The New 80,000 Pound Gorilla In The Room Introduced By The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
What is the biggest headache for the defenses?
That their areas of appeal, already circumscribed by Judge Hellman, could all explode in their faces? The low-credibility witnesses Alessi and Aviello? The limited DNA retesting? The re-examination of the witness in the park who had no cause to make anything up?
Or that Rudy Guede gets totally ticked off by Alessi’s claims that Rudy Guede said he did it with one or two others, and so Guede tells the court all that REALLY happened?
No, it looks to us that the defenses’ biggest headache by far is that the court of final appeal in Rome (the Supreme Court of Cassation, which is superior to the Perugia appeals court and will hear the second and final appeal) has ALREADY accepted that Rudy Guede’s sentencing report of January 2009 holds up.
And that all three of them attacked Meredith.
The written report from Cassation on that December 2010 decision on Guede’s final appeal (due soon), plus Judge Micheli’s Sentencing Report for Rudy Guede of January 2009, plus all that associated evidence, now gets automatically ported by law straight into Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeal.
Judge Micheli took a hard line toward Rudy Guede, and he sentenced him to 30 years. He also remanded Knox and Sollecito to trial, and his report explains the basis for that remand.
Judge Micheli’s remorseless and tightly argued report (see summaries below) very comprehensively backed up his decisions. (Later reductions in sentence were automatic and they flowed from the terms of Guede’s short-form trial, and some controversial mitigating circumstances advanced by Massei for Knox and Sollecito.)
The prosecution’s appeal against the Knox and Sollecito sentences argues that the acceptance of mitigating circumstances by the Massei court should be thrown out, and that Knox and Sollecito should be subjected to a longer sentence. Remember that even in the case of Alessi’s wife, who was not even present when he beat the kidnapped baby to death, she received a sentence of 30 years.
So here is how it is stacking up:.
- For the prosecution, four courts including the Supreme Court of Cassation have ruled that three people participated in the crime against Meredith, plus all of the evidence from both the Guede and Knox Sollecito trials now comes in, plus the prosecution is appealing for tougher sentences, which seems well justified based on precedents.
- For the defenses, just those few areas the defenses want to challenge which have been allowed by Judge Hellman NONE of which are sure things.
Really not very much going for the defenses here. No wonder they already seem to be phoning it in.
Our meticulous summaries of the Micheli Report by main posters Brian S and Nicki were based on our own translation. A huge amount of work. They were posted nearly two years ago. Periodically we link to them in other posts or we point to them in an email.
Those who do read those posts fresh are often stunned at their sharpness, and for many or most it becomes case closed and the verdict of guilty is seen as a fair one.
We think those posts on Micheli are so key to a correct grasp of Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeal prospects that they should now be reposted in full.
Understanding Micheli #1: Why He Rejected All Rudy Guede’s Explanations As Fiction
By Brian S
Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.
A week ago, just within the three-month deadline, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.
These posts will examine several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip. The next post will explain why Micheli ruled out the Lone Wolf Theory, and why he concluded that Knox and Sollecito appeared to be implicated in Meredith’s murder and should therefore be sent to trial.
Judge Micheli maintained that from the moment Meredith’s body was discovered until his arrest in Germany on November 19th, Rudy Guede was in a position to compile a version of his involvement in events at the cottage which would minimise his reponsibilities and point the finger of guilt elsewhere.
He was able to follow the course of the investigation in newspapers and on the internet. He would know of the arrests of Amanda, Raffaele and Patrick. He would know that the investigators had found biological evidence which would sooner or later connect him to the murder, and he would know of other discoveries and evidence which had been publicised in the media.
His story as told in Germany was compiled with all the knowledge about the crime and investigation he would have sought out. On his return to Italy in December he was interviewed by the investigating authorities and gave version 2. He was interviewed again in March which resulted in version 3, and later still made a spontaneous statement to change one or two facts including the admission that the trainer footprint in Meredith’s room could be his. Judge Micheli said:
- Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.
Micheli then examined the details of Rudy’s claimed meeting with Meredith which resulted in his invitation to the cottage on the evening of November 1st.
He noted there were substantial differences between his versions of December and March, particularly with regard to the location of his meeting with Meredith on the night of Halloween and his movements in the early evening of November 1st.
He considered it likely that Rudy had made these changes as he became aware of evidence which contradicted his December version. Notably, in December Rudy claimed to have had his meeting with Meredith which resulted in her invite at a Halloween party given by Spanish students.
By March it was well known that Meredith had spent her entire Halloween in the company of friends, first in the Merlin pub before they later moved on to Domus disco. In March Rudy changed the location of his meeting with her from the Spanish party to Domus, which by chance Rudy had also attended following the party. However, neither Meredith’s friends who were continuously in her company nor those who accompanied Rudy to the Domus witnessed any meeting between the two. Judge Micheli commented:
- On 26 March 2008, instead, Rudy explained to the Prosecution, drawing a picture, that the group invited to the Spaniards’ house actually moved wholus-bolus to the “Domus” club, but it was right in that nightclub that he met Kercher, and not before; offering up a tour-guide description from the chair, saying, “there’s a bar for the drinks and then there’s a room, there’s an arch and a room. I walking [sic] around there, and that’s where I met Meredith”. On the facts of the meeting and the subject of the conversation, he elaborated: “I started talking to Meredith …talking anyway I gave her a kiss.. after which I told her how much I liked her and asked her if the next day, in all the confusion anyway, if we were going to meet the next day and she said yes (…), we met in the evening around half eight, like that.
While not intending to explore the question, basically irrelevant, of whether the pair had agreed to a more or less specific time (his confirmation of the suggestion of 8.30 pm in both verbal statements however allows the inference that according to Guede they had an appointment), the patent contradiction between the two versions jumps out. One context, of a room between two bathrooms, in an apartment, is completely different to that of a drinks-bar and an arch, in a pub; one might concede, perhaps, the possibility of forgetting which place it was where they last bumped into a friend, but hardly the first time there was a kiss with a girl towards whom one was attracted.
With regard to his movements in the early evening of November 1st, Rudy’s friend Alex failed to corroborate Rudy’s December claim to have visited his flat. He said he didn’t see Rudy either before or after his meeting with Meredith at her cottage.
In March, Rudy changed his story and claimed to have risen at 6pm(following the all-nighter at Domus) before wandering around town for an hour or so. He then said he went to Meredith’s cottage but received no answer so he carried on to Piazza Grimana in the hope he might see people he knew. He thought he arrived in the Piazza at around 7:30pm. He claimed that some time later he left Piazza Grimana and called at the Kebab shop before returning to Meredith’s cottage and arriving some time between 8:30 and 9:00pm.
He said he then waited until her arrival some time just after 9:00pm. It was noted that in both his December and March versions Rudy said he had arranged to meet Meredith at 8:30pm. Micheli noted that this didn’t sit well with another arrangement Rudy had made to meet Carlos (from the Spanish party) between 9:00 and 10:00pm.
Micheli said that neither version of Rudy’s movements could be treated as true because he changed his story to fit facts as they became known and there was absolutely no corroborating witness evidence.
Rudy claimed two situations evolved following his entry with Meredith into the apparently empty cottage:
Whilst he was having a drink of fruit juice from the fridge, he claims Meredith found that 300 euros (her rent money) was missing from her bedside cabinet. Meredith was naturally upset by this discovery and straight away blamed “druggy Amanda”. Rudy said they both checked Amanda’s room to see if the money was there. However, it couldn’t be found and Rudy sought to console her.
He says that this consolation developed into an amorous encounter which proceeded to the stage where “Meredith asked him” if he had a condom. He told he didn’t and since she didn’t either they stopped their lovemaking.
Judge Micheli had a real problem with this story as told by Guede. He found it unlikely that Meredith would be interested in lovemaking so soon following the discovery that her money was missing. He found it unlikely that it was Meredith who was leading the way in this amorous encounter as Rudy was suggesting with his claim that it was “Meredith who asked him” if he had a condom.
Surely, Micheli reasoned, if Rudy was hoping to indulge in a sexual encounter with Meredith following the previous night’s flirting, he would, as any young man of his age, ensure that he arrived with a condom in anticipation of the hoped for liason. But even if he didn’t, and it was true that events had reached the stage where Meredith asked him, then surely given his negative response, Meredith would have again gone into Amanda’s room where, as she had told her friends, condoms were kept by her flat mate. Judge Micheli simply didn’t believe that if they had got to the stage of lovemaking described by Rudy, and following his negative response to her question, they just “STOPPED”. Meredith would have known she had a probable solution just metres away.
Rudy claimed he then told Meredith he had an upset stomach because of the kebab he had eaten earlier. She directed him to the bathroom through the kitchen.
Rudy put on his i-pod and headphones as he claimed was his habit when using the toilet. In his December version Rudy said the music was so loud he heard the doorbell ring but he made no reference to hearing any conversation. A perfect excuse, Judge Micheli says, for not hearing the disturbance or detail of Meredith’s murder. However, in his March version he claims he heard Amanda’s voice in conversation with Meredith. When Rudy did eventually emerge from the bathroom he says he saw a strange man with a knife and then a prone Meredith. Micheli commented:
- ...it is necessary to take as given that, in this case, Kercher did not find anything better to do than to suddenly cross from one moment of tenderness and passion with him to a violent argument with someone else who arrived at that place exactly at the moment in which Rudy was relieving himself in the bathroom. In any case, and above all, that which could have been a surprise to the killers, that is to say his presence in the house, was, on the other hand, certainly not put into dispute:
Meredith, unlike the attackers, knew full well that in the toilet there was a person who she herself allowed in, so for this reason, in the face of someone who had started raising their voice, then holding her by the arms and ending with brandishing a knife and throwing her to the floor, why would she not have reprimanded/reproached/admonished him immediately saying that there was someone in the house who could help her?
…Meredith didn’t shout out loudly for Rudy to come and help
…There was a progression of violence
…The victim sought to fight back
If it is reasonable to think that a lady living 70 metres away could hear only the last and most desperate cry of the girl – it’s difficult to admit that Guede’s earphones, at 4-5 metres, would stop him hearing other cries, or the preceding sounds.
Micheli was also mystified as to why Amanda (named in Rudy’s March version) would ring the doorbell. Why wouldn’t she let herself in using her own key? He supposed it was possible Meredith had left her own key in the door which prevented Amanda from using hers, but the girls all knew the lock was broken and they were careful not to leave their own key in the door. Perhaps, Meredith wanted some extra security/privacy against someone returning and had left her key in the lock on purpose. Maybe Amanda was carrying something heavy and her hands weren’t free. Or, maybe, Rudy was just trapped by his December story of the doorbell when he didn’t name anybody and an anonymous ring on the doorbell was plausible.
The judge then took issue with Rudy’s description of events following the stabbing of Meredith. Rudy claimed that when he emerged from the bathroom he discovered a man with a knife standing over Meredith. In the resultant scuffle he suffered cut wounds to his hand. armed himself with chair to protect himself. before the attacker fled when he fell over because his trousers came down around his ankles. Micheli said that those who saw Rudy later that night didn’t notice any wounds to Rudy’s hands although some cuts were photographed by the police when he was later arrested in Germany.
Micheli found Rudy’s claim that the attacker ran from from the house shouting “black man found, black man guilty” unbelievable in the situation. In the panic of the moment it may be conceivable that the attacker could shout “Black man…, run” following the surprise discovery of his presence in the house, but in the situation Rudy describes, blame or expressions of who the culprit thought “the police would find guilty” made no sense. It would be the last thing on an unknown attackers mind as he sought to make good his escape.
Micheli considers the “black man found, black man guilty” statement an invention made up by Rudy to imply a possible discrimination by the authorities and complicate the investigation. Micheli also saw this as an excuse by Rudy to explain away his failure to phone for help (the implication being that a white man could have made the call). It was known by her friends and acquaintances that Meredith was never without her own phone switched on. She kept it so, because her mother was ill and she always wanted to be available for contact should her mother require help when she was on her own
Judge Micheli regarded Rudy’s claimed efforts to help Meredith impossible to believe, given the evidence of Nara Capezzali. Rudy claimed to have made trips back and forth to the bathroom to obtain towels in an attempt to staunch the flow of bood from Meredith’s neck. He claimed to have leaned over her as she attempted to speak and written the letters “AF” on the wall because he couldn’t understand her attempted words. His described activities all took time and Rudy’s flight from the house would have come minutes after the time he alleged the knife-man ran from the cottage.
Nara Capezzali maintained that after she heard Meredith’s scream it was only some seconds (well under a minute) before she heard multiple footsteps running away. Although she looked out of her window and continued to listen for some time because she was so disturbed by the scream, she neither heard nor saw any other person run from the house. That Rudy had run wasn’t in doubt because of his collision on the steps above with the boyfriend of Alessandra Formica. Micheli therefore considered it proven that “all” of Meredith’s attackers, including Rudy, fled at the same time.
Earlier in his report Micheli considered character evidence on Rudy given by witnesses for both prosecution and defense. Although he had been seen with a knife on two occasions, and was considered a bit of a liar who sometimes got drunk, the judge didn’t consider that Rudy had previously shown a propensity for violence, nor behaviour towards girls which differed markedly from that displayed by many other young men of his age.
However, because of the wealth of forensic evidence [on which more later] and his admitted presence in the cottage, combined with his total disbelief in Rudy’s statements, Micheli found Rudy guilty of participation in the murder of Meredth Kercher.
He sentenced him to 30 years in prison and ordered him to pay compensation of E2,000,000 each to Meredith’s parents John and Arline Kercher, E1,500,000 each to Meredith’s brothers John and Lyle Kercher plus E30,000 costs in legal fees/costs + VAT. Also E1,500,000 plus E18,000 in legal fees/costs + VAT to Meredith’s sister, Stephanie Kercher.
Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory
By Brian S
And so decided that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox should face trial.
First, just to recap: Judge Micheli presided over both Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing to 30 years and the final hearing that committed the two present defendants to trial.
Ten days ago, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.
These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English used here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip.
Right at the outset of his Sentence Report on the conviction of Rudy Guede, Judge Micheli stated that it was neither the place nor his intention to make the case against either Raffaele Sollecito or Amanda Knox. He said he must necessarily involve them to the extent that they were present at the discovery of Meredith’s body. He said he must also examine evidence against them where he saw it as indicating that Rudy Guede was not a lone wolf killer and implicated them as his possible accomplices in Meredith’s murder.
Judge Micheli described the sequence of events laid out by the prosecution which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body:
Early on the morning of November 2nd, Signora Lana Biscarini received a bomb threat call made to her home at 5A Via Sperandio. (This later transpired to be a hoax.)
Some time later Signora Biscarini found a mobile phone in her garden. She “had heard” that bombs could be concealed in mobile phones and so she took it to the police station arriving at 10:58am as recorded by ISP. Bartolozzi
The postal police examined the phone and following removal of the SIM card, discovered at 11:38am that it belonged to a Filomena Romanelli who lived at the cottage at 7 Via della Pergola. Following a call by Signora Biscarini to check with her daughter who was still at home, it is in the record at 11:50am that neither say they know the Filomena in question. At around noon Signora Biscarini’s daughter rings her mother at the police station to say she has found a second phone.
The second phone (Meredith’s) is collected from Via Sperandio and taken to the police station. Its receipt there is logged by ISP. Bartolozzi at 12:46pm. During its examination Meredith’s phone is also logged as connecting to the cell of Strada Borghetto di Prepo, which covers the police station, at 13:00pm. At 13:50pm both phones, which have never left the police station following their finding, are officially seized. This seizure is entered in the log at 14:00pm.
Separately, as part of the bomb hoax investigation, agents of the postal police are dispatched to make enquiries at Filomena’s address in Via della Pergola.
They are recorded in the log and filmed on the car park camera as arriving at 12:35pm. They were not in possession of Filomena’s phone, which remained at the police station, nor of Meredith’s which at this time was being taken from Via Sperandio to the police station for examination as part of the bomb hoax enquiry.
Judge Micheli said that some confusion was created by the evidence of Luca Altieri (Filomena’s boyfriend) who said he saw two mobile phones on the table at the cottage. But, Micheli said, these two phones either belonged to the others who arrived, the postal police themselves or Amanda and Raffaele. They were NOT the phones of Filomena or Meredith.
On their arrival at the cottage, the agents of the postal police found Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox standing outside the front door.
The two seemed surprised to see them (the postal police had come to talk to Filomena about a bomb hoax which potentially involved her phone, plus they had recently been informed of the discovery of second phone in the same garden), but then they explained they had discovered suspicious circumstances inside the cottage.
Raffaele said he had already phoned the police and they were awaiting their arrival in connection with that. Elsewhere in his report Micheli points out that Raffaele did, in fact, make a call to his sister at 12:50pm, followed by two calls to “112” reporting a possible burglary at 12:51 and 12:54pm, 15 minutes after the arrival of the postal agents.
Judge Micheli said the postal police were shown into the cottage by Raffaele and Amanda. They pointed out the traces of blood around the apartment, the state of the toilet and the disturbance to Filomena’s room. They said they didn’t think anything had been taken. They pointed out that Meredith’s door appeared to be locked, Raffaele said he had tried to open it, but Amanda said Meredith used to lock the door even when she was going to the bathroom to shower.
Shortly afterwards Luca Altieri and Marco Zaroli arrived. Luca said he had just been contacted by his girlfriend Filomena, who in turn had just been contacted by Amanda Knox about the possible break in. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrived with Paola Grande. Micheli noted that Filomena had immediately contradicted what Amanda had told the postal police and she said that Meredith never locked her door. She also told the postal police that the phone found with a SIM card in her name was in fact Meredith’s 2nd phone, that she had given Meredith the SIM as a present. The postal police said that they didn’t have the authority to damage property and so the decision was made that Luca would break down the door.
This he did. The scene when the door flew open was instantly obvious, blood everywhere and a body on the floor, hidden under a duvet except for a foot and the top of Meredith’s head. At that point ISP Battistelli instantly took charge. He closed the door and forbade anyone to enter the room before contacting HQ.
Following his description of the events which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body, Micheli then dedicates quite a few pages of his report to detailing the exact locations, positions, descriptions and measurements of all the items, blood stains, pools and spots etc.etc. found in her room when the investigators arrived. He also goes into precise details on the injuries, marks, cuts and bruises etc. which were found by Lalli when he examined Meredith’s body in situ at the cottage before she was moved. Despite their extent, it is obvious these details are only a summary of the initial police report and also a report made by Lalli on the 2nd November.
It is these details which allowed the prosecution to lay out their scenario for the events which they say must have happened in the room. It is also these details which convince Micheli that it was impossible for this crime to be carried out by a single person. In his report, he dismisses completely the scenarios presented by the defences of Amanda and Raffaele for a “lone wolf killing”. Micheli says that he is convinced that Meredith was sexually assaulted and then murdered by multiple attackers.
Judge Micheli also explains in his report how the law will decide on sexual assault or rape where the medical report (as was Lalli’s) is somewhat inconclusive. Else there would be no point in a woman reporting rape unless she had serious internal injuries. His conclusion: Meredith was raped by Rudy Guede manually.
So why does Judge Micheli believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollicto were possible accomplices of Rudy Guede and should be tried for the murder of Meredith Kercher?
In his report, he doesn’t look at the evidence which involves just them, nor does he analyze their various stories in his report. He doesn’t look at events involving them which occurred between the 2nd and 5th November. He does note a few items here and there, but these aren’t given as the major reasons for his decision to indict them.
He notes Raffaele’s apparent lies about the time he made the 112 phone calls. He dismisses Raffaele’s defense claim that the disposal of Meredith’s phones didn’t allow time for Raffaele to get to the cottage after watching his film, kill Meredith, and then dispose of the phones in Via Sperandio before the aborted call to Meredith’s bank. He noted that the cell which picked up the brief 10:13 call to Meredith’s bank also picked up most of Meredith’s calls home.
He asked whether it was possible for anybody to believe that each time Meredith wanted to phone home, she walked down to Via Sperandio to make the call. He notes that the police found Amanda and Raffaele’s behaviour suspicious almost straight away. He notes that Filomena said that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith had deteriorated by October. He says he doesn’t believe at all that cannabis caused any loss of Amanda’s and Raffaele’s memories.
Judge Micheli says he bases his decision on the following points of evidence:
[Note: The following paragraph numbers form no part of Micheli’s report. They are used in the context of this summary to identify the points of evidence contained in his report which will be examined and summarised in greater detail in follow-up posts]
1) Judge Micheli, after hearing both prosecution and defense arguments about Meredith’s and Amanda’s DNA on the knife and Raffaele’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, accepted the prosecution argument that that both were valid evidence. He did note, however, that he fully expected that the same argument would be heard again at the full trial. In his report, Micheli dedicates several pages to explaining the opposing arguments and how he made his decision to allow the evidence. It is a detailed technical argument, and it is not proposed to examine it any closer in this post.
2) Judge Micheli explains that blood evidence proves that Meredith was wearing her bra when she was killed. Nor is it just the blood on her bra which demonstrates this. It’s also where the blood isn’t on her body. He says that Meredith was wearing her bra normally when she laid in the position in which she died, and she was still wearing it for quite some time after she was dead. Her bra strap marks and the position of her shoulder are imprinted in the pool of blood in that position. Meredith’s shoulder also shows the signs that she lay in that position for quite some time.
He asks the question: Who came back, cut off Meredith’s bra and moved her body some time later? It wasn’t Rudy Guede. He went home, cleaned himself up and went out on the town with his friends. Judge Micheli reasons in his report that it could only have been done by someone who knew about Meredith’s death and had an interest in arranging the scene in Meredith’s room. Seemingly who else but Amanda Knox?
She was apparently the only person in Perugia that night who could gain entry to the cottage. And the clasp which was cut with a knife when Meredith’s bra was removed was found on November 2nd when Meredith’s body was moved by the investigators. It was right under the pillow which was placed under Meredith when she was moved by someone from the position in which she died. On that clasp and its inch of fabric is the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Micheli reasons in his report that Raffaele and Amanda seemed to have returned to the cottage some time after Meredith was dead, cut off her bra, moved her body, and staged the scene in Meredith’s room.
3) Judge Micheli explains his reasoning on the method of Rudy’s entry into the cottage. He says that Rudy’s entry through the window is a very unlikely scenario and the evidence also indicates otherwise. He says the height and position of the window would expose any climber to the full glare of traffic headlights from cars on Via della Pergola. He asks, why wouldn’t a thief choose to break in through a ground floor window of the empty house? He says the broken glass and marks on the shutter both demonstrate the window was broken from the inside, some of the glass even falling on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been thrown around the room to simulate a robbery.
But his major reasoning for believing Rudy’s entry was through the front door are the bloody bare footprints which show up with luminol and fit Knox’s and Sollecito’s feet. These suggest that they entered Filomena’s room and created the scene in there after Meredith was killed. Allessandra Formica witnessed Rudy run away shortly after Meredith was stabbed. Someone went back later, left those footprints and staged the scene.
This, when considered in combination with the knowledge that person demonstrated of Rudy’s biological involvement with Meredith when they also staged the sex assault scene in Meredith’s own room indicates that that person was present when Meredith was assaulted and killed. He said it also demonstrated an attempt by someone who had an interest in altering the evidence in the house to leave the blame at Rudy’s door. Micheli reasoned, the only person who could have witnessed Rudy’s earlier sex assault on Meredith, could gain entry via the door and had an interest in altering the crime scene in the house appeared to be Amanda Knox. In his report, Micheli states that this logic leads him to believe that Amanda Knox was the one who let Rudy Guede into the cottage through the front door.
4) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Antonio Curatolo. He says that although Curatolo mixes up his dates in his statement, he does have a fix on the night he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana sometime around 11:00 to 11:30pm. Curatolo is certain it was the night before the Piazza filled up with policemen asking if anyone had seen Meredith. In his evidence, he says they came into the square from the direction of Via Pinturicchio and kept looking towards the cottage at Via della Pergola from a position in the square where they could see the entrance gate.
Judge Micheli reasons in his report that their arrival from Via Pinturicchio ties in with the evidence from Nara Capazzali that she heard someone run up the stairs in the direction of that street. He also reasons that they were likely watching the cottage to see if Meredith’s scream had resulted in the arrival of the police or other activity.
5) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Hekuran Kokomani and finds him far from discredited. His says the testimony is garbled, his dates and times makes no sense but…. that Hekuran Kokomani was in the vicinity of the cottage on both 31st Oct. and 1st Nov isn’t in doubt. Furthermore, Micheli says that when he gave his statement, the details which he gave of the breakdown of the car, the tow truck and the people involved weren’t known by anyone else. He must have witnessed the breakdown in Via della Pergola. The same breakdown was also seen by Allessandra Formica shortly after Rudy Guede collided with her boyfriend.
This places Hekuran Kokomani outside the cottage right around the time of Meredith’s murder and he in turn places Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede together outside the cottage at the same time. His evidence also places all three outside the cottage at some time the previous night.
Judge Michelii found that all this evidence implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as accomplices of Rudy Guede in the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Understanding Micheli #3: How Damning Is The DNA Evidence Coming Up?
Probable answer? Pretty damning.
Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.
Late January, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales.
The trial to establish the truth about the murder of Meredith continues next Friday. As we’ve reported, various human witnesses have already been heard from: the Postal Police who discovered Meredith’s body, Meredith’s two Italian roommates, and her seven British friends.
Coming up soon is a more silent witness, one very important to both the prosecution and the two defenses: the DNA evidence.
Specifically the DNA belonging to Meredith, Knox, Sollecito, and Guede which was found at the scene of the crime, and on the suspected murder weapon found, apparently hidden, in Raffaele Sollecito’s house.
Traces of Meredith’s DNA have been found on a knife compatible with the wounds that caused her death. Amanda Knox ‘s genetic material was identified on the knife handle. DNA belonging to Sollecito has been found on the clasp of the victim’s bra. And more DNA showing Rudy Guede’s genetic profile was found on the victim’s body and elsewhere in the house.
In summary, the biological sources and locations where DNA belonging to the three defendants was found are these:
- Guede’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found inside Meredith, on toilet paper, on the right side of Meredith’s bra, mixed with Meredith’s DNA on the her purse zip, and on the left cuff of Meredith’s light blue sweater
- Sollecito’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on Meredith’s bra clasp, mixed with Meredith’s DNA, and on one cigarette butt found in the kitchen
- Knox’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on the knife sheath, and close to the blade junction. It was not possible to ascertain both the haematic and epithelial source of Meredith’s DNA on the knife blade, due to the scarcity of the sample. But Judge Micheli noted that reasonable doubt persist that blood could have been present also.
- Other significant biological traces belonging to Meredith - for example, DNA originating from the blood-trace footprints revealed by luminol found in Filomena’s bedroom, as already reported at trial.
Claims of contamination and “poor matches” of the DNA samples were raised by the Sollecito and Knox defenses, although not by Guede’s. The DNA expert Dr. Stefanoni’s arguments in reply to the defenses’ claims are summarized in Judge Micheli‘s report.
Dr Stefanoni reported that the locus ascribable to Meredith and identified on the knife blade shows readings of 41 and 28 RFU. Conventionally, RFU values lower than 50 can be defined as low. But she maintained that the profile matched Meredith’s by explaining that there is no immediate correlation between the height of the peaks obtained by electropherogram and expressed in RFU, and the reliability of the biological investigation.
In fact “even if statistically - in most cases - the RFU data is directly proportional to the possibility of a certain interpretation of the analysis result, on the other side many cases of high peaks of difficult interpretation exist (because of background noises), as well as low peaks that are objectively unquestionable, hence the need to proceed to the examination of data that is apparently scarce, but that mustn’t be considered unreliable per se.”
*The use of multiplex PCR and fluorescent dye technology in the automated detection and analysis of short tandem repeat loci provides not only qualitative information about the profile - i.e. which alleles are present - but can provide also quantitative information on the relative intensities of the bands, and is therefore a measure of the amount of amplified DNA.”
So if on one side Dr Stefanoni admits that the RFU readings are low, on the other her experience suggests that many cases of unquestionable matches exist showing readings lower than 50 RFU, and this appears to be the case with Meredith’s DNA sample on the knife.
Contamination in the laboratory is categorically excluded by Dr Stefanoni. The samples were processed with maximum care in order to avoid any contamination during lab procedures. Contamination during the collection phase is excluded by Judge Micheli, as the samples were collected by different officers at different times in different places (example Via della Pergola at 9:40am on Nov 6. 2007, and Sollecito’s apartment at 10:00am, on the same day, by a different ILE team).
As for Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra clasp, the match is unquestionable, according to the lab reports. Samples from crime scenes very often contain genetic material from more than one person (e.g. Rudy Guede’s DNA has been identified in a mixture with the victim’s DNA in a few places), and well-known recommendations and protocols exist in order to de-convolute mixed samples into single genetic profiles.
So if the lab reports indicate that unquestionable biological evidence of Sollecito’s DNA was found on the bra clasp, at the present time we have no reason to believe that these recommendations weren’t followed and that therefore the reports are not to be trusted.
As to cells “flying around” depositing themselves – and their DNA content - here and there around the murder scene, there have been some imaginative theories advanced, to say the least.
The reality though is that although epithelial cells do shed, they don’t sprout little wings to flock to one precise spot, nor grow feet to crawl and concentrate on a piece of evidence. There needs to be some kind of pressure on a surface in order to deposit the amount of biological material necessary to yield a reliable PCR analysis result. A simple brushing will not do.
As a matter of fact, Dr Stefanoni agreed with Guede’s defense that Guede‘s genetic material found on the left sleeve of Meredith’s blouse was minimal; and this was because the DNA found there belonged to the victim and was not a mixture. In the situation where there is a clear disproportion between quantitative data of two DNA’s coexisting in a biological trace, the PCR will amplify the most abundant DNA.
As agreed by Dr. Stefanoni and Guede’s defense, the conclusion here was that on the left sleeve there was plenty of Meredith’s DNA but very little of Guede’s. (This was used by his defense to deny that Guede had exerted violence on Meredith’s wrist).
After listening to the arguments of the prosecution and the defenses, Judge Micheli provided reasons why he rejected the contamination claims and ruled that all the biological traces identified as reflecting Sollecito’s and Knox’s DNA are admissible as evidence. He arrived at the conclusion that the DNA evidence is sound and, considered along with the non-biological proof, he decided there was more than enough evidence to order Knox and Sollecito to stand trial.
Regarding the biological significance of the traces, we are now looking forward to hearing the Knox and Sollecito defenses’ counter-arguments. But as we understand it now, the DNA evidence for the trio having all been involved in the murder seems pretty damning.
Understanding Micheli #4: The Staged Scene - Who Returned To Move Meredith?
By Brian S
Please be warned that this is sad and hard-going, although many other passages from the Micheli report we will never post on here are even more harrowing.
Just to recap. Judge Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing and the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.
This post is about the final position of the body. Why this matters so much is that if the evidence holds firm, all by itself it will prove that there was a major rearrangement of the crime scene, to try to throw investigators off the trail.
This is as near to an 80,000 pound gorilla in the room as we are likely to see in this trial. And it may even be on the trial agenda for this coming Friday and Saturday.
Reports by the crime-scene investigators and Dr Lalli are summarised in Judge Micheli’s report. They describe the detail of the scene discovered in Meredith’s room. The investigators measured and photographed the position and state of everything, including blood, as it was in the room before anything was moved.
Amongst the items noted was a white bra. Some parts were soaked in blood, particularly the right shoulder strap and the outside of the left cup. They also noted that a portion of the backstrap with its clasp fixings was missing. Meredith herself was lying on her back midway between the wardrobe and the bed, without her jeans, a pillow under her buttocks and her top rolled up to reveal her chest.
Following this survey, Meredith’s body was then turned and moved by the investigators. This revealed the other items on which her body had lain. A tennis shoe, a white sheet from the bed and a blue zipped top, all with blood stains. Also a green bath towel and an ivory bath towel, both soaked in blood, and underneath the pillow was the missing clasp section of the bra back-strap.
Judge Micheli notes that Amanda’s defence claimed that “the small round spots of blood” apparent on Meredith’s chest indicated that she was not wearing her bra when she was killed. He agreed that it was likely that these spots fell from Meredith’s gasps for breath as she lay on her back after she had been stabbed. However, he could not agree with their conclusion that her bra had been removed before this time, as similar small round spots were also found on Meredith’s bra.
Micheli reasoned that this indicated that Meredith was still wearing her bra as she gasped for breath, but that her top was rolled up and the bra moved also. Thus indicating the sexual nature of the original attack, but also allowing the small round spots to fall on both chest and bra. Furthermore, other blood evidence involving the bra indicated that it wasn’t removed until some time after Meredith had died.
He said that Meredith’s bra was found by investigators away from other possible blood contamination on the floor, near to her feet. Photographs of Meredith’s body show clear white areas where the bra prevented blood from falling onto Merediths body. These white areas corresponded to those areas where blood was found on her bra. This was particularly true in the area of the right shoulder strap which was soaked from the wound to Meredith’s neck.
Micheli said that evidence showed that Meredith had lain on one shoulder near the wardrobe. She lay in that position long enough for the imprint of her shoulder and bra strap to remain fixed in the pool of blood after she was moved to the position in which her body was finally found. Photographs of blood on her shoulder matched the imprint by the wardrobe and her shoulder itself also showed signs that she had remained in that position for some time.
Based on all this, Judge Micheli concluded that there could be no doubt that Meredith’s body was moved away from the wardrobe and her bra removed quite some time after her death.
Neighbor Nara Capezzali had testified that people fled from the cottage within a minute of Meredith’s final scream. There was no time for any alteration of the crime scene in those very few moments.
Judge Micheli asks in his report, who could have returned later and staged the scene which was found? Who later moved Meredith’s body and cut off her bra? He reasons it could only be someone who had an interest in changing what would become a crime scene found at the cottage. Who else but someone who lived there, and who wanted to mislead the coming investigation?
It couldn’t have been Laura, she was in Rome. It couldn’t have been Filomena, she was staying with her boyfriend. It was very unlikely that it was Rudy Guede, all proofs of his presence were left untouched.
The culprits ran from the cottage in different directions and there is no reason to believe they met up again before some or one of them returned. Judge Micheli stated that, in his opinion, this just left Knox who would seem to have an interest in arranging the scene the police would find.
Bloody footprints made visible with luminol in Filomena’s room contain Meredith’s DNA. This indicated to Judge Micheli that the scene in Filomena’s room was also staged after Meredith was killed.
In Micheli’s opinion the scene in Meredith’s room was probably staged to point the finger at Rudy Guede. All evidence related to him was left untouched, and the pillow with a partial palm print was found under Meredith’s repositioned body.
But whoever later arranged that scene in Meredith’s room also unwittingly indicated their own presence at the original sexual assault. Who else could have known that by staging an obvious rape scene, they would inevitably point the investigators towards Rudy’s DNA which they knew could be found in Meredith?
Micheli asks: Seemingly, who else could it have been but Amanda Knox? And this in part is why she was committed to trial, for her defense to contend this evidence.
This was an excellent reminder of the facts of the case. Personally I find the Michelli Report a lot sharper than Massei.
One question: Does anyone know at what time Rudy’s collision on the steps above with the boyfriend of Alessandra Formica happened?
Would that not settle the debate over the time of death?
This whole long post (& re-posting) I have now read. As a relative new-comer to the TJMK, the whole set of articles here posted is tremendously effective & invaluable. You people are to be commended for this service.
Was this report written before the full trial? Because there is no mention of Meredith being moved in the Massai report that I could find. It could be there, I just might have not found it.
Also, at the trial it was proven that forensics never tested the luminol foot print for blood. Therefore the prints could have been a cleaning fluid, or something else. I also thought they couldnt be proved to be either Knox’s or Sollecitos prints. Only Guedes could be almost proven because he had a box that held the same shoes as found on the actual bloody prints. Did they ever compare the luminol prints to either of the other roommates?
In addition, only Sollecito’s DNA was found on the clasp, not Knoxs.
As an aside, I was wondering about something. When Amanda first came to her apartment in the morning she notices poop in the toilet. When she comes back later with Sollecito, she notices the toilet has been flushed. I know Meredith’s keys were never found. I also know I have not seen anything about this anywhere, so it is probably just some weird little thing. But I know you all know a lot about the case, so I thought I would throw it out there, just in case somebody knew something.
The footprints were tested for blood. 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.
The luminol couldn’t have been reacting to cleaning fluids because bleach dissipates after a couple of days and there will be no trace left. The luminol tests at the cottage were carried out on 18 December 2007. Furthermore, forensic investigators who regularly work on crime scene can easily distinguish between the bright blue glow of a blood trace and the much fainter glow of other reactive substances. It is straightforward to distinguish between blood and bleach.
You need to apply a little common sense. The luminol footprints and traces were exactly where the forensic investigators would have expected them to be: in the hallway, Filomena’s room and Knox’s room. You could argue that the luminol was reacting to turnip juice or rust, but you would look rather silly.
The fact that Sollecito’s bloody footprint was on the blue bathmat in the bathroon confirms that his luminol footprint in the hallway was reacting to Meredith’s blood.
At Rudy Guede’s fast track trial in 2008, Sollecito’s lawyers claimed that their forensic expert, Professor Vinci, had found Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra.
“Nara Capezzali maintained that after she heard Meredith’s scream it was only some seconds (well under a minute) before she heard multiple footsteps running away.”“That Rudy had run wasn’t in doubt because of his collision on the steps above with the boyfriend of Alessandra Formica. Micheli therefore considered it proven that “all” of Meredith’s attackers, including Rudy, fled at the same time.”
The reasoning above is what has caused me confusion for several years now: Alessandra Formica said that the above happened at 10:30, but Nara Capezzali said that it happened after 11 or 11:30. This is the inconsistency that has been bugging me for years now and that has led me to think (among other things) that the attack may have happened sometime between 10-10:30 before the tow truck arrived. The cleanup would then have happened after the truck left, with AK and RS anxiously watching the house from the park so as to be able to get back for the cleanup.
While this may seem like a small point I think it makes a difference when we’re considering the degree of premeditation (if any).
I have to say that I am really impressed by this site. I’ve been interested in this case since July 4th. My question is what do you think the odds are that Knox will spend the rest of her life in prison for what she did to Meredith?
The passage in Barby Nadeau’s book, beginning at Kindle-location 1570,ending at about location 1615, propounds Nadeau’s theory that the AK/RS physical clean-up and staged break-in began after 7.45 A.M. on Nov.2nd, 2007, ending just before Noon, i.e. took about 4 hours.
Food for thought.
Cardiol, if the cleanup was during the day then why would they have needed to move AK’s lamp to Meredith’s room? I could see a flashlight being useful even during the day to access dark corners, etc. but did this lamp have a long cord so that it could be moved around? And were the shutters of Meredith’s window found open?
annc, good question, arising from Nadeau’s food-for-thought; I hadn’t thought about that lamp.
Nadeau’s theory included AK & RS returning to the cottage in the early hours, after deciding the coast was clear, when it was presumably still dark:
“They went to Amanda’s room and passed out.
THE NEXT MORNING, Amanda and Raffaele wake up around 6:00A.M….”, look into Meredith’s room and “begin to panic. First, they both turn on their cell-phones about 6:30 A.M….. ”
IMO, the correct answer to your excellent question could fit into Nadeau’s scenario without invalidating it.
P.S. We think alike on the astronomic odds against the cell-phone dump as just coincidence.
My post “buying” the more finite odds was meant to be playful.
Cardiol, that scenario only works if RS brought his laptop with him to the cottage, because of the following 2 items from the timeline. Actually, this gives me an idea - that perhaps RS didn’t own a police scanner but instead listened to the police frequency over the internet on his laptop which he had brought with him in his car (remember a dark car was seen in front of the cottage). The website http://www.ehow.com has an entry entitled “How to listen to police frequencies on the internet” that explains that depending on the city you don’t need a scanner to listen to the police frequency. I don’t know if Perugia is one of them.
00:58 A 4-second Web connection occurs on Raffaele’s laptop, with QuickTime contacting the Apple server home page from 00:58:50 to 00:58:53: possibly an ad window listing multimedia files available from Apple opens and closes (p331, p332).
05:32–06:00 Activity on Raffaele’s MacBookPro laptop begins for the day: the VLC application attempts to open an MP3 file and crashes three times: at 05:32:09, 05:32:12, 05:32:13. iTunes successfully plays the MP3 files for the next half hour (p327).
annc - Do these connections to Raffaele’s laptop require HIM?
If so, I agree, he and his laptop were in the same place at the times you indicate.
To fit Nadeau’s scenario, at 00:58 that place need not be the women’s flat , but does need to be at 05:32.
Your contributions today continue to lift the fog over true-explanation.
I like your thought about “How to listen to police frequencies on the internet”, depending on the city.
I don’t know if Perugia is a suitable city, either.
Actually, that was a silly idea of mine because the laptop history would have indicated if he had listened to the police internet scanner. He could have deleted only this portion of the history but this sounds far fetched. Also, the police probably has other means to verify internet activity.
Hi, Gonzo. re Guede’s “leavings” in the toilet, there were still there and available for forensic testing. Due to their settling to the bottom of the commode and disappearing from view, Knox thought someone had flushed. That belief, according to her long-winded email alibi, led her to shudder at the thought that the scary lone wolf killer had still been in the flat while she frolicked about in the other bath. Poor thing must’ve been terrified.
Can anyone suggest why Meredith might have sent Guede to Filomena’s bathroom with his cramps, when there was a toilet just next door to her own room? ( I don’t believe she made any suggestions, but it comes up in the report.)
I am sending this for your information only and would prefer my comment not be posted but the information used by you if of value in clarification regarding the lamp.
Re: need for lighting/lamps
Anyone that has lived in Umbria knows the answer to this question.
In the winter (October - February) the days are often dark and grey, you need artificial light to complete basic tasks indoors, reading, housecleaning, socializing etc. even if you have large windows (most don’t)
In the summer, even when the sun is bright it is not uncommon to need lighting indoors as many apts/houses have relatively small windows and thick walls, reducing the amount of daylight available.
Today, we find this environmentally unfriendly but in medieval times this was the best way to conserve heat in the winter and deflect heat in the summer - there were no glass windows!
A simple check of the weather on November 2nd could clarify the need for lighting but again even if a sunny day and the shutters were open, most houses in Umbria are fairly dark inside due to the structural design - the priority in construction has been to block the sun and thus the sunlight. Any meticulous work needs artifical lighting.
“Can anyone suggest why Meredith might have sent Guede to Filomena’s bathroom with his cramps, when there was a toilet just next door to her own room? ( I don’t believe she made any suggestions, but it comes up in the report.) “
I think in the Michelli report this is mentioned as being part of RG’s testimony, without commentary on whether it makes sense. In the Massei report they do discuss this point at length. Among other things they suggest that if RG had arrived first and asked Meredith if he could come in to use the bathroom because he had cramps, then that bathroom would have been the one she would have indicated as it is the one closest to the front door, and for her safety, the one furthest from her bedroom.
Thanks, annc. I haven’t read either report in full (and am deeply grateful to all involved for their dedication in translating, summarising and analysis). So many details the friends and family contingent prefer to sweep under a rug or mop up, with or without bleach.
Patri, on the lamp. It is famously dreary in Seattle for most days between October and May. I live in my stepmom’s house, where she had installed extra light fixtures and full-spectrum bulbs to combat seasonal depression. AK, having spent all of her life here, could have been so accustomed to the dimness that she would not have felt the need of her missing lamp on the morning of the 2nd nov. Dimness in girls is an admirable quality to some men. Perhaps the bleach she allegedly purchased was in aid of becoming yet more blonde. Sorry, my sarcasm button seems to be stuck, of late…
Neither the police nor prosecution alleged that Amanda Knox bought bleach and then used it to clean the cottage. Steve Moore told Frank Shiers on Kiro FM that the prosecution had alleged that Knox had used bleach at the cottage, but this is just another one of of Steve Moore’s false claims.
Hi Mimi. Very interesting insight on the lighting. As you surely know seasonal depression even leads to some suicides in Alaska, Scandinavia and north Russia. I think all those areas now have major Vitamin D distribution schemes.