Raffaele Sollecito’s changing alibi

On November 4th, 2007, as the police in perugia were in day three of the murder investigation, the Sunday Mirror in the UK published an article by reporter Kate Mansey. According to her article, Mansey happened to run into Raffaele, who told her about the evening of the first and the morning of the 2nd, when Meredith was found murdered.

According to this version of events from Raffaele, he and Amanda went to a party on the evening of November 1st:

Raffaele had spent the night at his own house on the other side of the city with his girlfriend, Meredith’s American flatmate Amanda Knox, 22. He said: “It was a normal night. Meredith had gone out with one of her English friends and Amanda and I went to party with one of my friends.”The next day, around lunchtime, Amanda went back to their apartment to have a shower.”

It is not known if the perugia police were aware of Mansey’s article and Raffaele’s stateements in it; but this version of Rafaelle and Amanda’s actions on November 1 clearly contradicted with whatt Raffaele had already been telling them. The Italian Police may have been watching international reports, like the Italian press was. In fact, the “foxy knoxy” reporting started in the UK; this was not the Italian media attaking Amanda, but the Italian media were reporting on what had been published in the UK media. The UK tabliods found Amanda’s MySpace profile and published headlines about “Foxy knoxy” in the first few days after the murder.

On day three of the investigation, Raffaele had already been into the station and given a witness statement on Nov 2nd.  In that statement to the police, Raffaele said that he and Amanda walked into town on the evening of the 1st before returning back to his house, something not mentioned in Mansey’s article.

On November 5th, day four of the investigation, the police call in Raffaele to the station to answer some further questions, where he will give his third version of what he and Amanda did the night of Nov 1st.

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The errors in Ryan Ferguson’s message on the case against Amanda Knox

ferguson headerThe US recently released Ryan Ferguson, who had been in prison for a decade for the murder of Kent Heitholt. Ferguson and his supporters claim he was “wrongfully convicted” (a term that these days seems to only mean “someone who has amassed a vocal following”). Ferguson’s supporters say that he was found innocent, which isn’t quite accurate. Ferguson was released when an appellate panel declared he did not receive a fair trial, and overturned the conviction. The attorney general could have decided to prosecute again, but has not at this time (Huffington Post, Nov 2013).

Ferguson claims to have read Knox’s book while in prison. He recently posted about the case against Knox and Sollecito on a Facebook page for his supporters. Ferguson claims that the media got the case about him wrong and tries to pass along information about the case against Knox and Sollecito. Ferguson, however, pushes information about Knox’s case that has been proven to be misleading or false. Below are quotes from his message and the corrections to Ferguson’s information.

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Frequently asked questions about Amanda Knox’s “retrial”

(Current as of 18 Dec 2013)

Why is Knox being tried again?

Actually, Amanda Knox is not being tried again; the Florence proceedings are re-hearing Knox and Sollecito’s appeal of their original 2009 conviction (CNN, 30 Sep, 2013). This is a ‘continuing case on appeals’,  according to Knox’s Italian lawyer Dalla Vedova (Toronto Sun, Mar 2013).

One NBC-affiliate, King 5 Seattle, has acknowledged they know Knox and Sollecito are appealing their conviction for murder, but decided to call it a retrial anyways.

But wasn’t she acquitted?

The last appeals did result in an acquittal, however that ruling was not a final ruling. The Italian supreme court threw out that acquittal due to “‘deficiencies, contradictions and illogical’ conclusions” and sent the case back to the appellate level to re-hear the appeals (AP/Barry, 17 Dec 2013).

Judgements in Italy are not final until the supreme court affirms a judgement. The acquittal happened at the appellate level and was overturned by the supreme court. Knox’s attorney Ted Simon has admitted the supreme court sent the case back to the appellate level to re-hear the appeals (Shepherd Smith show, 6 Nov 2013).

Isn’t that double jeopardy?

Since the judgements are not final until supreme court approval, Knox and Sollecito are not put in “double jeopardy.”  Even Knox’s own Italian lawyer Dalla Vedova admits its not double jeopardy, as this is a continuation of the same case on appeal (Toronto Sun, Mar 2013).

In the US, they are accustomed to acquittals being a “final” judgement, however that is not true in many parts of the world, including Canada, Mexico, and Turkey. Acquittals can be overturned in those countries; and the US has extradited defendants to each of those countries despite claims of “double jeopardy”.

King 5 Seattle said Italy doesn’t prohibit double jeopardy?

According to one KOMO seattle reporter, Knox PR reps have been pushing the double jeopardy line to reporters.

Italy is a signing party to two international conventions that prohibit double jeopardy from final rulings, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the United Nations convention on human rights. The United States has also signed the UN convention on human rights. The international community recognizes the validity of the Italian processes under those conventions.

Those conventions prohibit double jeopardy in final judgements. As Italy does not recognize the judgement as final until it is affirmed by the supreme court, defendants are not placed in double jeopardy as a result of overturned acquittals.

The ECHR? Isn’t that where Knox appealed her slander charge?

Knox has claimed she has filed a charge in the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) regarding alleged abuses in her questioning by police. The ECHR clearly states they are not an appeals court; they will not overturn or quash legal rulings in the member states (ECHR Questions and Answers, 2013).

Knox’s alleged charge is under the same ECHR convention banning double jeopardy, so her defense team should be well aware that the convention prohibits double jeopardy.

If the appellate court affirms her conviction, what happens next?

The ruling in the current appeals is expected in January 2014. If there is an affirmation of the conviction, Knox and Sollecito will likely appeal the conviction at the supreme court, thus the case will likely continue to the Italian supreme court.

Will she be extradited?

First, the courts in Italy would have to finally affirm a conviction against Knox and Sollecito, then issue an extradition request to the US.

Extradition is a complex process, and there are two parts in the US to consider: the legal process in the federal courts (judicial), and the international relations aspect in the US state department (executive).

For the federal court process, there have been many past US extradition cases that have had similarities to Knox’s potential extradition. In 1974, defendants tried a double jeopardy defense to avoid extradition to Canada, where their acquittal was overturned (CourtListener). The federal court denied that defense and extradited them to canada. In 1995, a defendant attempted a double jeopardy defense to avoid extradition to Turkey, where they had two prior acquittals overturned. The US federal courts again denied that the US constitutional protections do not apply “extraterritorial” protections to crimes in other countries, and the defendant was extradited (CourtListener).

Any questions about the fairness of the Italian court proceedings against Knox would not be dealt with by the federal courts, but by the US state department. The federal courts have said several times that those questions belong to the executive branch of the US government, which is responsible for the extradition treaty with Italy (US vs. Kin-Hong, 1997).

But there’s no evidence against her?

Despite the PR-influenced media reports in the US, the case obviously includes items that have been entered into evidence. Evidence includes Knox’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s DNA and blood in several rooms in the apartment, Knox and Sollecito’s constantly changing stories, and Knox’s written memoriale stating she “stands by” her previous statement placing her at the crime scene during the murder. For a full description of the evidence, see the summary of evidence against Knox and Sollecito at the Murder of Meredith Kercher wiki.

There’s no evidence of her in the room Meredith died?

Knox has made a similar claim in her recent email to the appellate court in Italy, where she limits the “crime scene” to being only Meredith’s bedroom.

The Italian police and courts recognize the crime scene as the whole apartment; Meredith’s blood and DNA was found in the hallway, Filomena’s bedroom, and the bathroom. Guede’s DNA was found in the other bathroom in the house. Limiting the definition of “crime scene” to be Meredith’s bedroom excludes all of this evidence (including the alleged break-in in Filomena’s bedroom).

In all of those places where Meredith’s DNA and blood was found, Knox’s DNA has also been found. In addition, the use of the forensic chemical luminol at the crime scene revealed the presence of two other individuals. Two sizes of footprints were revealed, neither one of which match Guedes’ foot size.

For more details and additional evidence, see the Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki page on the evidence against Knox and Sollecito.

Didn’t testing exclude the knife?

The media misreported on the latest test on the knife; the most recent test was ONLY on a single trace of DNA that had not previously been tested. The most recent test found Knox’s DNA (Guardian, 30 Sept 2013; Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki)

This was the fourth biological trace obtained from the knife. Previous scientific testing on the other traces testing revealed two samples of DNA; one belonging to  Meredith and one belonging to Knox (Massei, 2010). The defense disputed the findings of the trace belonging to Meredith, but that report is still part of the case evidence.

Isn’t Guede the only killer?

The prosecution argued several points that show the presence of more than one person:

1. The type and location of the wounds on Meredith; there were almost no defensive wounds (Massei, 2010).

2. The luminol footprints in the hallway that are of two sizes other than Guede’s foot (Massei, 2010).

3. The bathmat footprint in Meredith’s blood that doesn’t match Guede’s foot size (Massei, 2010).

4. Considerations about who would have reason to move Meredith’s body after the murder and arrange the crime scene to look like a break-in (Massei, 2010).

Where can I find out more information?

The Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki includes source documents, trial transcripts, and summaries of case evidence.

Where can I get updates?

Andrea Vogt is reporting from Italy at her own web site.

The Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki provides updates on the Florence appeals for Knox and Sollecito.

CNN reporting on Amanda Knox appeals

CNN reporting on Amanda Knox appeals

Rudy’s diary: proof of a clean-up after murder of Meredith Kercher?

guedediary

Guede’s diary from Germany:
“I am asking myself how is it possible that Amanda could have slept in all that mess, and took a shower with all that blood in the bathroom and corridor?”

Rudy Guede was convicted in 2010 of participating in the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher. The prosecution claims the two other participants are Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Knox and Sollecito are currently appealing their conviction of the same crime. The case against the three of them involves a suspected clean up of the hallway in the apartment after the crime. Meredith’s blood was found in the bathroom, and half a footprint in her blood was found on the bathroom mat. However, there was no visible blood between Meredith’s bedroom and the bathroom. The only visible blood in the hallway were faint partial shoe prints that led directly out the front door of the apartment.

After the murder was discovered, the media reported almost daily on developments in the case. The day of the murder, the press reported on the blood found in the bathroom and the bedroom. But until police used luminol at the apartment on December 18th, the media didn’t report on any significant blood found in the hallway.  Between November 2nd and December 18th, only one person stated that significant amounts of blood had been in the hallway; Rudy Guede. And he wrote about it in his diary between Nov 20th and Dec 6th, after being captured in Germany.

The police arrived at the apartment on November 2nd. According to media reports, the blood they was only in the bathroom and Meredith’s bedroom.  When the scene was later examined after the discovery of the body, police found visible blood patterns on the floor left by Guede’s left shoe as he left the apartment. None of the people who arrived in the apartment on the afternoon of November 2nd reported seeing them; these footprints are not in any of the stories of the events of Nov 2nd told by Amanda Knox nor Raffaele Sollecito. So, while these prints were visible, they were not substantially obvious.

luminol 1

On December 18th 2007 investigators applied Luminol in the hallway and other bedrooms. This forensic chemical is used to detect blood which has been cleaned away. The Luminol revealed several footprints in the hallway between the bedrooms of Knox and Meredith. Some of these footprints were leading towards Meredith’s door. They also discovered prints in Filomena’s room which contained Meredith’s DNA and Amanda Knox’s DNA. They also revealed a footprint in Amanda Knox’s bedroom. (The defense unsuccessfully contested the investigator’s conclusions that these prints were made with blood).

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Is admonished Judge Heavey (ret) preparing to mislead congress AGAIN?

heavey letterhead

On May 16, 2011, Judge Heavey (ret) apparently sent US President Barack Obama a letter regarding the Amanda Knox case.  This document was retrieved from the King5.com news site as search result for “Amanda Knox.” The subject of Judge Heavey’s letter was “Re: Failure of Rome Consular Officials to protect the rights of U.S. Citizen Amanda Knox.” The letter (PDF) was written on letterhead “From the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey.”

The Judge charged that the State Department absolutely failed to look out for the rights of Amanda Knox. Nowhere in the letter does Judge Heavey actually address any of the evidence in the case. Ten times in his letter, he charges consular officials failed to take action when they should have. However, many of his points are false or misstate the events. In many instances, Judge Heavey is proven wrong by statements from Amanda Knox herself.

This letter, full of errors, was carbon copied to Members of Congress AND the Secretary of State (at the time, Hillary Clinton).

These mistakes would have known at the time Judge Heavey wrote his letter by using the interviews and documents available at that time.  This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to the President and Congress. These errors are detailed below.

Additional signatories to the letter (on letterhead from “from the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey”) include Friends of Amanda representative Thomas L. Wright, and author of “The Framing of Amanda Knox” Dr. Mark C. Waturbury.

heavey 2

Judge Heavey was admonished for using court resources and stationary as a part of his advocacy in the Amanda Knox case, as well as his public speeches while he was a sitting judge.  The admonishment only covered the letters written to Italian court officials and prosecutors, using court stationary and court staff. The letter he apparently sent to Obama and congress was not included in the admonishment.

The following is a point by point review and rebuttal of Judge Heavey’s letter.

Admonished Judge Heavey’s Letter to Obama and Congress

The letter opens up with a summary of the argument- that this case was a prosecutor’s vendetta against Amanda Knox, and that her rights were violated, and Consular officials did nothing. The letter is arranged as a series of points, which are discussed below.

Point number one:

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda Knox was arrested for the murder of her roommate after an all-night interrogation […]. The Perugian Police denied her food and water, cuffed her on the back of the head, and, most importantly, prevented her from sleeping.”

However, Amanda Knox was not the one called into the station. Raffaele was; and they went right after having dinner! A UK based paper had published the day before an article with quotes from Raffaele. Raffaele said he and Amanda went to a party on the night of the murder. Police were likely calling in Raffaele due to the conflicting stories. Amanda’s “interrogation” didn’t start untill at least 11pm. Police have testified she was offered food and water. She went to sleep after signing her second statement, at 5:45 am. There was a break between signing her first statement at 1:45 am and signing her second statement at 5:45 am.

Amanda Knox:

“Around 10:30pm or 11pm Raffaele and I arrived at the police station after eating dinner at the apartment of one of Raffaele’s friends. It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times.” –Amanda Knox, letter to lawyers, 9 Nov 2007

“I signed my second “spontaneous declaration” at 5:45 AM […]. I asked permissions to push two metal folding chairs together, balled myself into the fetal position, and passed out, spent. I probably didn’t sleep longer than an hour before doubt pricked me awake… ”  –Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard

To this day, Raffaele Sollecito has not corroborated Amanda Knox’s alibi in court.

Point number two

Judge Heavey writes: “When a witness becomes a suspect, the police are obligated to appoint a lawyer”

Prosecutor Mignini was interviewed by CNN ten days before Judge Heavey wrote his letter. In the interview, Mignini describes the questioning of Amanda:

“And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. – Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda” –Prosecutor Mignini, CNN interview, May 6 2011 (Ten days prior to Judge Heavey’s letter)

Thus, it was known on national television in the US what the sequence of events was. This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to congress.

Point number three:

Judge Heavey writes: “Article 141 of the CCP requires  that every interrogation of a person in custody (for any reason) must be fully recorded by audio or audiovisual means”

However, Amanda Knox was not in custody during most of her questioning on Nov 5th & 6th. She was only at the station because Raffaele was called:

“It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times. ” –Amanda Knox, Letter to Lawyers, 8 Nov 2007

Point number four:

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda spoke little Italian, yet was not allowed to have an interpreter to assist her with understanding the questions put to her, the charges against her, or anything else.”

Two sources refute Judge Heavey’s point- official court records of the questioning, and Amanda Knox’s own statement on trial and in her book:

Court documents

“assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 1:45 AM statement.

“assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” –Signed 5:45 AM statement.

Amanda Knox:

November 2nd: “…they brought in an english-speaking detective for hours two through six.”  –Waiting to be Heard

November 4th: “AK: So, it seems to me that Laura and Filomena were there, but they had arrived with other people, while I was in the car with the police and an interpreter, that’s it.” –Trial Testimony

November 5th/6th: “The interpreter, a woman in her forties, arrived at about 12:30 A.M.” –Waiting to be heard

Point Number five:

Judge Heavey simply engages in a character assassination of Prosecutor Mignini: “[…] Mignini was well known in Italy for a bizarre theory […] under investigation for abuse of office […] previously driven American journalist, Douglas Preston out of italy[…]”

Judge Heavey, Dr. Waterbury, and FOA representative Thomas Wright conclude point five with: “Consular officials knew Mr. Mignini was prosecuting Amanda Knox. They knew he had been charged with abusing his office. They knew of the bizarre theory that he pursued, from which the charges arose. They also knew he was under tremendous pressure to achieve some vindication to save face. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

Importantly, the charges against Prosecutor Mignini were overturned.

Point number six:

Heavey and others raise the satanic ritual myth quoting Prosecutor Mignini as stating at the October preliminary hearing, “the crime was a sexual and sacrificial ritual in accordance with the rites of Halloween.” This only source for this quote is a defense lawyer for Sollecito. Amusingly, Judge Heavey then turns around and uses this metaphor himself: “these and other statements should have shouted to consular officials that Amanda was a defendant in what had become a witch trial, being prosecuted by a delusional prosecutor. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

———————————————————-

Consulate communications

Despite Heavey’s claims, US consular officials WERE monitoring the case, as revealed in FOI-released documents requested by journalist Andrea Vogt. She released these documents in a May 2013 post on her website. 

This is clear: consular officials regularly visited Knox and tracked case developments. The following diplomats’ names appear on the cables: Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief   Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne, U.S. Embassy Rome.

The US Embassy cables that were released were dated: Nov, 07; Dec 08; Feb 09; May 09; Aug 09; Nov 09; Dec 09. No other documents were released.

Consular staff visited Amanda Knox on November 12 2007, and noted her lawyers had already visited with Knox.

The charges against Amanda Knox as stated by the US Embassy were:

  • Participation in Voluntary Manslaughter with aggravating circumstances of cruelty
  • Participation in sexual assault
  • Simulated robbery
  • Slander
  • Possession of weapons
  • Aggravated theft.

embassy

Channel 5 TV FAIL: The window climb

According to one Knox’s supporters, repeatability is one of the measures of good science. Repeatability means if you repeat an experiment *under the same conditions*, it  will lead to the same result. If the conditions are not the same, then repeatability is not relevant. Here, then, are ways in which Channel 5 fails at repeating (recreating) elements leading to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Below is an analysis of the window climbing demonstration.

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Experts resume reviewing the knife DNA evidence

Italian News sources are reporting that the experts appointed by the appeals court are reviewing the DNA evidence  Wednesday and possibly even thursday, to be completed by May 9th for presentation on May 21st.

Italia news :

Domani i professori Carla Vecchiotti e Stefano Conti riprenderanno la perizia sul coltello e sul gancetto del reggiseno di Meredith Kercher.

(…)

Le conclusioni della perizia scientifica verranno depositate invece entro il 9 maggio e verranno discusse nell’udienza del 21 maggio.