Explaining The Massei Report: A Visual Guide To The Staged Break-In Via Filomena’s Window

Posted by pat az


Cross-posted from my own website on Meredith’s case at the kind invitation of TJMK.

The Massei Report on the trial and sentencing of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (...1) looks into whether or not a break-in is supported by the evidence available in the room with the broken window.

It concludes that the broken window and room in disarray - Filomena’s bedroom - are an “artificial representation”, ie. that the break-in was staged. After seven pages of review of the evidence, the Massei 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 can be read in full in the original.

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) (p50)


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.

Footnotes

(...1) The Massei Report in English is readable and downloadable via the link at the top of this page. 

(..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

(..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]




Comments

Appeciated PatAz.

Here is some further reading on the simulated break-in which might be of interest..


Powerpoints #8: Another Defense Theory That Fails The Giggle Test


Understanding Micheli #1: Why He Rejected All Rudy Guede’s Explanations As Fiction


Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory


Trial Friday Afternoon: Testimony On The Apparent Staged Breakin


Trial: Prosecution Giving Defense Expert Hard Time Over Guede Break-in Theory

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/01/11 at 03:48 PM | #

Here is a typically dopey attempt by the conspiracy theorists to “prove” that the rock wasn’t thrown from the inside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Codx5uSsaQY

Nobody has ever claimed it was hurled from that distance, which appears to be from about halfway across the kitchen. It was either tossed from a short distance or simply tapped against the glass.

The girl doesnt seem to realise that her demo shoots down a key conspiracy theory claim instead. If the rock HAD been thrown from the house’s carpark by a lone wolf it might very well have done that kind of damage to the shutters or window.

Another nail in the coffin of lone wolf theories. You can see a gushy unthinking comment by Jeffry Bolden (CD Host) who recently announced he thinks he has a great career ahead in forensics.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/01/11 at 04:54 PM | #

Thanks, pat az. Breaking and entering are an important part of this case. The lack of B&E points to a renter with a key.

As Peter Quennell points out, the recent youtube video of a girl throwing a 9-pound rock at a wooden shutter shows amazing damage to the wood slats. This rules out the burglar throwing a rock at Philomena’s closed shutters or we would see obvious damage on them. And if they were open, the glass would have fallen outside on the ground. Gioia Brocci testified she and others examined outside the building and found no glass beneath the window, none at all.

If Rudy had shimmied through that window, there would have been glass kicked everywhere. His M.O. is not hiding his tracks, as seen in toilet, bloody footprints, handprints on purse.

Thanks especially to pat az for a closeup of Filomena’s little white bedside table with its drawers not even slightly opened.

I speculate that Amanda asked Raffaele to bring her a rock. Then she took it and tapped the inside glass of the window while the shutters were still wedged closed. I’m glad Peter mentioned “tapped against the glass” because that’s how I’ve always envisioned it.

I think she tapped gently to break the glass because she feared glass might fly through the air into her eyes, hair, or clothes. She was probably afraid to make noise once Meredith was dead and they were working in terror of being overheard, which is why she hesitated to make a smashing disaster at the window. One or two hard taps maybe with the rock wrapped in fabric, and the glass broke.

It could be poetic justice that police had to deal with Amanda once before about people tossing rocks, and that her one fingerprint in the cottage was found on a glass.

Posted by Hopeful on 02/01/11 at 07:21 PM | #

paz az - without even mentioning Guede’s name your Visual Guide demolishes the argument that Meredith’s murder was committed by one person, acting alone.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 02/01/11 at 10:19 PM | #

I think the scenario to be this.

The stagers were wearing leather gloves. One does not go to clear up evidence, and in particular fingerprints, without wearing gloves and thus with the risk that one leaves more fingerprints than one intends to clear.

The gloves are leather because otherwise there is the risk of leaving fibres on objects, particularly on a rough surface such as a rock. In any event leather gloves are always worn by burglars in films and it just looks so much more professional.

With respect I find it hard to conceive that it was anyone other than Raffaelle who planned and executed the staged break in. This is man’s work and Amanda’s mental and emotional state would have been in too much flux for this.

Raffaelle opens the windows, leaving the scuri latched and the shutters shut. With the rock in his right hand he holds the left window frame open with his left hand (holding it slightly higher up) and with the window frame not fully open but at an angle of, say, 40 degrees, he sweeps the rock towards the lower glass letting go of it a few inches from the glass.

At the same time and to avoid glass shattering on him he jerks the window towards the shutters to reduce the angle and then opens it again. He then unlatches the scuri because otherwise a burglar could not have got in anyway. A little later he pushes the shutters open.

I believe this action explains the crush mark on the scuri, the lack of such a mark on the adjacent shutter, and the disposition of the broken glass which could have been manually adjusted afterwards anyway.

Posted by James Raper on 02/02/11 at 07:56 AM | #

Honestly, expecting anyone to believe the staged break-in and lone-wolf scenario is the most outlandish of the set of lies that AK and RS have told.

(I don’t include in that the blaming of Patrick, which AK of course did alone.)

Because of her willingness to send an innocent man who was only ever kind to her to jail - someone she knew had a wife and child - for a sex attack and murder, I think that the staged break in and the attempt to frame Guede as a lone wold was AK’s idea.

This is what she expects us to believe: Guede scales a 3 meter and more wall in the dark, miraculously not making any traces on the wall and managing to avoid the huge nail that’s sticking out there. Incredibly, he manages to open the stiff wooden shutters, presumably with one hand. Then, he climbs down again to get a rock and throws that, smashing the window without anyone hearing the noise. Meredith, who is inside the apartment didn’t hear of course - as she would have screamed, ran outside or called the cops on one of her two cellphones. Cunningly, Guede then scales the wall for a second time, again leaving no trace. As luck would have it, none of the glass has fallen on the ground and he manages to climb through the window without cutting himself. 

Amazing! But not as amazing as what happens next, according to what Knox wants us to believe.

Next, Guede ransacks Filomena’s room. During this time, Meredith continues to hear nothing… or she would have called the cops. Or screamed. Or ran outside. Or all three.

But though Guede is a brilliant scaler of walls and climber through broken windows and a criminal mastermind, he’s a terrible burglar. There are valuables in the room but he doesn’t see them. He merely scatters clothes on the floor.

Next, Guede blunders into Meredith’s room - she is surprised as until this point she heard nothing in the small flat, not the smashing window, the ransacking of the room. Though he is alone and tired from his climb, Guede manages to overpower her, sexually assault her, viciously attack her with TWO knives, remove her clothing, brutally wounds her, murders her. This brave young woman who is skilled in a martial art somehow cannot fight back. He steals her cellphones, and locks her in the room - lucky he happens across the key, which perhaps he found when he went into Knox’s room, took a lamp without leaving a fingerprint on it, and used that to light Meredith’s room. That done, Guede uses the toilet but forgets to flush, leaves the house (by the door this time), smartly disposes of the phones which of course he wipes clean of his fingerprints.

After, he goes to a club. Well, that part is true.

RIP Meredith.

Posted by lilly on 02/02/11 at 11:04 AM | #

Lilley,

Brilliant. Well done! Frankly I think that if Rudy, alone, had got in this way Meredith would have flattened him!

Posted by James Raper on 02/02/11 at 11:41 AM | #

What they say about One Picture and A Thousand Words is so true!

Until I saw the picture of Filomena’s Window, showing the Outside, and Inside Shutters, the Broken-Glass-Frame in-between, and the glass-splinters on the window-sill, I did not fully comprehend how extreme was the absurdity of alleging a real break-in, and the obviousness of The Staged Break-In, as described in the translated Massei Report.

When combined with all the other falsehoods, the culpability of Knox and Sollecito cannot be successfully denied.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 02/02/11 at 11:59 AM | #

Great presentation. And as Peter cites above, already KERMIT in November 08 has shown the fatuity of the break-in alibi in his Spiderman presentation. And shown it with a wealth of technical (“physical”) detail.

For me, the protruding nail on the wall is of itself enough on which to hang an indictment.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 02/02/11 at 04:02 PM | #

Thanks, Ernest[and Peter], for pointing-out Kermit’s Power-Point Presentation.

I see that what I called “Inside Shutters” are called “Black-out Panels”, attached to the Glass-Window-Frame.

Now I comprehend even better.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 02/02/11 at 04:20 PM | #

One would think that as the shutters to Filomena’s window did not close properly, and the window did not have a grill, and given that she was going away on holiday and she said that she did not feel entirely secure about the situation, that she would have fastened the scuri to the window frames before leaving. And yet there is no confirmation from Massei that she did - or did not.

It seems inconceivable that she was not actually asked the question therefore it must be that she could not be sure about the answer.  Had she confirmed that she did then the alleged break in would be even more absurd - if that is possible.

Posted by James Raper on 02/03/11 at 05:24 AM | #

Hi James. Sure thing, we can ask.

Remember that Massei’s report was never intended to be free-standing in and of itself, and was always intended to be considered in conjunction with the 10,000-plus pages of evidence and the transcripts of the trial - almost all of which still exist only in Italian.

A fact the non-Italian-speaking conspiracy theorists who try to ridicule this marvel of a jury report never ever, ever make clear.  It does NOT stand on its own. Under common law there is no jury report and anyone who has been on jury duty in the UK and US know that juries usually decide fast on a fraction of the evidence - the smoking guns - and leave the rest unaddressed. You can see this in the movie Twelve Angry Men.

Kermit’s point about the impossibility of reaching and turning the rotating window handle through THAT hole in the glass is also not mentioned by Massei but it does not mean they did not consider it.

The scuri here is a wooden internal shutter without louvres. In almost all residences in southern Europe built in the last 100 years or so you would not see this - you would see instead a blackout blind between tracks on the window frame   pulled up and down with a thick strap. Many people adjust them to come down to maybe a foot above the window sill. That gives plenty of light while keeping out the glare and the heat or cold.

Filomena probably did not think of the scuri as a security measure. She might not have wanted the scuri attached to the windows because that would have totally blacked out her room. If you look at the images above, the scuri DOES seem to be attached to the windows in the first and third images, but does NOT in the fourth image down.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/03/11 at 07:48 AM | #

Although I agree there it is probable the break in was staged and there was a clearing up excercise with mops and bleach with a view to framing Guede for the whole murder.

However, food for thought: the defendents were a couple of kids/young adults/students, hardly experts in criminalty or staging crime scenes.

Posted by anglosaxon on 10/11/11 at 12:44 PM | #

Read a couple of books on the case now. Did anything come up about Filomena’s make-up bag? Thanks

Posted by Crimsonpetal55 on 07/17/12 at 12:42 PM | #

Hi Crimsonpetal55,

The make-up bag was never located and one can presume that it was removed by the attackers because it was contaminated with traces of the victim and/or the attackers that could not be wiped away.

We see this, for example, in Meredith’s doorway where Guede’s bloody shoeprints appear and disappear out of nowhere. Obviously a blood covered item that he stepped on was removed.

Posted by brmull on 07/17/12 at 01:36 PM | #

Hi Brmull,

Thanks for answering my question.

Posted by Crimsonpetal55 on 07/17/12 at 05:22 PM | #


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