede was in the upstairs flat that night when the murder occurred. He admitted being at the cottage before Meredith came home and of being in the upstairs flat. So Guede had both motive and opportunity.
    The large rock had to have been tossed from the outside in order to obtain the widespread distribution of small shattered pieces of glass on the floor of Romanelli Filomena’s room. There is no other way to obtain this distribution of the smallest pieces of glass while leaving the largest on or about the window sill.
    The method Massei proposed of tossing the rock at a half open window would have resulted in a concentrated spray of glass near the standing clothes closet and hardly any on the window sills. The distribution of glass on the floor would have looked totally different from the distribution found.
    The broken pane opening had few loose shards and was large enough for a hand to reach in and unlatch the double window. The shards found on the outside window sill were nearly all large and most appeared orderly arranged by hand after the burglar Guede removed them from the window. The shape of the broken window with few loose shards and the orderly arrangement of the largest shards on the window sill were indicators of the burglar Guede’s handiwork.
    Thus, the several crimes inside the upstairs flat were all committed by a solo operating desperate burglar named Rudy Guede, who was surprised by Meredith Kercher when she came home in the middle of his burglary, got into a struggle with her, inflicted a mortal wound upon her, then stripped and sexually assaulted her as she was taking her last breath. Then the killer Guede robbed Meredith of her rent money, credit cards, and cell phones and used her keys to walk out the front door.

  2. Ron, I have a hard time imagining Guede standing around picking glass shards out of the window and lining them up on the windowsill. Defense witness Pasquale demontrated that when the window is struck by a rock it snaps shut and glass is deposited on the windowsill. That is what happened. The pattern of glass spray is unpredictable because of the large number of variables involved. A full mock-up would be needed to validate your opinion that the glass pattern is inconsistent with the rock being thrown from the inside. Finally take a look at how the brown shopping back toppled ON TOP of a sweater when it was struck by the rock. The sweater was strewn on the floor before the rock was thrown.

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