Sunday, May 10, 2020

Does This Knox DNA Evidence Add To The Proofs She Was Part Of The Pack Attack?

Posted by The Machine



Professor Vinci

1. Context Within The Wider Case

One aspect of the case that incessantly amuses Italians? Sollecito and Knox stabbing each other in the back again and again and again.

More often the aggressor has been Sollecito, who angrily sold Knox down the river on the night they were both arrested, and, despite the absurd claims in Honour Bound, he never confirmed her final alibi from 2007 through 2015.

In mid 2008 their lawyers forced a truce of sorts upon them. But then in October this happened.

The Sollecito defense witness Professor Francesco Vinci implied that the evidence was strong if not quite definitive that Knox had indeed attacked Meredith inside her room and, like Sollecito, had left her DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp.

”Lawyers for Mr Sollecito have told the judge that, according to a forensic expert called by the defence, Ms Knox’s DNA is on Ms Kercher’s bloodied bra-strap as well as that of Mr Sollecito and Rudy Guede.” (Richard Owen, The Times)

“Francesco Vinci, a forensic science expert hired by Sollecito’s legal team, said the DNA of all three suspects and two other unidentified people might be on the bra. Sollecito’s lawyers say this proves their theory that the clasp was contaminated after police mistakenly left it on the floor of Kercher’s bedroom for weeks before testing it.” (Tom Kington, The Guardian).


Now, many who simply don’t know the case - ignoring Knox’s lamp inside Meredith’s locked door, and ignoring Meredith’s DNA mingled with Knox’s in several locations - claim that there’s zero evidence of Knox being in the room.

One instance. In the final Cassation report Judge Marasca claimed the lack of biological traces attributable to Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Meredith’s room was “proof” they weren’t physically involved in her murder.

It was a point he made repeatedly. He clearly doesn’t understand one of the most basic tenets of forensic science i.e. absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.



Ted Simon

Another instance. The hapless lawyer Ted Simon, who represented Amanda Knox to American media for a while, also claimed there were no biological traces attributable to Knox in Meredith’s room.

He was like a stuck record in media interviews - he hammered this particular point over and over again as if this was exculpatory evidence that by itself proves Knox wasn’t involved in Meredith’s death - which of course isn’t true.

“There was no hair, fiber, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Amanda Knox in the room where Meredith Kercher was killed,” attorney Theodore Simon told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “That in and of itself tells you unassailably that she is innocent.” (CNN)

To which we showed up his sheer absurdity in responding:

“There was no hair, fiber, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Rudy Guede in the bathroom where there was a bloody footprint of RS and DNA of Knox,” attorney Theodore Simon told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “That in and of itself tells you unassailably that Guede did not do the crime alone.”

“There was no hair, fiber, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Rudy Guede in Filomena’s room where the breakin was staged, though there was Knox’s DNA” attorney Theodore Simon told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “That in and of itself tells you unassailably that Amanda Knox is framing him.”

“There was no hair, fiber, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Amanda Knox in the bedroom where Knox said she slept,” attorney Theodore Simon told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “That in and of itself tells you unassailably that Knox did not even live in the flat.”

2. A Close Look At The Bra Clasp Evidence

A number of DNA experts disagree with claims like these that there was no trace of Amanda Knox in Meredith’s room, and that that by itself proved innocence.

The fact that one of Sollecito’s defence experts, Professor Vinci, had claimed Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp was quite widely reported in the English media at the time.

I don’t recall ever seeing any mention of Professor Vinci’s findings in any articles in the US media. It seems that David Marriott made sure via his usual threats to brush this under the carpet.

The default position of the defence experts is that ALL the DNA evidence against the two white people was contaminated and predictably Professor Vinci does take this line too. Money talks - just ask Ted Simon. He dramatically changed his tune with regard to the strength of evidence against Amanda Knox as soon as he was hired by her family.

But Professor Vinci does devote four pages of his official court report - pages 9-12 - to explaining why he believes Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp. He thinks the peaks defined by Dr. Stefanoni as “stutter bands” were actually the genetic profiles of both Knox and Guede.

Professor Vinci’s Report (translated)

From our observations, as stated above and in particular to our different interpretation of the peaks defined by Dr. Stefanoni as “stutter bands” lead us to believe

for the marker D8S1179, the definition of alleles 11 (although being slightly below the threshold), 12 and 14, would show compatibility with the Knox (11/12) and Guede (14/14) genotypes;

for the marker D21S11, the definition of the allele 29 in addition to those defined in the profile indicated by Dr. Stefanoni, identifies the compatibility with the genotypes of Knox (29/30), and of Guede (29/29);

for the CFS1P0 marker, the new profile definition highlights the compatibility with the Knox profile (29/30);

for the D3S1358 marker, the new profile definition shows compatibility with the Guede genotypes (15/15, although 15 is just below the 50 RFU threshold) and Knox (15/18, although 15 is slightly below 50 RFU threshold);

for the TH01 marker, the new profile definition highlights the compatibility with the Knox (6/8) and Guede (7/9, genotypes, where however the allele 7 can only be hypothesized because the characteristics related to the area, at the allelic definition and at the height of the peak);

for the D13S317 marker, the compatibility with the Knox genotypes is highlighted (11/13,

where however the allele 11 can only be hypothesized for the D16S539 marker, compatibility with the Knox genotype (10/11) and the Guede genotype (9/11, where the allele 9 can only be hypothesized because the characteristics relating to the area, to the definition are missing allelic and at the height of the peak);

for the D2S1338 marker, the analysis of the new profile shows compatibility with the Guede genotype (16/23) and with the Knox genotype (18/20, where 18 can only be hypothesized below the 50 RFU threshold);

for the D19S433 marker, the analysis of the new profile shows compatibility with that of Knox (13/16, 2, although the latter can only be hypothesized because it lacks the information necessary for its definition); and with that of Guede (13 / 14.2, although the latter can only be hypothesized because it lacks the information necessary for its definition);

for the TP0X marker, the analysis of the new profile highlights compatible with that of Knox (8/8) and with that of Guede (8/9);

for the D18S51 marker, the analysis of the new profile highlights compatible with that of Knox (13/17) and with that of Guede (14/15);

for the D5S818 marker, the analysis of the new profile highlights compatible with that of Knox (13/13) and with that of Guede (12/13);

CONCLUSIVE SUMMARY

On the basis of what has been observed, the superficiality in the attribution of the alleles and the intrinsic complexity of the interpretation of a mistra made up, in our opinion, of at least 3 different DNAs, in addition to Kercher’s.

In considering the alleles and the underlying areas for each peak, it is evident that they are the expression of various genotypic combinations in addition to those considered compatible.

In relation to the latter aspect, it should be emphasized that in light of the new profile obtained by us, considering the alleles previously omitted, compatibility with further genetic profiles other than that of Raffaele Sollecito is highlighted; especially these genetic profiles

In relation to this last aspect, it should be emphasized that the new profile by us, considering the previously omitted alleles, highlights the compatibility with further genetic profiles other than that of Raffaele Sollecito, in particular these genetic profiles are compatible with some attributes to Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede.

And here is his conclusion on pages 11-12.

‘in particulari questi profili genetici risultano compatibili con alcuni marcatori attributi a Amanda Knox e Rudy Guede’

‘in particular these genetic profiles are compatible with some markers attributed to Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede’.

You can see his detailed analysis in Italian on our Wiki.

There are a couple of points that should make everyone pause for thought: (1) Professor Vinci was still a defence expert, so he wouldn’t really want to express an opinion that wrongly implicated Sollecito’s co-defendant; and (2) General Garofano agrees that Amanda Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp.



General Garofano

General (and Professor) Garofano gives a detailed explanation why in Paul Russell’s Darkness Descending.

”Look at the electropherogram and compare the three. Of course, Meredith’s DNA is overwhelmingly present, but look at this. If we go along the graph line, yes we have a lot of Raffaele too, but in the first locus we have eleven and twelve STRs, which is the same as in Amanda’s DNA profile, twenty-nine and thirty X remember - one from the father and one from the mother - in the second, eight, and eleven in the third, also the same as Amanda’s DNA profile, maybe a fifteen in the fifth…look, ten out of 15 loci have peaks that correspond to Amanda DNA’s profile. The hypothesis is that Amanda also touched the bra clasp.

My conclusion is that the bra clasp certainly works as a piece of evidence - it is a strong clue against the suspects Amanda and Raffaele. The RFU number is high enough. So the result is perfect.”

Amanda Knox’s supporters try hard to dismiss Professor Garofano because he clearly considers Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are guilty.

However, it should be pointed out that he has impeccable credentials as an DNA expert. He was the founder of the RIS Caribinieri labs. That’s the equivalent of him being the head of the Forensic Science Service in England or the head of the FBI’s forensic science labs at Quantico.

When the Darknesss Descending authors approached him, they didn’t know whether he would accept or reject the Scientific Police’s forensic findings. He gave his expert opinion as an impartial scientist after carefully studying the evidence and analysing the DNA test results.

According to the authors of Darkness Descending, Dr Stefanoni also thought Amanda Knox’s partial DNA profile was on Meredith’s bra clasp.

“Two different graphs had been drawn from the material extracted from the bra clasp, one for the cloth and one for the bent hook. The cloth clearly indicated Meredith, and only Meredith. But the hook showed at least three peaks for every locus. Each peak had a little number by it, which indicated the number of repeats in the sample of that particular molecule. The numbers indicated the distinguishing features of the individual who had touched the bra clasp. The numbers rang out.

“Stefanoni spelled it out ‘Locus D8S1179,13,10,5 - yes, this works for Sollecito, Meredith and Amanda. Locus D18S51, D19S433, TH01, FGA - Sollecito and Meredith plus an unknown person.”

The police scientist called out all sixteen loci and after each the numbers set next to the peaks. They fit perfectly with Raffaele Sollecito and partially with Amanda Knox - DNA from both of them was on the bra clasp. End of story, they felt.

“Stefanoni was pleased. This was the first strong evidence they had against Raffaele Sollecito. The presence of Amanda Knox was a very reassuring bonus.”

After reading Professor Vinci’s reasons for believing Amanda Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp in his official court report, you’ll see they are essentially the same as Dr Stefanoni’s. They mention the same Locus numbers.

Dr Stefanoni may have had a somewhat different interpretation with regard to the significance of this incomplete profile because she didn’t present this as evidence against Knox at the trial. Of course she had plenty of strong evidence of her own.



Professor Balding

Professor David Balding also acknowledged some of the additional peaks matched Knox’s DNA profile. However, like Dr Stefanoni, he attached no importance to it:

“Of the 24 additional peaks identified by Vecchiotti and Conti (2), of which 6 had heights below the threshold of 50 relative fluorescence units, 9 are included in the profile of the other codefendant, Knox, providing apparent support for the presence of DNA from her. However, four of her alleles were not observed, including two homozygotes, which are less prone to dropout.

These interpretations pose problems for standard methods of evidence evaluation because of the alleles not attributable to any of the profiled individuals, uncertainty over whether or not Knox is a contributor, and the need to allow for the possibility that subthreshold peaks may be allelic.” (Professor Balding).



Professor Anna Barbaro

The 2008 report of Professor Barbaro - the DNA expert hired by Rudy Guede’s lawyers - helps you better understand Professor Vinci’s findings.

She created a table of the DNA results for 165B on pages 5-6 of that report.


Dr Barbaro disagrees with Professor Vinci’s claim that Guede’s DNA was also on Meredith’s bra clasp because if it had been, it would have been identified by the Y haplotype test, which is a more sensitive test

She also has impressive credentials. She is the Chief of the Forensic Genetics Department at SIMEF in Reggio Calabria, Italy, and teaches Forensic Genetics at the 2nd Level Master in Forensic Sciences of the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy.

She serves as the founder and president of the Worldwide Association of Women Forensic Experts (WAWFE).

Accordiing to Barbie Nadeau in the Daily Beast Professor Vincenzo Pascali, Sollecito’s chief forensic consultant, also found Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra.

“Vincenzo Pascali, the chief forensic consultant who was set to give expert testimony about the possible contamination of the bra clasp, walked off the case last month, reportedly leaving a €50,000 bill. Back in September, Pascali, who declined to comment for this story, hinted that the clasp also contained Knox’s DNA.”

I think we can safely infer from Professor Pascali’s refusal to deny that Amanda Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp that he thinks it was.

It’s also telling that he stopped representing Sollecito without giving any explanation. Why would he walk off a case where he was being paid a fortune? Does he think the DNA evidence implicates Knox and Sollecito in Meredith’s murder?

3. Certain Conclusions

It’s clear that forensic science isn’t like mathematics where there are no alternative interpretations. Forensic scientists have to interpret the test results and sometimes there isn’t a consensus.

Dr Stefanoni and Professor Balding attach no importance to the partial LCN DNA profiles on Meredith’s bra clasp.

Professor Vinci thinks Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp, but he claims it was contaminated.

Professor Garofano also thinks Amanda Knox’s DNA was on Meredith bra clasp and regards it as a strong clue against her. He thinks she touched it. In other words, he thinks she was involved in the stripping of Meredith.

The fact that Professor Garofano thinks Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp and that it’s a strong clue against her gives me real pause for thought because he is the “father” of Italy’s forensic science capability. Also he has no financial incentive to promote a particular theory - unlike Professor Vinci who had no choice, but to claim the bra clasp was contaminated.

We repeatedly see the same Amanda Knox - Raffaele Sollecito - Rudy Guede combination in the tragic case.

All three lied repeatedly to the police.

All three are implicated by the DNA evidence.

All three are implicated by the bloody footprints at the cottage because they matched their foot sizes.

Let’s assume for a moment that Professor Vinci is right and Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp.

Is it really an amazing coincidence that their DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp?

Was every single piece of DNA evidence against the two white people really contaminated?

Posted by The Machine on 05/10/20 at 10:00 PM in

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