How Greg Hampikian Abuses Two Positions of Trust In Serially Misrepresenting The Hard Evidence

Posted by The Machine




Overview

Greg Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project,

His use or misuse of his Innocence Project mantle via a case way outside his official area in Italy to leverage his prominence is particularly questionable. Few Italians know who he is or can read him and so challenge him, and Italy’s justice system probably allows less false convictions than any other, though he never makes that fact clear.

This post explains how the investigations of local Innocence Project representatives are not always reliable - and how Hampikian for his own benefit serially misrepresents the evidence in Meredith’s case. 

Michael Naughton

The Innocence Project is mostly professionally staffed by cool-headed, competent law and genetics professors who are more interested in promoting truth and justice than their own place in world history. But as another case in the news also shows, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Yesterday’s breaking news shocked many in England. Convicted killer Simon Hall finally admitted that he was indeed guilty of the murder in 2001 of Joan Albert, a pensioner who was savagely stabbed five times.

Simon Hall had been vehemently protesting his innocence for 12 years.  There are some striking similarities between this case and the Meredith Kercher case.

  • The perp’s mother convinced that her child is innocent of murder? Yes.

  • Politicians, legal experts, journalists and members of the public convinced that person convicted of murder is innocent? Yes.

  • Television documentary casting doubt on the conviction? Yes.

  • Criticisms of police investigation and claims there is no DNA evidence and no motive? Yes.

  • Website set up in order to convince the public that the person convicted of murder is actually innocent? Yes.

  • An academic staff member of the Innocence Project leaps on board and starts pontificating before closely looking? Yes.

Simon Hall’s confession has made his most adamant defender Dr. Michael Naughton, the local director of the Innocence Project at Bristol University (image below). look like a real dupe, and may have destroyed his credibility as an expert and a campaigner on wrongful convictions.

Dr. Naughton long campaigned hard for the release of Simon Hall, and called repeatedly for his conviction to be quashed. Simon Hall’s public reversal will set back both the Innocence Project and his own career.



[Above: the hapless Dr. Michael Naughton, made to look a fool by a manipulative murderer]

Greg Hampikian

Greg Hampikian has been widely observed on TV and in print, and in front of his own students and other assemblies, proclaiming that he solved the DNA part of the case and was key to the defenses achieving Knox’s part-acquittal and Sollecito’s acquittal in 2011 (annulled last March).

Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project, which New York law teachers Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld co-founded to ensure correct outcomes in American DNA-based cases.

Whenever Greg Hampikian speaks about the Meredith Kercher case, his university and his Innocence Project credentials are invariably emphasized. This is presumably to convince a generally ill-informed or wrongly informed public that he is the most credible expert, whose opinion that Amanda Knox is innocent can be trusted completely.

But can Greg Hampikian really be trusted when it comes to the Meredith Kercher case?

The simple answer to this question is no. When you listen to or read Greg Hampikian’s comments about the case in the interviews, it becomes abundantly clear that:

  • He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

  • He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

  • He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

  • He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

  • Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Hampikian and Knox

In ignoring most of the evidence against Amanda Knox, he repeatedly pretends there was only ONE hard piece of evidence against her. He claimed in an interview with John Curly on Kiro FM that the ONLY evidence that implicates Amanda Knox is the DNA on the large knife.

You only have to read the Massei report to know that this is not true. For sake of brevity, I’ll summarise just some of the multitude of evidence that Hampikian doesn’t even mention in his media interviews, let alone refute.

1. Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs (192).

2. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mingled together in a bare bloody footprint revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found in Filomena’s room (380).

3. Three bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway and one in Amanda Knox’s room were attributed to Knox (247).

4. Hampikian doesn’t say anything about Amanda Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Diya Lumumba which Massei concluded was done to lead investigators down the wrong track (389).

5. Hampikian ignores the evidence that shows that the break-in at the cottage was staged such as the corroborative eyewitness testimony that stated there were shards of glass on top of clothes and objects on Filomena’s room (53) and the fact that Rudy Guede’s bloody shoeprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the cottage (44) which indicates that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

6. Hampikian doesn’t address Amanda Knox’s numerous lies never mind provide a plausible innocent explanation for them.

Judge Massei outlined numerous examples of these lies in his report: she falsely claimed she received a text message from Diya Lumumba when she was at Sollecito’s apartment (322); there are various discrepancies in her statements about the time she and Sollecito ate dinner (78); her claim that she and Sollecito had a peaceful night of continuous and prolonged sleep is contradicted by Sollecito’s activity on his computer, the turning on of his cell phone and the testimony of Marc Quintavalle (85). Hampikian doesn’t explain why Amanda Knox gave multiple conflicting alibis.

7. Hampikian has said nothing about the Umbria Procurator General Galati’s observation that Knox knew specific details of the crime that she could have only known if he had been present when Meredith was killed. I suspect Greg Hampikian is blissfully ignorant of Galati’s appeal.

  • According to multiple witnesses at the police station, Knox said she was the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. Knox wasn’t in a position to have seen anything when the door was kicked in.

  • Dr Galati pointed out in his appeal that Knox described the spot where Meredith was murdered and described the state of the body, the room and the injury to Meredith’s throat. He concluded that Knox knew everything because she was in the room at the time of the murder and when Meredith was left in the condition in which she was discovered. The judges at the Italian Supreme Court who annulled the acquittals also noted that Knox had known these details and that Judge Hellmann had ignored these clues.



[Above: Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld, who co-founded and manage the Innocence Project]

Hampikian and Sollecito

Greg Hampikian also ignores the other key pieces of evidence against Raffaele Sollecito.  In an interview that was posted on the KPLU 88 website Hampikian made the astonishing claim that none of the evidence collected from the crime scene belonged to either Knox or Sollecito:

All of the evidence taken from the crime scene belonged to either Meredith Kercher or this guy Rudy Guide (sic). There’s no reason to invoke (sic) these other two people,” Hampikian said.

Really?! This bizarre claim was made even though Hampikian essentially conceded that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp in an open letter he signed along with a number of other scientists:

DNA testing of this item using the Identifiler kit showed a mixture of DNA, with the majority of DNA consistent with that of the victim. Raffaele Sollecito could not be excluded as a source of a minor component of DNA with peaks of approximately 200 rfu. Y-STR testing confirmed that the male haplotype detected was consistent with the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito.

Hampikian goes on to claim that the bra clasp was contaminated, without offering any scenario or proof of this. He ignores all the other evidence against Sollecito. Again for the sake of brevity, I will briefly outline some of the key pieces of this evidence.

1. Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and the other was on the blue bathmat in the bathroom. Andrea Vogt explained how detailed the analysis of the footprint was in a report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

All the elements are compatible with Mr. Sollecito’s foot,” Rinaldi said, pointing with a red laser to a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of Sollecito’s footprint projected onto a big-screen in the courtroom. He used similar methods to exclude that the footprint on the bath mat could possibly be Guede’s or Knox’s.

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement…. But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

2. Computer and telephone records provide irrefutable proof that Sollecito lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing on 1 and 2 November 2007: he didn’t speak to his father at 11.00pm; he wasn’t surfing the Internet from 11.00am to 1.00am and he didn’t sleep until around 10.00am because he played music on his computer from approximately 5.30am for half an hour and he used his mobile at about 6.00am.

3. Sollecito gave at least three completely different alibis which all turned out to be false. He even admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police. Hampikian has never addressed Sollecito’s multiple false alibis and numerous lies.

Hampikian and Guede

Greg Hampikian exaggerates the evidence against Rudy Guede

1. Greg Hampikian told an audience of about 200 at Boise State University that Rudy Guede’s DNA was all over the victim:  “You had one guy whose DNA was all over the victim.”

This is a common FOA myth which has been repeated by journalists in the media ad nauseam. If Greg Hampikian had bothered to read the official court reports such as the Micheli report and the Massei report, he would have known that there was only one sample of Guede’s DNA on Meredith’s body.

You would expect a scientist to be give precise factual statements, not vague, untrue comments. Listen to him closely and he resembles a dishonest second-hand car salesman who relies on hyperbole and rhetoric with these comments rather than an objective scientist. Hampikian’s intention in this instance was clearly to persuade and not inform.

2. Greg Hampikian makes unsubstantiated claims about Rudy Guede’s criminal history

In his interview with Joey Ortega Greg Hampikian claimed that Rudy Guede “had committed crimes before”. He didn’t specify what these crimes were let alone support his opinion that Guede had committed any crimes before with any proof i.e. specifically refer to any criminal convictions.

The reason why he didn’t refer to any specific criminal convictions is that Rudy Guede didn’t even have any convictions at the time of the murder. It would have been more accurate for him to have said that some people suspect Guede has committed crimes before and give some specific examples.

3. Hampikian seems intent on portraying Guede as a hardened criminal. He falsely claimed in a number of interviews (see here and here) that Guede was already in the criminal DNA database at the time of the murder.

According to Barbie Nadeau, Rudy Guede was identified by fingerprints found in Meredith’s room. The police had to go to his apartment to take DNA samples from a hairbrush. Within a few days, that DNA was matched to the DNA found at the cottage (Angel Face, page105, Kindle Edition).



[Above: Greg Hampikian with Knox-Mellas family member and enabler - shown getting his marching orders?]

Hampikian and Italian experts

Hampikian incessantly tries to discredit the police investigation. In this he doesn’t limit himself to his own area of expertise - biology - but speaks out about other aspects about the case and gets basic facts wrong.

1. For example, he falsely claimed in an interview with CNN that the authorities didn’t like the way Amanda Knox behaved and that’s why they wanted to investigate her, Sollecito and Lumumba:

They didn’t like the way Amanda behaved, whatever that means, and so they wanted to investigate her and Raffaele and her boss.

The real reasons why Knox and Sollecito officially became suspects and were arrested actually had nothing to do with Amanda Knox’s odd behaviour. On 5 November 2007, Sollecito admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police, and he stated that Amanda Knox wasn’t at his apartment on the night of the murder. He was arrested and taken into custody.

After Knox was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she repeatedly stated in her witness statements that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She too became a suspect and was arrested. Hampikian has completely ignored these crucial details.

2. Hampikian regurgitates another common FOA myth with his claim that the authorities weren’t able to say why they took Sollecito’s kitchen knife from his apartment. In Boise Weekly: “They aren’t able to say why they took that (knife).”

The usual FOA claim is that the knife was randomly selected. Hampikian has clearly relied on Amanda Knox’s supporters for this misinformation and not on the testimony of the person who actually selected the knife - Armando Finzi.

Mr Finzi testified in court that he chose the knife because it was the only one compatible with the wound as it had been described to him.

“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him

3. Hampikian has never proved that there was any contamination.

As I’ve already pointed out in my previous post, the Italian Supreme Court has explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

Greg Hampikian has never described the specific place and time where contamination could have plausibly occurred. It’s not good enough to claim that it was possible or probable. 

Dr Galati made the following common sense observation in his appeal:

“It is evident that the “non-exclusion” of the occurrence of a certain phenomenon is not equivalent to affirming its occurrence, nor even that the probability that it did occur.” (57).

He goes on to explain that unless there is proof of contamination of the knife and bra clasp, you can’t simply claim there was in order to nullify this evidence:

...if one is not able to [67] affirm where, how and when they would have happened, they cannot enter into a logical-juridical reasoning aimed at nullifying elements already acquired, above all if scientific in nature.” (57).

It doesn’t seem to have ever crossed Greg Hampikian’s mind that the bra clasp and knife really might not have been contaminated.

Final Thoughts

Greg Hampikian is in a privileged position of trust because he is often interviewed about the case in the media and gives presentations about the case at academic institutions. His impressive credentials mean that he is trusted by many members of the general public and by people in the media. However, he has abused this trust by not bothering to get acquainted with the details of the case, getting basics facts wrong and completely misrepresenting the evidence against Knox, Sollecito and Guede.

I hope Simon Hall’s confession will make Hampikian realise that sometimes the truth isn’t always what you want it to be and Innocence Project experts on wrongful convictions can be duped and get it wrong.

Perhaps the next time Hampikian is interviewed about the case he’ll avoid hyperbole and rhetoric and just stick to the facts and his own area of expertise. But I wouldn’t count on it.




Comments

It is worth remembering that the investigators and laboratory Hampikian was accusing of crimes are the direct Italian equivalent of the US’s FBI and the UK’s Scotland Yard. Here are two posts on exactly this point.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/steve_moore_is_baffling_informed_case_observers_on_both_sides_of_the_a/

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/beyond_massei_on_the_seemingly_insuperable_mixed_blood_evidence/

The independent experts Conti and Vecchiotti are believed to have had furtive meetings with the defenses and their experts, of which Hampikian definitely claims or did claim to be one.  In fact one of the defense team accidentally leaked the consultants’ highly confidential findings, long before the findings were made public in the court.

Contacts and collaboration would be illegal. This is being investigated by the Florence prosecution team upon Supreme Court prompting. It could go to trial - one trial for corrupted testimony in this case has already begun (see next post).

Absent a complete reversal (which his own lawyer and Barry Sheck would surely recommend) it is hard to see how Hampikian disentangles himself from this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/10/13 at 04:15 AM | #

If anybody wants to contact Greg Hampikian, here are his contact details:

Twitter

@Greghampikian

https://twitter.com/Greghampikian

Posted by The Machine on 08/10/13 at 06:30 AM | #

At one time Hampikian was an unabashed advocate for Amanda Knox who purposefully ignored any and all evidence that pointed towards guilt in the murder of Meredith Kercher while exaggerating, and in many cases inventing, evidence and scenarios that served to point towards innocence.

Even though in the past he has acted exactly the way a paid “expert” for the defense might be expected to behave he has always attempted to portray himself as an independent, objective, science-based analyst.  The problem is, he is also known to repeatedly brag that he was a key member of the Amanda Knox defense team and was responsible for securing her release from prison.

Such bravado will surely lead to some level of discredit in the forensics community as the Supreme Court ruling translations are circulated and Florence appeal trial gets underway.  As with Michael Naughton in the UK, we see how the prospects of fame and money might be stronger motivating factors than arriving at the truth when it comes to Innocence Project initiatives. If this is how the Innocence Projects are intended to operate then perhaps it is time to shut them down and start over.

More recently Hampikian has fallen silent on his role in the Amanda Knox trial.  His last public comments on the case came around the time of the Supreme Court ruling sending the matter back to trial in Florence, when he said “How would you feel if your daughter’s acquitted of murder after having spent four years in prison, and then they’re revisiting it even though all of the science speaks very clearly that she’s innocent?  Why are they doing this again?” 

These are strange observations from someone who claims to know the case inside out. And why doesn’t he know that Knox’s conviction for falsely accusing Patrick Diya Lumumba of murdering Meredith Kercher was the reason for Knox’s duly served jail time?

Back in 2012 Hampikian was fairly active on the lecture circuit, proudly boasting of his role in freeing Amanda Knox.  But he has never publicly published data or arguments from his presentations, as evidenced in the following links:

http://works.bepress.com/greg_hampikian/21/

http://works.bepress.com/greg_hampikian/20/

Is he for some reason ashamed of his work?  Is he planning on profiting in some way from the content of his lectures and therefore keeping it private?  Or is he now concerned about possible repercussions resulting from the resumption of the Knox trial process in Italy this Fall or investigations into what was going on behind the scenes in the Judge Hellmann courtroom and with the Conti-Vecchiotti expert report?  Time will tell.

In December of 2012 Hampikian published an article titled “When DNA Won’t Work” in which he makes numerous references to OJ Simpson, but strangely enough he completely forgot to mention Amanda Knox.  He should know that people are still interested in talking about the Knox trial, and it would be good to know what Hampikian thinks of the recent Professor David Balding analysis of Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp, although it’s likely that he’s not even aware that such evidence exists.

Perhaps there are additional factors influencing how Hampikian handles his decision to advocate for Knox’s innocence without regard for what the truth might actually be.  As it turns out, Hampikian has a strong financial interest in repeatedly and widely proclaiming that “DNA contamination is a fact of life in all laboratories”.  For the past 10 years he has been working on a “DNA marking” invention that he claims will be able to prevent contamination.  Earlier this year he was finally able to produce viable results for the process, presented in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine this past July:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1752928X1300022X

As part of his very close partnership with the Knox family Hampikian used to love to get up and shout “I know what happened” regarding the murder of Meredith Kercher. “It was Guede, and Guede alone!”  So what a shame if the success of his new invention is overshadowed by the truth finally coming out publicly about Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s involvement in Meredith Kercher’s murder.

Posted by Fly By Night on 08/10/13 at 08:48 AM | #

There was only one wrongly accused in Meredith’s murder and that was Patrick Lumumba.  One of the founding principles of the Innocence Project is to diminish the harm done to victims of misidentification—whether deliberate or mistaken.

Knox was already found guilty, confirmed at the final degree, of deliberately accusing Patrick of murder.  It was a combination of solid forensic science, a firm alibi, and the dedication of a fine police department, that finally freed Patrick.  He is the one Hampikian should be seeking out for the best perspective of what it means to be wrongly accused.

Hugging the convicted liar who would have allowed Patrick to rot in prison for thirty years is hardly the way to lend respect to the Innocence Project.

Posted by Stilicho on 08/10/13 at 09:46 AM | #

I did some hard work and wrote a short summary of the Massei Report in German. I added some of the main arguments of the Supreme Court and i made it easy to read.

I already posted it as a review of Knoxs book on German Amazon. Don’t be surprised, i gave 5 stars, i think this way the review would be read more often.

http://www.amazon.de/review/R2F86PO9PC9WRN/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

(Zeit, gehört zu werden“ – fünf Sterne Fantasie – Wer hat Meredith Kercher ermordet?, 1. August 2013 Von Thomas)

Of course, after so much work, i would like to see the review at first place. This way people who want to buy her book will read the short summary of the Massei Report first.

That is why I ask everybody here to do me a favour and click the “helpful-button”. Maybe write me a short comment too, if you understand german:)

Just scoll down, you should find the question:  “War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?” which you of course answer with: “Ja”

Thank you ... and thank you Machine for this very interesting post.

Posted by AgentJasonBrowning on 08/10/13 at 10:39 AM | #

Another excellent post The Machine - very fair and clear.  I especially appreciated the summaries of the evidence established for AK and RS.

I think as more and more FoA become aware of these facts - that have so frequently been silenced in their own camp - the tide will slowly turn.

Indeed perhaps it is…  it takes a while before the tide can be seen pulling back.

Thank you too for your work for truth AgentJasonBrowning

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 08/10/13 at 11:12 AM | #

It is a bit long but a nice summary of one arm of (many) of the PR team. I fully agree that he should stick within his “own narrow area of expertise” and not boast too much. He simply is not aware ... (just giving him the benefit of doubt)...

I have gone through a couple of his publications and he appears very reasonable and scientific in his basic research. That suggests that there are factors that we do not know but can only guess…

Two things FoA has not yet given clear and convincing answer on:  (i) how did the AK know the details of the murder scene (and the scream in particular) and (ii) the missing money and her accounts details during this period.

I do believe that in the initial days AK wanted to protect RG somehow and that may be the reason she named PL. Just a conjecture.

Evidences are just pointers and must be used judiciously to discover the truth. I get angry when people try to distort the basic evidences. They have something to hide.

Posted by chami on 08/10/13 at 11:30 AM | #

Thanks TM. Another excellent article.

The only thing on which I must take issue with you is in relation to the following comments -

” The Italian Supreme Court has explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.”

“Greg Hampikian has never described the specific place and time where contamination could have plausibly occurred. It’s not good enough to claim that it was possible or probable.”

Actually it is good enough to claim that contamination is probable providing that the logic of given factual circumstances supports such a conclusion.

In any event one could never get anywhere near to proving it with certainty because, of course, one cannot see DNA being transferred nor test it as it happens.

The Supreme Court quite rightly said the burden of proof lies with those alleging contamination. It also said (assuming the translation to be correct) -

The Court of Second Instance supported the probable contamination advanced by experts based on “anything is possible”, which is not an expendable argument, because of its generality, again incurring an error of a logical as well as legal nature:

the vehicle of contamination must be identified in order to defuse the data offered by the technical consultants, it not being enough to assume insufficient professionalism of the operators in sampling, especially in a context in which laboratory contamination - which is the kind of contamination more demonstrable and most frequent - was mathematically excluded, in a context in which negative controls were made by Dr. Stefanoni, checks that had been stated too superficially to be missing by the experts, simply because they were not attached to the report…..............

..... Refutation of scientific proof must then, inevitably, go through the demonstration of specific factual circumstances and concrete facts, concerning the alleged contamination.

Actually it was Conti and Vecchiotti who came up with “anything is possible” and then, in court, in a show of blase bordering on dishonesty, they stated that contamination was “probable”.

I have nothing against those working to overturn convictions which they believe are unsound, if they have material evidence and argument that should be presented and which has not been. In my opinion there was nothing wrong in Hampikian presenting such, if any, material and argument as he had to the defence lawyers.

In this case, however, there was nothing new as the material evidence and argument already had been presented in court. Hampikian’s involvement had next to nothing to do with that - his contribution was just a general and misleading distraction about crime scene protocols and “touch” DNA transfer - but was really part of a calculated drive to influence public opinion in America, lending his weight and connections with The Innocence Project to that effort.

To some extent I can see why public campaigns are necessary in those jurisdictions where even getting an appeal, let alone winning an appeal, is difficult, as in the USA and the UK. However in this case, in Italy, where there was an automatic appeal pending in any event, this PR effort made no sense other than as an effort to bring pressure on the case from America combined with Hampikian projecting his self-perceived all-round-importance as a crime buster. That was disreputable and a joke in retrospect.

Unless he has anything further he thinks the defence lawyers should know about (which would be zilch) then he must now shut up. Wait….I think he has.

Posted by James Raper on 08/10/13 at 01:14 PM | #

Apropos Fly By Night’s very informed and interesting comment, I should point out that PMF which he manages with Skeptical Bystander has had several excellent discussions on defense experts and how far (and how publicly) they should go.

As James Raper just above observes, PR campaigns for defendants with sockpuppet experts dont make much sense in Italy, because the appeals are automatic and very generous to defendants. 

Also leaning on the court via public opinion is illegal - a contempt of court - and claims that Hampikian and others in the US (Preston, Heavey, Moore, Fischer) have made seem to have gone way over that threshold.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/10/13 at 01:51 PM | #

An excellent article by The Machine.

For me the first fact that raised a red flag about Hampikian is that the University of Washington has their own Innocence Project and they showed no interest in Knox’s case. Her own school did not come to Knox’s defense but instead we have some other Innocence Project doing so. This obviously raised concerns about the motivations of Hampikian but maybe he saw something others did not.

Confirmation that Hampikian’s involvement was not due to some unique insight but rather the result of a desire for self-promotion was quick to come. An article titled “Knox murder trial evidence ‘flawed’, say DNA experts” by Linda Geddes appeared in New Scientist. In this article Meredith’s profile on the knife recovered from Sollecito’s apartment is characterized as a partial profile—that though is not correct.

How did New Scientist make such a mistake?—They relied on a four page letter dated November 19, 2009 and signed by Hampikian. Hampikian when including that claim in his letter knew he was intentionally misrepresenting the facts and lying. None of the DNA experts and this includes both defense and the court appointed experts have ever characterized the profile as a partial profile. In fact Vecchiotti during an exchange in court where she appeared to be more an agent of the defense than the neutral court appointed expert addressed this issue and specifically stated it was a complete profile. So how is it possible that every other expert gets it right and Hampikian gets something so simple wrong? The only explanation is Hampikian is not acting honestly.

Returning to Hampikian’s letter in addition to the issue I discussed we find at least six other claims that are either scientifically incorrect or at least intentionally misleading and five claims that are factually incorrect. We also find a series of omissions by Hampikian where he fails to include relevant information that is negative but nevertheless finds the room to include favorable details that are considerably less relevant. This is not a letter written by someone seeking the truth but rather an attempt by someone to use his position and credentials to deceive.

Hampikian’s work for Knox’s defense is an embarrassment and it brings all Innocence Projects into disrepute. In a field where personal credibility of the advocates is so important Hampikian has chosen to obliterate that trust. The Idaho Innocence Project no longer has any credibility.

Posted by McCall on 08/10/13 at 02:49 PM | #

Very interesting TM, thank you.

Greg Hampikian does sound like a bit of a rogue by wilfully ignoring important evidence, as do AK groupies in general. I wonder though if it’s not simply a case of once one forms a belief the mind unconsciously filters out evidence that doesn’t accord with it and accepts evidence that does. It isn’t actually “wilful”. Isn’t this the nature of belief? Scientists are of course no more immune to this mental conservatism than anyone else.

In addition to the Simon Hall case you mention, there was the UK case of James Hanratty who was eventually hanged for murder in 1962. Subsequently a host of well known figures and celebrities (including John Lennon)  pressed for a review of the conviction but Hanratty’s body was exhumed in 2001 in order to extract DNA, which matched samples at the crime scene. Generally the campaigners sincerely but wrongly believed Hanratty was innocent, though to this day there are those who argue for contaminated DNA (sound familiar?).

It is difficult for us all to change a belief once it’s taken hold. As John Lilly said a few years back “in the province of the mind what one believes to be true, either is true or becomes true within certain limits…”

In the Hanratty case there was a widespread desire to believe in his innocence because of the dreadful consequences of a wrong conviction (execution). The case came at a time of strong protest against capital punishment (he was one of the last to be hanged in the UK).I wonder if Knox attracts that initial,  unthinking and emotive support because of the dire consequences in possibly incarcerating an innocent and “angel-faced” young person for most of their adult life.

In any event, justice always has to go where the evidence leads, even if some have to be dragged there kicking and screaming…

Posted by Odysseus on 08/10/13 at 02:53 PM | #

Hi Odysseus,

The James Hanratty case was featured on TJMK:

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/dna_proof_40_years_after_a_cowardly_murder_shuts_down/

Posted by The Machine on 08/10/13 at 03:01 PM | #

Here are the contact details for the co-directors of the Innocence Project Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld:

E-mail:

info[at]innocenceproject.org

http://www.innocenceproject.org/about/Contact-Us.php

Twitter

Barry Scheck

@barryscheck

https://twitter.com/barryscheck

They need to know that Greg Hampikian has been misrepresenting the evidence against Knox and Sollecito and using his position at the Innocence Project to give credibility to his claims.

It only takes a few moments to send a tweet or an e-mail. Every single person on PMF and TJMK can make a difference.

Posted by The Machine on 08/10/13 at 03:12 PM | #

Great post TM.

The net is closing in slowly but surely. Hampikian and his ilk would be best advised to drop this poisoned chalice before their credibility is shot to pieces if not already.

Posted by jhansigirl on 08/10/13 at 05:02 PM | #

@The Machine

Re: Hanratty. That’s another relevant article TM, thanks. As usual TJMK has already got it covered!

Posted by Odysseus on 08/10/13 at 05:11 PM | #

In the caption that reads “[Above: Greg Hampikian with Knox family and friend - shown getting his marching orders?]”:

The most common meaning of “giving marching orders” means “to dismiss, or tell to leave”. I guess this is not the meaning intended, but rather “giving instructions to”?

On the New Scientist again, it is disappointingly open to publishing viewpoints from media savvy scientists with an agenda. You might think they would be careful about bogus scientific claims, but they often seem to publish them without checking.

Posted by bobc on 08/10/13 at 07:14 PM | #

On thing that has always disturbed me, is that the assorted innocence “experts” and other advocates seem to get far too pally with the accused and her family.

I can understand that there may be a need to interview a possibly mis-accused suspect in order to get their side of the story, there is no such need if you are assessing forensic evidence.

I would hope that the Innocence Project recommend that their “clients” should be kept at arms length, in order to maintain scientific objectivity and avoid judgment becoming clouded by personal attachment, rather than be pictured with their arms around a potential murderer.

Posted by bobc on 08/10/13 at 07:39 PM | #

These are superb articles by The Machine exposing the dirty linen from within the Scientific Community.  It is right and proper that the lies and obfuscations perpetrated on the general public by people such as Hampikian, Naughton and others (let’s not forget the shameless Conti and Vecchiotti) be identified and shown up for what they are: at best very sloppy, poor ‘scientific’ work and research and at worst deliberate attempts to mislead for what can only be personal gain.

Naughton was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme the other day.  His claim that the Innocence Project he is involved in only considers taking up cases purely on scientific grounds and that this one was straightforward (the evidence being non-existent apart from a fibre) therefore the case for a wrongful conviction is strong is risible. 

I am not sure how far it is possible for him to say with any real honesty that they only look at the (lack of) evidence and not at whether they believe in the professions of innocence. One can always assess a case purely on its scientific merits and reason however as soon as there is a narrative then emotion and other ways of knowing come in to play along with the natural human tendency to make value judgments.

That many of these advocates for murderers are acting without their own specialised areas of expertise speaks volumes about their intentions and motivations.  Fly by Night and McCall make it clear above that there are tangible reasons for this – much of Hampikian’s recent ‘work’ is based on this case.  ‘Work’ that is based on wrong information and, worse, misinformation supplied by Amanda Knox’s family and supporters.  The fact that he appears not to have researched and not to be in possession of, or has willfully ignored, the basic facts of the case is utterly to his discredit and calls his integrity into question.

As with many things a further explanation as to why Naughton, Hampikian and others throw caution to the winds may well lie in the fact that these people suddenly have a spell of being recognised as it were. Their ‘work’ or ‘project’ catches on with others outside and their ego is caressed.  It becomes very hard for them to give up this pseudo-work and retreat into oblivion once they have tasted the ‘fruits’ of so-called success and recognition.  Their self-belief is confirmed by the acknowledgments they receive and so it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of illusion, deception and self-delusion. 

These are actually scientists in their own right, however ill-advised, but another problem lies in the fact that so many others with poorer credentials in their own ‘fields’ have jumped onto the Knox gravy train to pervert the course of justice: Candace Dempsey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer to name just a few.  The Media and Internet of today facilitates unknowns in their setting themselves up as knowledgeable case aficionados through websites and blogs.  In this way the Media, and especially the News Media in its insatiable quest for sensational entertaining news, must also be exposed for what amounts to criminal exploitation of the facts of this case.  Just as scientists should abide by an ethical code of professional standards and conduct so should journalists, reporters, television chat show hosts and directors. 

Throughout the almost six years of this case the voice of the victim, MEREDITH KERCHER, has been drowned out by the pro-perpetrator hyperbole of the avaricious, amoral besotted press interested only in the marketed Amanda Knox product packaged and presented by the hired cruel and criminal PR Campaign set up by Curt Knox.

It is most pleasing to see that this façade is now crumbling and I look forward to the day when this is acknowledged by the very television personalities who have recently fawned over Amanda Knox wearing her mask of an innocent.

Peter reports that the Italians are investigating this PR campaign as criminal activity under specific laws designed to protect the Italian Judiciary from the mafia.  The criminal investigation should at least include the scientist advocates, the press, the PR Firm, the Knox family, the Sollecito family, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Bruce Fischer, Hellmann, Conti and Vecchiotti, Rocco Girlando …..  just for starters IMO.

The Machine encourages us to tweet and write (see links above).  As Edmund Burke said: ‘All that is required for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing’.  A tweet or an email takes only a short while and each time we send just one message we are adding our voice to Meredith’s who died a savagely cruel and lonely death on a cold November night in 2007.

Posted by thundering on 08/10/13 at 08:48 PM | #

Excellent post, TM.  One minor comment on the statement, “...the Innocence Project, which New York law teachers Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld co-founded to ensure correct outcomes in American DNA-based cases.”

The primary focus of the Innocence Project is re-examining older convictions based on evidence other than DNA (ranging from false confessions, to eyewitness testimony, to hair and fiber analysis) with an eye to analyzing DNA collected at the time to show that the DNA found that must have been that of the perpetrator, does not match that of the convict. 

In light of that, I have never understood Hampikian’s pushing contamination, considering that in so many of their cases, the Innoence Project is seeking to test for DNA items that were collected and put into storage long before the definitive protocols for DNA collection and preservation were formulated by the New Jersey and Missouri Highway Patrols.

Posted by TomM on 08/10/13 at 09:18 PM | #

I am very much tempted to comment on some of Hampikian’s publications. One of the well cited paper, Subjectivity and bias in forensic DNA mixture interpretation, cited 12 times since 2011 in scopus, makes some interesting observations. From the conclusions part of the same paper,

The work presented here is a step in addressing the subjectivity and potential for bias in DNA mixture interpretation. It is clear that additional and follow-up studies are called for. However, acknowledging the role of the human examiner, understanding the role (and weaknesses) of human cognition in making forensic comparisons (including DNA mixtures), is an important step in correctly conceptualizing forensic science and finding ways for improvements

There was one comment on this paper and I am happy to quote from there too:

In my opinion, this phenomenon can largely be attributed to human nature. Forensic scientists have biases and emotions like anyone else. For instance, outside influences such as information from investigators or media news reports may affect a forensic scientist’s partiality in result interpretation, witness statement writing and/or courtroom testimony. Similarly, a female forensic scientist may subconsciously be motivated by fear in her interpretation of results in regard to a particular suspect in a rape case

(comment above by P. Brauner)

Don’t you think that he is showing the same bias and subjectivity that he is discussing in his own paper (Dror, I.E., Hampikian, G.) ??

Posted by chami on 08/10/13 at 11:06 PM | #

Thank you for this excellent researched article about Greg Hampikian’s involvement in the case! Very informative.

You mentioned how Greg Hampikian resorts to hyperbole and rhetoric instead of factually correct statements. I could not agree more with your comment. I would expect a scientist to be precise and exact when talking about the evidence, instead he plays certain pieces of evidence down and completely neglects to mention others.

We are not new to this and the PR campaign created by Amanda Knox’s family has involved many who had ulterior motives for becoming involved in this case. Either for financial gain (Francesco Sforza aka Frank Sfarzo, Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore) or publicity (Mario Spezi, Douglas Preston).

The question of guilt does not depend on DNA evidence alone. Even without the physical evidence, there is a strong case for guilt.

The shifting alibis, lies, convenient memory loss, phone call logs, internet activity (or lack of it), witnesses and the staged break-in are proof that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox are guilty as charged.

Posted by Nell on 08/11/13 at 12:04 AM | #

A great article TM!

While tweeting to Greg Hampikian, I found this tweet by him:

“A true theologian will die for his beliefs, no matter the evidence against them; a true scientist lets her beliefs die.”

Rather ironic for him in this case.

What upsets me about these so-called “innocents experts” is the heartlessness with which they pursue their advocacy. There is no thought to the innocent victim and his/her suffering family.

Dr. Naughton says, ““It is quite sad in terms of the waste of resources and the distress to (Mrs Albert’s) family members when it turns out like this.”

Posted by bedelia on 08/11/13 at 04:35 AM | #

Sorry double post. I hadn’t actually finished.

I wanted to include this:

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: ‘Over the ten years since Hall’s conviction there have been a number of appeals and campaigns which have asserted that Simon Hall was wrongfully convicted of Mrs Albert’s murder.
‘These events and the related uncertainty have undoubtedly exacerbated the suffering Mrs Albert’s family have had to endure.
‘We sincerely hope that Simon Hall’s admissions to having committed this brutal crime will in some way enable the family to move on with their lives.’

For someone going through the tragedy of losing a loved one to a brutal murder, it is utterly disgusting that others should exacerbate their suffering for the sake of profit.

The morality of these supporters is sickening! I find it impossible to think that people are stupid enough to regurgitate the same old lies over and over again without actually knowing the truth. If repeating lies doesn’t hurt anyone other than the liars, it is only their own reputation that suffers. But when it hurts the ones who’ve already been hurt the most, it really is criminal

Posted by bedelia on 08/11/13 at 05:01 AM | #

@ Stilicho - this is priceless - “Hugging the convicted liar who would have allowed Patrick to rot in prison for thirty years is hardly the way to lend respect to the Innocence Project.”

@ TomM - good one re: “New Jersey and Missouri Highway Patrols”

@McCall - “This is not a letter written by someone seeking the truth but rather an attempt by someone to use his position and credentials to deceive.”

I absolutely agree and it is disgusting in light of what the victim’s family have had to endure.

@ Agent Jason Browning - Good Work!

Posted by bedelia on 08/11/13 at 05:13 AM | #

I would surely like to see the ‘press kit’ or media kit issued by the Knox family in defence of their murderous daughter.
It must be very slick so as to dupe so many people who then go on to bang the drum incessantly in the name of an obvious killer.

Hampikian is of the worst kind of supporter or fan.

He is intellectually dishonest and a fraud.

Using the same logic he employs, can he not see the evidence what we see?

I am sure he can. Surely he must do, and this brings into focus what is driving him - namely the family of the murderer Amanda Knox.
How impartial can one be?

These days, and in light of the recent Simon Hall case there needs to be some kind of regulation regarding advocacy organisations as some may be construed (and rightly so) as a device to pervert the cause of justice.
It seems anyone can be bought at the right price by certain such organisations.

Halkides, the self styled ‘dna guy’ is yet another sold out individual guilty of intellectual dishonesty working for the Knox family, lying like Hampikian does with his lies cloaked in highly technical issues mere mortals cannot comprehend.

Intellectual dishonesty is dishonesty of the worst kind and just one of the many dirty tricks employed by the Knox family and her defence in this case.

Posted by DF2K on 08/12/13 at 05:52 AM | #

I have great respect for independent scientists who undertake unbiased analysis of evidence. I can also understand the role of a scientist who is employed by the defense team and who interprets the facts in a way most helpful to their case. However, it is disgraceful for someone to do the latter while pretending to be the former.

Posted by SteveW on 08/12/13 at 03:29 PM | #

@SteveW

I strongly disapprove of Hampikian posing for photographs with the knoxes. I expected him to keep an unbiased image as a scientist and maintain safe distance from the concerned parties. He is not their advocate, right? He claims that he is fighting for innocence!

Further, if he has sourced all his information from the knoxes, he must qualify all his statements accordingly.

I do not consider him as an independent scientist as far as his opinions in this particular case is concerned.

I will give Halkides better marks in this matter.

Posted by chami on 08/12/13 at 05:35 PM | #

Has anyone got any idea when the image at the top of TM’s article was taken?

I can hardly believe they are still as smug; she the trade-mark naif with NPD, happiness personified, (with yet another stand-in father figure), he the preposterous self-righteous good guy with the monkey grin who likes the idea of being seen as the good guy who has rescued the poor little innocent from the clutches of the evil foreign justice system.

If it WAS taken since the annulment of the appeal they are both even more divorced from reality than previously thought.

Posted by Odysseus on 08/12/13 at 11:08 PM | #

Re the ‘smug’ picture as mentioned by Odysseus ..
The eyes of AK being almost closed up they are so narrowed is not a good micro expression…roughly translating as ‘I don’t like what I am seeing, would prefer not to see it, or shut it (truthful reality) out…’

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 08/12/13 at 11:50 PM | #

I saw that picture somewhere a year or so ago.

It is not recent.

Posted by thundering on 08/13/13 at 12:59 AM | #

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2390600/Forget-sex-smears-The-real-crime-Foxy-Knoxy-EVER-charged-murder.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Posted by Miriam on 08/13/13 at 02:22 AM | #

@Miriam….what utter nonsense ( in the link).
“In my assessment…”    Would it not be sensible, before making an assessment on what one has in front of one - to find out first whether one has been fed misinformation that can be easily disproved?

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 08/13/13 at 06:20 AM | #

@miriam

you see, dailymail is, uh, just being dailymail.

Is is up for sale?

Posted by chami on 08/13/13 at 12:13 PM | #

The dailymail link to the article by Epstein, although only just published (or re-published), is an extract from a book/article written before the annulment by Cassation. That annulment gets no mention. If only it was really that easy to turn the clock back!

Posted by James Raper on 08/13/13 at 01:09 PM | #

Edward Jay Epstein’s article is riddled with common FOA myths: Guede left fingerprints and semen at the crime scene; Knox retracted her accusation; Mignini described Knox as a ‘she-devil’; the knife couldn’t have been the murder weapon and Knox was refused a lawyer.

I recommend making a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about this article and the FOA PR campaign. Here are the contact details for the PCC:

http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaints/makingacomplaint.html

Edward Jay Epstein can be contacted via Twitter:

@edwardepstein

https://twitter.com/edwardepstein

David Cameron should also be contacted. Here are his contact details:

http://www.davidcameron.com/2007/06/contact-david-cameron.html

Meredith’s family shouldn’t have to put up with obscene and dishonest PR campaign.

Meredith didn’t have anyone to fight for her the night she was murdered. I’d like as many people as possible to fight for her now.

Posted by The Machine on 08/13/13 at 02:26 PM | #

@ The Machine,

Thank you for the excellent post. Also for the contact links. I made my complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. PLEASE everybody it only takes a few minutes. As the Machine said “lets fight for Meredith.”

Posted by Miriam on 08/13/13 at 08:49 PM | #

I too have written to the PPC.
It’s the first time in my life I have ever done so.
How anyone can have an almost totally factually incorrect article published in a mainstream British newspaper with the ease in which Epstein has, has to be brought into question.

No mention of Cassation?
It beggars belief.

Oh how the Goggerty/Marriot PR organisation spin their poisonous web.

Posted by DF2K on 08/13/13 at 09:13 PM | #

@The Machine

I’ve tweeted Epstein and I’ve also written to the Daily Fail, sorry Mail: letters(at)dailymail.co.uk.

I’ll write to the PCC soon.

Posted by Odysseus on 08/13/13 at 10:09 PM | #

Have also contacted the Daily Mail.

Edward Epstein is an international joke, though. 

I’ve seen several different articles of his (on different topics) where multiple posters have pretty much taken him apart in the comments or replies.   

From what I have seen thus far, he simply does not have the decency to admit that he got his ‘facts’ wrong, or that he often blatantly contradicts original evidence, testimony or source documents.

Posted by Rocket Queen on 08/13/13 at 11:21 PM | #

Thanks once again The Machine….this is actually a really good piece (IMHO).

Posted by Bettina on 08/14/13 at 12:48 AM | #

Posted by Jackie on PMF just now. I thought it worthy of repeating here.

http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa338/kwok_tang/brilliantmindsstrongevidence_zps8053578a.jpg

Posted by TruthWillOut on 08/14/13 at 03:00 PM | #

Group narcissism, perhaps?

Posted by Miles on 08/14/13 at 08:10 PM | #

Well, though Peter granted me this account months ago, I never ever posted since then. I come back to the case only once a month or so, usually after something caught my attention in the German (I’m living there) or the Italian press (having many links and tight friends from there; know Perugia quite well).

When it comes to the case, imagining I’d be on the jury, I’d probably vote for AK and RS being innocent. But that’s not the reason why I’m posting now. I stumbled over AgentJasonBrowning’s post in this thread. He wrote, he’d posted on German Amazon; but, unfortunately, the links doesn’t work and I couldn’t find anything on Amazon.de that looks remotely like the posting he’s talking about. Where can I find it, then?

Posted by cmartins on 08/14/13 at 11:01 PM | #

Well, though Peter granted me this account months ago, I never ever posted since then. I come back to the case only once a month or so, usually after something caught my attention in the German (I’m living there) or the Italian press (having many links and tight friends from there; know Perugia quite well).
  When it comes to the case, imagining I’d be on the jury, I’d probably vote for AK and RS being innocent. But that’s not the reason why I’m posting now. I stumbled over AgentJasonBrowning’s post in this thread. He wrote, he’d posted on German Amazon; but, unfortunately, the links doesn’t work and I couldn’t find anything on Amazon.de that looks remotely like the posting he’s talking about. Where can I find it, then?

Posted by cmartins on 08/14/13 at 11:08 PM | #

Well, though Peter granted me this account months ago, I never ever posted since then. I come back to the case only once a month or so, usually after something caught my attention in the German (I’m living there) or the Italian press (having many links and tight friends from there; know Perugia quite well).
  When it comes to the case, imagining I’d be on the jury, I’d probably vote for AK and RS being innocent. But that’s not the reason why I’m posting now. I stumbled over AgentJasonBrowning’s post in this thread. He wrote, he’d posted on German Amazon; but, unfortunately, the links doesn’t work and I couldn’t find anything on Amazon.de that looks remotely like the posting he’s talking about. Where can I find it, then?

Posted by cmartins on 08/14/13 at 11:13 PM | #

.. my browser let me down. Pls discard two of those three identicak prev messages of mine. Thanx.

Posted by cmartins on 08/14/13 at 11:15 PM | #

@cmartins Why would you vote for Knox and Sollecito being innocent?

Posted by DF2K on 08/15/13 at 12:56 AM | #

@cmartins

The link opened for me, but now it doesn’t. Go figure. Oh, good thing you won’t be on the jury.  grin

I can’t believe all the bad journalism: can you imagine getting your facts from articles, etc. Instead of the motivation reports?


http://www.salon.com/2013/08/14/diary_of_an_ice_queen_the_literature_of_the_amanda_knox_case_partner/

Posted by Miriam on 08/15/13 at 01:00 AM | #

Hi cmartins,

yes the link doesn’t work any longer. I got abusive and hatings answers, so i deleted it. Sorry, but I am not cold enough to ignore them.

But thx for everybody, after i postet the review, it was number one for one week and i am sure it would be still the best.

I asked already peter to post it here, but i have no answer.

If members here don’t mind I post the text here as a comment, but be warned, the review is nearly 3500 words, ok?

Jason

Posted by AgentJasonBrowning on 08/15/13 at 01:10 AM | #

@AgentJasonBrowning how many hate answers did you get? So, in the end, you deleted your text yourself? Did Amazon push you?

Posted by cmartins on 08/15/13 at 01:41 AM | #

Hi cmartins,

it was not a question of how many, more the content, but anyway. Yes, I deleted it myselfe.

Jason

Posted by AgentJasonBrowning on 08/15/13 at 02:09 AM | #

There are going to be a lot of people with ‘egg on their faces’ in a little while.
Perhaps those who value their own self-esteem would be well advised to quietly retreat soon…

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 08/15/13 at 02:13 AM | #

@DF2K Why I would vote for AK and RS to be released? Well, because I don’t see any hard evidence against them.

Before I continue, here’s my background. I’m a physicist by education, with many years of experience in laboratory testing (especially immunology and DNA detection), working as a leading manager in a pharmaceutical company. My real name isn’t CM, of course.  Currently I’m working in an intergovernmental organization. In addition, based on my work as physicist, I’ve a lot of experience in image processing, including 3D-crime-scene imaging done with Spheron HDR cameras (used by the FBI as well as the German federal police).

Just a few points on the case:

- What the Supreme Court said about contamination is just amateurish. They said (see above): “..contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.” Which is not possible at all. For example, for years German federal police was chasing “The Phantom”, a supposed female super criminal. Her DNA was found on various crime scenes, which had no logical connection besides her DNA; in the end it turned out she was working for the company that manufactured the test samples. She was just doing the packaging and quality assurance was just weak.
Summary: Contamination can’t be proven retrospectively. But if there’s serious doubt about professional handling of samples—> that counts. Which exactly was the case in Perugia.

- In front of the cottage. A and R kissing. But when I looked at those shy saliva exchanges, I didn’t see inappropriate passion; I just saw shy, scared post-puberty youngsters. Only if one cuts out those three seconds of kissing an’ loops them, one can get the impression of something weird had had happened. But that’s just visual tampering. Welcome to the 21th century.


- Rudi Guede was at the crime scene. No doubt about that. Why on Earth was he allowed to take that fast track? He adjusted his statements according to what people wanted to hear. Initially, he even didn’t know anything about AK and RS. All three should’ve been tried together. He’s not reliable at all. Since the Italian system allowed for those fast tracks, they are in a difficult position: even if Rudi’s case is formally closed, any appeal of AK and RS has to deal with three ruling. (AK/RS one and two and RG’s). Since RG’s case is formally finally closed, that (artificial) multiple perps theory is kind of carved in stone.

wink
CM

Posted by cmartins on 08/15/13 at 02:54 AM | #

@cm: of course your name is not cm:)

Posted by AgentJasonBrowning on 08/15/13 at 03:08 AM | #

How reliable do you find Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito?

Neil Anderson

Posted by Ceylon on 08/15/13 at 03:09 AM | #

In the Massei report :
http://truejustice.org/ee/documents/perugia/TheMasseiReport.pdf
On pages 370 to 372, it is explained in considerable detail why ‘the situation seems inexplicable unless one accepts the presence of more than one attacker’.

Even the defence didn’t try and disprove ‘more than one attacker’ (presumably being aware of all the evidence), and thence produced their false suggestions for who these might have been -both of which soon fell apart.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 08/15/13 at 03:54 AM | #

Cmartins,

What is your take on the mixed blood? Luminol revealed AK and Meredith’s blood mixed together in the hallway (AK sized footprint), and in the bedroom where there was the disputed break-in and again in the shared bathroom.

What of RS’s partial footprint in blood on the bathmat?

Also, have you given any consideration of the clean up/staging of the scene that took place? Who was most likely to gain from such an act? And AK was more aware of the scene beyond as the door was being opened than anyone standing by her (re her comments to the flatmates and friends at the time and her email home).

Your conclusions above seem to be based on a fraction of the overall evidence, just like most news reports. I do agree with you re the photographs by the way - they look utterly exhausted and shocked. I guess sobering up (or coming down or what ever you want to call the drug element of their lives at that point) and realising the brown stuff was hitting the proverbial fan will horrify anyone. But one can’t read too much into an image.

Regards

Posted by TruthWillOut on 08/15/13 at 11:18 AM | #

@SeekingUnderstanding


“There are going to be a lot of people with ‘egg on their faces’ in a little while”.

There certainly will . They intuitively know the denouement is approaching fast but they won’t go down without a fight. Expect heightened offensive manoeuvres as nemesis looms. Think Nazis in their Berlin bunker, in total denial and carelessly throwing everything into a last stand (I suspect we’re beginning to see some of that already from Fort Knox, with various media offensives and blog postings by shills) .

I think the similarity may end there, I can’t see the leaders of the Knox/Sollecito Axis committing suicide, even though it may seem the honourable solution!

Posted by Odysseus on 08/15/13 at 01:19 PM | #

Hello Odysseus
There will always be those whose basic psychology is the term ‘The Peter Pan Complex’ Those who see themselves as being the ‘knight in shining armor’ riding to the rescue. Case in point the idiot in NY who was going to kill the news anchors who criticized Jody Arias plus all those deniers who in spite of her pleading guilty still maintain her innocence.

This of course is still going on with Knox as well, only it is far more financially (greed rather than justice) based. Notice also the Knox camp care far less about Sollicito who they see as a threat to their little game anyway. If Sollicito where to turn (Not an unheard of event) then they will claim duress by those nasty Italians lead by the evil Mignini.

Given all the evidence the entire thing is a farce of course. This is why I see the comments by cmartins to be so puzzling because he just zeros in on the DNA while ignoring everything else. I don’t mean to be rude but perhaps some people would only be satisfied if there was an actual photograph of the murder itself. But no!
There was all the photo evidence with Arias and in spite of that the very predictable hysteria and screams of innocence. Puzzling how some people will only see what they want to see while ignoring the entire evidence and viewing it with a dispassionate eye in order to arrive at the only possible conclusion, that being guilty of course.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/15/13 at 05:47 PM | #

Hi Grahame

“Given all the evidence the entire thing is a farce of course. This is why I see the comments by cmartins to be so puzzling because he just zeros in on the DNA while ignoring everything else”.

I agree. This whole tendency to zero in on one area of evidence (like DNA)is very popular with linear, analytic and left-brain types, and illustrates the perils of reductionism. The elephant is in the room but few can see it because they are to busy analysing the tail, the trunk, etc.

This reminds me of the Indian story:

Six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe. None can see or adequately describe the whole animal - each thinks the part they are touching is actually the elephant

I seem to remember reading on TJMK that jurors in Italy are expected to weigh the evidence “in toto” which seems very wise to me. That way they might see the whole elephant!

Posted by Odysseus on 08/15/13 at 06:35 PM | #

That’s one trap people fall into a lot these days—that if there’s evidence of dna contamination, they assume that that mandates a not guilty verdict.  There’s a mountain of evidence against Knox and Sollecito without even looking at the dna evidence.  And human beings being fallible, it would be hard to convict anyone if a conviction required flawless dna collection procedures.  Vincent Bugliosi wrote a good discussion of dna evidence in his book on the OJ Simpson case, Outrage.

Posted by Ceylon on 08/15/13 at 07:08 PM | #

@ TruthWillOut
There were no footprints with a mixture of AK’s and MK’s blood! From the Massai report:

>>Dr. Sarah Gino observed that the quantity of DNA was compatible with what is known as low copy number, and it did not appear that the analysis had been repeated to validate the results. She underlined that the SAL [stato di avanzamento lavoro - work status report] reports which had been made available had shown that a generic diagnosis for blood had been performed and had given a negative result, and therefore it could not be said with certainty that blood was present in the material revealed by Luminol.<<

Thus, none of the Luminol revealed footprints was tested positive for blood! So there isn’t a mixture of the girls’ blood. Girls love walking barefooted, their DNA was probably well distributed on the floor. There were also traces of other DNA. Reading the Massai report on those footprints shows how sloppy the investigation was. In general, I have the impression they only looked into potential evidence that might support the gang-rape-theory. As professionals, they should have allowed for multiple competing theories.

I don’t buy the staged breakup notion, too. But let me focus on the bloody footprint that was attributed to RS. Here on truejustice we have that nice table showing a tremendous correlation between the footprint and RS’s values. In most cases, the match is 100%. Which is suspicious. I don’t know how they arrived at those number, but I have a feeling what they did.

Professional practice would be to do the measurements for the bathmat without knowing the numbers for the feet of the suspects (and one should take values from everybody living in the flat, including the boys from downstairs). Looking at the photo of the bathmat, I cannot understand how it is even possible to come out with exact millimeters. The print is fuzzy, there should be error margins being provided. But there aren’t. My feeling is the first looked at the suspect’s feet values and the made the bathmat’s print match RS’s within their (not published) error margins.

Again, evidence seems to made follow the theory, not the other way round.

Posted by cmartins on 08/15/13 at 08:07 PM | #

cmartins I would suggest Sir that you limit your comments to your own field of expertise. That you don’t buy into the ‘Staged break in’ is indicative of your bias in not keeping an open mind but reaching a conclusion from emotion rather than facts such as the glass on top of clothes plus the shuttered window plus the inability to climb into the bedroom from the outside.
In the case of 100% match. That usually means 100% match, not your fuzzy way of interpreting it. Just because you find it suspicious does not mean it does not exist.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/15/13 at 08:46 PM | #

cmartins As a final thought There is no theory here. Knox and Sollecito are both without a shadow of doubt guilty. If you have (and you obviously do) have trouble excepting this fact then perhaps you should read the entire evidence.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/15/13 at 08:50 PM | #

Cmartins,

Well, am certainly not qualified to comment on the footprints. Thoughtful, who periodically posts here, provided a very detailed analysis that you may be interested in reading. She’s a mathematician I believe.

DNA mixed of AK and Meredith was found in another of the bedrooms though. But, the other part of my question you’ve not answered: “Also, have you given any consideration of the clean up/staging of the scene that took place? Who was most likely to gain from such an act? And AK was more aware of the scene beyond as the door was being opened than anyone standing by her (re her comments to the flatmates and friends at the time and her email home).”

You’ve been generous enough to state your position - I’ll now do likewise. During the lengthy appeal, I found myself reading about this travesty of justice and believed the press. Thought AK and RS were innocent. As the appeal progressed, I read everything I could get my hands on and my own conclusion is that AK has lied relentless. I believe that AK was there in the cottage, that she was either drunk or high and that she and Meredith rowed. I believe that AK brought RG into the cottage, that he murdered Meredith is beyond doubt (and like you, they should have all three been tried together) but AK chiefly arranged the scene.

AK and RS were inseparable and there is all the business of his switching his alibi for the night of the murder.

Further, I have no qualifications in either the science or investigation fields. As a lay person, I feel that Hellman was too selective in the bits of evidence he reexamined. AK was involved and it’s tragic that her family and supporters have been hoodwinked (and remember, I came to this thinking she had been victimised). The AK seen in the courtroom and in tv interviews is not the same AK that covered Meredith’s body.

Curious as to your take on the staging.

Regards

Posted by TruthWillOut on 08/15/13 at 09:06 PM | #

Such a pity that it has to be stated over and over and over.  Why do people like Hampikian make such misleading statements?

Posted by James Higham on 08/15/13 at 09:38 PM | #

TruthWillOut
Well, the cleaning. Let me start with the footprints outside MK’s room. The ones found using Luminol were not positive on blood. Only Guede’s shoeprints had blood plus the print on the bathmat. The extensive cleaning theory says the Luminol prints were left-overs from selectively wiping (shoeprints were not wiped out) the floor. But since there was no blood found in the Luminol prints, the evidence for the selective cleaning crumbles too.

The forensics experts are quoted in the Massei report; they said a negative result on blood does not mean that it wasn’t blood that caused Luminol to glow. Thus what they are saying is that all their negative results could be false negatives. Unfortunately, they do not give a probability for that. Let’s do some simple statistics for dummies to understand the depth of the problem.

There were nine Luminol prints. Let’s assume they tested all for blood independently (nine tests, not just one test using pooled samples). Let’s assume the specificity of the blood test is 0.1 for giving false negative results: if blood is present the test wouldn’t detect it in 10% of all cases. That wouldn’t make a fabulous test; the real value is probably a lot smaller. But it would make it easier to say that the probability was fair that there was undetected blood. With those 0.1, what is the probability for all nine tests giving a false negative result? Well, it’s 0.1*0.1*0.1*... = 0.000000001. And that’s just for a not-so-splendid test as used for this simple example.

Good bye cleaning. Ah, I forgot. According to the Massei report the experts stated that the bulk of the tested materials from the Luminol prints were used for DNA testing and there was probably not enough material left for performing a proper test for blood. Why they did that for all prints and didn’t save some samples for blood testing is their professional secret. But if it’s true they would have killed the sensitivity of the test, which means that a positive result was impossible at all.

@Grahame. Well, since I’m a physicists and measuring of distances is a very basic exercise in physics, I can state that the footprint on the bathmat has to be quantified with error margins. Everything else is not serious science.

Posted by cmartins on 08/15/13 at 11:35 PM | #

@cmartins,

Luminol was used to detect the presence of blood at the cottage and it is the most sensitive blood detection technique commonly used by forensic investigators. Luminol has been found to be five times more sensitive than TMB (Tetramethylbenzidine). This explains why the TMB tests yielded negative results. TMB and Luminol are both presumptive tests.

You could argue that the Luminol was reacting to bleach or turnip juice, but you would look stupid. As Judge Massei pointed out, there was an abundance of blood in the house and no indication that the Luminol was reacting to any other substance.

Posted by The Machine on 08/15/13 at 11:48 PM | #

Hi Grahame,

You and I have not always seen eye to eye on some things, but I think (I know) we are on the same side on this fight. It seems obvious that cmartin has already made up his mind on this issue. I for one certainly believe he has a right to his opinions, I just wish he would take them to a pro Sollecito, Knox site! Same old PR talking points…...how many times have we heard them?

Don’t waste your time, ignoring these people is the best way to make them go away. They seem to thrive on their completely stupid comments. Stay strong, the fight is about to restart, we need your insight on more important things.

Posted by Miriam on 08/16/13 at 12:21 AM | #

Most people on this site have been seeking ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’...for years and years.

Others are welcomed when they contribute to that effort

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 08/16/13 at 12:38 AM | #

@cmartins,

You haven’t provided a plausible innocent explanation for the following:

1. Knox’s and Sollecito’s numerous lies.

2. The abundant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on the exact part of Meredith’s bra that was bent out of shape during the attack.

3. Meredith’s DNA being found on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife.

Posted by The Machine on 08/16/13 at 12:41 AM | #

Or,
4. The alibi problem(s)

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 08/16/13 at 01:25 AM | #

cmartins

Since this is a murder case, which is of course very serious, and since we have followed this from the very beginning. Myself from 2008. I find it refreshing that you would provide so much
humor to the conversation.

Obviously you have only considered the very periphery of the evidence. Obviously you are an educated man so writing to Ground Report would do you no good since they only understand words that are very simple.

So please unless you have anything of a concrete nature to add by way of evidence rather than opinion please provide same. If you bothered to examine the original Sollecito DNA reports you would understand this. So far all you have is opinion backed up by nothing. You mention “specificity”.. Good!!! Please provide same.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/16/13 at 01:34 AM | #

There clearly was a selective cleaning, since there was a bare footprint on the bathmat, but no other prints leading up it. Guede shoe prints lead straight out of Meredith’s door to the front door. How on earth did he lock the door behind him? Clearly someone else was involved, and sought to hide their involvement by cleaning.

From the crime scene photos, it can be clearly seen where blood has been cleaned or attempted to be cleaned. Of course, if you start with a theory that Knox is innocent, none of the evidence will be persuasive, even where there is a 100% match.

If the match was 98%, they would be saying “look it’s not a perfect match”, if the match is 100% they say “that’s too perfect”. You really can’t reason with these people.

If the attackers were Guede and one or more unknown accomplices it is not very plausible that they would hang around the crime scene trying to frame Rudy.

Posted by bobc on 08/16/13 at 02:56 AM | #

@cmartins

I have some idea in biology and know about tests and other related jargons. Can you please clarify your points:

1. “But since there was no blood found in the Luminol prints” - what is the cause of the luminol reactions, please tell us.

2.  “Let’s assume they tested all for blood independently (nine tests, not just one test using pooled samples). Let’s assume the specificity of the blood test is 0.1 for giving false negative results: if blood is present the test wouldn’t detect it in 10% of all cases. That wouldn’t make a fabulous test; the real value is probably a lot smaller. But it would make it easier to say that the probability was fair that there was undetected blood. With those 0.1, what is the probability for all nine tests giving a false negative result? Well, it’s 0.1*0.1*0.1*... = 0.000000001. And that’s just for a not-so-splendid test as used for this simple example”-  It is simply not my job to teach someone elementary statistics (there are plenty resources available) and I suggest you to contact any student of statistics and learn the basics. I hate typing at the keyboard but you are writing NONSENSE (you need to define your null hypothesis before you talk about false negatives).

3. You say “since I’m a physicists and measuring of distances is a very basic exercise in physics, I can state that the footprint on the bathmat has to be quantified with error margins”- I do not know what kind of physicists you are (terrible kind, no doubt) but putting an error margin with 99% confidence interval (95% is standard for most) based on one measurement is going to make you a laughing stock. It is basically a task of pattern matching and is not a question of measuring a distance. This is called hypothesis testing: testing whether the two patterns are same or different. (particle physicists routinely give error margins for one time events but they have a robust model)

I tried my best to keep quiet but I could not.

Posted by chami on 08/16/13 at 08:06 AM | #

cmartins, you wrote, “a true dialogue would bring us closer to the real truth.”  I’ll ask again, then, do you find Knox and Sollecito to be credible?  If so, what is that makes them more credible to you in contrast to Guede, who you said you did not find to be credible?

Posted by Ceylon on 08/16/13 at 09:11 AM | #

Cmartins,

You have managed to avoid answering my questions. This pattern is all too evident and indicates trolling. Therefore I am terminating my conversation with you. If you elect to review my previous questions and answer them accordingly, I will reconsider. For now, I am slapping a “don’t feed the troll” request on this board to my fellow posters.

Chami, Bobc, TM, SU, GR (and anyone else I’ve forgotten to mention) - thank you for your input and clarifications above.

TM - forgot to say, awesome post. Very well done indeed.

Posted by TruthWillOut on 08/16/13 at 11:25 AM | #

@Machine - Thank you for another informative article.  Just as in Saul Kassin’s case, I have trouble believing Hampikian is uninformed or incapable of sifting through evidence with a discerning eye. I have no idea what motivates people like them to lobby on behalf of murderers (whether it’s hunger for publicity, substantial financial benefits, or the “white knight” syndrome), but it will probably turn out to be a disastrous career move in the end.  It’s very difficult to claim objectivity when you blatantly disregard evidence or summarily dismiss it without providing hard counters, and, in Hampikian’s case, when you associate with the family of the accused.

I’ve yet to see a public figure defending Knox without repeating known FOA lines and/or being in close contact with her family.  I don’t know whether any emerging supporters are immediately contacted and co-opted, or whether the only people who publicly defend her are those who have been hired to do so, but the slavish adherence to FOA talking points fails to convince and casts doubts over their integrity and professionalism.

Another thing I’ve been wondering about is why The Innocence Project chose to defend Knox and Sollecito.  In addition to their case not being very strong, they have had access to a high-end defense team (whose machinations may have included the appointment of a biased judge and “independent” experts), an expensive media campaign, plentiful donations (Sollecito has made over $18,000 just over the past month), media pay-outs, and book contracts.  They are certainly not struggling, and, like some of you already pointed out, they never had to fight for an appeal.  They are a Goliath in their own right, especially compared to the modest means available to Meredith’s family.  Aren’t there enough people out there who rely on public counsel and don’t have the ability to contract experts to help plead their cases? I would think that these people could use the assistance much more than Knox and Sollecito, unless the project is less interested in helping the helpless and more invested in securing publicity and contracts for its members by attaching itself to high-profile cases.

Posted by Vivianna on 08/16/13 at 03:19 PM | #

Excellent observations, Vivianna..

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 08/16/13 at 03:41 PM | #

Predictably Greg Hampikian is planning to give presentations this autumn when the case will be back in the news.

He is giving a presentation about how his work freed Amanda Knox at the International Symposium on Human Identification in Atalanta in October:

http://ishinews.com/amanda-knox-how-dna-convicted-and-freed-and-innocent-woman/

http://ishinews.com/speakers-at-this-years-ishi-include/

Posted by The Machine on 08/16/13 at 04:05 PM | #

Hmmm cmartins seems to have shut up. perhaps he is reading the evidence. Perhaps he has read some of it, mountainous as it is, and all of it proving conclusively that Knox and and sollecito are guilty a hell. We can hope

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/17/13 at 05:25 PM | #

Four months ago Greg Hampikian’s arm of the Innocence Project in Idaho lost its federal funding.

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/why_buyer_beware_could_be_a_very_good_idea/

Smart move, Federal Departments of Justice.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/14/14 at 11:50 PM | #


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