Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Massei Sentencing Report For Knox And Sollecito: Part 1 Of A Summary In 4 Parts

Posted by Skeptical Bystander

Why This Long Summary

The full Massei Report can be found here.

The wiki page controversy surrounding the murder of Meredith Kercher rages on in a tiny corner of the online universe, here is our own contribution to the debate.

It is a 4-part summary of the Massei report, the document that sets forth and explains the Court’s reasons for unanimously convicting Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for their role in the murder of Meredith Kercher, Knox’s roommate, after a long, thorough and fair trial.

The original idea of the volunteers who took part in the project was simply to produce a useful and accurate guide to this case for the average reader. It seems to us that Wikipedia aspires to the same goal but has gone seriously off track in this particular case.

We think that part ““ but not all ““ of the problem stems from the introduction of extraneous material on the part of a small but determined advocacy group that is attempting to take over the wiki entry to serve its broader advocacy mission. Our only comment on that process is that the Massei Court did not need to refer to media sources, reliable or otherwise, in arriving at its conclusions. It referred only to what was presented and debated in the courtroom.

We think that to understand why Knox and Sollecito were convicted ““ i.e. to see what evidence supports the conviction and convinced the Court ““ the average reader does not need to look any further than that Court’s own reasoning, based on the evidence and arguments presented during the trial. However, the length of the original document (400+ pages) makes reading it a daunting task, even for those who are fluent in Italian.

We felt that the translation provided by PMF volunteers, while vital for anyone who is not able to read Italian, needed to be summarized to ensure that the salient points were not lost in what appears to be a lot of noise, smoke and mirrors. This has become particularly important now that the wiki page in English has become a theater for conflict (and buffoonery).  We offer this summary as a resource for the general public as well as for journalists. We hope that readers will come away with a basic understanding of why the Court convicted and that this will help them as they process the information flowing from the current appeal and its eventual outcome.

Naturally, the act of summarizing involves selection. We had to decide what to include and what to omit, and our aim throughout was to underscore the points to which the judges attached the most weight. We urge readers to compare this summary with the actual report, and have cited page references in square brackets to facilitate this task. These page numbers refer to the English translation of Massei which in turn contains references to the Italian original.

Summary of the Massei report

Version 1.5: June 4, 2011

This summary may be freely copied or otherwise reproduced and transmitted in the unedited pdf format provided that the document or excerpt therefrom is accompanied by the following attribution: “From the summary prepared by unpaid volunteers from to promote a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the death of Meredith Kercher and the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the English-speaking world”.

1. Introduction

Meredith Kercher, a British student, was murdered in the apartment she shared with three other young women, in Perugia, Italy, on the night of November 1, 2007. Three people were charged with the murder: Amanda Marie Knox, an American student who was one of Meredith’s flatmates; Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian student who was Knox’s boyfriend; and Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian resident of Perugia who was known to both Knox and Kercher.

Guede opted for a ‘fast track trial’ which, under Italian law, permits defendants to relinquish some rights, at trial, in exchange for a more lenient sentence, if found guilty. In October 2008, Guede was found guilty of murder and sexual assault. Knox and Sollecito opted for a full trial, and this took place, in Perugia, between January and December 2009. The presiding judge was Dr. Giancarlo Massei, assisted by a second professional judge, Dr Beatrice Cristiani,  and six ‘lay judges’. Knox and Sollecito were found guilty of murder, sexual assault and other charges related to the case.

In accordance with Italian law, the judges produced a report detailing their interpretation of the evidence and the thought processes that led to their verdict. This document is sometimes referred to in English as a “motivations report” and, more accurately, as a “sentencing report”: often just by the name of the presiding judge - the “Massei Report”. It runs to 427 pages.

A team of unpaid volunteers who are regular posters on the message board, devoted to discussing the murder of Meredith Kercher, undertook the translation of the entire document into English. Another team of volunteers from the same message board has undertaken the present document - a summary of the Massei report.

The act of summarising involves selection: deciding that some things are included in the summary and some are not. The editors and reviewers have tried to do this in such a way as to bring out the points to which the judges themselves attached the most weight. But, this was a process of editorial judgement and, however diligent the editors and reviewers have been, they did not know the minds of the judges, other than by the words of the report. Readers are very strongly recommended to read the report itself, or at least key passages, and not to rely on this summary alone. To assist with this, the editors have cited page references [in square brackets]: these refer to page numbers in the PMF translation which, in turn, includes page references to the Italian language original.

2. Background

Meredith Kercher

Born Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher in London on December 28, 1985, she had studied Italian and Latin in England, and came to the University for Foreigners in Perugia as part of the Erasmus Programme. She chose Perugia because it was small but could be easily reached by air. In England, she had also taken classes in dance, played soccer and practised karate. Her mother and sister described her as strong, both physically and in temperament.[23]

She left England for Perugia on September 1, 2007, at first staying in a hotel. She found the rental house on Via della Pergola; she liked it because it was near the University for Foreigners and offered a beautiful view of the Umbrian landscape. She occupied the room farthest from the entrance; from its window she enjoyed a panoramic view of the valley below.[23]

Via della Pergola was almost hidden from Viale S. Antonio and the car park in front of it. The cottage had two floors, the basement being occupied by four young men, and the upper floor shared by four young women: Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, Amanda Knox, and Meredith Kercher. [24] The 1,200 euro per month rent was divided evenly between the four. Each would give 300 euro to Romanelli, who would make the payment.[62]

Each had her own room. Romanelli and Mezzetti had the rooms on either side of the entrance and a living room/kitchen was located in between them. Knox occupied the bedroom between those of Meredith and Romanelli. A hallway led to Knox’ and Meredith’s room, and to a small bathroom that they shared. Romanelli and Mezzetti shared a larger bathroom directly across from Mezzetti’s room.[24]

Meredith studied Italian language, politics, English, cinema, and more Italian.[23]

On September 28 she returned to England to get warmer clothes, returning on October 1. She was very attached to her family. She brought a mobile phone with her from England to keep in touch with her family, and in particular to be informed about the condition of her mother’s health, which was not good.[23, 24, 29-30]

She was affectionate, conscientious, and very intelligent. She loved pizza and at times went dancing. Her mother and her sister knew about Amanda, and Meredith’s relationship with Amanda.  They knew that when Amanda started to work in a club, Meredith and her friends had gone there to support her. Meredith had also said that Amanda constantly sang.[23-24]

The last time Meredith talked with her mother was on November 1. She had said that she was coming back to England on November 9 and would be present for her mother’s birthday on November 11. She had bought some presents, and chocolate for her sister.[24]

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox decided to study in Italy, and chose Perugia because she wanted to learn about the Italian people and culture, and not live in a place that was “too touristy.” She worked to save the money to come, and also received some money from her mother and father. She left the United States in mid-August 2007, staying in Germany until late August or the beginning of September, arriving in Perugia with her sister. She looked at the house on Via della Pergola, found it to her liking, and then returned to Germany, ultimately returning to Perugia and the house. [61]

One of her teachers in Perugia described her as “a really good student, diligent, actively participated.” She found a job at the pub Le Chic managed by Patrick Lumumba, initially working every day from 9:30pm, then from 10pm, then only two days a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays.[61]

Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito came from Giovinazzo to Perugia in 2002 and obtained his graduation diploma that same year. He enrolled in the faculty of informatics and chose Perugia because ONAOSI college is located there. He boarded at the college from 2003 to 2005. He was “taciturn, introverted, shy,...and watched many films”. Educators at the college were shocked to find a very hard-core film containing scenes of sex with animals. In response to that they monitored him in an effort to understand him.[61]

In 2003 the Carabinieri found Sollecito in possession of 2.67 grams of hashish.[62]

According to his father, he had, from his teens, a habit of carrying a pen knife in his pocket to record things on the bark of trees and to carve wooden objects.[61]

He had a brief affair, lasting only a few days, with a girl from Brindisi a few months before October 2007.[61]

The meeting of Knox and Sollecito

Knox and Sollecito met on October 25, 2007, at a classical music concert to which Knox had gone with Meredith. Meredith had to go home, so after she left during the intermission, Sollecito sat down near Knox. Knox and Sollecito quickly established “a good understanding,” he treating and cuddling her “like a little girl.” They met frequently and were constantly together. Sollecito’s father called him daily, often several times a day, and every time he called, his son talked about Amanda. Knox told her parents in a November 13, 2007, conversation that they were going out together as if they were a couple and that he was kind and caring, that he cooked for her and always wanted to hug her and help her.[62]

Both were using drugs, which was corroborated by the statements of the flatmates, and by Knox in tapped intercepted conversations.[62]

Romanelli recalled seeing them together at the flat the day after the concert, and saw him there two or three more times. Mezzetti recalled seeing him there at other times, “about four times” in all.[62] Very often Knox slept at Sollecito’s house.[63]

Mezzetti said Knox and Sollecito were constantly hugging each other, and that Sollecito was particularly tender, but seemed to her to be a bit possessive. She thought he was “very attached to Amanda.”[62]

Rudy Hermann Guede

Rudy Guede was a regular at the basketball court in front of the University for Foreigners in Piazza Grimana. He was acquainted with the young men who lived in the lower floor of the house, and knew Meredith and Knox from the upper floor. Although he had chatted with both of them, he was particularly interested in Knox and inquired as to whether she was seeing anyone. He was well-received at the house, having gone there one Sunday to watch a Formula One race, and on another occasion having returned from the clubs at 2 in the morning, then spent the night asleep on the toilet.[42]

Sometime between the evening of October 13 and October 14, someone had broken into the law offices of Paolo Brocchi and Matteo Palazzoli, in Perugia. A window was smashed with a large stone, and a computer, a cell phone, USB keys, and a printer were missing. On October 29 a colleague in his office called Brocchi to tell him that a man had come into their office to say that he had legitimately purchased some goods in Milan which Brocchi had reported as stolen in Perugia. Brocchi later identified Guede as that person.[46]

On the morning of October 27, 2007, the principal of a nursery school in Milan found a stranger coming out of her office. Police were called and the person was identified as Rudy Guede. There were no signs of a break-in; money was missing, but just small change. The police made him open his backpack. Inside the backpack was a computer, a 40 cm kitchen knife (which had come from the nursery school kitchen), a bunch of keys, a small gold woman’s watch, and a small hammer like those found in buses to be used to break windows. Police told the principal that the computer had been stolen from a law office in Perugia.[45]

Guede explained his presence by saying that he had asked someone at the central Milan train station where he could stay, and after paying 50 euro, he was directed to the Milan nursery school.[45]

A householder, Tramontano, testified that someone attempted to rob his home, [Date unspecified] and upon being discovered tried to leave. Finding the door locked, the intruder pulled out a jackknife and threatened him. Tramontano saw Guede’s picture in the newspapers and said “I believe I recognize him.”[46]

3. Evening and night of November 1

On November 1, Romanelli and Mezzetti both left the shared apartment with the intention of spending the night away; it is not clearly stated in the Massei Report when Knox first knew of their intention. They played no further part in the proceedings until the following day.[29]
From about 4pm or 4:30pm onwards, Meredith Kercher spent the evening with her English friends Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost and Sophie Purton. They prepared and ate a pizza, looked at Halloween photos from the previous evening, watched part of a film and prepared and ate an apple crumble.[34-35]

They drank only water.[35] Shortly before 9pm, Meredith and Sophie Purton left. They parted company at about 8:55pm near Purton’s apartment (which Purton returned to in time to see a TV program starting at 9pm).[37] Meredith continued the short walk to her own house alone. Meredith did not say that she was meeting anyone: just that she was tired.[38]

After this point, Meredith was not seen alive, except by the murderers, and some of the main evidence is derived from the usage-records of her telephones. Up until 10:13pm, Meredith’s phone was in the vicinity of her own apartment but, by 00:10am, it had been dumped in a garden, a few streets away from her home. Various calls were made in the intervening time: at 8:56pm, an unsuccessful call was made to the family number; at 9:58pm there was an attempted call to the mobile phone’s answering service; at 10pm an unsuccessful call was made to Meredith’s bank (the first number in her address list), and, at 10:13pm, a GPRS data connection was made.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito went to his house on Corso Garibaldi in the late afternoon.[65] Jovana Popovic, an acquaintance of Sollecito’s, testified that on the evening of November 1 she went to his house twice and that on both of these occasions, she met Knox. The first was around 5:45pm and the second was around 8:40pm.[63-64] Then, at 8:42pm Sollecito received a phone call from his father and mentioned that he was with Knox and that the next day they were planning a trip to Gubbio. Sollecito also mentioned that, while he was washing the dishes, he had noticed a leaking pipe that had spilled water onto the floor.[63] The last human activities on Sollecito’s computer were the conclusion of watching a film, at 9:10pm.

Analysis of the hard drive by the Communications Police concluded that there was no further human interaction with the computer until 5:32am the following morning.[304] A defence expert noted a very brief (4 seconds) access to Apple iTunes at 00:58am: the court accepted that this could have been a human interaction with the computer, but that it was after the time when the murder was believed to have taken place.[310]

Knox was scheduled to work that night at the Le Chic, the pub managed by Diya ‘Patrick’ Lumumba. However, he sent her a text message, at 8.18pm, telling her that there was no need for her to go to work that evening.[64] Knox’s phone was turned off at 8.35pm and Sollecito’s shortly after. According to Knox this was so that they would not be disturbed.

At this point, the various accounts of the events diverge. Knox’s account is that, until the following morning, she stayed with Sollecito. They smoked some marijuana,[66] then had dinner together, but quite late, (she placed it as late as 11pm in one account[66] but spoke of the washing up being done at 9:30-10pm in another[69]). Knox stated that after dinner, she had noticed a bit of blood on Sollecito’s hand and had the impression that it had to do with blood coming from the fish that they had cooked.[67] Sollecito washed the dishes, but a break in the pipes occurred under the sink and water flooded the floor. Since they didn’t have a mop, they decided that they would do the cleaning the next day, with a mop that she could get from her house.[67]

The above account given by Knox differed from that given earlier by her to police, during the night of November 5-6, 2007. That earlier account was briefly alluded to at her trial, but was admissible as evidence only in the civil case brought by Patrick Lumumba, and not in the murder case. Knox accounted for her change of story, on the grounds that it was because of the persistence of the questioning which had made her imagine what could have happened.[68] In this earlier account, she had described returning home to Via della Pergola, in the company of Patrick Lumumba, on the evening of November 1, 2007, after 9pm. She had described many things which she now realized she had imagined, including Meredith having had sex and being killed, while Knox held her own ears closed so as not to hear Meredith’s screams.[67-68]

Also in contradiction to Knox’s account is the fact that her SMS exchange with Lumumba, was in a different phone “cell” from the one covering Sollecito’s house, indicating that she was not, in fact, in the house at this time (just after 8pm),[77] although she had returned by Jovana’s arrival at 8:40.

The court noted the discrepancies in Knox’s various statements about the time they ate dinner: in one statement 9:30 to 10 pm and, in another, 11pm.[78] The court noted that both of these times are contradicted by the declarations of Sollecito’s father that his son had indicated that they had eaten and washed up before 8:42.[78] The court also noted the contradiction by witness Antonio Curatolo, who testified that on the evening of November 1, 2007, after 9:30 pm, and before 11 to 11:30pm he saw Knox and Sollecito, several times, in the area of Piazza Grimana, the tiny square in front of the University for Foreigners.

Curatolo is homeless and lives in the street in that area. Although unsure of actual dates, he was able to state that this sighting of Knox and Sollecito was the night immediately preceding the day on which police and carabinieri began to crowd around the house where the murder took place.[78-79]

Nara Capezzali, a resident living close to Via della Pergola, went to bed around nine or nine thirty that evening and got up to use the bathroom about two hours later. While doing so, she heard a woman’ scream, “but a scream that was not a normal scream”.[95] She testified that she then heard running on the steel staircase and, almost immediately, running (in a different direction) among the leaves and the gravel, both adjacent to the the house in Via della Pergola.[96]

Another resident, Maria Ilaria Dramis, confirmed that she had had the feeling of hearing running footsteps under the window of her bedroom, and that she did not remember hearing people running in the same way on other occasions like that night.[98]

Part Two is here.


Hi, I realize you’re summarizing the report but hopefully there’ll be supplementary notes at the end to rebut the talking points of the FOA. Explanations of the how the court determined the break in was staged,DNA tests, luminol, and time of death come to mind. Massei IS very factual but the gaps and dry style do allow them to create a great deal of doubt in the minds of those who come to the case with a general background or knowledge of the case.
I’ll give you an example: The time it takes for food to pass into the duodenum IS based on many factors, but you wouldn’t get that reading Massei. I would also argue we don’t know when the meal actually started. It COULD have been after the estimated 6:30 PM

Posted by Ergon on 06/16/11 at 06:20 PM | #

Thank you very much, Skeptical Bystander, and all the master translators of PMF who volunteered precious time and skill to condense the Massei report. You have helped tremendously to corral the big, unwieldy body of knowlege about this case into a manageable form. Thank you for presenting it in English like this, the essence of more than 3 1/2 years of discussion and knowledge.

As you point out this is a summary of all the real evidence that appeared in court. It is exactly what the judges used to form their guilty verdict. So it’s probably best to restrict ourselves to the same information the judges vetted as we draw our own conclusions.

The media and books and internet have crammed the case full of sidebars and uncertainties. While interesting and often inspiring, the sheer volume is daunting. It’s so helpful to have your compilation of the serious points and hard facts.

This took a great effort from PMF translators. Thank you all for your time and care.

Posted by Hopeful on 06/17/11 at 12:48 AM | #

Thank you very much Skeptical Bystander and everyone else involved in putting together the translation and the summary of Massei’s sentencing report.

I have been awfully busy the past week, but plan to read through these summaries tonight to refresh my memory of reading the actual report. At 427 pages long and since it was a translation I am sure I missed a lot of the important and significant points.

Everyone’s efforts on this site and PMF are much appreciated for myself and I hope I am right in saying every one that follow this case. So thanks again!

Posted by Giselle on 06/17/11 at 04:27 PM | #

As the case wheels on in 2011, we could see:

1. AK and RS sentence confirmed again
2. AK parents sentenced for slander
3. AK further sentenced for slander
4. Sollecito family members sentenced for attempting to pervert the course of justice

It would bring a sense of finality and justice for the Kerchers if one of the accused coughed up the beans. But it just seems remote after 3 years whether this will actually happen.

It seems we will be left with AK and RS sentence being confirmed, and then both camps bleating injustice for several more years before the next and final appeal is heard - and the pain drags on for the Kerchers.

Tremendous and meticulous work on this site - a credit to all involved.

Posted by gabster1971 on 06/18/11 at 06:11 PM | #

Hi gabster1971,

I think all the scenarios you have outlined will happen this year.

Rudy Guede will testify on 27 June and he could provide the court with more information about Knox’s and Sollecito’s involvement in Meredith’s murder. I think there’s a real possibility of this happening because Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers have tried to pin the blame solely on him.

Posted by The Machine on 06/18/11 at 06:21 PM | #

In re posts just above:

Amanda & Raffaele cannot very well “cough up the beans” without revealing, each his own role or hers, in the ghastly deed.
As for one accusing the other—both hinted of a willingness to do that early on but that’s a boomerang, as they seem to have realized.

Rudy Guede ought frankly to tell enough of the story to show the involvement (& initiative, as I believe) of the others.  He might fear retaliation & such a fear as that could be seated irrationally in an unreachable part of him.

Surely the Machine is right in that the whole business ought to be finished this year—& I would say, within the year. Too long already & there’s no reason for delay once we hear from Rudy & the knife-experts & a final court review of the (fairly abundant) evidence.

Apology to Skeptical Bystander for seeming to slight his massive accomplishment, but no—that’s not intended.  Part 3 above (Evening & Night) would make a great article with comparatively little adaptation, for example.  And surely a book is in the works?

Posted by Ernest Werner on 06/20/11 at 02:07 AM | #

@Ernest Werner

The credit goes entirely to the team of volunteers who worked on this project, necessary in our opinion at this phase in the judicial process and considering that many English-speaking journalists “covering” this case have not even read the court’s reasoning on the unanimous guilty verdict in December 2009. That’s why they are happy to repeat talking points fed to them by a PR firm and why they don’t ask any difficult questions when giving sympathetic air time to family and friends.

Was there a single talking head from a single network who reported that the “assorted criminals” on the stand Saturday actually told 2 mutually exclusive stories exonerating Knox and Sollecito? Did a single talking head mention that one such witness is a mafioso who has already been convicted of perjury 9 times? Did anyone point out that one of the witnesses, Trinca the Romanian, testified that his signature had been forged on a document submitted by the defense?

There is no book in the works! But if there was one, it would use the coverage of this case as a textbook example of what ails the US news media.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 06/20/11 at 08:43 PM | #

Anne Bremner will be talking about the case on CNN tonight:

annembremner‎ I will be on CNN today at one ten pm PST talking about the Amanda Knox appeal. Tune on in…..
Twitter - 20 minutes ago

I hope she is more coherent than the last time I heard her talking, which was when she was asking a police operator for help.

Posted by The Machine on 06/20/11 at 09:19 PM | #
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry Repeat of March 2010 Post: Guede Denounces Alessi, Blames Knox And Sollecito For Meredith’s Murder DRAFT

Or to previous entry The Massei Sentencing Report For Knox And Sollecito: Part 2 Of A Summary In 4 Parts