Saturday, December 17, 2011

Does A Perverse Fear Factor Account For The Hellmann Jury Breaking The Way It Did?

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Italian criminologist Massimo Picozzi, a physician, psychiatrist, professor, author and TV host].

We have already posted on the increasingly notorious CSI Effect.

That’s the phenomenon where these days fearful juries can react ultra-cautiously against multiple ambiguous strands of evidence and become impatient with complex science. Among other things, they don’t want egg on their faces down the road .

Some of us who have now absorbed most of the Hellmann report released yesterday are noting two distinctive themes:

  • A garbling of the law and the hard facts (one hard fact Hellmann garbled is that no-one has come close to proving that was Guede’s bare foot print on the bathroom mat, or explained when and why he took his shoes off);
  • A sense of a condescending fury by this jury toward the jury at the first level (Massei’s trial panel) and the prosecution’s scientific experts; this is actually not a unique occurrence in Italy where appeals require whole new juries eager to strut their stuff.

Today on the Perugia Murder File Forum the Italian lawyer Yummi in part had this to say:

The parts that I found more dishonest and unacceptable are, however, those in the matter (and their omissions) rather than the mistakes in [legal] procedures. The “probable” attribution of the footprint to Guede is an example of insult to intelligence. I haven’t read thoroughly the entire document yet, but from what I’ve read I can say this document is a sloppy and shameful fraud.

I think what really matters - the actually “true” part of the document - is the conclusion, where the court explain that the reason for the acquittal was they were afraid. They thought they were in danger of making a mistake, they explain they felt unable to eliminate possibility of mistake. Their fear stemming from not being able to see a clear overall picture of the evidence and a motive is everything. Their fear, confusion and uncertainty is the ground for their lack of any indication even of the paragraph 1 or 2 [mandatory reason for the verdict].

Interviewed today by the Italian paper Corriere the eminent Italian criminologist Massimo Picozzi (image above), who knew of the Hellmann verdict but had not yet seen the Hellmann report, predicted very much the same thing. 

Picozzi: A debate too technical for the jury

Interview of Massimo Picozzi by Leonardo di Molinelli

Corriere: What of the outcome of Perugia?

“I think it was already decided by the jury when there was a battle between consultants on a very technical issue, the contamination of some DNA.”

The criminologist Massimo Picozzi has not yet read the [Hellman] motivation of the absolution of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, but he has a clear idea as to why the appeal outcome contradicted the first level outcome.

“The reasons can be stated in different ways but don’t bend one iota.  The judgment is due to the fact that when expert consultants have been in dispute, and not only on the content of [some experts] report but also on the skills and qualifications of those experts, the battle becomes so complex that the jury loses the plot.”

Corriere: A controversy has diverted attention from the crime on a technicality?

“Reducing everything to a technical debate has created confusion that the jury was unable to handle. Often even [court] presidents, judges and magistrates are not as competent technically as the progress of science should require.

The prosecution’s DNA advisor Professor Novelli is a forensic geneticist at the international level. When he challenged the findings of the experts and proposed to the judge a third study, the president of the jury said “No thanks, we have enough.’”

Corriere: There are other cases like this? This is just an Italian problem?

“No. The distortion was introduced by TV series like CSI creating the effect that juries require new technologies but are not always prepared to understand them.

I could tell you that in the United States and Canada they are moving more and more into “neuroimaging” which is exploring uses of the nuclear magnetic resonance of genetic structures of criminals.

At this new frontier the accused can be acquitted because it can be assumed that having an MRI of a certain type and genetic constitution does not allow for the having of free will, and therefore they are acquitted for that failure. “

Corriere: [Norway’s mass murderer Anders] Breivik might be such a case?

“Yes, and behind these things it is easy to see a Lombrosian outcome.” [ed. note: said somewhat jokingly. Cesare Lombroso was an Italian doctor who invented the “antropologia criminale” in which criminals are born rather than self-made. ]

“There are at least a couple of facilities in the U.S. that offer screening based on CT and MRI for the recruitment of top managers. “

Corriere: What is the basic thrust?

“Criminal behavior is determined by a series of neurological factors, biological, genetic. In the U.S. and Canada juries hear battle of genetic structures, amygdala, and more. “

Corriere: It becomes very difficult for jurors to live up to?

“Absolutely, and one ends up saying “But how do we crack the structures of criminal behavior if we do not even know what is normal human behavior?” The latest branch of study that is spreading is neuroethics, the fact that we can have a certain neurological structure which does not have any area for ethical responsibility. “

Corriere: It is disturbing?

“Absolutely, we arrive back at the pre-crime state like that in [the movie] Minority Report. So in the end it does not work. “

Corriere: They were right on the Knox case, the American media?

“No. But we guaranteed that development too. The real problem is the length of our trials. If the [trial and first appeal] are compressed into two years instead of four that will eliminate much of the controversy. “

Corriere: Amanda and Raffaele are innocent?

“I prefer to say that they were found not guilty by one particular jury.”


Thanks for posting this.  My impression is this is far from over and it’s mainly because of Hellman’s report that I actually think it will be overturned and the culunia charge upheld.

Posted by JenE on 12/17/11 at 05:53 AM | #

It could not have been crisper: “I prefer to say that were found not guilty by one particular jury.”- the final comment by Picozzi

Posted by chami on 12/17/11 at 08:56 AM | #

Hellman reasoning is simple….they did not confess!

Posted by starsdad on 12/17/11 at 11:21 AM | #

Gripping. Thank you, Peter. Dr. Picozzi is cutting edge. Who would dream that MRI and neuro-imaging would be the latest science used to prove lack of free will.

Dr. Picozzi is marvelous, brilliant, amazing. The Lombrosian outcome sounds like fatalism: the idea that nobody can be responsible for his own behavior if he has a certain genetic predisposition.

If we’re going to argue fatalism and diminished responsibility due to no free will, why can’t we use the same love affair with fatalism to justify whatever actions the Justice System “decides” to take. HaHa. If everyone’s under compulsion, the justice compulsion cannot be faulted.

Maybe the criminal has no free will to change his ways but by the same token the juries and judge have no free will to change their ways which are a hardwired demand for punishment and restitution.

Why does every new proof that biology is destiny work in favor of criminals and not in favor of society’s guardians?

Posted by Hopeful on 12/17/11 at 03:02 PM | #

To some extent Prof. Picozzi shifts responsibility to an anxious jury but it doesn’t cancel a failure of leadership on Hellman’s part.

A detail of some interest: Hellman supposes that the nail in the wall might have been used as as foothold by someone entering by that upper window. A mere nail sticking out, not even pounded in.

More deeply: Hellman obstinately refuses to judge the seriousness of Amanda’s false accusation—an accusation of MURDER

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/17/11 at 04:48 PM | #

Oh dear.  Pressed the wrong button & don’t know how I did that.

To finish the thought (of Hellman’s own failure, notwithstanding an anxious jury): the man excuses Amanda’s serious accusation of murder as a response to police pressure.  That she has knowingly lied, that she lets the accusation stand while Lumumba is jailed & his family suffers God knows what of fear & worry & that her own former employer (musician-bar keeper) loses his business in the process… counts for nothing with Hellman.  When her lie is unsustainable she admits to it, not before.

See Exodus 19: “...if the witness… has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother… Your eye shall not pity; it shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”  Jesus discards this in the Sermon on the Mount, as we know.

But the seriousness of a knowing & injurious lie—as an index to the easy conscience of this troubled woman & the ugliness of her deed! I fault Hellman as a judge who has betrayed his office, although conceivably in behalf of politicians who may have called the shot.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/17/11 at 05:01 PM | #

I agree this is gripping, but not because of the CSI effect.

Yes, the Hellmann court may have been swayed by their experts’ video presentation. One could just as easily say the Massei court was swayed by the multimedia presentation showing three attackers in Meredith’s room. (I personally believe that Massei did a masterful analysis of all the evidence and his report will not be surpassed by any that follow)

But many of us who have been following the case have said this court already had made up its mind, as evidenced by their narrow frame of reference and wholesale waving away of ALL other physical evidence.

The whole field of criminology is opening up to the possibility of mental illness as a factor in crime, and how to deal with it, and what probative value to attach to it, including the exacerbating effects of drugs and alcohol. This will never excuse any act of murder, it will only help explain it. Nor do I believe we will ever determine guilt or innocence on the basis of DNA testing or MRI, not when we have judges Hellmann and Zannetti saying in effect “I really don’t think these nice kids look guilty”. While judges and juries should not ever be swayed by such impressions, they sometimes, unfortunately, are.

Some might think that a diagnosis of mental illness might help mitigate sentencing or punishment. I think it actually will help get justice done. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito clearly are mentally disturbed individuals. The most interesting discussions have been about their abnormal behaviour after the crime, and I think the system actually bent over backwards to try to avoid facing that reality.

To me, it was their psychology that convinced me they could have done it. Something that future courts might want to look at, in conjunction with all other evidence of course.

Posted by Ergon on 12/17/11 at 07:47 PM | #

Can somebody tell me what photo 105 (page 366-367) shows?

I ask because Hellman seems to be saying that after that (photo) it is possible Rudy’s right shoe slipped off in the struggle with Meredith and he went to wash it off in the bathroom thereby leaving the print on the carpet.

Also that is why Rudy’s shoe prints from the bedroom to the front door are only of his left foot.  Thanks

Posted by Miriam on 12/17/11 at 10:54 PM | #

Hi Miriam.

Sure. That photo of the footprint on the bathmat forms the basis of Kermit’s Powerpoint analysis back in June 2009.

We probably should repost that analysis as Hellman came up with such a tortured explanation for a footprint that actually doesn’t fit.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/17/11 at 11:49 PM | #

Bizarre, well where did he wash it?  If I remember correctly he stares that the DNA in the sink and bidet are from the girls’ washing their hands and feet, therefore leaving their DNA behind. I don’t remember if he mentions the blood or not.

So, Rudy washes his foot in the shower? And then doesn’t put his shoe back on? How about socks, it’s cold in Nov in Perugia, wouldn’t he have been wearing socks? Why isn’t there a footprint of a foot in in a sock? And why walk out the door wearing just one shoe?

Hell, maybe I got it wrong!!! Or that is some creative writing.

Posted by Miriam on 12/18/11 at 12:22 AM | #

Miriam, As Peter said it’s not Guede’s right footprint on the mat. In reality, Guede took off his right shoe before the struggle—or lost it in the struggle. He put it on afterward and ran out of the house. (Much less likely, he managed to never get blood on his right shoe.)

The alternative put forward by Hellman is Guede engaged in a clean-up in the bedroom, somehow leaving no trace of his bloody right foot and only scattered prints of his bloody left shoe. It just doesn’t make sense.

Posted by brmull on 12/18/11 at 03:36 AM | #

Sorry, I was being sarcastic. I do not believe that the footprint is Rudy’s. I was poking fun at Hellman explanation.

Posted by Miriam on 12/18/11 at 03:55 PM | #

I just love the way page 105 starts:

I guess as opposed to the first court not showing any? He seems to take a few jabs at the previous court. Good thing he shows So Much Sense.

Sorry, everyone but I decided to laugh at this report instead of getting angry.

Posted by Miriam on 12/18/11 at 10:35 PM | #

My understanding now is that the Court of Cassation will now review Hellman’s report to establish if the law was applied. If not there will be a re-trial? Is it reviewed in conjunction with Massei’s report?

Posted by Melanie on 12/18/11 at 11:15 PM | #

Can anybody tell me if in the first trial any mention was made of a lack of ( having touble here) Sollecitto’s footprint not showing a marked distal phalanx of the second toe? Or a lack of marked phanlax of the big toe? And on Knox’s right foot the second toe being longer than the big toe? Thanks.

Posted by Miriam on 12/18/11 at 11:19 PM | #

Is it just me or does Hellman come across as naive in the report…which begs a question or two about pressure and smoke and mirrors.

Posted by nopassingby on 12/19/11 at 12:53 AM | #


Yes. Massei did a nice job of rebutting Professor Vinci’s theory about the footprints. Professor Vinci’s theory is the same as the one on IJP “The Truth About The Footprints” if you want to know. The truth is the Guede can be ruled out because the big to is too big for Guede. Sollecito’s second toe is a hammertoe that doesn’t show up on paper prints, but it does show up on the mat. They only disagreement is whether it’ss joined with the print of the big toe, or separate. The latter view is correct.

Hellman’s discussion of the subject is superficial and unconvicing. He just accepts everything Vinci said without question.

Posted by brmull on 12/19/11 at 01:06 PM | #

I quote a story from “wanda the fish”:  (it is fortunately quite short)


One day the King decided that he would force all his subjects to tell the truth.  A gallows was erected in front of the city gates.  A herald announced, “Whoever would enter the city must first answer the truth to a question which will be put to him.”

Nasrudin was first in line.  The captain of the guard asked him, “Where are you going?  Tell the truth—the alternative is death by hanging.”

“I am going,” said Nasrudin, “to be hanged on that gallows.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Very well, if I have told a lie, then hang me!”

“But that would make it the truth!”

“Exactly,” said Nasrudin, “your truth.”</b>


We live in an imperfect world: even our logic is far from perfect.  Although every sentence in the above story is perfect, there is a problem with the references and we must therefore be very careful when we make our statements.

To assume that “good” boys and girls cannot do certain things (like murder) is foreclosing the conclusions.  Every action by the so-called “good” girl is thoroughly “justified” and “explained away”, but the evidences by witnesses are just discarded as “unreliable” without a convincing “explanation”. 

As the system has evolved over several years, the water has only got muddied and the judge had an unenviable task before him.  It happens all the time: the higher court many times throws away the charges, the evidences and the convictions. 

Obviously the judge cannot make both the parties happy at the same time, and he is responsible only to his book of law and conscience. As so much material has now come into the public domain, there is very little wiggle space, and new external forces must be invoked to explain the “unexplainable”.

Disclaimer: I have not read the report yet! I am waiting for a translation.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images.

Posted by chami on 12/19/11 at 03:03 PM | #

I don’t want to speculate at this time how it will go.

My astrological side saw Jupiter in the 12th house which reads friends in high places springing them out of prison but I remain hopeful. There is the Italy of P2, the Vatican, and the Mafia, and there is the Italy of anti-Mafia prosecutors and judges that charge the CIA for illegal renditions. It is the better Italy that I will continue to believe in, that will bring true justice for Meredith Kercher.

Posted by Ergon on 12/19/11 at 03:43 PM | #

The Hellman report is looking more and more racist as we translate it and get deeper into it.

The Hellman judges have gone even beyond the defenses in painting the white perps as lily-white and the black perp as a do-it-all demon.

We’ll be posting on this once all the examples of each are identified. For an early peek take a look at some of the comments on the current page (44) of the PMF forum.

Added: It is now being said on PMF that using the same contemptible tricks and distortions, the judges could have written the report to vindicate Rudy and fry the other two.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/19/11 at 06:59 PM | #

Mafia is not copyright of Italy: it is all over the world today.  But if we lose our faith in the system, we surrender to the dark forces.  Our future depends on our faith and nothing else and we must move on forward.  There will be a greater justice and the hope is not yet dead!  We must not insist on absolute purity: we get what we have made of this world ourselves.  There is no absolute good; it is always adulterated with some evil.  We need to accept it as it comes because it is our own product.

Long time back I travelled by train from Naples to Trieste and I had a fellow traveller who was a poet.  He was quite modern and relatively young and had an excellent idea of both virtue and vice (I felt it must be first-hand knowledge as he spoke so convincingly). We had a long chat (I do not speak Italian)  and as this was a night train the third passenger was trying to sleep and was feeling disturbed. 

When he got down (at Florence) he told me that he has learnt a lot from the long chat and I also felt the same.  I am no more dogmatic about “good” and “bad”, or “virtue” and “vice”.  They are nothing but different sides of the same coin, or, perhaps more accurately, just an aberration of our intrinsic soul.

Moral? I have my faith and can wait.

Posted by chami on 12/19/11 at 07:30 PM | #

Hi Ergon and Chami. Wise posts and rightly encouraging. I think in this case the third act will be a good one. Neither Amanda Knox nor Judge Hellman are doing the right things to put this behind them. They are both falling seriously short.

And there is a huge plus built into the Italian justice system. There is a link to all posts on it near top-right and we perhaps should repeat some as most media are ignoring the building black clouds over the second appeal. I just posted this on PMF:


The present justice system was set up very very carefully in the post-fascism era and for that reason was exactly designed not to rot from the top. The Supreme Court has an excellent reputation and works closely with the president of the republic who is the ultimate arbiter of justice in Italy and universally considered very straight.

Insofar as the Italian system has been bent it has been bent mainly by legislation by Berlusconi’s people and they are now largely out of power in the emergency government. At the court level there are few instances of corruption and the prosecutors and judges (unlike in the United States) are all on career tracks and not especially vulnerable to bribes or threats.

Often there is a dialectic observed as cases move up the three levels. In Goldilocks terms, porridge too hot, then porridge too cold, and finally porridge just right. It’s a long and often exhausting process but many UK and US lawyers now seem envious of its final accuracy and fairness. Alan Dershowitz the Harvard law professor for one.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/19/11 at 07:41 PM | #

Thanks for the explanation of the footprint. I can see how it would show up on the mat, unfortunely he also throw out the ones in the corridor for the same reason.

And Knox’s because her second toe is longer than her big toe, and therfore the prints on the corridor can not be hers.

Posted by Miriam on 12/19/11 at 11:41 PM | #

@ Peter,
I noticed that the report is kind of racist, too.

Everthing is Rudy’s fault. He is bad. Yes, he was capabe of killing someone he knew, etc.

@ chami,
I wish I cold give you a translation, but I am not a lawyer, and all the Dna flew right over my head! Loved the story.

Posted by Miriam on 12/19/11 at 11:51 PM | #

From Andrea Vogt’s 16 Dec. Twitter:

” #amandaknox case could go before Italy’s Supreme Court as early as Sept if ricorso filed in 45-day window. May be more details next week. “

Posted by True North on 12/20/11 at 01:40 AM | #

“Amandaknox case could go before Italy’s Supreme Court as early as Sept if ricorso filed in 45-day window.”  Oy veh!

Ricorso (=appeal) will surely be filed in time but meanwhile Amanda’s book will be rushed out. Good sales are anticipated: Stephanopoulos on ABC, after reporting that Hellman has “demolished” the findings of the earlier trial, mentions some 21 publishers in pursuit while the Daily Mail (good photos but no detail) reports her signing a million dollar book deal.

Given that her base will be sated with the best truth she is able to think up & that an army of howlers will be ready to howl, what is Ms Vogt calling early?

This is, however, one of the reasons why I cannot think that Amanda will return to Italy in any future trial. Too much against that.

So Peter, I hope & pray that you are right. From porridge too hot to porridge too cold to porridge just right.  Knox’s guilty verdict (but not her sentence, I think) must be affirmed by the Court of Last Appeal.  Else Justice won’t be served.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/20/11 at 04:09 PM | #


Most of the crimes are committed by people usually known to the victim.  Of course there are exceptions, like when we see like the Norwegian (I forget his name) or the Americans (several cases are there) who go to a school (why schools are targets baffles me) and starts shooting.  They are very very sick, you know and they are the exception, not the rule.

In most sex-related crimes, the victim knows the attacker (even if slightly).  I do not have the numbers, but I suspect murder numbers will not be very far. Crimes by a “mob” is another story altogether and if you are in a group of three or more, your psychology changes drastically.  Hazing games are never one-to-one.  In a group attack, you lose your own judgements and take no responsibility for any of your actions, even if it leads to murder.  I think something like this happened and the hero and the heroine are secretly enjoying that the blame has been put finally transferred to a “black” man.  This is what I call collective irresponsibility.

DNA is actually a very simple but very large and long molecule (looks like a string) and you have a million identical copies of them in your body.  Your DNA is unique as half and half of it has come from your parents. A large part of the DNA is constant (not much change) but another part is variable.  It is the variable parts that are useful in identification of an individual. With modern technology, one single molecule can be multiplied a million times and cut and pasted just like software does!  Yes, DNA is present in all cells (well, almost all) but we do not shed DNA left and right. Our body is conservative and we do not want to lose cells just like that.  DNA is not found outside the cell and when we collect DNA, we basically collect a sample of cells.

Let me answer one simple question: if I swab a 1cm X 1cm (or 1/2 inch X 1/2 inch) area selected randomly in your bedroom (assuming you reasonably clean your room once a week at the least), do I find your DNA on the swab tip? The answer is NO but we can assign mathematical numbers and probabilities.

Posted by chami on 12/20/11 at 06:14 PM | #

Thanks Chami,

So when Hellmann claims that while collecting the blood in the bathroom sink and bidet using a strip of ? with a motion that goes from the top of the sink to the bottom close to the drain and vice-versa, they could of collected DNA from both girls that had remained close to the drain from washing their hands, Could that be possible?

I would think that his explanation that the DNA of both girls on the cotton ? container was because both had handled it at one time a bit far fetched?

Sorry the above is kind of garbled, I am trying to remember what was written and translating it.

Posted by Miriam on 12/20/11 at 11:11 PM | #

@ Miriam I believe that Dr Stefanoni has already explained the difference between DNA from shed skin cells and DNA from blood.

The Q tips in the bathroom and a tiny spot in the bidet and another spot on the bathroom light switch are from blood DNA that is Meredith’s and Amanda’s blood mixed.

Defense lawyers worked hard to confuse and create doubt about this DNA evidence for the jury but Amanda must have nicked herself during the struggle to cause this type of DNA mix.

We all feel very disappointed with the Appeal i know -but we can look forward to the new year bringing some peace to Meredith’s family.

Posted by mason2 on 12/21/11 at 09:02 AM | #


If you touch a surface with your bare fingers, you will be transferring a fingerprint.  This fingerprint is made of latent sweat, which contains some sugars, fat and proteins.  Fingerprints can be seen using chemicals that react with proteins (modern techniques work differently) and it works best on smooth surfaces (like glass, metals, plastics) and very poor on rough surfaces (papers, clothes etc).  What is important to know that no DNA is transferred, as no cells leave your skin and land on the surface.  If the residents have handled the Qtip box (or the Qtips themselves, which is very unlikely), we do not expect any DNA to be detected due to prior contamination, i.e., no DNA will be transferred by routine handling of the box.

The sample collection for forensics is an art and not science!  You have to use your “common sense” and apply some “intuition” to get the maximum (means a reasonable amount of DNA) amount of “usable” DNA for the next steps.  Near the drain plug of the sink (where the metal meets the ceramic), there will a nice fine gap which will collect all junk over considerable time.  That is a place to avoid sample collection and I am sure that no sample was collected from that rim.

High value lawyers will obviously question anything and everything and if it appears more technical, they will try their best to confuse the issue.  If you just wash your hands, you shed lots of dead skin cells and perhaps some DNA with them. But good results will come only from blood, saliva and good tissue samples. If you scrub your hands vigorously (perhaps using some scrubber used for cleaning vessels; I sometimes use them for cleaning my feet), you may shed some “good” skin cells that can be useful for DNA studies.

It is impossible that DNA from rye bread will match some human sample.

Posted by chami on 12/21/11 at 02:58 PM | #


I have learned from your posts. And much like also your words:
The sample collection for forensics is an art and not science!  You have to use your “common sense” and apply some “intuition”...

There’s where I thought the two professors (“experts”) failed conspicuously. One has to imagine the properly uniformed forensic police arriving at the god-awful scene, the whole mess…

Also (myself) found overdone their complaint about the police not changing gloves for every new piece of possible evidence.  Thought it much in the category of Hellman’s thinking the nail in the wall outside might have been used by (Guede) for a foothold when climbing to the window…
(You may not agree.)

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/21/11 at 06:15 PM | #

Well, my point is simple.  If the contamination is the culprit, then why we do not see Guede’s DNA also with RS DNA?  After all, RG was in the room for sometime whereas RS was not (as claimed).

Contamination will mean 1-2 cells somehow getting on the collected evidence.  It will come under LCN category and will be not seen under normal analysis (a normal or regular analysis was done for the bra clasp and not a low copy number analysis).  RS DNA was about >10% (according to Chris Halkides) and therefore not an insignificant amount (in my opinion). RG DNA was not found all over the place.

If the DNA is just floating in the thin air (with dust, as claimed), then changing gloves is meaningless as it will not protect against dust settling on the surface, any surface.  Even if they do not change the gloves, there were very few samples in which RS DNA was found and therefore contamination via gloves can be safely rules out (unless, of course, RS has kissed their gloved hands). The correct question to be asked (this was not asked): did they use the same gloves for collecting the cigarette butt on which RS DNA was found? I believe the answer is no.

All the other windows had bars to prevent burglars.  As this window is inaccessible, no bar was put and I do not believe this theory.

A good gymnast can still climb with some effort. But then why there are no supporting evidences?

Posted by chami on 12/21/11 at 07:09 PM | #

@ chami

Thanks for the lessons on DNA. I agree with Ernest, I have also have learned a lot from your posts. To bad you couldn’t give some lessons to Hellman, he chides the first court for not showing common sense, and then proceeds to not show any himself.

As for the window, he uses the example of the tall defense lawyer who climbed up to show it is not impossible, while acknowledging that Rudy is shorter, he also uses the fact that Rudy played basketball. Maybe he jumped?

Also points out that the law office Rudy broke into the window was higher up.

And more and more people are putting bars on higher windows because of break-ins.

He also seems to say that if it was staged it was by Rudy as he had more experience.

Seems to try to cover all his bases.

Posted by Miriam on 12/21/11 at 11:17 PM | #

While walking at outdoor track this morning it occurred to me that the Kerchers can sow their way to victory in this case. I urge them to research the teaching of Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn and start to give and believe for a positive outcome. Giving and believing for God to multiply their seed back to them in a harvest that meets their need, will increase their faith. Faith moves mountains. The miracle of seed faith changed my life, got me out of poverty.

If you have a great need Brother Heflin taught us, sow a great seed (in this case, the need for peace in the Kerchers’ hearts and justice for Meredith, the need for court of cassation to rule against Hellman, a huge need)...if you have a great need, sow a great seed. Giving brings a release.

Posted by Hopeful on 12/22/11 at 12:46 AM | #

First time commenter, though I have been following the case and this blog. Has anyone else thought of the idea that that Rimjob character might actually be Amanda Knox. I am sure she has seen this website before and the reason I have a feeling its her is due to the way Rimjob tries to demean Meredith. Also, in one of the last posts that was taken down, Rimjob asked Peter to answer its scenario of how Rudy committed the crime. It shocked me because it sounded as if someone had knowledge of what I assume Amanda wanted police to discover. Also, its as if its some sort of sick victory for her because the dumb Americans believe her story, its like she won.

Posted by Severino518 on 12/22/11 at 01:48 AM | #

Hi Severino. You are right, the posts of the very persistent troll Rimjob did express a lot of contempt toward Meredith, and also extreme hostility toward Rudy Guede. The level of fervor was such that we took the unusual precaution of checking where the posts were coming from. Except for one routed via the UK they originated not too far from Chicago which of course is Bruce Fischer territory. Rimjob exclusively linked to the narcissistic Bruce Fischer and seemed to regard him as a god so it is possible they are one and the same.

Amanda has a trademark way of writing and I think posters would spot her very quickly. She was apparently not told while in prison how very many of us are skeptical of her various stories and we hear she may be pretty shaken and taking no initiatives on her own account. If she needs psychological counseling or treatment, her family and PR scheme have put her in quite a bind, as she can’t move in that direction without questions about her whole mental history, going back to her childhood and the mistreatment by Curt Knox. That could end any prospect of her coming out ahead in the Cassation appeal and she could be labeled a probable pathological killer for life.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/22/11 at 01:13 PM | #

Has anyone googled the term “rimjob”?

How utterly inappropriate on a site such as this.

That someone potentially connected to the case is behaving in such a manner clearly indicates a degree of nervousness in the defence camp. If there was genuine belief in AK’s innocence, attack of others would not be considered.

Posted by TruthWillOut on 12/22/11 at 04:15 PM | #

What I find the most shocking from what I’ve read of the Hellmann report so far is that Hellmann excuses the false alibis by assuming that Amanda and Raffaele were at Via della Pergola during the murder but didn’t participate in it, and later got scared that they might be suspected, hence the lying about their whereabouts. This means Hellmann is assuming (and excusing!) that Amanda and Raffaele just let Meredith die - they must have heard her screams but neither did they help her while it happened, nor did they call an ambulance or the police afterwards. This is just crazy, and the casual manner in which Hellmann presents this disgusting theory amazes me. How can he assume and at the same time excuse such inhuman behaviour without remarking on its inhumanity? This eludes me. It seems like he was really willing to find absurd excuses for anything these “good little kids” did.

Posted by Mara on 12/22/11 at 11:53 PM | #

Welcome posts above, Peter (Omicidio Meredith & the next, remarks by the Kercher’s lawyer.)

Whether or not Amanda be considered a (latent) psychopath, I can’t think she would hide beneath an obscenity & snipe at others from concealment.

In psychological terms her pathology would be “split off” from her conscious self (Jung’s frequent term.) As such, it would contribute to her impulsiveness & very likely to bouts of nameless misery which she would shake off, if at all, by extravagant diversions.

Amanda is a seriously damaged person (if we accept on good grounds the verdict of guilty) & her atrocity is beyond question gross & astounding. We know her for a liar but she is not a coward or a sneak.

The Italian editorial quoted above (later post) regrets that Amanda may not suffer even if found guilty on the final appeal because she is unlikely to return to Italy. Psychologically, that’s a mistake. An unconscious burden of her sort doesn’t cease to be effective. It must remain an inaccessible source of deep unhappiness.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/23/11 at 01:08 AM | #

The way we act under fear and duress reflects our true self.  The “normal” actions are just social makeups.

It will need a professional to diagnose her problems.  But many psychiatrists have studied regularly common criminals and most, if not all, have some or other psychological problems.  Anyway, I am not trying to justify a crime nor supporting one individual.  I am just trying to say that it is very hard to say from few scattered evidences.  All of us are different as individuals and no two persons will act identically under the same conditions.

Modern justice system is certainly not vindictive and just tries to be mildly preventive.  It recognises our human shortcomings and tries to be accommodating to all.  Basically the same set of evidences got two diametrically opposite judgements from two sets of judges!  And both were trained in the same set of rules and laws- assuming for the present that both are impartial and unbiased and fair in their analysis. If we had put a super computer in place of the judges, we would have got identical results- but is that what we want?

Let me not cast the first stone.

Posted by chami on 12/24/11 at 05:14 AM | #


You make your point effectively & I won’t take you up on this. Brazen is very good (forehead of brass/ bold-faced liar.)
You don’t give an opinion on the underlying question, whether Amanda resorted to the quoted obscenity in order to make an attack. Myself, I don’t think so.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/24/11 at 02:06 PM | #

No photos anywhere of a Knox Christmas celebration?  And none for any Kercher family celebration.  Divorce sunders families, hence an awkwardness throughout the trial (& on TV) of Curt & Edda presenting a united front in Amanda’s behalf.

Something feebly attempted to show a family Thanksgiving celebration: photo of Amanda & her younger sister emerging from the mother’s home alongside Edda, smiling broadly.  No Curt, of course, nor any trace of Mellas.

No amount of PR propaganda foisted off as news can spare the Knox clan an awkwardness just now (because as Peter keeps reminding us, that case is far from over.)

But I think it an error (here on this excellent site) to succumb to expressions of hatred & contempt for Amanda. She is at least a latent psychopath (I think) & I can’t believe she has ever truly forgotten her crime. In one way or another, she will live with her own tragedy henceforth.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/26/11 at 11:33 PM | #

Dear Peter, you have to understand that Italy is not a country,but an American colony.As an Italian,this make me sick.Maybe one day I will begin a political career,because I am angry to see my country to be the yes-man of the U.S.

I am sure that the so called “judge” Hellman was put there by “unknown” forces. Does it tell you anything that Amanda left the Capanne prison in a black Mercedes with one of the leedars of the Italian-American Foundation?

Just yesterday I read an almost incredible article.The article was saying that on the days of the appeal’s verdict there were a lot of “strange” and “scary” people in Perugia.That many felt scared to talk. Where were they to treat the jury?

C.I.A. and S.I.S.M.I.(the italian secret service)agents was talked about. Fiction? I think there is something credible. Here in Italy many think, even before this article, that jurors were threatened.

I believe one day one or two of the jurors will talk and that day we will know they weren’t free to vote what they wanted.

Posted by Matteo_65 on 01/13/12 at 10:38 PM | #

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