Category: Pondering motive

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Why Desperation Sets In At The Pesky Similarities Between Amanda Knox And Jodi Arias

Posted by Chimera




1. The Incessant Comparisons

Google “Amanda Knox” along with “Jodi Arias” who was recently convicted of killing her ex-boyfriend and you will see what I mean.

Of comparisons between the two, there are many dozens. Some pieces damningly list the similarities, and then in numerous defensive comments the facts about the real Knox get mangled. Some pieces try to argue that there are differences, and in comments the writer’s numerous false claims get nailed.

To bring out quite forcefully the stark similarities, this post looks at the interrogations. At the time of this posting, Arias has been convicted of first degree murder, but sentenced to life without parole, since the jury would not hand down the death penalty.

Meanwhile, Knox has been provisionally found not guilty in a highly suspect Fifth Chambers action which might be overturned by an order of the President, or by a challenge by the Florence court, or by a challenge by another arm of the Supreme Court.

2. Similarities Under Interrogation

Below is all of Arias’s 2008 interrogation after her arrest (posted in 4 parts) with notes on some of the similarities. Knox was only ever interrogated once, on 17 December 2007 (at her own request), in a couple of hours, so I also draw on some of her other statements.

Most of what Jodi Arias says is just babbling and rambling, a trait common to Knox.  But unlike Knox, Arias doesn’t have a media campaign going on to release her, and Arias hasn’t been able to bend or corrupt any courts.

Part 1 (2 hours 40 minutes)

 

Part 2 (2 hours)

 

Part 3 (2 hours)

 

Part 4 (2 hours)

 

Assessment

My view from watching this: Arias is truly emotionally vulnerable here, but even so, her mind is constantly trying to get her out of this.

The problem is that she doesn’t seem to register just how much the contradictions ensnare her.  Arias, like Knox, thinks she can talks her way out of anything.  She seems stunned that her ‘‘little-girl routine’’ doesn’t win over the police.

Arias seems to think during the police questionings, she can simply make it all go away if she keeps denying.  Problem is, her interview is riddled with partial admissions.  Knox seems to think that she can win over the media if she keeps denying ‘‘she killed her friend’‘.

However, when Arias finally does testify, she is cold, sarcastic, and testy.  (Sound familiar?)

I imagine if Amanda Knox ‘‘had’’ been formally questioned without lawyers, it would have looked something like this.  Yes, it is segmented, but it would be mindnumbing to do a complete transcript.  However, there were many gems from this questioning.  It is chilling to watch, but if you can, do it, and ask yourself if that isn’t another ‘‘Knox’’ performing there.

Note these telling exchanges, all from Part 1

(5:46) Det. Flores: I travelled all the way up here to talk to you.  Because, I’ve been working on Travis’ case ever since it happened.  And I know exactly what happened, how he was killed.  I know a lot of details.  And just recently we found quite a bit of evidence, and I’ll discuss that with you.  The main thing that I’m looking for though is answers, on why certain things happened, and also to get your statement.

(6:25) Arias: Okay.

(6:35) Det Flores: A lot of details in this case haven’t been released to the public or even to Travis’ family yet.  And those details are known only to us, and to the person who did it.  And that’s why we’re here. I believe you know some of those details, and you can help us.

(6:51) Arias: I would love to help you in any way that I can

One of the most laughable statements ever made in the case.  8 hours later, she still won’t give them a straight answer.

(8:45) Arias: Should we record this?  (reaching for the remote).

Seriously?  Arias has been arrested for murder, and her first act is pretend to be ‘‘helping the police’‘.  A bit like Knox, who insisted she was helping the police, even after being charged with Meredith’s murder

(10:35) Arias: I know that people have been posting a lot of really nice things on Facebook, you know, memories, and I thought maybe I should do that.  And I realized looking back in it is sounded immature, more like a ‘‘Dear Travis’’ kind of letter, so I took it down…

(10:53) Det Flores: Personal?

(10:55) Arias: Yeah, some of it was personal, not too personal, nothing inappropriate.

At least least Arias isn’t emailing people questions about whether Travis likes anal, or what he uses vasoline for.  Give her some credit.

(12:00) Arias: I didn’t realize until I was speaking with Ryan Burns, the guy that’s in Utah.  We’ve been talking, we try not to talk about that, because it’s kinda like ... ugh (makes disgusted face).  And plus Travis is my ex-boyfriend, so, when you’re mourning your friend, how do you talk to to your new potential mating person?  .... So, it’s kind of a grey area.

Yes, Jodi thinks dead bodies are ‘‘yucky’‘, and that mourning an ex, while talking to a new potential partner is a ‘‘grey area’‘.  Did she go run off to buy any lingerie?

(12:15) Arias: I try not to talk about it too much, but he [Travis] comes up a lot

Your ex-boyfriend was stabbed 29 times and shot in the head.  Annoying, how often ‘‘he’’ comes up.

(12:20) Arias: And it was though him [Ryan] that he thought things were really weird, and some think that you had a hand in it.

Maybe because you find the topic of your ex so annoying when you try to spend time with new boyfriend….

(12:28) Det. Flores: I’ve talked to a lot of people.  And everyone is pointing the finger at you.

(12:35) Arias: I know.

(12:36) Det Flores: Everyone is saying - I don’t understand what happened to Travis.  I don’t know who killed him, but you need to look at Jodi.  And sometimes the simplest answers are the correct ones.

Something Knox found out (and soon Arias soon will), is that when you have suspicions about someone, you bring them up immediately.  You don’t wait until you become a supect yourself.

(13:30) Det. Flores: I know that you still had a relationship of convenience, even though you were not boyfriend/girlfriend anymore, that you two were still having sexual relations with ...

(13:45) Arias: Does his family know?  Just curious.

(13:50) Det. Flores: No, his family doesn’t know anything.

(13:54) Arias: I’m interested in protecting how he is remembered as well.

Another laughable claim.  Jodi would later accuse him of everything from being abusive and controlling to pedophilia.  Knox uses Meredith’s memory to cash in on a blood money book ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’‘, does dozens of interviews claiming to be a victim, and uses her website to raise money for her legal fees to get off on Meredith’s murder.

(16:10) Arias: Too much of my nightlife was about him [Travis].  He would text ‘‘hey I’m getting sleepy….. zzzz’‘.  That was his code for ‘‘coast is clear, come on over’‘.  (long, unrelated rambling).

Less than 3 minutes after saying she wants to protect how Travis is remembered, Jodi is already implying Travis is horny, and leaking unnecessary details.  An attempt to smear him?  Who else does that?

(19:20) Arias: I used to always joke, ‘‘that, regardless of what the Bible says, and yes I’m Christian, I just live my life by the 10 commandments, and that those are my rules,

‘’ .... so I always used to joke about that.

Your ‘‘friend’’ has been savagely stabbed to death, and after being arrested you are making jokes about fornication.  Who else would make such jokes after the loss of a close one?

For the next 15 minutes Arias babbles on about unrelated things.  Det. Flores has incredible patience, as most would have slit their wrists listening to her.  But finally he tries to pull Jodi back to the topic at hand. 

He makes several attempts, but Arias keeps trying to divert the topic away from Travis and his death.  After about 1/2 hour of Jodi talking nonsense, Detective Flores tries to get Jodi to give a timeline and direction of her travels.

(52:20) Det. Flores: So, you took this trip and you left on Monday the 2nd until Thursday?

(52:44) Arias: I think so.

(52:50) Det. Flores: So, we have here about 48 hours…. this trip would take you a little over 48 hours….  I have a problem with this trip.

(53:06) Arias:  Well I first went to ....

(53:30) Det. Flores: I’ve gone over this trip over and over in my mind.  There’s still 20-some odd hours, even if you pull over to sleep, a couple of times ....

(53:42) Arias:  Did I tell you I got stranded?

(53:46) Det. Flores: Yeah, you mentioned that.  If you slept for 10 hours, here and here (pointing on map), it would still leave 18 some odd hours, for something else.  This is the trip that people are focusing on.  People are saying that she left .... Travis was killed on Wednesday.

(54:22) Arias: I did not go near his house.

(54:27) Det Flores: I pulled your cell records.  Your cell phone was turned off, between here and here (indicates on map).  What does that show me?

(54:45) Arias: No, no, no.

(54:50) Det. Flores: Is there plenty of time for you to do this?  Yes.  And do I believe that you had come to visit Travis?  Yes.  Did you have the opportunity?  Yes, there were no other witnesses.

(55:10) Arias: Well, I didn’t turn it off physically, but it died.

(55:16) Det. Flores: And you magically found your charger here?  (pointing on map)

(55:20) Arias: It was under the passenger side of the front seat.

(55:23) Det. Flores: When you were lost, you couldn’t have pulled over and found it?

(55:41) Det. Flores: I’ve been focusing on why your phone turns off here, outside of Los Angeles ... because the [Highway] 15 goes through Las Vegas.  It never goes through Arizona.

Detective Flores zeroed in on a huge gap Arias’ timeline.  Why did a 48 hour trip take more than 3 days?  He also noted that her cell phone was not active for most of that trip.

In Peugia, the police had noted a discrepancy in Sollecito’s timeline.  He claimed to have reported the burglarly then waited outside for the police.  In fact phone records showed the Postal Police showed up about 15-20 minutes before he made the call.  It was later discovered that Knox and Sollecito had turned off their cell phones (something they never did), during the time of the murder.

(58:25) Det. Flores: Were you at Travis’ house on Wednesday?

(58:28) Arias: Absolutely not.  I was nowhere near Mesa.

She is very sure then, but with some more questioning, she will not only be there, but a witness to the actual murder.

(58:40) Det. Flores: What if I could show you proof you were?  Would that change your mind?

(58:45) Arias: I was not there.  (trying to look convincing)

(58:59) Det. Flores: You were at Travis’ house.  You had a sexual encounter.  Which, there’s pictures.  And I know you know there’s pictures, because I have them.  I will show them to you.  So, I am asking you to be honest with me.  I know you were there.

(59:30) Arias: Are you sure that those pictures aren’t from another time?

(59:35) Det. Flores: Absolutely positive.

(59:40) Arias: The last time I had any sexual contact with Travis was in May.

(59:55) Det Flores: You know how I told you about the camera? The camera was damaged.  Someone put it in the washing machine, ran it through a wash cycle, with some clothes of Travis’, but the card is intact.  You know how I told you the card was destroyed?  I didn’t want to tell you the truth, because I wanted to make sure the photos were accurate.  We can pull deleted photos, even from 6 months ago.  And I have pictures of you and Travis.

(1:01:00) Arias: Are you sure it was me?  Because I was not there.

(1:01:00) Det. Flores: Jodi, it’s you.

Arias is trying to look and sound convincing, but her denials come out weaker and weaker.  But the stunned look shows through.

(1:01:55) Arias: I didn’t hurt Travis.  He’s done so much for me.

But like your Seattle ‘‘colleague’’ you will soon trash the memory of the person you called a friend.

(1:02:00) Arias: I lived there.  I lived there for months and months.

Pretty much the excuse Knox used to explain her DNA being everywhere.

(1:02:15) Det. Flores: I know you took pictures in the shower just before he died.

(1:02:29) Arias: I don’t think he would allow that

Either you did, or you didn’t.

(1:05:30) Det. Flores: our record indicate you reported a gun stolen, a .25 auto, which just happens to be the same caliber used to kill Travis.

(1:06:10) Arias: A .25 auto was used to kill Travis?

Using a ‘‘drop piece’‘, reported stolen, brought to the murder scene.  Knox brought one of Raffaele’s knives.

(1:06:18) Det. Flores: Do you want to see pictures of him?

(1:06:25) Arias: Part of me does, part of me doesn’t.

(1:06:30) Det. Flores: Why, because you don’t want to remember?

(1:06:35) Arias: No, there’s a morbid curiosity.

Arias is curious to see photos of Travis.  In fact, she asks several times to see photos of him (after the fact).  The detectives wonder if it is to help her come up with a story, but it is possible she just wanted to see her handiwork

Knox had also made several public demands to visit Meredith’s grave.  Creepy as hell.

(1:06:50) Det. Flores: I can’t deny this evidence.  The trip you took doesn’t make any sense, the opportunity was there, the pictures on that date with him, your blood is in the house - mixed with his, not alongside, but mixed, your hair is there is blood, and your palm print is there, in blood.  Your image is not important, saving the rest of your life is.

(1:07:30) Arias: Listen, if I’m found guilty, I won’t have a life.  I’m not guilty.

To compare Det. Flores’ listings: Knox’s account of the night/morning made no sense; she had access and opportunity; she had 5 spots of mixed DNA with Meredith, and oddly, NO fingerprints were found in Knox’s own home.

Jodi’s denial is extremely weak, just like many of the ‘‘no evidence’’ denials that Knox makes.

(1:08:20) Arias: I’m not a murderer, but if I were to do something like that I’d wear gloves, or something.

Wow…. way to be convincing.

(1:09:35) Arias: Let’s say for a second that I did.  Suppose I say I did.  Why

(1:09:50) Det. Flores: The motive is there.  Anger, jealousy ....

Knox frequently argued along the lines of ‘‘there is no motive for me to do this’‘.

(1:29:30) Arias: If I was ever going to try to kill someone, I would use gloves.  I’ve got plenty of them.

This is the second time Jodi mentions this.  Like Amanda, she knows a little something about C.S.I.

(1:29:55) Det. Flores: Would they see your car, or did you park it down the street?

(1:30:05) Arias: No, they would see it, I drove an Infinite.

(1:31:42) Det. Flores: You know that all rental cars have GPS on them?  For us to use….

Oh, s**t.

(1:42:15) Arias: Is it possible that my memory card was in his camera, and they are interchangeable?

(1:43:30) Det Flores: You’re saying that someone took your pictures and your memory card and was framing you?

Knox has written before that she thinks Raffaele planted her fingerprints on the knife used to kill Meredith.  Everything is a conspiracy.

(2:01:00) Arias: I’m trying to put his death behind me.

So…. you just want to get on with your life?

3. Numerous Other Similarities

  • Arias had cuts on her fingers which she said was from ‘‘dropping glass’‘.  She claimed that happens regularly.  Police believed it was from the knife slipping in her hand.
  • Knox had a cut on her neck which she said was from a ‘‘hickey’‘.
  • Arias claimed her phone died while on the road and that she found her charger later
  • Knox claimed she turned her phone off so she would not receive a text in case Patrick wanted her to come in afterall.  She previously claimed that it was to preserve the charge for her Gubbio trip
  • Arias was asked if anyone else was present at the scene.  She invented a story about 2 masked intruders.
  • Knox was told Sollecito removed her alibi.  She invented a story about Lumumba doing the crime.
  • Arias has given prison interviews and basked in the limelight
  • Knox has given interviews since being released from prison and basked in the limelight.
  • Arias refused her own suggestion for a lie detector test since if it wouldn’t help her in court,
  • Knox says she will take a lie detector test, but never has.
  • Arias attempted to destroy evidence, including attempting to destroy a camera in the washing machine.
  • Knox attempted to selectively clean the crime scene, and pin it all on Rudy Guede
  • Arias had the foresight to clean her feet before, going to the washing machine to throw the camera in.
  • Knox (or Sollecito), had the foresight to clean his/her feet before going into Amanda’s room to grab the lamp.
  • Arias had the foresight to clean her hands before grabbing Clorex to put in the washing machine
  • Knox had the foresight to leave Meredith’s lamp, but use her own and wipe it for prints
  • Arias put her licence back on upside down (it was removed while at Travis’ house).
  • Knox put the bathmat (with Sollecito’s footprint), back upside down
  • Arias staged a prior break-in so she could report a gun stolen, which she would later use.
  • Knox staged a prior break in and later used some techniques on Meredith.
  • Arias planned it by using a ‘‘trip to Utah’’ as a way of explaining her time away.
  • Knox planned it by waiting for a time when no one else was home.
  • Arias tried to wash Travis’ body to destroy evidence.attempted to destroy evidence.
  • Knox (and Sollecito), stripped Meredith down to make it look like a rape.
  • Arias called Travis’ phone and left voicemails to make it look like she didn’t know he was dead.
  • Knox called Meredith’s phone to make it look like she was trying to reach her.
  • Arias had sex with Travis prior to killing him
  • Knox had sex with a drug dealer (Federico Martini), before and after killing Meredith.
  • Arias caused Travis to think she was dangerous and a stalker, leading to police suspicion after.
  • Knox caused Meredith and others to think she was pushy and weird, leading to police suspicion after
  • .
  • Arias rented a car, bought cans of gas (to avoid stopping at gas stations), reported her gun stolen (so suspicion wouldn’t be aroused), and turned off her phone.
  • Knox brought a knife from Raffaele’s flat, brought 2 ‘‘frame-able’’ accomplices, chose a night no one was home, and turned off her phone.
  • Arias attempted to rain hostility down on prosecutor Juan Martinez.
  • Knox attempted to rain hostility down on prosecutor Guiliano Mignini.
  • Arias flirted with the police who arrested her.
  • Knox flirted with court officers.
  • Arias went to her current boyfriend as if nothing happened.
  • Knox went back to her life, including missing Meredith’s memorial.
  • Arias murdered her ex-boyfriend.
  • Knox murdered her roommate.
  • Arias called Travis repeatedly just to hear his voicemail.  Stalker?
  • Knox texted Meredith repeatedly the day before.  Stalker?
  • Arias was born July 9, 1980.
  • Knox was born July 9, 1987.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

The Psychology Of The Human Race Puts Us On A Rising Curve Toward True Justice For All

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding



Above and below: more and more people worldwide are on the march to make justice for victims work

1. The “Just-World” Is Built

When we were children, we listened to fairy tales. Most cultures have a library of myths.

They frequently had ‘happy ever after’ endings, where everything worked out well, after many scares, struggles and deep sorrows. Rarely did the ‘bad people’ win, in the very end, although there were often sacrifices along the way required by those who were true to themselves, and cared for others and the world. The ruthless, selfish, greedy people often appeared in disguise - their ugly and scheming natures only revealed by chance at The End.

We often asked our fathers to read us these stories, before we were tucked up safely in bed. Usually we went to sleep reassured. This is because such tales reinforce a concept known as ‘the just-world’. In this just world, good thoughts and deeds are rewarded, eventually, and the bad and cruel actions will reap the punishment they deserve, even if patience is required until this comes about.

Our belief in this concept helps us, as we begin to go out in the world and face its stresses and dangers. It gives us hope and courage, in our tiny childhood bodies.

Our parents are our caretakers, there to guide us and protect us from harm. Good parents, who are teachers too, show us right from wrong, good from bad. We grow, and begin to form a sense of Self, a core self that finds meaning and values, experiences beauty and ugliness, joy and pain.

At least one of our caretakers will empathize with us, and give us what is known as validation. Gradually, we learn to be self-reliant and do this for ourselves, although we will always still turn towards the caretaker for this reassurance at certain times.

2. When Our Just-World is Broken

And then, suddenly, one day, something else happens. (Hopefully, this day doesn’t come when we are so very young - if it does, it is frequently disastrous).

Our belief in the Just World is fractured. It cracks, and comes crumbling down around us, terrifying us as it does. Life goes into slow motion, and we remember the colours, shapes, smells, words, for the rest of our lives. Someone who has done wrong is praised and rewarded, and the little person who is ‘me’, who was being as good as we knew how to be, is scolded, teased, taunted, hurt (perhaps physically), neglected, ignored, humiliated, punished. We suffer when we do not deserve to, sometimes when we least deserve to.

Most of all, our ‘caretaker’, whose function it is to protect us, now reprimands us, withdraws their love or approval and, worst of all, refuses to believe us. We are telling it as it is, telling the truth as we have been taught to do, and the very person we have entrusted with truth, rejects us, and believes the one who is lying. We feel despair,and we feel isolated. We panic inside, and experience fear as we have not known it.

Our adrenalin and other endocrine reactions are set in motion. Our heart thumps. We don’t know what to do, we feel numb, confused, it is hard to concentrate. We are unlikely to be able to say, at that point, - but what we are feeling is betrayal. All our inner security has temporarily dissolved.

Not only has the person insulted and harmed us with their wrong-doing, but they compounded this by sanctimoniously pretending that they were ‘put upon’, a victim no less, while simultaneously the true victim is blamed and derogated. It is outrageous, and moreover it is disempowering (at first).

It is our first experience of injustice.

3. The Experience of Acute Distress

If our psyche is healthy, we will recover, both physically and emotionally within a short period. Human beings have innate coping mechanisms, and we learn gradually to activate these. Different personalities develop different ways.

But the period of stress and distress does need to be of a short duration. This is important. If it is not, we now know that very real damage occurs. This is not something vague, but is actual, biological, involving the Hippocampus and other specific areas in the brain.

When we talk about ‘healing’, this is not just a fancy word for getting into a better mood : real healing and correction need to occur in the cell tissues. Stress really does damage your health, and if we need to take time out to recover from it, - this is a real need. The greater and more prolonged the distress, the longer the time needed to rebuild, to adapt and adjust. Music, and being in nature, often have an important role to play here. People find their own ways, in their own time.

The other thing of prime importance is contact and talking, sharing, with others to whom we feel bonded. It may seem like saying the obvious - but it has been shown that victims of trauma heal very much more quickly when their contact with their loved ones in the aftermath had been immediate.

What is needed is the opposite of isolation, which would simply increase the undermining of the sense of self and our own identity, which has been hurt, or sometimes splintered.

People are isolated in cases of torture - the perpetrators of it know this isolating alone is punishing, fragmenting, weakening and eroding to the self.

We need the validation of our true friends. Perhaps this is the origin of the saying, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.

To recap slightly : our first experience of having our illusion of a totally Just World challenged probably first occurs as we are growing up, perhaps at school or similarly.

I will not, here, address the very serious cases where child abuse happens in the home, where the damage may never be repairable (although a certain amount can be done, miraculously, with professional and skilled help). Neither is this the place to describe terrible trauma caused by murder and terrorism. Extreme experience of injustice, especially continuous, leads to severe trauma, which at the extreme end leads to PTSD.

Needless to say, those who survive need the utmost sensitivity and skill to help them deal with the sheer inhumanity of their situations.

4. The Caretaker in the Wider World

As we go out into the world, ‘the family’ and with it, the head of the family or the main caretaker extends onto a more macro scale. The head of an institution becomes the caretaker. The headmaster or headmistress has a duty of care and protection : they are ‘in loco parentis’.

And so on upwards - the head of a large company where we may work has to duty of care that his employees are kept safe; we have local heads of government, police commissioners etc., whose responsibility includes the safety and protection of the citizens - this is achieved through law and order. And so we finally go to the top, and have the governments of countries, and their judiciary and courts, and the Head of State.

Governments carry the ‘caretaker’ role for the people, the citizens. They are entrusted with our ultimate safety, security and defence - against violence, against terror, unreason, and the break-down of law and order into chaos and tyranny. We entrust them to save us from barbarism.

It is because they have this extension of the caretaker role (a leader will sometimes be called ‘The Father of the Nation’), that when something goes badly wrong, we can feel betrayed. Our own personal memories of betrayal, which may exist in layers of many chapters, can suddenly be triggered. It matters not that physically, personally, we may not be anything like in proximity or involved in what has just happened.

A feeling of insecurity, of being totally let down, indeed of being betrayed, is experienced in the collective, the caretaker of which is the top of government and judiciary.
The shockwaves in the collective trigger our personal memories of our own past trauma. Just as happens when someone we know is bereaved, and we then suddenly recall our own bereavements, as clear as day. Our own memories are re-experienced within the present, integrated into the collective event.

When a member of the Royal Family (in Britain) for whom there is much affection, dies, one can see an outpouring of collective sentiment. Some may disparage it (as in, ‘well, how could they possibly have known her!’ etc), but the phenonomen of collective sentiment is very real, and contains more than the sum of its parts. As all collective moods, it will operate as a wave - a wave that may sweep reason aside.





5. Injustice Is So Like Bereavement

Injustice affects us as bereavement does. When we are bereaved, and perhaps especially when we lose a parent (our original ‘caretaker’), we are affected physiologically as well as emotionally.

Our fear responses are heightened, (sometimes called heightened arousal), our heart rate changes, our concentration and memory are affected, as too our ability to regulate our emotions (be overwhelmed by them); our perception itself is affected, including our perception of who we are ourselves, our very core identity.

It is very common to feel we have lost a part of ourself with the loss of the one we loved, or, importantly, who loved us. Their love for us was part of what made us feel valid. How many feel, when bereaved, lost themselves, - rudderless, as it were? We have to re-learn, and validate ourselves.

Why, you may wonder, are we discussing bereavement here? Because the responses that we go through (and it happens involuntarily) are the same as when experiencing the distress of injustice, or injustice trauma where it is extreme.

The same shattering of world-view is involved, and the same loss of security, which affects us fundamentally.

We need ‘safe-holding’ - first our parents provide this, then gradually other people and other structures out in society provide this keeping of us safe and secure. Being able to dependably rely on the administrators of just law to do exactly that is a very important part of our security. We trust them. We trust our government to use their powers judiciously, to look after our best interests, or at least to try.

If suddenly justice itself appears from every logical perspective to be in fact injustice, it is a great threat to our psychological security, for reasons I’ve tried to explain.

If the collective has been subject to such stress, then the process of repair or healing is required to happen in the collective, exactly as it is when the injustice stress or trauma has occurred on a personal level. It is just as essential. As one of our commentators said, ‘Silence is not an option’.

But fortunately, humanity is resourceful. We can all think of ways and times when people of every diversity have come together in adversity, and pulled together, in generosity, kindness and strength. There is the dual instinct in most people (who are not dysfunctional, damaged or disturbed) which is for both justice and compassion - civilized, just action - .. and when we recover from the adrenalin state, where one feels temporarily stunned in disbelief, we slowly regain our ability to creatively engage in the present.

6. How The Healing Process Works

Many people come and seek out counselling when they are recovering from extended periods of stress and distress, caused by a wide variety of reasons, and within a wide spectrum of severity. There are a number of effective techniques to aid the self-therapy.

These include understanding one’s own fear responses and calming these; recognizing personal triggers, and having a method to deal with flashbacks when they occur; working on acceptance, and being ‘grounded’ or anchored; and learning to create a feeling of safety and security for yourself in the present, and recalling the stressful time but placing it carefully in the past.

7. Narrative Therapy For RS And AK

Sollecito admitted to lies, Knox served three years for lies, and both are still on trial in Florence for many more. Even their best friends know that.

In order to make progress in recovery, with counselling, some sort of ‘narrative therapy’ is needed, where what has been so distressing can be processed and talked about from the perspective of the present, looking back and making sense -  but not talking as if one is still there in the experience.

To be able to arrive at this narrative is an important healing step. But if instead, the story is made of fragmented flashbacks, and the talk slips back into the present tense, as if the person is there again at the scene…really this is not good news. (cf AK was doing this in one of her last interviews last year - the one where she talked about ‘the corpse’).

There is avoidance, where the person can’t bear to think about the stress, and there are intense flashbacks, re-lived, - which can re-traumatise.

The narrative that we seek, and that helps bring calm and the ability to move forward, is neither of these. But to reach the good narrative the person will have to go through the detail of the traumatic event, and face the pain it causes them. They will have to be truthful. The therapist helps them do this incrementally, within a very safe environment. It does work, but it takes time - the greater the trauma, the greater the time.

This knowledge is useful to anyone recovering from a major stressful life event, but the reason I mention it here is in thinking about our two ex-defendants. Stepping aside for the moment from the flip-flopping judgement delivered, - what concerns me is whether and how healing is possible - for everyone.

There are so very many deeply disturbing aspects to this dreadfully drawn-out case, - most have been noted. But one that disturbs me most is that the ex-defendants have wound themselves up to delivering false narratives to the media circuses - to the point where they can’t now recant them without getting their respective knickers in a complete twist, knots that can’t be unravelled, nor make any sense.

As it is, it seems we have two ghosts who held down Meredith, where Guede was the third man.

My serious point here being that, for their own sakes if no-one else’s, the ex-defendants will need to tell a truthful narrative, in order to find any kind of reasonable and balanced functioning in their lives.

Quite simply, healing will not be possible unless they arrive at telling a truthful narrative in the way I touched on above - even if this is in confidentiality, to a therapist, - it will need to be done. It cannot be done in fiction.

If they do not go through the necessary steps in the process as outlined - instability, gross insecurity, and states of fear and anxiety will persist, and the trauma can and will always re-emerge unpredictably, and haunt and shadow their lives with flashbacks.

This process is well-known, and well-documented.

This site is primarily to support the Kercher family, who are the genuine, innocent victims of the most appalling trauma - one that has been selfishly drawn out by ruthless external forces, thus putting their own recovery in jeopardy, and causing great suffering.

They should always have been put first, but now, at this point in time, it is more vital than ever.

They will need, as all victims in recovery, to be able to make their ‘good narrative’. But they cannot fully do so without the truth - even if it has to remain just a sketch of the truth. I wish with all my heart they can find the whole narrative that they need - I do not know how at this point, with so much obfuscation abounding.

But I do not give up hope : healing can always arrive, for those with good will, and good hearts…so however long it takes, I have faith that it can, and it will.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Questons For Knox: Adding A Dozen More To The Several Hundred Knox So Far Avoided

Posted by Chimera



Knox during a pause in questioning at trial; her answers destroyed many Italians’ trust

1. State Of Play On The Questions Front

Sollecito and his father Francesco actually take questions without 99% of them being agreed-on in advance. 

They evade a lot and lose a little but they also gain some points, unlike a seemingly terrified Knox and a seemingly terrified PR who now seem stuck in tongue-tied and consistently-losing modes.

In Italy last night on the much-watched crime show Porta a Porta Francesco Sollecito had to go along with the official reconstruction of the prolonged pack attack on Meredith which rules out any lone wolf though he again maintained that Raffaele was not there.

Not by any means does TJMK give Sollecito a pass. He WAS there at the attack, the evidence is very strong. And we do have many dozens of pending questions waiting for him to respond.

But the truly evasive one is Amanda Knox. Previously helped by the fawning arm of the American press.

2. Pending Questions We Have Already Asked

These are ordered chronologically with the first questions, by Kermit in mid trial in 2009,  at the bottom of the list.

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Ted Simon Gone? With Legal And Financial Woes Will The Other Paid Help Stay

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Why Does Book Smear Others On Drug Use, Mischaracterize Your Own?

Click here for: Questions For Knox and Sollecito: Why Claim Rudy Guede Did It Alone When So Much Proof Against?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: How Do You Explain That Numerous Psychologists Now Observe You Skeptically?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Ten Hard Questions That Knox Should Be Asked Monday On ITV’s Daybreak

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Why So Many False Claims In Accounts Of Your Visit To The House?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Why The Huge Lie About Your ZERO Academic Intentions In Europe?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Do You Think “False Memories Kassin” Framing Italians Yet Again Will Help?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Did You Undergo An Illegal Interrogation By Mignini Or Did You Try To Frame Him?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Diane Sawyer, How To Push Back Against The False Claims And Emotion

Click here for: Questions For Sollecito And Knox and Enablers: Several Hundred On The Hard Evidence

Click here for: Questions For Knox: The Questions That Drew Griffin On CNN Tonight SHOULD Have Asked

Click here for: Questions For AK And RS From Barbie Nadeau As Knox Slander Trial Starts

Click here for: Questions For Knox: (Powerpoints #11) 150 Hard Questions That You Incessantly Avoid

3. My Own Dozen Questions More

I have mentioned before my belief that Meredith Kercher’s attack and possibly death was premeditated, at least on the part of Amanda Knox.  Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede, while accomplices, and also liable, did not plan this out.

Below is my own list of a dozen more hard questions Knox should be asked. This post focuses on questions that point towards forethought and premeditation.  And no, crying, having a fit, and refusing to answer just won’t do it.  An open challenge to not answer in a Hellmann-court-type wail.

1. Keeping the ‘‘See you later’’ Text to Patrick

You kept the message that you sent to Lumumba, which you wrote in Italian.  The literal translation from English implies that you actually intend to meet, rather than the English one that means a parting of ways.  As a language student, this common expression was likely one of the first things you learned, if you didn’t know already.

At your voluntary questioning, of November 5th/6th, you give that message to the police, and claim it as proof that you left Raffaele’s apartment to meet him.  The police didn’t force this knowledge from you, rather you volunteered it after Raffaele withdrew your alibi.  Patrick was falsely arrested, due entirely to your statements, and that message.

I considered, and rejected the idea that you might have kept the message in case Patrick might have wondered why you didn’t show.  If that were the case, you would have kept his message not to come in, and not your response.

Here is the 2009 trial video, the relevant part starts at about the 7:30 mark.  At the 10:30 mark, she talks about the message. At 12:15, she says she doesn’t know how to delete sent messages.

Question for Knox: Why did you keep Patrick’s message, if not to use later as a backup plan?

2. The Lack of Videotaping for the ‘‘Interrogation’‘

You and your supporters in the U.S. frequently complain that your November 5th/6th ‘‘interrogation’’ was never recorded.  You claim that if there was such a record, it would corroborate your claims, and prove you were beaten/smacked around/tortured.  A video would go both ways: it could either prove police brutality and misconduct, or it could definitively prove a suspect or witness was lying.

Until that night, you claim nearly 50 hours of interrogation (see December 2013 email to Judge Nencini), yet none of it was recorded.  Odd, if you were the suspect all along.  Witness summaries routinely are not, but suspect interrogations almost always are, if only to cover the police officer’(s) butt(s).

That night, when you said you witnessed a crime you did not report (Patrick attacking Meredith), your legal status changed from a witness to a possible suspect.  You were given a miranda warning, but still continued to talk.

At this point with your new status, the police would have wanted to videotape or audio record any questionings.  And if they had, any claims of the ‘‘police beat me’’ would have been very easy to refute.  So, by staying away from the camera, it actually creates at least a bit of ambiguity, and gives some wiggle room, should you decide to make complaints later.  It turns an open-and-shut matter into your-word-against-theirs where you lose.

Question for Knox: Did the police ever ask to videotape any of your ‘‘questionings’‘?  And if so, why did you refuse?

3. Transporting Raffaele’s Knife to Your Apartment

You and Raffaele were charged in addition to murder and sexual assault, with transport of a weapon, namely, a knife to your apartment and back.  Despite all the denials of your lawyers, it had Meredith’s DNA on the blade, and your DNA on the hilt (the infamous ‘‘double DNA knife’‘).  Most spontaneous violent crimes involve objects in the immediate area, such as the room, whereas this knife was taken from another location and brought to the crime scene.  Frankly, it reeks of pre-planning.

I considered, and rejected the argument of needing protection.  Knox never claimed she felt unsafe walking around Perugia, heck she sleeps with random people there.  If she did feel afraid at times, many women just clench keys in their fists, for something like that.

Even more disturbing, (as you admit you are a CSI fan) the knife was brought back to Raffaele’s apartment, cleaned with bleach, and put back.  Had the bleach actually destroyed all the DNA—it tends to miss DNA in cracks and grooves—it would have implicated Raffaele only, being his knife, and would not implicate you.  Rather than throw it away, like a ‘‘smart’’ killer would do, it is put back, where it is fairly easy to be found.

Question for Knox: Why did you bring the knife from Raffaele’s apartment, if not to use against someone?

Question for Knox: Why was the knife returned to Raffaele’s kitchen?  Were you hoping (as a fallback), that it might lead to him alone?

4. The Staged Break-In

You finally admitted, after long denying, that you staged an April Fool’s Day prank on April 1st, 2007, by simulating a burglary against a housemate.  You found it funny, while others found it disturbing.  However, in order to do such a prank, you needed to think in advance about how you wanted things to look. In short, this had to be planned out.

Well, the November 1st ‘‘break-in’’ at your apartment when Meredith was killed, was ruled by the courts to be a staged burglary.  There are just too many holes in your story, and in the crime scene, to believe it was legitimate.

But what is not clear, is whether the killers staged the burglary as a panicked response to Meredith’s death, or whether some of the details were worked out ahead of time.  And you had, as a prank, done this before.

I considered, and rejected the claim that it was a real burglary.  However, Judges Micheli, Massei, Nencini and the Court of Cassation disagree, and they can summarize it better.

Question for Knox: Did you think of simulating a break in at your home BEFORE or AFTER Meredith was murdered?

5. Rudy Guede’s Involvement

FoAK has long smeared Guede as a drifter, drug dealer, orphan, burglar, and many other things.  There was one bit of truth there: Guede had broken into at least one place, prior to Meredith’s death, although he had not been charged at the time.  He recently got his jail time extended though, as a result of this.

Interestingly, while you claim to not know Guede, your book seems to include a lot of detail about him.  You knew he was interested you.  You say he had done a break in, and you had staged a break in.  You allege his was done in Perugia, while your prank was far away, in Seattle, where no police were involved.  And let’s be frank: men say dumb things to impress women.  What an interesting person to bring along.

Question for Knox: Did you know about Guede’s prior break in BEFORE or AFTER Meredith was murdered?

6. Turning Off the Cellphones (you and Raffaele)

It is now common knowledge that most cellphones contain GPS that can track the movement of a user.  Police know this, and can often track suspects’ movements this way.  Smart people looking to avoid police attention have figured this out, and can turn their cell phones off (or leave them at home), to make their movements more ‘‘anonymous’‘.

Even smarter police have now figured out that people know, and can now find out if turning off phones is routine, or just a one time thing.  Jodi Arias was caught out this way.  Thomasdinh (Dinh) Bowman was caught out this way. See this.

You and Raffaele had never turned off your cellphones, but chose to (and together) the evening before Meredith was killed.

You gave multiple excuses. (1) Sollecito says in his book it was so you could fool around undisturbed.  (2) You say in your book it was so you wouldn’t receive a message from Patrick if he changed his mind and wanted you to work.  (3) You said in your December 2007 questioning with Mignini that it was done to preserve the charge in your phone.  (4) At trial, your lawyers disputed that the phones were shut off?

Question for Knox: Why did you and Raffele turn off your phones the night Meredith died, if not to cover your movements?

7. Ditching Meredith’s Phones

Meredith’s phones, both her English and Italian phones, were found well away from the home.  While it is normal to have a cell phone, very few people have more than one, and other than a friend, family member, or roommate, who would know this?  Meredith’s attackers took them both, and rather try to sell them or use them, dumped them.

Police have speculated that this was done to divert attention, and to give out false leads.  However, this amount of thought in a ‘‘hurried and rushed’’ crime seems very much out of place.  The unexpected consequence is that it helped narrow the focus.

I considered, and rejected the idea that they were part of an actual robbery.  A killer who seems to know so much about evidence, and about cell phone evidence, would take them, knowing the GPS would help track his movements.  Really, what smart killer would take a mobile ‘‘ankle bracelet’’ with him?

Question for Knox: Why did you take Meredith’s phones, if not to throw off the police investigation?

8. Keeping Frederico Martini’s Number in Your Phone

It is now well known, even if not reported at the time, that Frederico Martini (a.k.a. the ‘‘Cristiano’’ in your book), was a drug dealer you met on the train to Perugia.  You ditched your sister, Deanna, to be with him.  And since then, he had been supplying you with free drugs in return for sex.

It is also well known that you gave Frederico’s number to police, probably trying to divert attention from yourself once again, and that he ended up serving time for drug dealing.

You have enough sense to turn your cell phone off prior to phones (see sections 1, 6, and 7), so you clearly knew that phones can provide serious evidence against you.  If you truly were worried about the police searching your phone, you could have deleted his number, changed a digit or 2, changed the name, or otherwise hidden that information.

The police weren’t concerned with drugs, only with catching a killer. 

Question for Knox: Why did you keep Freddy’s number, and then give it to police, other than just another diversion tactic?

9. The Lamp From Your Room on Meredith’s Floor

The lamp from your room, the only source of light in your room, was found on the floor in Meredith’s room.  This would seem odd, as Meredith had two lamps of her own, and your room would be left dark.  Police have speculated that the lamp was used during the clean-up, and then forgotten.

This demonstrates a lot of control, as rather than grabbing an available lamp from Meredith’s room (if it were needed for cleanup), the killers would have moved outside the bedroom, grabbed a lamp from another room and brought it back.

It further demonstrates control, as there was no bloody footprints into your room.  Therefore, the killer must have cleaned his or her feet, then gone into your room to grab the lamp.  And that lamp was found wiped off prints, so whoever took it had the foresight to make sure their own weren’t on it, but had Meredith’s lamp been used, finding it wiped clean would have been a dead give away.

All of this smacks of planning, and had the lamp not been forgotten in the locked room, we would never have known any of this.

Question for Knox: Why was your lamp found on Meredith’s floor, if not to clean or search for evidence?

10. Gloves Used for Cleanup?

The police went through the house.  Although they did not test everything, very few fingerprints were found at all in the house, and only one belonging to Knox, on a glass.  Of course, it raises the question of why any random burglar or killer would do that, and points to someone who is there regularly—a resident.

Such an undertaking would have taken a long time, again, pointing to a resident of the building.  And while a sock or a cloth may be used a few times, it seems extremely impractical to use for any length of time.  That leads another obvious suggestion: gloves.

However, Perugia was still warm.  Amanda, (in that God-awful interview with Simon Hattenstone), said that she could sunbathe in October.  Even if she had them in her luggage, they would probably take time to find.  She was not known for wearing gloves as a fashion accessory.

Given her living habits, it is extremely unlikely she had her own cleaning gloves, and Laura and Filomena never reported such things missing.  Nor did anyone else.  So, where would they come from?

Question for Knox: Did you purchase (or steal) gloves prior to Meredith’s death?

11. Clothes and Supplies

You were seen in Quintavalle’s shop first thing in the morning on November 2nd, even if your lawyers contest it.  He claims you were looking in the cleaning section, but then left.  Strange, as you are not much of a cleaner, however he has no reason to lie.  You also claim that you were not ‘‘missing’’ any clothes, even though Filomena mentions a sweater you were wearing but has not been recovered.

It is also known that you have made many cash withdrawls in the month of October, with seemingly little to spend on.  Police and the media have speculated drugs, but with absolutely no paper trail, there is no way to know for sure how much was spent on what.

Question for Knox: Did you purchase any cleaning supplies, or extra clothes, either before or after Meredith’s murder?

12. Concerning The Gubbio Trip

You have travelled to many places, sure, but hadn’t really gone anywhere after settling in Perugia.  Yes, you had given serious thought to ditching the town, even buying a ticket to China.  Since meeting Raffaele, you two had kept in a relatively small area.  Therefore, the trip planned to Gubbio, for the day after Meredith was killed, seems somewhat out of place.

I may very well be wrong, but was this the first road trip you had taken with him?  You hadn’t packed anything, and you left your house (after the shower) without taking anything.  You apparently also didn’t notice Filomena’s broken window in front of you.

Question for Knox: Was the Gubbio trip for real, or was this a staged cover?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Victim As Seen Through The Eyes Of A Past Abuser: Insights From Dr Sam Vaknin

Posted by James Raper




1. Overview Of This Post

My past posts here have been from the perspective of a lawyer, commenting on aggregations of evidence and how justice systems perform.

If there are to be any gains at all from this sad affair, both wider understanding of policework and law and also wider understanding of the relervant psychology should definitely be among those gains.

I dont have formal qualifications or expertise in psychology but several years ago I drafted a post on the psychology of perpetrators and then shelved it as it seemed then that our knowledge of the sciences and the perps in this case were both still lacking.

This is the post revisited, modified and upgraded to contribute to all the new knowledge we have been acquiring.

I want to concentrate on the work of Dr Sam Vaknin and especially his respected book Malignant Self Love (see Amazon reader rating below) which has helped many to understand why some people inflict pain.

2. Essentials Of Dr Vaknin

It transpires that in fact he also has no academic qualification (or anything approaching it) in psychology.  Indeed he is a colourful, controversial character and, it seems, an inveterate self publicist. Rather like, say, Hampikian? Aha.

There is a Wiki page on Vaknin. He has twice been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has also been found to be borderline schizoid.  He has accepted the diagnosis.

Who better, however, to write on the subject of narcissism than someone who has both extensively done the research and himself been the subject of an accepted diagnosis? His output has been enormous.

In any event his book gave me what I have considered to be helpful (if not authorative) conceptual and investigatory tools or windows on the subject and I have found these to be invaluable.

So this post concerns narcissism in its many forms and consists of direct quotes from “Malignant Self Love” with my own observations and some tentative conclusions. However (and given that I am just an amateur), I have to leave it to the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.




3. Insights For Our Case

Primary Narcissism

“Primary Narcissism, in psychology, is a defence mechanism, common in the formative years”

Pathological Narcissism

“Secondary or Pathological Narcissism is a pattern of thinking and behaving in adolescence and adulthood, which involves infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of others. It manifests in the chronic pursuit of personal gratification and attention (narcissistic supply), in social dominance and personal ambition, bragging, insensitivity to others, lack of empathy and/or excessive dependence on others to meet his/her responsibilities in daily living and thinking.”

We do not know as much as we should know about Amanda’s childhood and adolescence. Unfortunately much of what we are told comes from partial observers which provides a picture of relative normality. This contrasts sharply with the picture as it unfolds once Amanda leaves Seattle. Immediately we see an Amanda in chronic pursuit of personal gratification and attention (sex and drugs etc), freed from what may have been excessive dependence on her parents. Not uncommon with adolescents but the word “chronic” does seem an apt part of the picture.

Amanda does not like not being the centre of attention. Witnesses report that when conversation leaves her in the background she starts singing loudly in protest.

The constant strumming of the same chord on her guitar to annoy others (again when she is being ignored) is another comically classic case of narcissistic supply.

She also knew (insensitively) how to make Meredith feel awkward, even humiliated “Me and Giacomo get on really well “¦. But I’ll let you have him”.

When things start to go wrong with her narcissistic self image she retreats into a dependency on Raffaele, - quite excessive in it’s intensity, - and the relationship is belatedly paraded at the cottage in what may have been an attempt to re-establish, if not social dominance, at least social equality.

The phone calls to mother when the postal police arrive at the cottage can be interpreted (amongst other things) as a need to re-establish a dependency, or mutual dependency, to see her through the uncertain events ahead.

Pathological Narcissism is at the core of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

“Research shows that most narcissists are born into dysfunctional families. Such families are characterised by massive denials, both internal (“you do not have a real problem, you are only pretending”) and external (“you must never tell the secrets of the family to anyone”). These families may encourage excellence, but only as a means to a narcissistic end. The parents are usually themselves needy, emotionally immature, and narcissistic and thus unable to recognise or respect the child’s emerging boundaries and emotional needs”.

“Pathological narcissism wears many forms;

  • classic or malignant narcissism

  • appropriative (e.g histrionic)

  • schizoid, and

  • aggressive destructive”

The foregoing forms are arbitrary categories, helpful to investigative analysis. As with all psychology the labels that are used describe mental conditions inferred from behaviour and language.

The foregoing forms of pathological narcissism represent solutions, adopted by the subject, to the ongoing gap between fantasy/the false self, and reality/the true self. They are not, as categories, mutually exclusive but can overlap as circumstances dictate.



Above: an online poster for one of Dr Vaknin’s recent presentations

(1) The Classic Narcissistic Solution

“This dissonance - the gap between grandiose fantasy and frustrating reality - gives rise to the unconscious “decision” to go on living in the world of fantasy, grandiosity and entitlement.”

“Thus the true self is replaced by the false self.”

“The Schizotypal Personality Disorder largely belongs here because of it’s emphasis on fantastical and magical thinking. The Borderline Personality Disorder is a case of a failed narcissistic solution. In BPD the patient is aware that the solution is failing. This becomes a source of separation anxiety (fear of abandonment). This generates identity disturbance, suicidal ideation and action, chronic feelings of emptiness, rage attacks and transient paranoid ideation”.

The Schizotypal PD is a mixture of Schizoid and Narcissistic Solutions. Amanda, for me, is not schizoid but I think her use of drugs, and an ego in free fall, tipped her behaviour into the schizotypal, if that is not a contradiction in terms.

Of more interest is Borderline Personality Disorder as I believe her behaviour in the lead up to Meredith’s murder is indicative of a case of failing narcissistic solution.

I think that Amanda’s perceptions were that she had little in common with Filomena and Lauretta, that she was probably regarded as little more than “trash” by the boys downstairs, and that she was “dumped” by Meredith on Halloween night. She perceived that Meredith was clearly now preferring her english friends to her, and furthermore was very likely going to supplant her at Le Chic. There was no one to reinforce her (deteriorating) self image/false self other than Raffaelle and the manipulated Rudy.

Bringing Raffaelle to the cottage on the morning of the 1st November was probably in part an attempt to establish some social dominance (or at least equality)  vis a vis Meredith but perhaps also in part an attempt at a sort of peace offering, both of which seem to have backfired. Meredith spent much if not all of the morning in bed and then was off again to see her friends. It is perfectly possible that whilst Meredith was no doubt polite she pretty much ignored the two of them. Again Amanda may have felt demeaned.

I do not know what Raffaele actually told her about his mother’s death. There is some suspicion that it may have been suicide and he may have told her that. In any event she talks of “her suicide” and the thought of that may have affected Amanda though there seems to be nothing to suggest that Amanda herself has ever thought of suicide.

I am also interested in Amanda’s “fascination” with Harry Potter. The boy who as a child survives a murderous attack on his parents by an evil wizard and is “marked” (like Cain) but who discovers his own magical powers with which to confront the evil wizard. The fascination even extends to picking a boyfriend who looked like the actor who plays the hero in the films and she even claims to have been reading a Harry Potter book on the evening of Meredith’s murder. These are elements of fantasy, grandiosity and entitlement to reinforce the False Self.

“Narcissistic rage is not specifically a reaction to stress - it is a reaction to a personal slight, insult, criticism or disagreement. It is intense and disproportional to “the offence””.

(2)  The Appropriation Solution

“This is the appropriation of someone else’s self in order to fill the vacuum left by the absence of a functioning Ego.”

““Appropriators” misjudge the intimacy of their relationships and the degree of commitment involved, they are easily suggestible and their whole personality seems to shift and fluctuate with input from the outside.”

Here I am thinking again of the brief intensity of her relationship with Raffaele.

I am also thinking of Amanda’s ability to change her persona like a chameleon (from the little girl lost routine, to earnest and sympathetic co-operation, to help me if you please charm). This is a skill derived from somewhere.

Meredith’s murder is the ultimate appropriation of another’s self.

(3) The Aggressive Destructive Solution

“These people suffer from hypochondriasis, depression, suicidal ideation, dysphoria, compulsions and obsessions and other expression of internalised or transformed aggression directed at a self which is perceived to be inadequate, guilty or disappointing. Many narcissistic elements are present in exaggerated form. Undulating self esteem is transferred into impulsiveness and failure to plan ahead.”

A sexual humiliation of Meredith may have been pre-conceived as an act of revenge when she was at a low and feeling inadequate and this may have temporarily raised her self esteem as a consequence but quite obviously without any planning ahead as to the consequences.

Impulsive behaviour is common to the above categories and the misuse of alcohol and drugs is common.

Psychopathologies ( in adolescence and adulthood)

“Psychopathologies are adaptive mechanisms”.

“The (narcissistic) mechanism is three-phased:-

(1) The person encounters an obstacle

(2) The person regresses to the infantile narcissistic phase

(3) Thus recuperated, the person confronts the obstacle again.”

Vaknin terms this mechanism The Psychopathological Default; a perfectly natural mechanism and being the only option an individual - even a perfectly rational, balanced,  and mature individual - has when confronted with some personal trauma or major life crisis with which he can not cope. The Pathological Narcissist will have the Default pre-set at a lower threshold to address any attack on the False Self.

“While in step (2), the person develops childish, immature behaviours. He feels that he is omnipotent and misjudges his powers and the might of the opposition. He underestimates challenges facing him and pretends to be “Mr Know All”. His sensitivity to the needs and emotions of others and his ability to empathise with them deteriorates sharply. He is pre-occupied with fantastic, magical thinking and daydreaming”

Perhaps here we can consider Amanda’s behaviour at the police station. The forthcoming questioning and the actual questioning being seen as obstacles to be encountered. There are the cartwheels and splits, the behaviour with Raffaelle and the appallingly insensitive remarks about Meredith and her death in front of M’s friends. The overconfidence under questioning suddenly breaks down and all too rapidly becomes the dreamlike incident at the cottage with Lumumba attacking Meredith.

“Whenever we experience a major life crisis (which hinders our personal growth and threatens it) - we suffer from a mild and transient form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder”“¦..(but)”¦.“the contrast between the fantastic world (temporarily) occupied by the individual and the real world in which he keeps being frustrated, is too acute to countenance for long without a resulting deformity”.




4. Some Tentative Conclusions

The defining attribute of the psychopath is that he has no moral conscience and he is highly skilled at fooling people and carrying off the appearance of being perfectly normal.

Amanda, by contrast it seems, only fools those who are easily fooled and furthermore, particularly because of what she says and does, merely draws attention and suspicion to herself.

In nearly all her statements, verbal or written, Amanda has had two different narratives before her. One narrative is the true version (the obstacle) and the other is the false version (the way through or around).

She has struggled to cope with the narratives when she is subjected to examination. The result has been the lying and the spider’s web of confusion and deceit, and the childlike, sympathy-seeking, performances to which we have become accustomed.

This is the narcissistic psychological default. Since being suspected of and charged with Meredith’s murder Amanda has been stuck in the default position because this time the obstacle - the evidence -  has always been in her way and, until the court case has final closure, will continue to be in the public domain and in her way. In this context the default position became critical and primal with the accusation of Patrick Lumumba and has continued playing out, but with some modification since her release from prison, ever since.

Since her release from prison her life has been organised for her in a manner that ensures that she receives the constant ameliorating narcissistic supply that is required to sustain her ego, in this case the False Self, and this has partially empowered and enabled her. It has come in the form of the publication of her “Memoir”, and interviews on TV. In the public domain she is a celebrity, even if that book and the TV appearances were not the success for which she and her managers would have wished.

She has also had narcissistic supply from (as might be expected) her family and close friends, but also from those outsiders in the PR campaign devoted to “demonstrating” her innocence. Vaknin talks of “inverted narcissists” - those whose egos obtain sustenance from providing the “supply” the narcissist feeds on. Or, as we put it in this case as regards the outsiders, white knights charging to the rescue of a damsel in distress.

Both the narcissist and the inverted narcissist have an unhealthy symbiotic relationship with each other.

I think that psychologically it will, without help, be impossible for Amanda to tell us about her involvement in Meredith’s murder. Incarceration would be preferable to a public demolition of her False Self.

I do believe that she is at least a pathological narcissist and as such has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Her condition at the time of Meredith’s murder was probably exacerbated by alcohol, drugs and an ego which was in free fall. At the same time her False Self probably tipped sharply towards the Aggressive Destructive Solution.

“Narcissistic rage is not specifically a reaction to stress - it is a reaction to a personal slight, insult, criticism or disagreement. It is intense and disproportional to “the offence””.

On the night of Meredith’s death, as a result of some event, or something said, or as the culmination of a series of events, (in which she had colluded - or which, far more likely,  she had instigated), and probably as a result of all three happening,  Amanda may well have flown in to an uncontrollable rage at the cottage. That would fit with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Posted by James Raper on 12/10/14 at 12:58 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Various hypothesesPondering motiveThe psychologyComments here (11)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Italian Reporting Of Prolonged Knox/Cocaine-Dealer Connection; Media Digging

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




1. How Drug Use Was Addressed At Trial

The story of Knox’s drug use clearly has legs. But whoever is driving it, the trial prosecution is not - they are simply sitting back and watching.

Police and prosecutors have never driven the perception that Knox and Sollecito were stoned on the night when they attacked Meredith. Judge Micheli wasnt keen on this possible “out” and besides they have never had a reason to.

It was in fact the defenses who drove the drug-use argument. Knox admitted to police on 5-6 November 2007 to marijuana use, and so did Sollecito. He already had a minor record of cocaine possession. Both tried to use the argument at trial that they were indeed stoned. But that was only to explain major discrepancies in their statements, not to say that drugs helped to fuel the attack on Meredith.

The defenses had an opportunity with Judge Matteini, the guiding magistrate from late 2007 though to Judge Micheli’s arraignment in October 2008, to try to seek lesser charges due to impaired capacities. But either they did not want to, or they were prevented by the families from doing so.

At trial in 2009 the prosecution remarked that the two were suspected to have been using cocaine (the symptoms seem to us pretty obvious) but the defence simply shrugged at this and did not contend it.

Judge Massei never mentions amphetamines. Two defense experts were brought in to try to convince the Massei court that the admitted drug use had fogged their clients’ brains. Judge Massei simply recorded this doubtful claim in his sentencing report. He gave the perps no breaks based on this reasoning.

]page 393] On the effects of drugs of the type used by Amanda and by Raffaele, such as hashish and marijuana, [we] heard the testimony of Professor Taglialatela who, while underlining the great subjective variability (page 211, hearing of 17 July 2009) specified that the use of such substances has a negative influence on the cognitive capacity and causes alterations of perception (pages 201 and 207) and of the capacity to comprehend a situation (page 218).

In his turn, Professor Cingolani, who together with Professor Umani Ronchi and Professor Aprile, had also dealt with the toxicological aspect (see witness report lodged on 15 April 2008, pages 26 and following), responding to the question he had been asked as to whether the use of drugs lowers inhibitions replied: “šThat is beyond doubt”› (page 163 hearing of 19 September 2009), while correlating that effect to the habits of the person [on] taking the drugs. Raffaele Sollecito’s friends had furthermore stated that such substances had an effect of relaxation and stupor.

2. New Reporting On Knox/Drug-Dealer Connection

Below is the new Giallo report on a connection between Knox and drug-dealers kindly translated by our main poster Jools. Note that the main drug dealer Frederico Martini (who is “F” below) and others were convicted back in 2011 and the connection to Knox was reported then in the Italian press, though not in the UK and US press.

The main new fact here is that Giallo has the dealers’ names. Giallo makes clear it obtained the names legitimately from open police records, not from the prosecutors back at trial.  Dr Mignini merely takes note of the names which Giallo itself provided and he doubted that Knox would now become truth-prone.

Clamorous [Sensational/Scoop]

The American woman already convicted to 28 years for the murder of her friend Meredith.

A NEW LEAD, LINKED TO DRUGS, PUTS AMANDA KNOX IN TROUBLE

The woman was hanging around a circle of hashish and cocaine traffickers. One of them had intimate relation with her. Another, a dangerous criminal offender, had attempted to kill his brother with a knife. Are they implicated?

“During the course of the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher we have confirmed that a person whose initial is F. would occasionally supply drugs to Amanda Knox, as well as having a relationship with her supposedly of a sexual nature.” So begins an [official note] annotation of the Flying Squad police in Perugia dated January 19, 2008, two and half months after the terrible murder of the young British student Meredith Kercher. An annotation that could open a new, worst-case scenario on the Perugia murder and on one of its most talked-about protagonists, Amanda Knox, besides making it possible to convince the USA to send her back to Italy for a new trial.

But why is this annotation so important? And who is this mysterious F. that is now entering the scene? Let’s see. When Amanda came to our country to study, in September 2007, did not yet know Raffaele Sollecito, the guy from Giovinazzo who will be accused together with her and Rudy Guede, a thief and drug dealer, of the murder of Meredith. But she soon started to hang around characters implicated in a drug ring for university students in Perugia. A particularly disturbing entourage of whose members included dangerous multi-convicted felons. The first one is precisely F. We will not disclose his full name or F’s last name, for reasons of discretion, but GIALLO knows them.

In 2007, F. is a student of psychology from Rome, much older than Amanda. The two meet on a Milano-Florence train and decide to visit the city together in the evening, Knox having gotten rid of [her sister] she and F. smoke a joint together. “My first smoke in Italy,” says the same Amanda on MySpace, a social network site that was popular seven years ago. The two end the Florentine evening in his hotel room. Photo evidence of this new friendship was formerly on Myspace, because Amanda publishes a photo of F., half naked. An aunt commented: “Do not date strange Italian guys.”

Once she settled in Perugia, Amanda continues to have contact with F. His number is in Amanda’s phone book, and they both frequently called each other, before and after the murder.

F., also appears in a “list” of Italian guys she slept with which was compiled by Amanda on one of her big school notebooks and also in her autobiographical book Waiting to be heard. In the book Amanda talks about F. but changes his name and calls him Cristiano. Maybe to protect their privacy, maybe to obfuscate opinions. She writes of him: “I promised my friends that I would not end up sleeping with the first guy that comes by, but F. was a change of plans.” Further adding that in Italy smoking joints is simply normal, “like eating a plate of pasta.”

On the other hand Amanda spends a lot of money in the several months she’s in Perugia. In September, she draws out $ 2,452 from her bank account, that’s 1,691 euros. How did she spend it? No one has ever investigated this, and she does not explain it. She says she used the cash for living [expenses], but considering that the rent she had to pay was only 300 euros, and that twice a week she worked as a waitress in the bar of Patrick Lumumba, Le Chic, putting more cash in her pocket, the [living] expenses seem really excessive.

What does Amanda do with all that money? For sure she does not buy only hashish, which is not so expensive. Was she, then, using cocaine? The [police] annotation makes you think of it. And this could explain both the state of alteration of the girl on the night of the murder as well as a possible motive. Amanda that evening returned home to get some money to pay for the drugs, and she encountered Meredith? The girls had a fight, as Rudy Guede says in his reconstruction of that night, why, did Amanda steal Meredith’s money? Was Amanda on her own, or maybe she made sure she was accompanied by Rudy or other drug dealing friends?

No one has ever investigated this, or Amanda’s dangerous acquaintances. So dangerous that the same F., in 2011, was arrested. To be precise that started from the analysis of Amanda’s mobile phone, police investigators found that in fact F. and two of his close friends, Luciano and Lorenzo, were part of a major drug ring: all three ended up on trial for selling cocaine.

On January 14, 2011 they were all sentenced. The court judges established that Luciano was the one that supplied the other two: He was to serve two years and eight months in prison.

But let’s read the rest of the police annotation because what this reveals is really disturbing: “F. is contacted by phone by the presumable clients placing an “order” with him of the quantity of drugs they want to buy and in turn he contacts various Maghrebi characters ordering. It is also established that F. associates with multiple-convicted offenders of very serious crimes in the matter of drugs, and with persons such as A. Luciano, with whom he maintains frequent contacts aimed at drug trafficking.”

And precisely in this way Luciano, linked to F., a friend of Amanda, has a terrible past. The cops wrote this about him: “The above-cited Luciano on the 28/7/2006 was arrested by the carabinieri in Foligno because he was responsible for the murder attempt of his brother, who gave him 16 stab wounds inflicted with a kitchen knife.”

Luciano, therefore, who sells drugs in Perugia and provides supply to F., with whom he is often in touch, is an unsuccessful killer. Only a year before the murder in Perugia, under the influence of drugs, he tried to kill his brother during an argument over money and drug dealing. Luciano, out of his head that evening, grabbed the knife with which he was slicing a melon in the kitchen and stabbed his brother’s body 16 times.

A scene not so different from what the judges think happened in Meredith’s house, and even from what was described by the same Amanda on the 5 November 2007 when, at the end of a night of contradictions and anguish, confessed giving culpability of the murder to Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar Le Chic, who later proved to be unconnected with the facts of the case. Amanda said: “Patrick and Meredith went to Meredith’s room, while I think that I stayed in the kitchen. I heard screams and was scared, I covered my ears.”

Where were, F. and Luciano the night of the murder? And who was there that night, instead of Patrick? Questions still unanswered. What seems likely, however, is that Amanda was not with Raffaele, who was at his home on his computer. The judiciary may now decide to open a new file on her. Will the USA grant extradition?

Here is the translation of Dr Mignini’s interview with Giallo translated by Kristeva.

Luciano [Giuliano] Mignini, the judge leading the investigation, talks “Amanda knows how to lie very well: she seems sincere and credible ...”

[GM] The magistrate has directed all investigations: it is she [Judge Matteini] who had Amanda, Raffaele, Patrick Lumumba and Rudy Guede arrested.

[GM] “In the Supreme Court of Cassation new revelations don’t count” Giuliano Mignini, deputy prosecutor of the Attorney General Office of Perugia and public prosecutor of the first trial for the murder of Meredith [Kercher], goes straight to the point.

Mr. Mignini, pending the Supreme Court, Raffaele Sollecito seems to have distanced himself from Amanda Knox. He claims he is not certain that the American girl has spent the whole night with Sollecito ...”

[GM] “All this is irrelevant. In Court of Cassation only questions of laws can be raised. They do not take into account the new elements of reconstruction of the facts. Trials are based on the acts of the proceeding. Sustaining now a different reconstruction of what happened is a question of merit that does not in any way interest cassation.”

Amanda has repeatedly argued that her version of the facts had been affected by heavy pressures from the prosecutor’s office.

[GM] “Nothing could be more false. The process of investigation and trial proceeding of Kercher’s murder has had from the beginning an unprecedented media pressure, which has confused some ideas in public opinion. The trial should take place with the guarantee of an adversarial process, with equality of prosecution and defense. When one steps out of these parameters one ends up with a trial through the media. In this scenario, the foreign press, especially the American one, not taking into account our legal system, has given its input. They created a discourse that sounds a bit like this:she is one our fellow citizens and therefore she must be innocent. “

And if today even Amanda was to change her version?

[GM] “I would be astonished. She had plenty of occasions to tell her truth”

What was your impression of Amanda?

[GM] Amanda is very intelligent. She cleverly tried to divert suspects from her, as in the case of the staged burglary, a huge lie. Amanda is shrewd like when she accused Patrick Lumumba. On that occasion she appeared credible, she was crying. She looked as if terrified. I believe she’s a very theatrical girl and in a certain way even anti conformist: while everyone was crying and were worried, she was doing cartwheels.

What was her relationship with Meredith?

[GM] “Amanda did not like to be contradicted and had a conflictual relationship with Meredith. There were constant arguments regarding Amanda’s behaviour that Meredith could not tolerate. She believed that Amanda stole her money.”

And what type was Sollecito?

[GM] Raffaele is an enigmatic character. He is a shy young man who was subjected to Amanda’s strong personality. He was very attracted to Knox who in the meantime did not disdain the company of other acquaintances.

About acquaintances, Amanda knew some drug dealers. Could they have had a role in the murder?

[GM] “I cannot answer this” But then writes down their names.

[By] Gian Pietro Fiore

3. Our Comments On The Giallo Report

As observed above, for Italians most of this is actually not new news. The new news is that Giallo now has all the dealers’ names, from the open records of the police.

Giallo’s mention of a possible new trial is presumably connected to this drug-dealing, as the trial for Meredith’s murder and Knox’s and Sollecito’s failed appeal have both concluded, and only Cassation’s endorsement of the verdict is awaited.

Giallo’s references to Guede as a drug dealer and thief are both unproven. He had no criminal record prior to final conviction by Cassation. He was never a police source, and got zero breaks, ever. He was unknown to Dr Mignini until some days after Meredith was attacked and forensics identified him.

4. UK and US Media Get Key Fact Wrong

The UK’s Daily Mail has wrongly claimed that Italy’s Giallo magazine had reported as follows: “Italian prosecutor from Amanda Knox trial gave newspaper list of drug-dealer names associated with American student”.

In their headlines the US’s National Enquirer and Radar Online make the same wrong claim, though they quote enough from Giallo to show how that magazine really re-surfaced the report.

So for now UK and US media get that key fact wrong.  This surely wont be the end of it though. The story finally has legs of its own, and clearly the media in all three countries have a willingness to pursue it more.

In the interview also posted on Giallo Dr Mignini doubted that even now Knox will tell the truth - in fact it is hard to see what she can say. We will wait and see.

5. Ground Report Also Gets It Wrong

This shrill report from “Grace Moore” about Guede and Dr Mignini in Ground Report is both seriously wrong on the facts and defamatory - she should try saying that sort of thing about any American prosecutor.  “Grace Moore” should find out what the roles of Judge Matteini and Prosecutor Comodi were, and why after a malicious prosecution against him Prosecutor Mignini is riding high on Italian TV - and pouring cold water on satanic claims about any crimes.

Paul and Rachel Sterne, the father and daughter owners of Ground Report which carries well over 100 similarly inflammatory posts, could in theory be charged by both Italian and American prosecutors, as they are an eager party to bloodmoney (a felony), harrassment of the victim’s family (a felony) and obstruction of justice under Italian law for poisoning opinion out of court (another felony).

They need to clean up their site and make some amends.

This drug report continues with new developments in another post here.

   

Click to enlarge


Friday, January 10, 2014

Amanda Knox Confirms She Faked A Break-In in Seattle Long A Sore Point To Previous Victims

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Knox’s off-campus house shared with others near the University of Washington]


It was an open secret in November 2007 among those who had known Knox in Seattle that her charge for murder did not exactly surprise everybody.

“That figures” was in effect their take.

We got to hear about boozing and drug-use. Also (see here and here) about deep anger issues in the Knox-Mellas family, and also about Knox writings (scroll down here to “Baby Blue”) in which violence and cruelty appeared front and center.

We got to hear the hard facts about the rock-throwing abuse of neighbors and passing cars in the course of a drug-fueled party in which Knox was probably lucky to be charged only with a misdemeanour.

And we got to hear rumors, but no hard confirmation, about a faked break-in near the University of Washington campus, in which Knox apparently exulted while those hoaxed were left pretty shaken.

Nobody else ever reported that they found it at all funny, but Knox herself has now off-handedly laughed it off on her increasingly bizarre and telling website. Steven Wentworth has an excellent commentary on TEKJournalismUK. It is all worth reading. These are key excerpts:

She admitted that the hazing prank, played on her flat-mates at the University of Washington, involved messing up the flat and hiding things to make it appear as if items had been stolen. Knox used “mutual friends” of her other housemates to help fake the burglary in her own premises. She acknowledges that it caused “distress” to her housemates and she and her accomplices had to apologise for the act…

Rumours of the hazing prank have been around for years, after a former acquaintance of Knox’s let the story slip, just a month after her arrest. On being pressed for details, the informant clammed up, and the incident has subsequently been vociferously denied by members of Knox’s family and her supporters. Meanwhile her defence have made repeated references to Rudy Guede’s past actions as character evidence against him.

Yesterday’s revelations will come as no surprise to case-watchers. Her decision to stay away from the appeal hearing in Florence was widely seen as an “˜own goal’, and her emailed plea to the court clearly irritated the judge. In it, she suggested that the court would be unable to remain neutral in deciding her fate ““ a move not designed to curry favour with the judiciary. Whether her latest admission makes an impact on the current hearing remains to be seen.

And then according to her own words based on a huge lie to her parents and others in her circle in Seattle, this loose cannon headed for Europe, with little structure, little money, and little intention to do any serious study. In reality she was taking a year off.

Everybody she came in contact with there was well-meaning, hard-working and acting responsibility.  By all accounts except her own, she then in sharp contrast evolved into a grating unhygienic nuisance who made few friends, and soon lost all but that oddball Sollecito. Even he she described as soon shrugging off.

Knox is already being remarked upon in Italy as “too cowardly” to turn up at what is in fact HER appeal and have to face all of those she has been smearing. Her ill-advised blog is being observed and could result in yet another obstruction of justice charge as it rarely strays too close to the truth.

Way to go to ensure a stiff sentence? Probably this time with zero mitigating factors.


Monday, January 06, 2014

Curious Parallels Between Scott Peterson And Amanda “I Am Not A Psychopath” Knox

Posted by giustizia



[Above: Laci Peterson and Meredith Kercher, the victims in the two cruel crimes]

1. The Violent Deaths Of Laci Peterson and Meredith Kercher

Laci Peterson was soon to give birth in California in December of 2002. On Christmas Eve, her husband Scott reported her missing. In April of the following year, her body and the body of her unborn son Connor were discovered in the San Francisco Bay.

Five years later, in Italy, on 2 November 2007, foreign study student Amanda Knox was at her rental home with her Italian lover Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, when the postal police arrived early one morning to return some cell phones traced to her flatmates; the phones had been found dumped in a nearby garden.

Shortly after, the shocking discovery was made that her flat mate Meredith Kercher had been murdered.

2. Parallels Between Knox and Peterson In Their Personalities, Crimes And Court Cases

There is a number of striking parallels between the behaviors of Amanda Knox and Scott Peterson and their alleged crimes and convictions.

The horrific murders of two beautiful young women (one almost at the end of the full-term pregnancy of her first child) unleashed in each case a maelstrom of publicity rarely seen in search of the murderer.

When arrests were made, there also came the stunning revelation in each case that the accused was well-known to the victim ““ in Laci’s case, it was her husband, Scott Peterson; in Meredith’s case, it was her roommate, Amanda Knox.

Ultimately, three people were arrested for the murder of Meredith (as we know, the fourth person arrested, Patrick Lumumba, falsely accused by Knox as Meredith’s murderer, was released when his solid alibi was proven). Of the three people arrested for the murder of Meredith Kercher, evidence suggested to prosecutors that Amanda Knox was the instigator of the crime.

In each trial, the defendant presented a seemingly normal and middle-class appearance. Neither defendant had a significant history of violence or widely-obvious mental illness. Their families insist on their innocence.

Yet both were convicted of brutal murders (and both now fight their convictions on appeal).

Knox and Peterson were each described by casual acquaintances, neighbors and friends as nice, regular people.

Ann Bird, Peterson’s half-sister, described him as being “charismatic, charming, courteous, polite.”  On Dateline NBC television, a friend of Amanda Knox described her as being “generous, kind, genuine, optimistic, bubbly. Pretty much all the good words that you can find in a dictionary, she was.” 

But they proved superficial assessments that in fact really only scratched the surface.





3. Reckless Odd Behavior And Lies By Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox had been cited and she had received a fine (a sentence which could have been more severe) for disturbing the peace and throwing rocks at a party in Seattle shortly before her departure to Italy.

Knox abruptly and without clear reason dropped a much-sought-after internship in Berlin, Germany, before arriving in Italy.

She posted a vignette on Facebook about a sexual liaison she had with a stranger, a middle-aged man, while on a train in Italy.

Her roommate Meredith had become increasingly disenchanted with the American flatmate who brought home different men without warning. “So she’s [Meredith] waking up in the morning and there’s someone making tea. And it’s, who are you again?” commented Meredith’s friend Brittany Murphy on the subject of Meredith’s unease at the strangers Knox brought to their rented Italian home.

Richard Owen, the Italy correspondent of the London Times in Italy, who has written multiple stories on the case, stated that Knox brought home “people who Meredith Kercher distrusted. Didn’t like the look of. It got to the point where she actually confronted Amanda about this.”

And Amanda Knox’s behavior after the Meredith’s murdered body was found in their rental home was more than atypical for someone who had their flatmate killed in such a horrific fashion in such close proximity.

  • “As she put them on she swiveled her hips, pulled a face and said ‘hop la’ - I thought it was very unusual behavior and my suspicions against her were raised.” (Edgardo Giobbi, a police forensic scientist, testifying in court, describing Knox’s behavior just hours after the murder, after he handed Knox a pair of shoe-covers to prevent contaminating the evidence during a search of the house. Sky News, UK, May 30, 2009.)
  • “While I was [at the police station] I found Amanda’s behavior very strange. She had no emotion while everyone else was upset. I remember one thing that really upset me. [Meredith’s friend] Natalie said, ‘I hope she wasn’t in too much pain.’ Amanda said, ‘What do you think? She fucking bled to death.’ At that point no one had told us how Meredith died.”  (Robyn Butterworth, a friend of Kercher’s, testifying in court. London Evening Standard, Feb. 13, 2009.)
  • “Their behavior at the police station seemed to me really inappropriate ... They sat opposite each other, Amanda put her feet up on Raffaele’s legs and made faces at him. Everyone cried except Amanda and Raffaele. I never saw them crying. They were kissing each other.” (Amy Frost, a friend of Meredith’s and a student at the University for Foreigners in Perugia at the time, testifying in court. The Independent, London, Feb. 14, 2009.)
  • “My daughter was a Leeds student with Meredith in Perugia. They went out together on Halloween. When Amanda Knox was asked how she felt on 2 November, she said: “Shit happens”, which contrasts rather sharply with the contrived way she addressed the Italian court about “my friend Meredith”.  (Marc Rivalland, in a letter to the editor of the Observer commenting on the Knox case. The Guardian, UK, 12/13/2009.)
  • “They came into the shop at about 7 p.m. and were there for about 20 minutes. She bought a camisole and G-string. I heard her tell him that “˜Afterwards I’m going to take you home and put this on so we can have wild sex together.” (Store owner Carlo Maria Scotto di Rinaldi’s testimony in court about Knox and Sollecito’s behavior in his store, taped on closed-circuit TV.)
  • “Knox and Sollecito were seen laughing as they hold up various G-strings. In one still shot taken from the footage, Raffaele is standing behind Amanda with his hands on her hips and his groin pressed into her. It was the same day as the candle light vigil memorial for Meredith, a few days after her murder.” (Excerpt from the book Angel Face by Barbie Nadeau.)

Perhaps the most controversial claim in the Knox trial was Knox’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba as the murderer of Meredith Kercher. Lumumba was placed under arrest and jailed for two weeks, until his solid alibi set him free.

Knox, who said nothing to help him during the two weeks Lumumba was incarcerated, changed her story after he was freed. She then claimed she was coerced by the police into making confusing statements. Knox’s entourage have made charges of human rights violations and anti-Americanism against the Italian justice system, though to date the U.S. government has refused to become involved.

  • “He’s bad. He did it. He killed her”¦It was him, it was him, he was crazy, he killed her.” (Amanda Knox’s statements, according to police at the police station, accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith Kercher. The Daily Telegraph, UK, March 6, March 21, 2009)
  • “She was angry I was firing her and wanted revenge. By the end, she hated me. But I don’t even think she’s evil. To be evil you have to have a soul. Amanda doesn’t. She’s empty, dead inside. She’s the ultimate actress, able to switch her emotions on and off in an instant. I don’t believe a word she says. Everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. But those lies have stained me forever.” (Patrick Lumumba, bar owner in Perugia and Knox’s boss. Daily Mail, UK, November 25, 2007)


4. Reckless Odd Behavior And Lies By Scott Petersen

Scott Peterson had all the appearances of an upwardly mobile middle-class white-collar worker. He was a salesman with a pretty wife and a baby on the way, and they owned a nice home in Modesto, California.

His friends and family described him as charismatic and friendly. But under the surface was a lifestyle filled with lies and mistresses.

Scott Peterson had hooked up with a mistress, Amber Frey, in November of 2002, leaving his pregnant wife home alone during the holiday season to see Amber Frey, with excuses of business meetings.

Peterson told Amber Frey that he was a widow, and also that he was traveling in France when he was actually in California - two of many false claims Peterson made to her.

  • “I’m near the Eiffel Tower. The New Year’s celebration is unreal. The crowd is huge.”  (Scott Peterson, from a taped telephone conversation to his mistress Amber Frey, telling her he is in Paris, when he is really in Modesto, California, about to attend a candle-light vigil for his missing wife. Dateline, NBC, 1/4/2005)

Shortly after Laci Peterson was reported missing, that candle light vigil was held for Laci. It was on New Year’s Eve.

  • ”˜Three witnesses testified that Peterson’s behavior at the candle-light vigil seemed inappropriate for a worried husband. One woman said that he showed no emotion during the service and was grinning as he “socialized” with friends afterwards.’  (From The Murder of Laci Peterson, TrueTV.com)

The jurors were shown a photo of the grinning Peterson at the vigil at the trial as evidence. He called his mistress before and after the vigil ceremony, while Laci’s distraught family members tried to cope with the situation of their missing relative.

  • “Scott came in with a great big smile on his face, laughing, it was just another day in paradise for Scott, another day that he had to go through the motions,” said one juror, Mike Belmessieri. “Scott had no emotion on his face. Scott was being Scott.” (Juror of the Scott Peterson Trial, commenting on his unusually cool demeanor in court. New York Times, March 17. 2005)

Shades of Amanda…

  • “The cartwheels? This is Amanda just being Amanda. As her friends would say, it’s an Amanda thing.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Knox turning cartwheels at the police station. The Guardian, UK, June 27. 2009)
  • “I couldn’t help but think how cool and calm Amanda was. Meredith’s other friends were devastated and I was upset, but Amanda was as cool as anything and completely emotionless. Her eyes didn’t seem to show any sadness, and I remember wondering if she could have been involved.” (Giacomo Silenzi, Meredith’s Italian boyfriend who lived in the apartment downstairs from the murder. Metro.co.uk, November 18, 2007)


5. Parallels In Forensic Evidence

In both cases, there were no eye witnesses or “smoking gun.”

In Scott Peterson’s case, the ONLY piece of hard evidence was a single strand of Laci’s hair, found on pliers in Scott’s boat, which the defense charged as being contaminated evidence.

This and all rest of the evidence at his trial was circumstantial. Nobody witnessed any deed.

Both the circumstantial and forensic evidence in the Knox trial were more considerable. Key items of hard evidence included the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment that had Meredith’s DNA on the tip and Knox’s DNA on the handle, and it was accepted at trial as one of the murder weapons.

A bloody footprint, the size of Knox’s foot, was found on a pillow underneath Meredith’s body. Mixed DNA material of both Knox and Meredith were found in several spots in the house where the murder occurred.

6. Parallels In Strange Coincidences

Laci and Connor’s bodies were found in the water in the bay area of San Francisco. Scott Peterson happened to own a boat and liked to fish ““ in fact, he said he went fishing on Christmas Eve, the day Laci disappeared, at a location where later the bodies turned up only about 3 miles away.

Meredith was sexually molested, strangled, and ultimately killed by knife stabs. Raffaele Sollecito has a fascination with knives and he owns a large collection. Amanda Knox created and posted a fictitious story about a violent rape on the Internet.

Sollecito posted a photo of himself on the Internet swathed in bandages and holding a large meat cleaver and a jug of a chemical-looking liquid. Knox and Sollecito were the only ones at the house on the day when the police showed up and later discovered Meredith’s body.

The juries in both trials concluded that these factors were more than mere coincidences, and represented incriminating evidence of guilt of the crime.





7. Parallels In How The Families Supported Their Children

Not all convicted murderers have a history of mental disturbance or violence. If there were any red flags regarding Knox’s and Peterson’s behavior, one would not know it from the descriptions provided by their families:

  • ”˜Lee Peterson said his son never posed a discipline problem, did not rebel as a teenager and was a perfect baby. He was said even to lose golf games because he did not want to hurt the feelings of his opponents. ‘‘He woke up smiling and went to bed smiling.’’  (Scott Peterson’s father of his son, testifying to the jury after Scott’s guilty verdict but before sentencing.  New York Times, December 2, 2004)
  • “She was an incredible easy-going kid even from a baby. She was so mellow”¦She loved being read-to, she loved books. As she got a little older she always wanted to be outside - building camps, playing soccer. She never watched a lot of TV - she still doesn’t. She was an excellent student.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Amanda Knox’s character the week of her guilty verdict. The Sun, UK, December 5, 2009)


8. Parallels In Family And Groupie Websites

Peterson and Knox’s families insist on their innocence. There are family and groupie websites for each convicted murderer. They each proclaim innocence for the guilty, make charges of police incompetence, and make requests for money for the defense cause and legal expenses:

  • “Scott Peterson Family Mission Statement: “˜This web-site is a combined effort of our family and our support system. We know Scott is innocent and that he has been unjustly convicted. Our pursuit of justice for Laci, Conner and Scott remains steadfast. We want to keep you informed as to the specifics of the case, the appeal, and related topics. We also want you to know how grateful we are for your prayers and support.’ (From: http://scottpetersonappeal.org/)
  • “Amanda Knox - A heartfelt thanks for your support. On behalf of Amanda and her family, we want to thank everyone who has contacted FOA to express their concern and to offer help in the wake of an unjust and unsupportable guilty verdict. We are developing a strategy to raise public awareness of this case and help bring about a reversal of the verdicts against both Amanda and Raffaele. Once it is in place, we will welcome all the help we can get, and we will be in touch with you.” (From http://www.friendsofamanda.org/home_eng.htmleartfelt)

Scott Peterson of course has never managed to get online. Amanda Knox of course runs a jubilant, taunting blog which trashes the memory of the victim and harasses her family - a first in global crime history and a foolish move given the current cold, remorseless rejection of her appeal.. Knox’s blog has a following among others also seemingly unable to succeed in normal ways.

9. Parallels In The Verdicts Jurors Delivered: Guilty As Charged

The jurors in each trial fitted together all the pieces of the puzzle: timelines, witness testimony, cell-phone records, forensic evidence, lack of solid alibis, incriminating lies, and odd behavior of the defendants.

They each concluded after lengthy deliberation that the defendants were guilty of murder.

10. And The NON-Parallels In How The US Media Has Reported Both Cases

Of these two cases, not many people have questioned the jury’s decision in the Scott Peterson trial. He has been sentenced to death via lethal injection, and he is currently incarcerated in San Quentin prison in California.

There are no repeated media interviews of Peterson’s mother in tears, insisting on his innocence and his release from prison. There are no angry declarations from Peterson family that the police, prosecution and legal system abused, railroaded and framed Scott Peterson.

If such media coverage were to exist, it would be widely considered in the US to be extremely upsetting and insulting to Laci’s parents and family and to the memory of the victims Laci and Connor.

Peterson’s media coverage, thankfully, has dissipated. He still pursues an appeals process, possibly to be heard next year by the California Supreme Court.

Amanda Knox’s story plays out very differently. After her arrest, her family hired a public relations team that puts forth a determined effort to change Knox’s image of wild child and murderer and to keep her in the news.

They obviously do not consider their repeated loud public outcries for release of their daughter distressing to Meredith’s parents and family, and they don’t perceive their actions as being disrespectful to the victim, Meredith.

Or of course, as many people suspect, perhaps Knox’s relatives do realize it but they simply don’t care.

11. Parallels In Future Legal Prospects

Imprisoned in Italy, Knox has been sentenced to 26 years in prison. She is now appealing that verdict and sentence for the second time after the first appeal was corrupted. In 2012 Scott Petersen’s lawyers filed the automatic appeal against his death sentence to which he is entitled by California law. He may end up serving life.

Knox’s prospects seemed considerably brighter than Peterson’s when the now-annulled Hellmann appeal of 2011 set her free. Now under the worst scenario she loses her new appeal and may end up serving life.





12. Epilogue ““ Master Manipulators

It is curious that the fervent supporters of Amanda Knox do not crusade for the release of Scott Peterson as well. After all, he was convicted on LESS direct evidence, and also in the midst of a maelstrom of publicity. CNN.com had called the Peterson prosecution case so weak and “unimpressive” that they speculated that he could end up with a “Not Guilty” verdict.

But with the exception of his own family, no one has picked up beating the drum to overturn the jury’s conviction of Peterson. Perhaps it is because Peterson doesn’t fit well the damsel in distress role? More likely, it is because the American public trusted the jury’s assessment of the evidence and trial, as they and the American media usually do, and they feel that the jury delivered a just verdict, and justice to Laci and Connor Peterson.

How is it possible that two “regular” people like Knox and Peterson ended up in jail for horrendous murders? Below is a condensed version from an AP article about the type of personality attributed to Scott Peterson:

It is interesting to note that life transitions are tremendous stresses to a psychopath. Psychopaths also wear “false faces” and are master manipulators. They are the ultimate con artists and they are able to fool even those closest to them.

Peterson’s closest friends “never suspected there was a monster inside Scott’s psyche.
Motive still a question in Peterson case
By the Associated Press
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP)””Of all the questions surrounding the Laci Peterson murder case, the one that seemed to be running through practically everyone’s mind was this: If Scott Peterson was so unhappy in his marriage, why didn’t he just get a divorce?

Experts on the criminal mind say the answer may lie in what lurked beneath Scott Peterson’s charming veneer “”a psychopathic personality.

“When you say you’re going to get a divorce, everyone knows that it’s a long, tedious process. The psychopath wants the short-term solution,” said San Diego forensic psychologist Reid Meloy.

Peterson, 32, was convicted earlier this month of murdering his eight-months-pregnant wife and the fetus she was carrying, and the jury decided he deserves the death penalty.

Criminal psychologists say Peterson appeared to be a master manipulator who lacked the capacity to feel remorse or consider consequences “”some of the same psychopathic characteristics exhibited by serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.

Psychopaths “tend to con people very well and they wear false faces,” said former FBI profiler Robert Ressler. “They tend to be able to fool everyone from their families to their friends to society, schools, their community.”

At Peterson’s trial, prosecutors portrayed him as a callous liar who continued to carry on an extramarital affair even as police searched for his wife. They said he killed her to escape marriage and impending fatherhood for the freewheeling single life.

Whether Laci’s pregnancy was the catalyst for Peterson’s plan may never be known. But experts said pregnancy can lead to seismic changes within a relationship.

Pregnancy “represents commitment, fatherhood, another dependent, a lifelong bond ... and all of those things are strongly despised by the psychopath,” Meloy said”¦ pregnancy represents a life transition, and there are stresses around that transition.”

Peterson’s case was made all the more perplexing by the lack of signs that the couple’s marriage was in trouble. Although Peterson had cheated on Laci at least three times, according to defense attorney Mark Geragos, he appeared to family and friends to be a doting husband and father-to-be after Laci became pregnant.

Those closest to the couple said they never suspected there was a monster inside.

Heather Richardson, the maid of honor at the Petersons’ wedding, is still hoping for a plausible explanation to emerge. Perhaps, she said, Peterson suffers from a disorder that has yet to be revealed.

“It would be at least comforting. Then I would realize that the person I knew and loved dearly was there. He was that person and the other person, too,” Richardson said. “So at least part of him was not a lie.”

Here is Amanda Knox in her own words talking about masks “” while taking the stand for the final time at her trial in Italy (CNN, Dec. 3, 2009): “They say that I am calm. I am not calm ... I fear to lose myself, to have the mask of the assassin forced upon me.”


This is an update of my post of 24 July 2010


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why Numerous Psychologists Now Observe Knox Skeptically

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding


Links to both ITV interviews kindly provided by Clander of PMF:  Daybreak Seattle interview and Daybreak London interview.

Please see the key past posts here and here and also here for some context.

Amanda Knox appeared in an English TV interview on the early morning of Monday September 23rd.

She spoke from Seattle to a detached ITV reporter in Seattle and a tough Daybreak anchor in London - tough. though she badly lacked second questions in follow-up. The interview was, by all accounts, fair, and also duly respectful towards Meredith’s family, who are in England.

But the girl or woman who is Amanda Knox we observed was neither calm nor happy.

There was not one authentic smile, and not a moment when the light came into her eyes. Her hair and make-up looked good - her presentation had been considered. But her skin was not well. As most women know, the skin, especially on the face, reveals your inner health, your inner peace.

As a psychologist, one is trained to distinguish ‘signs’, if you like, or indicators that illustrate the most crucial factors about the state of mind. One is taught to look beyond presentation and image, and too, beyond the actual words delivered, to hear what is actually being said - from the inner self or true self. Some people might prefer to use the term ‘the soul’.

What I heard in this interview is a person struggling and deeply disturbed and unhappy. I saw someone genuinely very afraid with strong feelings of hopelessness. Anger, defiance, and combativeness also showed.

But, newly, there were also signs of weariness with the self-elected fight. I believe Amanda is intelligent enough to realize that the weight and strength of the factual, combined evidence is stacked against her. Knowing this, as I believe she does, can only put her in an anguished state.

At times, one could plainly observe that a pre-rehearsed ‘PR’ line was being delivered. Amanda was being ‘a good girl’, and doing what she had been told.  Examples seem to be especially where she says such things as, “I am innocent”, “my innocence has been proven”, ‘...this case is not complicated..”

Since, by applying a little elemental logic, most of these statements can be shown to be untrue, they unfortunately sounded somewhat like mantras being delivered. Rather more that these were the things AK would LIKE to believe are true. As if perhaps, if she closes her eyes often enough and wishes hard enough, they might become true…and her nightmare would now be over.

But, alas, childish unreality cannot last. We live in a world where we are required to become adults, and to act responsibly as adults.

At junctions in the interview, where some of the more penetrating questions were asked involving human relations, an ‘inner adult’ Amanda could be seen trying to emerge. One point was where she was asked about what she would do if found finally guilty.

A burgeoning sense of realism could be detected in her reply. She knows herself in this respect: she would find it unbearable to try and live as a fugitive in the free world, labeled as a murderer and a slanderer. She actually said so, with strength of feeling. It is people’s hatred of her that she can’t bear, and it is that she is protesting about so much. And indeed it must be hard to bear.

The interviewer, Lorraine, spoke at length about the Kercher family, asking AK what she would like to say to them. When Amanda replied, also at length, she said,

“... I would like them to give me a chance…”

This sounded authentic to me, I felt she meant it. However, she added to this, sounding almost like an addendum, that she wanted them to believe she could be innocent. This latter phrase, added in a different voice and intonation, didn’t ring true to my ears.

I believe that what is truly in her heart is that she longs, beyond all measure, for the Kercher family not to totally hate her. (She gives the impression that she believes they do or could hate her). She seems to truly not to be able to bear the thought of being hated, and even more unbearable, the thought that by her behaviour (as a ‘kid’) perhaps, just maybe, she might deserve that hate.

This would seem to be the source of her anguish, and also behind many other of her statements in this interview.

There would be a way through for her - a third way. This would be to start telling the truth, the whole truth, now. It is never too late to speak the truth, and it is never too early, either. The truth endures. This is a fact of history.

It would indeed take enormous courage for Amanda to take this step. It would be immensely difficult for her because of the PR campaign. But if she could begin to answer the outstanding unresolved questions, factually and honestly (unembroidered and not exaggerated),  - she would, I believe, begin to heal her life, if this is genuinely what she wants.

She might be surprised at how much forgiveness there might be if she were to find the courage within herself to take this huge step. She quoted her priest/mentor from the Italian jail, when he advised her about how, at challenging times, we can find unknown resources and strength within ourselves that maybe we didn’t know we had.

She has a choice, and she could choose to do it. Making wise choices is what adults do.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Explaining The Massei Report: How Motive For The Crime Is Addressed By Judge Massei

Posted by James Raper




The March 2010 Trial Sentencing Report

The Massei Report in the main I thought was excellent. He was incisive with his logic, particularly, though not exclusively, with regard to the staging of the break in and how that necessarily meant that Amanda was present at the scene when the murder was committed.

However, I thought that he was rather feeble in his coverage of the defendants’ motives as to the attack which led to this brutal murder.

Perhaps he thought it better to stick with the indisputable evidence. Since this pointed to a sex attack he surmised that Guede had a go at Meredith first, and then - because the stimulation was too much for them - he was joined by Amanda and Raffaele. This works but does seem a bit weak.

Micheli, the judge who committed Amanda and Raffaele to stand trial, was more certain in his mind as to the roles played by these three. He said that there was “an agreed plan”, “to satisfy sexual instincts” with “murderous intent” and that effectively Amanda was the instigator and catalyst.

Motive is largely an area of speculation but it is surely possible to draw inferences from what we know?  As Micheli did.  The Appeal Court and ultimately The Supreme Court of Cassation may well adopt the same reasoning and conclusion - maybe go further.

And there were, to my mind, undoubtedly many factors at work, and it is these which I wish to address. I have always been interested in the possible dynamics of just how these three came to murder poor Meredith. Pro-Knox campaigners once made much of “No Motive”. Now not so much, because the issue draws people in to a discussion of the evidence and of Amanda’s personality.

For instance, Massei asks, though he says we can not know, had Amanda egged Guede on as to the “availability” (my word, not his) of Meredith during or prior to their presence at the Cottage?

Frankly the answer to that has to be “yes” since it is a bit difficult to figure out why Amanda and Raffaele would otherwise wish Guede to join them at the cottage. I doubt that Amanda and Raffaele would have wanted Guede around if they were just going there to have an innocent cuddle and sex and to smoke cannabis, as Massei implies. The evidence is that Raffaele hardly knew Guede and in the presence of Amanda was very possessive about her. If he had known of Guede’s interest in Amanda, he would have been even less keen to have Guede around.

Also, if all was so innocent beforehand, then why would Guede have tried it on with Meredith, and then pressed the situation in the face of her refusal to co-operate? Knowing that there were two others there who could have come to her assistance?

The answer is of course that Guede knew full well in advance that there would be no problem with Amanda and Raffaele. He had been invited there, and primed to act precisely in the way he did, at least initially. Why? Well there is plenty of evidence as to why Amanda, in her mind, may have been looking for payback time on Meredith. Come to that later.

What does not get much attention in the Massei Report, other than a terse Not Proven at the end, is the matter of Meredith’s missing rent money and credit cards and whether Amanda and Raffaele stole them. It is as if the Judge (well, the jury, really) felt that this was a trivial issue that brought nothing much to the case, and thus it was not necessary to give it much attention. And indeed there is no summation of or evaluation of that evidence.

Now that does surprise me. Of course there may have been some technical flaw with the charge and the evidence. But in the absence of any comment on this then we do not know what that may be.

What I do know is that the matter, if proven, is not trivial. A theft just prior to the murder significantly ups the stakes for Amanda and Raffaele, and produces a dynamic, which, threaded together with a sexual assault, makes for a far more compelling scenario to murder. It also leads one to conclude that there was a greater degree of premeditation involved: not premeditation as to murder, but as to an assault, rather than the more spontaneous “let’s get involved” at the time of the sex attack as postulated by Massei.

What is the evidence? What evidence was before the court? I do not yet have access to trial records. Therefore I stand to be corrected if I misrepresent the evidence, or if my interpretation of it does not met the test of logic.

There were two lay witnesses to whom we can refer. The first was Filomena Romanelli, the flatmate and trainee lawyer. If there was anyone who was going to ensure that the rent was paid on time, it would have been her. She gave evidence that, the rent being due very soon, she asked Meredith about her contribution of 300 euros, and was told by Meredith that all was OK because she had just withdrawn 200 euros from her bank. Filomena assumed from Meredith’s reply that the balance was already to hand.

Is there a problem with this evidence? Is it hearsay and thus inadmissible under Italian law?

Perhaps it is not enough by itself because of course had Meredith not in fact withdrawn the money from her bank, or sufficient funds to cover the stated amount, then that would be a fatal blow to that part of the theft charge. Her bank manager was summoned to give evidence, essentially to corroborate or disprove Filomena’s testimony. I do not know what exactly that evidence was. One would assume that at the very least it did not disprove her testimony. Had it done so, that would as I have said been fatal. It is also unbelievable that Massei would have overlooked this in the Report. I am assuming that Meredith did not tell a white lie, and that the bank records corroborate this.

There may of course be an issue of timing as I understand that the bank manager told the court that transactions at a cash machine are not necessarily entered on the customer account the same day . However that does not seem to me to be significant.

One must also think that the bank manager was asked what other cash withdrawals had been made if the credit cards were taken at the same time as the money.

I understand that there is of course a caveat here: my assumptions in the absence of knowing exactly what the bank manager’s evidence was.

It would be useful also to know how and when the rent was normally paid. It sounds as if it was cash on the day the landlord came to collect.

We do know that the police did not find any money, or Meredith’s credit cards. Had Meredith, a sensible girl, blown next month’s rent on a Halloween binge? Unlikely. So somebody stole it. And the credit cards? Again, just as with the fake break in, when according to Amanda and Raffaele nothing was stolen, who and only who had access to the cottage to steal the money? Yes, you have guessed it. Amanda, of course.

Does the matter of missing rent money figure anywhere else? There is the evidence of Meredith’s phone records which show that a call was placed to her bank late on the evening of her murder just prior to the arrival of Amanda, Raffaele and Guede. Why? I have to concede that there is no single obvious reason and that it may be more likely than not that the call was entirely unintentional.

But if, as may seem likely, the credit cards were kept with her handbag, and the money in her bedroom drawer, then on discovering that her money was missing she may have called her bank in a funk, only to remember that the cards were safe and that no money could be withdrawn from her account.

The missing money also figured in the separate trial of Guede. He made a statement which formed the whole basis of his defence. Basically this was that he had an appointment with Meredith at the cottage, had consensual foreplay with her, and was on the toilet when he heard the doorbell ring etc, etc. What he also added was that just before all this Meredith was upset because her rent money had disappeared and that they had both searched for it with particular attention to Amanda’s room.

Now why does Guede mention this? Remember this is his defence. Alibi is not quite the right word. He had plenty of time to think about it or something better. His defence was moulded around (apart from lies) (1) facts he knew the police would have, ie no point denying that he was there, or that he had sexual contact with Meredith: his biological traces had been left behind; and (2) facts known to him and not to the police at that stage, ie the money, which he could use to make his statement as a whole more credible, whilst at the same time giving the police a lead. He is shifting the focus, if the police were to follow it up, on to the person he must have been blaming for his predicament, Amanda.

If all three, Amanda, Raffaele and Guede, went to the cottage together, as Massei has it, then Guede learns about the missing rent money, not in the circumstances referred to in his statement, but because Meredith has already discovered the theft, and worked out who has had it, and challenges Amanda over it when the three arrive. Perhaps this is when Guede goes to the toilet and listens to music on his Ipod. After all he is just there for the sex and this is all a distraction.

Although Micheli thought Guede was a liar from start to finish, he did not discount the possibility that Guede was essentially telling the truth about the money. Guede expanded upon this at his appeal, telling the court that Amanda and Meredith had an argument and then a fight over it. It is a thread that runs through all his accounts, from his Skype chat and initial statements in Germany to his final appeal.

Guede’s “evidence” was not a factor in the jury’s consideration at Amanda’s and Raffaele’s trial. Although he was called to give evidence he did not do so. Now his “evidence” and the findings and conclusion of the courts which processed his case come in to play in the appeal of Amanda and Raffaele.

When were the money and credit cards stolen?

I have to accept that, as to the money, at any rate a theft prior to the murder is critical to sustain the following hypothesis. The credit cards were in any event probably taken after the attack on Meredith.

According to Amanda and Raffaele they spent Halloween together at Raffaele’s, and the next day went to the cottage. Meredith was there, as was Filomena.  Filomena left first, followed by Meredith to spend the evening with her friends, and Amanda and Raffaele left some time afterwards.

So Amanda and Raffaele could have stolen the money any time after Meredith left and before she returned at about 9.30pm - the day of her murder. Incidentally Filomena testified that Meredith never locked the door to her room except on the occasions she went home to England. Meredith was a very trusting girl.

What motive had Amanda for wanting the money, apart from the obvious one of profit?

There are numerous plausible motives.

To fund a growing drugs habit which she shared with Raffaele? Not an inconsiderable expense for a student. Both Amanda and Raffaele explained during questioning that their confusion and hesitancy was due to the fact that they had been going rather hard on drugs. Mignini says that they were both part of a drugs crowd.

Because her own financial circumstances were deteriorating, and to fund her own rent contribution?  She was probably about to be sacked at Le Chic, where she was considered by Lumumba to be flirty and unreliable, and to add insult to injury would likely be replaced by Meredith. In fact Meredith was well liked and trusted by all, whereas Amanda’s star was definitely on the wane. 

But maybe Amanda just also wanted to get her own back on Meredith.

Filomena testified that Meredith and Amanda had begun to have issues with each other.

Here are some quotes from from Filomena in “Darkness Descending”.

At first they got on very well. But then things began to take a different course. Amanda never cleaned the house, so we had to institute a rota… then she (Amanda) would bring strangers home… Meredith said she was not interested in boys, she was here to study.

Meredith was too polite to confront Amanda, but she did confide in her pal, Robyn Butterworth. Robyn winced in disbelief when Meredith said that the pair had quarreled, because Knox often failed to flush the toilet, even when menstruating. Filomena began noticing that Amanda could be odd, even mildly anti-social.

It seems that Amanda did not like it when she was not the centre of attention. It was observed that, comically if irritatingly, she would sing loudly if conversation started to pass her by, and when playing her guitar would often strum the same chord over and over again.

On the evening of Halloween, Amanda texted Meredith enquiring as to whether they could meet up. But Meredith had other arrangements. Meredith appeared to be having a good time, whereas Amanda was not.

Indeed there has been much speculation that Amanda has always had deep seated psychological problems and that after just several weeks in Perugia her fragile and damaged ego was tipping towards free fall.

With Meredith’s money, both Amanda and Raffaele could have afforded something a little stronger than the usual smoke, and I speculate that they spent the late afternoon getting stoned.

Of course Amanda was still an employee of Lumumba, and she was supposed to turn up that evening for work, but perhaps she no longer cared all that much for the consequences if she did not.

Again I speculate, that she, with or without Raffaele,  met Guede at some time - perhaps before she was due at work, perhaps after she learnt that she was not required by Lumumba -  and discussed Meredith’s “availability” and agreed to meet up again on the basketball court at Grimana Square.

The notion that Amanda and Guede hardly knew each other seems implausible to me. We know that they met at a party at the boys’ flat at the cottage. Guede was friends with one of those boys and was invited there on a number of occasions. He was ever-present on the basketball court in Grimana Square, which was located just outside the College Amanda and Meredith attended, and just metres from the cottage. He was known to have fancied Amanda, and Amanda was always aware of male interest.

What else did Amanda and Raffaele have in mind when arranging the meeting or when thinking about it afterwards?

Guede was of course thinking about sex and that Amanda and Raffaele were going to facilitate an encounter with Meredith later that evening. However Amanda and Raffaele had something else on their minds. The logic of their position vis a vis Meredith cannot have escaped them. They had taken her money whilst she was out.

Had she not already discovered this fact then she would in any event be back, notice the money was missing and would put 2 and 2 together.  What would happen? Who would she tell? Would she call the police? How are they going to deal with this? Obviously deny it, but logic has its way, and the situation with or without the police being called in would be uncomfortable.

They decided to turn the tables and make staying in Perugia uncomfortable for Meredith? Now the embarrassing, for Meredith, sexual advances from Guede were going to be manipulated by them in to a sexual humiliation for Meredith. Meredith was not going to be seriously harmed, but as and when they were challenged by Meredith over the missing money, as inevitably they would be, she was to be threatened with injury or worse. Knives come in useful here.

Amanda may have fantasized that Meredith would likely then give up her tenancy at the cottage, perhaps leave Italy. Whether that looks like the probable and likely outcome, I leave you to judge, but the hypothesis is that they were starting to think and behave irrationally and that this was exacerbated by the use of drugs.

In the event there came a point when neither Amanda nor Raffaele had any other commitments anyway. They got to the basketball court. They waited for Guede.

We know Amanda and Raffaele were on the basketball court the evening of the 1st November. This is because of the evidence of a Mr Curatolo, the second lay witness. He was not precise about times but thought that they were on the basketball court between 9.30pm and 10pm and may have left around 11.00 - 11.30pm and then returned just before midnight.

In any event he testified to seeing Amanda and Raffaele having heated arguments, and occasionally going to the parapet at the edge of the court to peer over. What were they looking at? Go to the photographs of Perugia on the True Justice for Meredith website, and you will see. From the parapet you get a good view of the iron gates that are the entrance, and the only entrance as I understand it, to the cottage.

So why the behaviour observed by Mr Curatolo? They may have been impatient waiting for Guede to arrive. Were they actually to go through with this?  Was Meredith at home, alone, and had she found the money was missing and had she called the police or tipped off someone already? Who was hanging around outside the entrance to the cottage and why?

There was, apparently, a car parked at the entrance, a broken down car nearby with the occupants inside awaiting a rescue truck, and the rescue truck itself, all present around 11.00pm. Amanda and Raffaele did not wish to be observed going through the gates with these potential witnesses around.

We of course cannot know for certain what went on in the minds of Amanda and Raffaele between the time of them leaving the cottage and their departure from the basketball court to return to the cottage. It has to be speculation, but there is a logical consistency to the above narrative if they had stolen Meredith’s money earlier that day, and their meeting up with Guede just before leaving the basketball court does not look like a coincidence.

From there on in to the inevitable clash between Amanda and Meredith over the money.

It is my opinion that at the cottage Amanda came off worse initially: that she got caught in the face by a blow and suffered a nose bleed.

Experts Stefanoni and Garofano both say that there was an abundant amount (relatively speaking) of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom washbasin, and to a lesser extent the bidet.  Whereas most of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom was mixed with Meredith’s, the blood on the washbasin tap was Amanda’s alone. Both of a quality and quantity to discount menstrual (from washed knickers) or bleeding from ear-piercing. Their conclusion was that Amanda bled fairly profusely though perhaps briefly at some stage.

Possibly Amanda may have cut her feet on glass in Filomena’s bedroom but if so it’s difficult to see how blood from that ends up as a blob on the basin tap and in the sink, and cut feet are painful to walk on and she did not display any awkwardness on her feet the next day.

Amanda’s blood may have come from a nick by a blade to her hands. I think the nick would be obvious the next day. If so, she was not hiding it. She was photographed the next day outside the cottage waving her hands under the noses of a coterie of vigilant cops.

She might have got a bloody nose during the attack in Meredith’s bedroom save that there is no evidence of her blood there.

On the other hand if she got into a tussle with Meredith (say in the corridor outside their rooms and where there was little room for other than the two to be engaged) and was fended off with a reflex blow that accidentally or otherwise connected with her nose, Amanda’s natural reaction would be to disengage immediately and head for the bathroom sink to staunch the flow of blood.

A nose-bleed need not take too long to staunch, especially if not serious and if there is no cut (certainly none being visible the next day). Just stuff some tissue up the offending nostril. A nose bleed is not necessarily something of which there would be any sign the next day.

Raffaele fusses around her, whilst Rudy briefly plays peacemaker. But Amanda is boiling. As furious with Raffaele and Guede as she is with Meredith. She eggs Guede on and pushes him towards Meredith.  Raffaele proudly produces his flicknife, latent sadistic instincts surfacing.

Is a scene like this played out inside the cottage or outside? I think of the strange but sadly discredited tale told by Kokomani.

In any event motive is satiated and the coil, having been tensed, is sprung for the pre-planned, but now extremely violent, hazing of poor Meredith.

I am also thinking here of Mignini’s “crescendo of violence” and where a point is reached where anything goes ““ where there is (from their warped perspectives) almost an inevitability or justification for their behaviour. A “Meredith definitely needs teaching a lesson now!” attitude.

Psychology is part of motive and there is much speculation particularly with regard to Amanda and Raffaele. They have both been in prison for well over three years now and during this time psychological assessments will certainly have been carried out.

Based on specific incidents and and general patterns of behaviour, speech and language, and demeanour, some preliminary conclusions will have been reached correlated with the facts of the crime.

If their convictions are upheld, these assessments may be relevant to sentence insofar as they shed light on mitigation and motive.


Saturday, March 05, 2011

Thoughts On Meredith’s Tragic Case And Its Significance In The Bigger Scheme Of Things

Posted by Saskia van der Elst


As one of the regular commentators on this forum once pointed out, the question we all are trying to answer regarding the pointless murder of the talented and beautiful Meredith Kercher in Perugia is: What is it, that keeps on drawing us to this case?

We all have our own reasons. According to me, a murder case seldom has so much in common with an old school murder mystery, or “whodunnit”. A victim that you instantly sympathize with, several suspects, each with their own particular background, ethnic origin and possible motives, a tragic event taking place on the day of the Death, a charismatic prosecutor, who himself is the center of some controversy, and all of this set in the stunningly beautiful medieval hilltop town of Perugia, with its two universities, its relatively small population and its many temporary residents, studying and partying in the small town center.

All are ingredients for a captivating story: a small universe, that can easily be explained to an outsider and once you heard the beginning of the story, you crave more. More information, more depth, more color. For those that have a normal, healthy brain, there comes a point in any murder mystery where you are convinced of the guilt of one or more of the characters in the story and as you near the end of the story, there might be an unexpected twist, but you can rest assured that you will find out who did it.

Of course, in real life stories don’t follow formulas, most of the time they don’t have a definitive ending and in the case of the murder of Meredith, the book is not closed. The three perpetrators of the crime have been convicted to a total of 67 years in jail between the three of them, but all three maintain their innocence. We all know that three cannot keep a secret, so it is a matter of time until one of them reveals more about the exact events that took place on the 2nd of November in 2007.

Each of the three perpetrators will go through a process of maturing in prison. Once they feel they have paid a significant price for their crime, they may realize the graveness of they crime and realize that they made bad decisions in their past. Not until that moment, they can find redemption and may feel the need to let the world know that they have changed as a person. All three perpetrators were immature in their own way when they committed their crime, so it might take a while for them to mature enough to be able to face reality.

Rudy might be the first one to reach that point, since he is more or less an orphan, with no controlling relatives, friends and others with vested interests in the lies that have masked the truth. Nobody will lose face if he decides to confess his participation in the crime. The same thing, but to a lesser degree,  is true for Raffaele. Since he never even cared about clarifying all inconsistencies in his stories, he implicitly has already admitted his involvement. He too, doesn’t affect many people if he opens up and gets clean. The only close relatives he has are his father and sister and they have not publicly expressed a strong believe in his innocence.

Amanda is in a much more difficult position, because of the amount of people that was mobilized to defend her. By now she has been the income generator for quite some people and although nobody envies her parents, they have a clear mission, that keeps them occupied and that gives their lives meaning. The moment Amanda would confess her involvement, the parents would be forced to exchange the “free my innocent daughter” banner for one that reads “I raised a murderess that is serving two and a half decades in a foreign prison”.

On top of the above, the process of coming clean might be a slow one, because all three suffer from uncertainty about how the other two are doing. That uncertainty might cause postponing the advance, until they are forced to speak up, because one of the others did so first.

The result for those that are following the case is that we know we don’t have all information yet and for us to fill in all the blanks and be able to understand what exactly has happened to Meredith we need that information. Until we have it, we cannot accept the story as is as it leaves us unsatisfied. Of course we are talking about a true story here and not about a work of fiction, but for the rational part of our minds that doesn’t make a difference.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: Motive In The Meredith Kercher Case And Its Addressing In The Report DRAFT

Posted by James Raper

superceded by revised post 12 april 2011


I have read the Massei Report which in the main I thought was excellent. He was incisive with his logic, particularly, though not exclusively, with regard to the staging of the break in and how that necessarily meant that Amanda was present at the scene when the murder was committed.

However, I thought that he was rather feeble in his coverage of the defendants’ motives as to the attack which led to this brutal murder. Perhaps he thought it better to stick with the indisputable evidence.

Since this pointed to a sex attack, he surmised that Guede had a go at Meredith first, and then - because the stimulation was too much for them - he was joined by Amanda and Raffaele. This works but does seem a bit weak. There were, to my mind, undoubtedly other factors at work, and it is these which I wish to address.

For instance, Massei asks, though he says we can not know, had Amanda egged Guede on as to the “availability” (my word, not his) of Meredith during or prior to their presence at the cottage?

Frankly the answer to that has to be “yes” since it is a bit difficult to figure out why Amanda and Raffaele would otherwise wish Guede to join them at the cottage. I doubt that Amanda and Raffaele would have wanted Guede around if they were just going there to have an innocent cuddle and sex and to smoke cannabis, as Massei implies.

The evidence is that Raffaele hardly knew Guede and in the presence of Amanda was very possessive about her. If he had known of Guede’s interest in Amanda he would have been even less keen to have Guede around.

Also, if all was so innocent beforehand, then why would Guede have tried it on with Meredith and then pressed the situation in the face of her refusal to co-operate, knowing that there were two others there who could have come to her assistance?

The answer is of course that Guede knew full well in advance that there would be no problem with Amanda and Raffaele. He had been invited there and primed to act precisely in the way he did, at least initially. Why? Well there is plenty of evidence as to why Amanda, in her mind, may have been looking for payback time on Meredith. Come to that later.

What does not get much attention in the Massei Report, other than a terse Not Guilty at the end, is the matter of Meredith’s missing rent money and credit cards and whether Amanda and Raffaele stole them.

It is as if the Judge (well, the jury really) felt that this was a trivial issue that brought nothing much to the case and thus it was not necessary to give it much attention. And indeed there is no summation of or evaluation of that evidence.

Now that does surprise me. Of course there may have been some technical flaw with the charge and the evidence. But in the absence of any comment on this then we do not know what that may be. What I do know is that the matter, if proven, is not trivial.

A theft significantly ups the stakes for Amanda and Raffaelle just prior to the murder and produces a dynamic, which, threaded together with a sexual assault, makes for a far more compelling scenario to murder.

It also leads one to conclude that there was a greater degree of premeditation involved : not premeditation to murder but as to an assault, rather than the more spontaneous ” let’s get involved” at the time of the sex attack as postulated by Massei. An Italian lawyer could tell us whether this would have added extra time on to their sentence. It is worthy of consideration.

What is the evidence? What evidence was before the court? I do not have access to trial records, only what I have read about the case in the book “Darkness Descending” and on the True Justice for Meredith website. Therefore I stand to be corrected if I misrepresent the evidence or if my interpretation of it does not met the test of logic.

There were two lay witnesses who were compelling in the trial. The first was Filomena Romanelli, the flatmate and trainee lawyer. If there was anyone who was going to ensure that the rent was paid on time, it would have been her.

She gave evidence that the rent being due very soon she asked Meredith about her contribution of 300 euros and was told by Meredith that all was OK because she had just withdrawn 200 euros from her bank. Filomena assumed from Meredith’s reply that the balance was already to hand.

Is there a problem with this evidence? Is it hearsay and thus inadmissible under Italian law?

Perhaps it is not enough by itself because of course had Meredith not in fact withdrawn the money from her bank, or sufficient funds to cover the stated amount, then that would be a fatal blow to that part of the theft charge. Her bank manager was summoned to give evidence, essentially to corroborate or disprove Filomena’s testimony.

I do not know what exactly that evidence was. One would assume that at the very least it did not disprove her testimony. Had it done so that would, as I have said, been fatal. It is also unbelievable that Massei would have overlooked this in the Report. I am assuming that Meredith did not tell a white lie and that the bank records corroberate this.

There may of course be an issue of timing as I understand that the bank manager told the court that transactions at a cash machine are not necessarily entered on the customer account the same day . However that does not seem to me to be significant.

One must also think that the bank manager was asked what other cash withdrawals had been made if the credit cards were taken at the same time as the money. I understand that there is of course a caveat here: my assumptions in the absence of knowing exactly what the bank manager’s evidence was.

It would be useful also to know how and when the rent was normally paid. It sounds as if it was cash on the day the landlord came to collect.

We do know that the police did not find any money or Meredith”˜s credit cards. Had Meredith, a sensible girl, blown next month’s rent on a Halloween binge? Unlikely. So somebody stole it. Again, just as with the fake break in, when according to Amanda and Raffaele nothing was stolen, who and only who had access to the cottage to steal the money? Yes, you have guessed it. Amanda, of course.

Does the matter of missing rent money figure anywhere else? There is the evidence of Meredith’s phone records which show that she rang her bank late on the evening of her murder just prior to the arrival of Amanda, Raffaele and Guede.

Why did she do this? What do you think? What is the first thing you do when you discover that your credit cards are missing? Obviously have a good look round. Then you ring your bank to put a stop on them. It may have been that she was not actually able to do that at that time of night. But worthy of further investigation.


The missing money also figured in the separate trial of Guede. He made a statement which formed the whole basis of his defence. Basically this was that he had an appointment with Meredith at the cottage, had consensual foreplay with her and was on the toilet when he heard the doorbell ring etc, etc.

What he also added was that just before all this Meredith was upset because her rent money had disappeared and that they had both searched for it with particular attention to Amanda’s room. Now why does Guede mention this? Remember this is his defence. Alibi is not quite the right word. He had plenty of time to think about it or something better.

His defence was moulded around (apart from lies) (1) facts he knew the police would have ie no point denying that he was there or that he had sexual contact with Meredith : his biological traces had been left behind, and (2) facts known to him and not to the police at that stage ie the money, which he could use to make his statement as a whole more credible, whilst at the same time giving the police a lead. He is shifting the focus, if the police were to follow it up, on to the person he must have been blaming for his predicament, Amanda.

If all three, Amanda, Raffaele and Guede, went to the cottage together, as Massei has it, then Guede learns about the missing rent money not as referred to in his statement but because Meredith has already discovered the theft and worked out who has had it and challenges Amanda over it when the three arrive.

Perhaps this is when Guede goes to the toilet and listens to music on his Ipod. After all he is just there for the sex and this is all a distraction.

I expect, however, that Guede’s “evidence” was not a factor in the jury’s consideration. Neither Guede’s lawyers nor those for Amanda and Raffaele wanted Guede to testify at the trial, for obvious reasons Without Guede testifying his statement would have been objectionable if not inadmissable.

I would have thought, though, that the prosecution could have brought him in as a witness, with the agreement of the judge, to testify as to the missing rent money only. Guede and his lawyers might well have agreed to this on the basis that such limited questioning would not have incriminated him further and might well have had a beneficial effect in his appeal. Convicted criminals often give evidence in court. What weight is attached to the evidence of a convicted criminal is a matter for the jury.

As the prosecution have appealed Amanda’s and Raffaele’s sentences, asking for lengthier terms, could they produce Guede now? I don’t know.

When were the money and credit cards stolen? According to Amanda and Raffaele they spent Halloween together at Raffaele’s and the next day went to the cottage. Meredith was there. Meredith left at about 1pm to spend the evening with her friends and Amanda and Raffaele left at about 3pm.

This is according to Amanda and Raffaele of course but probably likely because if the money had already been stolen Meredith may likely have known with different consequences for everyone. So Amanda and Raffaele could have stolen the money and credit cards after she left - the day of her murder.

Incidentally Filomena testified that Meredith never locked the door to her room except on the occasions she went home to England. Meredith was a very trusting girl.

What motive had Amanda for wanting the money apart from the obvious one of profit? There are numerous plausible motives.

To fund a growing drugs habit which she shared with Raffaele? Not an inconsiderable expense for a student. Both Amanda and Raffaele explained their confusion and hesitancy as being due to the fact that they had been going rather hard on drugs.

To embarrass Meredith vis a vis her landlord and the other flatmates? Because Amanda’s own financial circumstances were deteriorating and to fund her own rent contribution? She was probably about to be sacked at Lumumba’s bar and to add insult to injury would likely be replaced by Meredith. In fact Meredith was well liked by all whereas Amanda’s star was definitely on the wane.

That must have irked Amanda. Filomena testified that Meredith and Amanda had begun to have issues with each other towards the end.

With Meredith’s money both Amanda and Raffaele could have afforded something a little stronger than the usual smoke and I speculate that they spent the late afternoon getting stoned. Did they use the credit cards? If they did then it was probably small cash withdrawals but the likelihood is that they did not as in the limited time prior to Meredith’s death they had the use of her ready cash, and after her death the safer thing was to destroy them.

Of course Amanda was still an employee of Lumumba and she would have to turn up that evening for work, but perhaps she no longer cared all that much about the consequences.


Again I speculate that she and Raffaele met Guede before she was due at work, discussed Meredith’s “availability” and Amanda, Raffaele and Guede agreed to meet up on the basketball court at Grimana Square between 11 and 11.30pm, by which time Amanda would expect to have got away from the Le Chic bar.

What else did Amanda and Raffaele have in mind when arranging the meeting or when thinking about it afterwards? Guede was of course thinking about sex and that Amanda and Raffaele were going to facilitate an encounter with Meredith later that evening.

However Amanda and Raffaele had something else on their minds. The logic of their position vis a vis Meredith cannot have escaped them. They had taken her money and credit cards whilst she was out. Had she not already discovered this fact then she would in any event be back, notice the money and credit cards were missing and would put 2 and 2 together.

Very probably Meredith had not already discovered the theft because, spending a quiet time with friends, she had no cause to use her credit cards. What would happen? Who would she tell? Would she call the police? How are they going to deal with this? Obviously deny it but logic has its way and the situation with or without the police being called in would be uncomfortable.

They decided to turn the tables and make staying in Perugia very uncomfortable for Meredith. Now the embarrassing, for Meredith, sexual advances from Guede were going to be manipulated by them in to a sexual humiliation for Meredith.

Meredith was not going to be seriously harmed but as and when they were challenged by Meredith over the missing money, as inevitably they would be, she was to be threatened with injury or worse. Knives come in useful here.

She would likely then give up her tenancy at the cottage, perhaps leave Italy. Whether that looks like the probable and likely outcome I leave you to judge, but just how much of this would be precise and careful planning given, as seems likely, that Amanda and Raffaele were going hard on the drugs?

They were not in a position to act any earlier than they did. They knew that Meredith was away with her friends and probably would not come home until much later. Amanda was expected at Lumumba’s.  Guede was not available until the pre-arranged time.

In the event Amanda did not have to go to work. She and Raffaele were at a loose end until the time of their pre-arranged meeting with Guede. They got to the basketball court early. They had to wait for him. They could not ring him as he did not have a phone.

We know Amanda and Raffaele were on the basketball court (some of the time if not all of the time) between 9.30 and sometime just before 11.30pm. This is because of the evidence of a Mr Curatolo, the second compelling lay witness. He testified to seeing Amanda and Raffaele having heated arguments, and occasionally going to the parapet at the edge of the court to peer over.

What were they looking at? Go to the photographs of Perugia on the True Justice for Meredith website and you will see. From the parapet you get a good view of the gates that are the entrance, and the only entrance as I understand it, to the cottage.

So why the behaviour observed by Mr Curatolo? They may have been impatient waiting for Guede to arrive. Were they actually to go through with this? One might speculate that Raffaele was not actually as keen on it as Amanda.

Was Meredith at home, alone, and had she found the money was missing and had she called the police or tipped off someone already? Who was hanging around outside the entrance to the cottage and why?

There was, apparently, a car parked at the entrance, a broken down car nearby with the occupants inside awaiting a rescue truck, and the rescue truck itself, all present at different times. Amanda and Raffaele did not wish to be observed going through the gates with these potential witnesses around.

We, of course, cannot know for certain what went on in the minds of Amanda and Raffaele and account for much of their movements between the time of them leaving the cottage at, they say, 3pm and their departure from the basketball court at around 11.30pm. It has to be speculation but there is a logical consistency to the above narrative if they had stolen Meredith’s money and credit cards earlier that day, and their meeting up with Guede just before 11.30pm does not look like a co-incidence.

From there on in to the inevitable clash between Amanda and Meredith over the money and credit cards, the threats and intimidation by Amanda and Raffaele to scare her, the sexual assault as part of that, and the tragic death of Meredith.

In a civil case in this country, the standard of proof is “the balance of probabilities” rather than the higher standard of (to paraphrase) “beyond reasonable doubt” in a criminal case.

If my earlier caveat about the bank manager’s evidence not disproving that Meredith had withdrawn her money is unnecessary then, at the very least, on the balance of probabilities, it is proven that Meredith had that money, and the credit cards, and that Amanda and Raffaele had stolen them from her. Some might think (I do) that it is proven on the higher standard too.

It is a shame that the Massei court did not consider and evaluate all of the evidence before it.

It did not need to fear that by doing so it may have been including something which others might consider eminently appealable,  since the evidence and reasoning on which it did convict Aamanda and Raffaele of murder was sound and impeccable.

Addendum : There have been a great many useful comments on this post. As a consequence I accept that the scenario outlined above requires at least two modifications and these are in my last comment below.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Report Students Studying Abroad on Average Double Or Triple Their Alcoholic Intake

Posted by Peter Quennell


American embassies and other nations’ embassies abroad get to hear of hundreds of cases a year of students who got in over their heads.

In the past couple of years, there have been TWO notorious murders by foreign students in Florence alone. Florence is about one hour’s drive north of Perugia. The embassy simply shrugged and moved on as Italian justice worked its careful process through.

Both perps happened to be American, and both were high. There were no cries in those cases of anti-Americanism. Howvever, there was some troubled talk in Italy of the excesses foreign students go to.

And a lot of tightening up by the colleges who send a lot of students abroad, including the University of Washington (Amanda Knox’s college) and Pepperdine University (Steve Moore’s former college - this helped to seal his firing.)

Amanda Knox is one of the rare ones who shrugged off all home-college supervision, presumably with the okay of her parents. Meredith was closely watched over by the Erasmus scheme, which sadly did not save her life.

Now the University of Southern California’s student newspaper carries this report on one root cause of students facing foreign judges.

Students traveling abroad can keep glass half full

By Kelsey Clark of the Daily Trojan

According to researchers at the University of Washington, American college students who study abroad are likely to increase “” even triple “” their alcohol consumption while traveling internationally.

Students over the age of 21 doubled their intake of alcohol from an average of four drinks per week on campus to eight drinks per week abroad, according to a study published in the October issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. The overall increase in surveyed students’ alcohol consumption was 105 percent, while those underage students tripled their drinking with an increased consumption of 170 percent….

By consuming alcohol in excess, particularly in an unfamiliar country, the risks for students are greater than those traditionally associated with a night of drinking at USC.

Though instances of injury, crime and sexual abuse do occur as a result of binge drinking at USC, such severe ramifications are comparatively rare within the university’s party culture. Some of the more prevalent woes are students who slept through class because of a hangover or ruined a cell phone by jumping in a pool.

But students who travel abroad must take additional precautions as the heightened risks include becoming lost, getting pick-pocketed or otherwise taken advantage of.

And of course bumping some poor innocent person off.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Italy’s LA7 Is Running A Series On The Rare Phenomenon For Italy Of Female Criminality

Posted by Peter Quennell


Italy’s LA7 network is running a five-part series on notorious crimes in Italy involving women.

Compared to the US and most of Europe, Italy has only a small fraction of its population in prison at any one time. And an even smaller percentage of its female population. The involvement of women in serious crimes is rare in Italy - and the subject of considerable public interest. 

The first segment (which is not yet on YouTube, although we have hopes that it will be) two weeks ago focussed on Amanda Knox’s involvement in the murder of Meredith. It was very highly rated.

The excellent American reporter Andrea Vogt was a main presenter, as she is throughout the LA7 series, and the Knox segment included interviews with Prosecutor Mignini and the lawyers for Knox and the other two perps.

The third segment, which aired this week, involved Antonella Conserva. You can see her in the image above and briefly in the LA7 report in Italian below.

She is married to Mario Alessi, who claimed earlier this year, to wide ridicule, that he had encountered Rudy Guede in prison, and that Guede had thoughtfully shared with him that Knox and Sollecito were not at the scene of Meredith’s murder.   

Antonella Conserva and her husband, Mario Alessi were convicted four years ago of the kidnapping and murder of a baby (“Tommy”) and, although she was not even present when her husband murdered Tommy, she was sentenced to 30 years.

That is generally accepted in Italy as a reasonable sentence. This could be the new sentence for Amanda Knox, revised upward from 26 years, that the prosecution might win on appeal.

Absent any confession and show of contrition, which seems to us the smart way for Amanda Knox to go, reaction in Italy would probably be neutral or positive.

Like the name “Tommy” everyone in Italy knows the name “Meredith” and no last name is required. Speak up, Amanda.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/02/10 at 07:18 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Various hypothesesPondering motiveItalian relatedComments here (14)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Transcript Of Today’s Online Chat Session With Barbie Nadeau Of The Daily Beast

Posted by Peter Quennell


Lucas Wittmann:
Hi, I’m the Books Editor at The Daily Beast and I’m delighted to welcome Barbie Latza Nadeau and our readers to discuss her new book, Angel Face…

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I’m Barbie Latza Nadeau. Welcome.

[Comment From kcolorado: ]
how was your sense of who she is affected by seeing her in court everyday? Have you spoken with her directly?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Seeing Amanda Knox walk into the courtroom every day was very important in understanding how she interacted with her lawyers and her family, and in understanding how the jury perceived her. Amanda has not yet given any one-on-one interviews so no, I have not spoken to her directly.

Lucas Wittmann:
Just so you know we see your comments and will publish them live as Barbie is ready so please keep them coming…

[Comment From Kevad: ]
You have also stated in tv coverage that “we still do not really know what happened in that room”, is that how you still feel?

[Comment From stint: ]
Great job with book, Barbie. I really enjoyed it.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Yes, after over two years following this case, none of us know exactly what happened in Meredith’s bedroom that fateful night. No one has confessed to the crime, so until someone does, we will not have a clear understanding of the exact dynamic of the murder.

[Comment From Guest: ]
How do you think your journalism during the trial affected its outcome?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thank you. I’m glad you liked the book. My hope is that it provides perspective of this complex case.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I don’t think that any of us who covered this trial as journalists had a direct impact on the jury’s decision. We were not in the deliberation room.

[Comment From Wade: ]
Why in your opinion did the seattle media frame the events as they did

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that many of my colleagues in the Seattle market did the best job they could with the information they had. Their primary source was the Knox family, so their coverage was affected by that. When members of the Seattle press came to Perugia, they did not speak Italian and had a difficult time following the court sessions because there was no translator. Those of us who live and work here in Italy often helped the American press as best we could.

[Comment From stint: ]
Regarding earlier comment. Since Knox Family PR firm *very* closely controls any and all media contact with themselves, and they have reportedly blackballed any reporters even seen *near* you, do you really think you might interview Amanda in the future

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I have hope that Amanda might want someone objective who understands Italian to conduct an interview with her at some point down the road. But because I have been skeptical, I am fairly sure I am not high on the list of interview candidates.

[Comment From mnh12121887:
But why did the American media take the Knox family version so much on face value without even trying to look deeper?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the economic crisis has played a role. Many bureaus have been closed across Europe and it would have been a major expense to send a correspondent to Italy for such a long trial. I think that had there been a larger Italian based press corp it would have made a difference in coverage.

Lucas Wittmann:
Let’s explore now the facts of the case.

[Comment From Guest: ]
Do you believe Knox’s assertion that she was abused during her final interrogation?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think it depends how you define “abused.” If you mean to ask if she was flicked on the back of the head (which is a cultural norm here in schools and in criminal investigations), then yes, that very likely happened. If you mean to ask if she was abused in the way the American police have been caught on CCTV abusing detainees, then no, I do not think she was abused.

[Comment From Guest: ]
You seem to have made some strange claims in your book - about AK and RS actually NOT remembering what happened. How on earth did you reach that conclusion?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I gave my hypothesis about the crime based on sitting through 11 months of a trial. I believe that if Amanda and Raf would have remembered exactly what happened, whether they were involved or not, their explanation of the evening of November 1 would have been more clear. A lie is often very black and white. Their confused responses seemed to me to be more consistent with a hazy memory or no memory at all.

[Comment From hattie: ]
I still believe that Amanda Knox is innocent, and I read your book to get another point of book. Thank you for that. My concern is that there is so much more DNA evidence against Rudy. How was Amanda able to clean up and not leave more DNA evidence in Meredith’s room?

Lucas Wittmann:
Don’t have Angel Face yet? Order it now as an e-book or paperback: http://bit.ly/chDjIX

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think it is important to remember that the same scientific police and laboratories tested the DNA for all three suspects. That is to say, if the DNA matches Rudy and is accepted, then the DNA that matches the other two should also be accepted. How she may have left so little DNA if she was actually in the room is very hard to square. Whether some of the 14 unidentified fingerprints belong to her is a big question in this case. There were very few fingerprints on any flat surfaces belonging to Rudy either. Is it possible to pick and choose how to clean up DNA? Maybe not, but it is possible to wipe up fingerprints and footprints that you know are your own.

[Comment From Guest: ]
If they didn’t remember then why did they do the clean up? They clearly knew they had ‘something’ to hide!

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
That is a very good question. Perhaps waking up in a house with a dead body makes one act irrationally. Perhaps because they might not have remembered what they did the night before, they panicked. We do not know, but that is one question I will ask Amanda if I ever get a chance.

[Comment From Guest: ]
After 11 months viewing the trial, do you believe that Amanda joined in any sort of sex game with Meredith? It seems that Amanda did, bt then went to her room BEFORE and DURING the murder.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
There is no forensic evidence that Amanda had sexual relations with Meredith. I have a hard time accepting that it started as a sex game. I believe that if they were involved it was because they could not stop themselves from an aggravated escalation of violence. In essence, they could not tell agony from ecstasy and did not realize that Meredith needed their help. Instead, they may have helped Rudy and that is when things got out of control.

[Comment From Lisa: ]
I see that some folks her responded to the question “Who Killed Meredith Kercher” with “Amanda and Raffaele” only. No Rudy. How could that be? Do you think journalism had anything to do with that?

Lucas Wittmann:
We’re going to wrap this up in 10 minutes so please contribute any final questions now.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the fact that Rudy’s trial was sewn up before Amanda and Raffaele’s began is the reason many people separate them in this crime. But Rudy was convicted for his role in the murder, not as a lone assailant. His judge’s reasoning clearly states that he felt Rudy acted in tandem with Amanda and Raffaele.

[Comment From mhm12121887: ]
What is happening now—in Italy?

[Comment From Noel: ]
How do you see the appeal going?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Right now lawyers for both Amanda and Raf are preparing their appeal briefs. Those will be filed within a few weeks and then the date will be set for the appeal hearing, likely in the fall.

[Comment From Kermit: ]
Hi Barbie. Your journalism has opened up transparency and debate from an Iron-Curtain situation of control in the American press. Where do you see each of the three convicted (pending appeal) murderers 10 and 20 years from now?

[Comment From stint: ]
Thanks so much for this opportunity, and again thanks for all your objective coverage in “Angel Face”.... great read.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the appeal will result in a few years taken from the sentences of both Amanda and Raffaele.

[Comment From Guest: ]
hasn’t her real beauty complicated this hugely from day one?

[Comment From hattie: ]
Thank for an excellent book. I read it in one day, and it gave me a different side of the story. I hope that both pro- and anti-Amanda sides will take an opportunity to read this book.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that it is very likely that all three of the convicted murderers of Meredith Kercher will return home one day.

Lucas Wittmann:
Here is the link if you’d like to order the Angel Face e-book and paperback: http://bit.ly/chDjIX

[Comment From mhm12121887: ]
Thanks also for the book and for the “on the spot” reporting and objectivity

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that Amanda’s beauty has increased the interest in this case, but I do not think that it dictated the outcome.

[Comment From Patty: ]
Thanks for answering questions Barbie.

Lucas Wittmann:
Down to our final question…

[Comment From somealibi: ]
(For the end) Compliments on the presentation and technology with the poll-type questions

[Comment From Patty: ]
Do you think any of them will ever confess?

[Comment From Guest: ]
You’ve been a real heroine in this case Barbie. Well done for your objective reporting.

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks for answering the polls!

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that one day we will have a confession, yes. But not while they are in prison.

Lucas Wittmann:
Wait…one more!

[Comment From Guest: ]
Can you give your reactions to the 2 op-ed pieces in the NYTimes (Seattle writere)?

[Comment From Guest Guest: ]
Can we have another session please????

Lucas Wittmann:
Re: another session. So many great comments and questions, we’ll keep it in mind.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I was in Perugia when those op-ed pieces came out and they were not helpful to Amanda. The prosecutor was angry, the jury members were insulted and Amanda’s own lawyers were not happy. Op-ed pieces are by nature controversial, but they should be weighed to see whether they will impact the topic. That sort of journalism likely had more impact on this case than what anyone wrote with a Perugia dateline.

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks everyone for participating!
And thanks Barbie for answering all these great questions.

[Comment From ricardoricardo: ]
which ‘op-ed’ pieces > do you have a link ?

Lucas Wittmann:
Here is the link: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/an-innocent-abroad/

[Comment From Guest: ]
Cheers Barbie! Will raise a glass to you tonight…

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thank you. I want to also thank Andrea Vogt, of the Seattle P-I who was a voice of reason in Seattle during the trial based in Italy. The op-ed pieces are by Timothy Egan.

[Comment From Guest:]
Thank you. This is nice technology and nice pace. Could have been twice as long 😊

[Comment From somealibi: ]
Keep it going Barbie - thanks - we value an objective take

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks again to everyone and we’ll definitely keep this in mind the next time.

[Comment From ricardo: ]
many thanks…

[Comment From Patty: ]
Thank you, and Andrea, for your coverage of the trial. Invaluable.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thanks to everyone who sent question.

[Comment From Clander: ]
Ciao from Roma !! You ROCK Barbie !


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sentencing Report: Barbie Nadeau Quotes The Motive, Physical Evidence, And Alibis

Posted by Peter Quennell


Please click above for Barbie Nadeau’s full report on the Daily Beast website. Key excerpts.

1) The motive

“One can hypothesize that the bad decision came after the consumption of stupefying substances.”

But they disagreed on the motive. The prosecution lawyers began their case in January, 2009 by arguing that Kercher was killed during a sex game gone awry. By closing arguments, they had changed the theory slightly, trying to make the case that Knox resented her prissy British roommate and killed her in hatred. The jury rejected both theories, and the reasoning document declares that “the killing was carried out with no planning, no animosity and no revenge against the victim.

“The two young lovers, interested in each other and in the intellectual and cultural world around them, would not have made a conscious decision to kill Kercher. Instead, the judge wrote, they killed spontaneously under the influence of drugs. “One can hypothesize that the bad decision came after the consumption of stupefacente””stupefying substances””that Amanda verified in her testimony.”

As the jury saw it, Knox, Sollecito and Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast native who was convicted for his role in Kercher’s murder after a fast-track trial in 2008, came to the house the two girls shared in order to get high. Guede used the toilet, then became aroused when he saw Knox and Sollecito making out. He went to Kercher’s room and made sexual advances toward her. The reasoning refers to evidence presented at Knox’s trial that Guede was the type of guy that “bothered women” when he was under the influence.

Then, according to the reasoning, Kercher cried out for help, but instead of helping her, Knox and Sollecito, their judgment impaired, decided instead to help Guede. The killing was based on “sexual-erotic violence” but not with Knox as the mastermind. The jury felt that it was Guede who led that attack, and the other two, too high to know better, joined in.

2) The physical and forensic evidence

The judge’s reasoning also underscores what the jury believed to be the most important elements of the prosecution’s forensic case. They believed that a kitchen knife with Knox’s DNA on the handle and a trace of Kercher’s on the blade was the weapon that made the large fatal wound in Kercher’s neck. They also referred to Sollecito’s “knife habits,” surmising that, as an admitted collector of blades, he likely used his own knife to make the second wound. The jury agreed that Sollecito and Knox conspired to stage a break-in in another bedroom to cover their tracks.

And they attributed an unidentifiable bloody shoeprint found on the pillow under Kercher’s body to Knox, even though the prosecution only implied that it was compatible with a woman’s shoe size. A spot of Knox and Kercher’s mixed blood in one of the bedrooms, found using Luminol, and four additional spots in the small bathroom the girls shared also swayed the jurors.

“These were left when Amanda was cleaning her hands and feet of Kercher’s blood,” the judge wrote.

3) The Knox and Sollecito alibis

The judge also wrote emphatically about the lack of credible alibi. Although Knox and Sollecito claimed to be at his apartment all night, “Not one phone call, not one meeting, no computer activity or any other element proved that they stayed at that apartment.” And the judge was particularly hard on Knox for accusing Patrick Lumumba, an innocent man, of the murder “knowingly and deceivingly.”

Overall, however, it appears that the jury was sympathetic to the two suspects, but ultimately felt that they committed a crime for which they must pay a hefty price.


Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Driving Psychology In The Perugia Case: Could Those Just Convicted Be “Charming Psychopaths”?

Posted by Miss Represented




A Newish Psychological Concept

Those not yet familiar with the “charming psychopath” concept may be in for a surprise when they google the term.

It has been quite thoroughly explored in the past decade, in part with the hope of preventing future crimes.

Many thousands of relatives and friends of both victims and perpetrators have had their lives upended when one or other charming psychopath - probably part of a large pool - sheds any constraints, and a cool callous murder results. 

The “charming” component leads easily to denial. There is quite a history of campaigns that set out to deny that any particular such murderer could actually have done it.

They simply seemed far too nice. 

A widely read article by Robert D Hare on charming psychopaths in Psychology Today presented a precise description of the symptoms that should hint to the perceptive eye that something might be seriously wrong.

These are two highly-rated book-length treatments of the charming psychopath concept which have recently been selling well

Psychologists well qualified in this field have now begun to float articles on the concept as it may apply to Raffaelle Sollecito and/or Amanda Knox, and some books will presumably follow.

Here is an article “Signs that suggest Amanda Knox is a psychopath” by an experienced American psychotherapist, Dr Coline Covington, who now practices in England.

She was the former Editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology as well as the former Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council, and she has also worked for the London police.  In the article she describes Amanda’s behaviour in court:

Knox’s narcissistic pleasure at catching the eye of the media and her apparent nonchalant attitude during most of the proceedings show the signs of a psychopathic personality. Her behaviour is hauntingly reminiscent of Eichmann’s arrogance during his trial for war crimes in Jerusalem in 1961, and most recently of Karadzic’s preening before the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

The psychopath is someone who has no concern or empathy for others, no awareness of right and wrong, and who takes extreme pleasure in having power over others. The psychopath has no moral conscience and therefore does not experience guilt or remorse.

Most psychopaths are highly skilled at fooling those around them that they are normal by imitating the emotions that are expected of them in different circumstances. They are consummate at charming people and convincing them they are in the right. It is only when they reveal a discrepancy in their emotional response that they let slip that something may be wrong with them.

The psychopath is the conman, or in the case of Amanda Knox, the con-woman par excellence. Her nickname “Foxy Knoxy”, given to her as a young girl for her skills at football, takes on a new meaning.

Whether or not Knox, who is appealing her verdict, is ultimately found guilty, her chilling performance remains an indictment against her. Her family’s disbelief in the outcome of the trial can only be double-edged.

This is not the only time a suggestion has been made that Amanda has displayed behaviour which is often associated with psychopathy. It is a view that I myself have supported in the past.

And similar arguments have just been made by Professor David Wilson and Professor David Canter.  Rather lurid headlines, but their science is sound.

On my companion website to TJMK on the psychological dimensions of the case, Miss Represented, there is some interesting discussion in the Comments on the arguments for charming psychopathia now being presented.

These articles are probably only the tip of the iceberg as more psychoanalysts get drawn to this case.


Monday, November 23, 2009

The Prosecutions’ Closed-Court Reconstruction Of A Brutal And Prolonged Torture Attack

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Prosecution video not entered in evidence; this is from the fairly accurate Lifetime Movie

1. The Presentation In Closed Court

The time-line and reconstruction of the attack below were presented in court on Friday 21 November 2009 by the national crime-scene team.

From interviews Italian media reported an account of a premeditated and prolonged attack on Meredith. It included a very graphic computer simulation which upset many in the closed court.

This post relies on those media reports and documents later filed with the court. The simulation was deliberately not placed in evidence as there were fears that if uploaded to YouTube the expected highly negative public reaction could be too prejudicial to the accused.

2. Timeline For Night Of 1-2 Nov

The timing of all the events depicted were multiple-sourced except for the arrival of Rudy Guede, the timing of which is unknown but seems to have been late - maybe around 11:30 pm. Prior to that Knox and Sollecito are depicted as being on watch from the park above while a disabled car is removed. Meredith is inside from around 9:00 PM.

    15:48: Meredith texts to her English friends that she will be slightly late for her dinner meeting with them.

    16:00 - Meredith leaves the house in Via della Pergola to go to the home of her friends. A few minutes later Raffaele and Amanda leave the cottage in Via della Pergola to go Sollecito’s place.

    18:00 - Amanda Knox leaves Raffaele Sollecito’s house. This is indicated by cell phone records.

    18:27 - Raffaele Sollecito interacts with his laptop to watch the film “Amelie” alone at home.

    20:18 - Amanda Knox in Via Ulisse Rocchi receives a text message (sms) from Patrick Lumumba telling her not to come to work that night.

    20.30 - Amanda Knox goes back to Via Garibaldi to the apartment of Raffaele Sollecito.

    20:38 - Amanda sends a text message (sms) in reply to Patrick Lumumba.

    20:46 - Sollecito turns off his mobile phone. He is still at home in Via Garibaldi.

    20:45 ““ Meredith’s meal of pizza with her English friends ends. She starts off in the direction of Via della Pergola with a girlfriend who will leave her halfway to go to her own home.

    21:00 - Meredith is at home, she eats a mushroom, she lies down on her bed, and she reads some university lecture notes.

    21:10 - From this point on there is no more human interaction with Raffaele Sollecito’s computer.

    21:45 - Amanda and Raffaele leave his apartment and go to the Piazza Grimana. Less than 100 meters away from the house in Via della Pergola, the two talk and watch the house and decide what to do. They show a suspicious attitude which is reported in court by the witness Curatolo

    23:20 - Amanda opens the door of Via della Pergola.

    23.20 - Amanda, Raffaele and Rudy enter the house in Via della Pergola, where Meredith is already present in her room [On the court video there is no simulation of the meeting between Amanda and Rudy, because the reconstruction is based on testimony, the autopsy evidence and medical findings.]

    23:21 - Amanda and Raffaele go into Meredith’s bedroom, while Rudy goes into the bathroom.

    23:25 - A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard. Rudy Guede enters and joins in.

    23:30 - 23:45 [see Part 3 below] Depiction in the timeline and computer simulation of a prolonged struggle with Meredith at knifepoint, largely undressed, with her several times trying to regain her feet. She was not raped, though sexual humiliation occurred.

    23:50 - Amanda and Raffaele take Meredith’s mobile phones and they leave the apartment. Guede goes into the bathroom to get several towels to staunch the blood, then puts a cushion under Meredith’s head.

    00.10 - Meredith’s mobile phones are thrown into a garden in Via Sperandio.

    00.15 - From this moment, there are no certainties on the times for the rearrangement of the crime scene carried out by Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito. However according to the prosecution in the wee hours of the night Knox and Sollecito returned to the scene of their crime to try and clean up some footprints and to break the window glass of Filomena’s room. The aim was to simulate a robbery that ended in murder and they are charged with this too.


3. Reconstruction Of Attack

It must be emphasized that these EXCERPTS of SUMMARY notes by the crime scene team are only intended to accompany (1) extensive narrative descriptions by various members of the team,  (2) references to numerous items in evidence, (3) the simulation video, and (4) questions from the court.

It was made clear that the analysis indicates that Meredith put up a tremendous fight, over a period of approximately 15 minutes, with three strong attackers, before she finally succumbed holding one side of her neck to try to stop her lifeblood running out. She may not have died for as long as one hour.

Italian media reported that those in the closed court told them the Knox and Sollecito defenses raised no disputes or objections of any length except over having the video placed in evidence. Rudy Guede and his legal team had no standing in this court.   

RECONSTRUCTION OF ATTACK - FRIDAY 21 NOVEMBER 2009

Excerpts from pages 4 to 14 of the technical report on file with the court.

On the left door of the white wardrobe with sliding doors is found, at a height of approximately 50cm, a high concentration of blood traces.

It is reasonable to suppose that, at the moment of the assault, the victim was kneeling down, or in a similar position, in front of the same wardrobe.

The woman then dragged herself (or was dragged by the attacker or attackers) along the floor to the inside left shoulder of the same piece of furniture, and was later found dead in this same spot (this consideration is drawn from the presence of clear blood streaks).

This reconstruction is further confirmed from a technical scientific point of view, by the results of the technical report on B.P.A. (Blood Pattern Analysis) performed by the Principal Technical Director [D.T.P.] Physics, Dr. Francesco Camana, as a result of the site inspection on 18 December 2007”¦

On the left hand of the victim it is possible to observe numerous blood spots and, in particular, a larger patch on the tip of the index finger of the same hand.

The circumstances lead us to believe that the victim’s hand was near the wound when the blow was inflicted or was brought to that point a few moments later.

This consideration can lead us to think that the individual who was holding the victim still, immediately after this blow, struck in all likelihood by another person, relaxed his or her grip and the woman was able, at the same time, to put her left hand on the wound.

It is interesting to observe that there were no stains of a similar nature on the woman’s right hand.

It cannot be excluded, therefore, that the victim’s right arm remained in the grip of the attacker who, in so doing, probably held the body of the victim until the moment she fell onto the floor.

“¦ The observation, in sequence, of the light blue sweatshirt, of the white T-shirt worn by the victim, of the type of stain in the breast area of the victim and of the bra, allow us to develop other important evaluations.

Firstly we must focus our attention on the characteristics of the stain on the aforementioned sweatshirt.

In fact, this appears to be soaked with blood on the right hand side, i.e., in correspondence of one of the lesions produced in the victim of the attack.

This aspect is a confirmation of the possibility that the garment was worn [by the victim] at the moment of the crime.

Further observations lead us to believe the garment was rolled towards the neck and that the zipper was open.

Further, it must be held that the aforementioned sweatshirt was removed in a second moment from the body of the victim who still wore it. “¦

The clear splashes of blood found on the central part of the breasts allow us to argue as follows.

At the moment the blow was struck the breasts were covered only by the bra and as the sweatshirt and the white T-shirt were rolled up towards the shoulders….

The victim’s bra was found near the feet of the dead body, both straps and the closing band appear to be neatly cut.

On the bra cups and on the breasts of the victim there are numerous traces of blood.

Therefore, the bra was certainly worn by the victim before the violent action by the attacker [started and] caused its removal, allowing blood spray to cover that part of the body. “¦

An analysis of the autopsy photographs shows the presence of bruises on both elbows and on the right forearm of the body, caused by the tight grip of one of more persons who in one or more stages of the event interacted violently with the arms of the victim.

Such lesions are, in fact, due to the rupture of subcutaneous capillaries following strong pressure on the point “¦.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Summations: Perenially Fact-Challenged CNN Reports On Today Correctly

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for CNN’s report by Hada Messia.

CNN of course broadcast the notorious Larry King interview with lawyer John Q Kelly and the equally notorious legal screaming-match chaired by Jane Velez Mitchell. The YouTubes of both have been quietly disappeared. And all of its online reports on the case seem to contain bias and errors.

CNN gas been periodically updating this report of Hada Messia for some days, though it still contains wrong statements. The brief new component on today’s proceedings is in fact relatively accurate.

Accompanied by two smitten young men vying to impress her, a resentful Amanda Knox toyed with a knife and then plunged it into her roommate’s neck, killing her, an Italian prosecutor charged in closing arguments Friday.

The November 2, 2007, death of British student Meredith Kercher occurred during a twisted sex game in which Knox taunted Kercher, and the two men—boyfriend Rafael Sollecito and acquaintance Rudy Guede—sexually assaulted her, prosecutor Guilano Mignini said during his seven-hour closing.

The prosecutor said Knox hated and resented Kercher and had decided the time had come to exact revenge….  Mignini said Kercher died about 11:30 p.m. after she and Knox had quarreled—either over money or Guede’s presence at the house.

The prosecutor said the men pinned Kercher down by her arms while Knox played with the knife, prodding at her throat and saying, “Ah, you were pretending to be such a little saint. ... Now we are going to show you.”

Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the Kercher family, said he was “very satisfied” with the prosecutor’s argument, adding that the crimes should bring a life sentence.


Friday, November 20, 2009

The Summations: More On How The Prosecution Launched Forth - And On Possible Motive

Posted by Tiziano



[Above: The two prosecutors today - click for larger image]

The TGCOM news service quoted this statement on the theory of the motive.

“Amanda Knox harbored hatred for Meredith… and so it was time for revenge rather than flirting….” According to the prosecutor Amanda wanted revenge on “that girl who was only with her English friends, and who reproached [Amanda] for her lack of cleanliness.” Thus was set under way “the calvary of Meredith.”

And this report from Umbria Journal adds details to the description posted below from Il Mattino

PM Giuliano Mignini spoke of a “unique event” of a trial which has “involved three continents”, opening his summing-up address in the trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

“A media trial in which the elements which emerged in court largely vanished,” the magistrate affirmed. “Detectives in search of notoriety, writers, bloggers, and mystery writers alternated with one another in a sort of parallel trial. But the trial is taking place only in this court room.”

Rudy Guede has been the “convitato di pietra” [literally, silent guest] in the trial of RF and AK according to Mignini. “In a way he has always been present,” the magistrate said referring to the Ivorian, already condemned to 30 years in prison by fast-track trial for complicity in the murder of Meredith Kercher with the two young people.

“Supporters of Sollecito and Knox” Mignini stressed “don’t stop at proclaiming their innocence, but they accuse him [Guede] too. They say that they were not at the crime house, but they also say the assassin is Guede. The accused wanted to create a parallel trial without his being able to defend himself.”

The PM then claimed that the breaking of a window in the bedroom of one of the Italian housemates of Knox and Meredith Kercher carried out according to the prosecution to mislead the investigations “is the special key to the event and the mystery. If it was simulated, as is evident, the authors are Knox, and Sollecito who always followed her. And the objective was to turn away suspicion.” The magistrate defined the break-in as “the nail on which the defences of the accused are hanging.”

“A nail” he averred “which has fallen down noisily and with it the the defences.” For Mignini the theft was simulated “from the inside, by someone who wanted to turn away suspicions and maybe direct them towards Rudy.”

Amanda Knox “knowingly accused an innocent man”... The reference is to Patrick Lumumba who, however, he did not expressly name, involved in the investigations of the murder of Meredith Kercher through the statements to the police of the young American and then absolved of any wrong-doing (he has actually nominated as a civil complainant against the American who is accused of defamation against him).

“Amanda” the [prosecutor] stressed “did not lift a finger while he was languishing in prison. Neither she nor her mother who was in her confidence. And what a coincidence” Mignini continued “it was a matter of a coloured person like Rudy”

 


Friday, June 12, 2009

Defendant Testifies: Is This A Prosecutor’s Dream Come True?

Posted by Arnold_Layne



[click for larger image]

To my knowledge, in the past when Amanda has spoken on her own behalf she was not challenged by the prosecution.  Friday will be different.  On Friday, she will be asked to reconcile discrepancies in her statements.  She will not be a sworn-in witness so it is not clear which lines of questioning will be allowed but the prosecutor will certainly try to impeach her.  If she is a psychopath, things could get knarly.

You’ve all seen it many times on crime shows.  On cross examination, the witness offers some testimony, for example, the fact that she has never been married.  The lawyer then asks to offer into evidence a marriage certificate.  Reducing the credibility of a witness in this fashion is known as impeaching the witness.  There are special rules that apply which allow the attorney to ask questions not normally allowed.  To discredit a claim made by the witness, the prosecutor could, for example, enter new evidence not presented previously during the prosecution phase of the trial.  The jury is then instructed to use the evidence only as it reduces the credibility of the witness but to ignore it when otherwise considering the guilt or innocence.  That’s expecting a lot.

One characteristic of a psychopath is the ability to lie with facility.  This does not mean the ability to spin a yarn or to make up a good story.  Most of us can do this.  It also doesn’t mean that the lie is particularly bad (a boldface lie).  When asked a question when the truth is not going to yield a desirable outcome, most of us will pause a little, maybe lift our eyes upward, as we weigh the consequences of the lie.  Someone who can lie with facility speaks the lie as fast as they would the truth and with the same conviction.

The problem, of course, is that without the pause there is no weighing of the implications of the lie.  There is little checking for consistency.  In social situations this can easily be maneuvered around by saying something along the lines of, “Aw, I was just jokin’”.  Guede adjusted his story to meet the facts as they emerged.  Amanda now also knows the evidence against her and she’s had plenty of time to create a story to match it.  She will be on stable ground here as the Judge and jury weigh her statements against those put forth by the prosecution.  This is a good reason to only have one of the two defendants testify.  They can’t trip each other up.

Cross, on the other hand, is going to be a minefield for her.  Not only will the prosecution point out discrepancies but they will challenge her on them and she will be under pressure to correct them.  She will be up against a trial lawyer’s strong suit.  Mignini will be trying to impeach her.  If she steps on one of his mines, she will probably step on many ““ and he’ll be laying even more as she speaks.

Other incendiaries include her basking in the attention and notoriety she is getting.  Additionally, she is a creative writer.  Who can say what this might lead her to say if she strays from the straight and narrow.

I give her credit for doing this but I certainly don’t envy her.  I can’t say that I have ever done anything tougher myself.  I wouldn’t eat for two days, just as a precautionary measure. Btw “can you smoke on the witness stand?” I’d bring a carton, of Luckies.


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