Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The 140-Page Conti-Vecchiotti Report On The Partial DNA Review Is Released

Posted by Peter Quennell

The report is much in the news in Italy. We don’t yet see a good English language report and a full translation will take a few days..

The experts have concluded that the LCN test of Meredith’s DNA on Sollecito’s large knife may have been invalid. This was the one-time-only test that every defense expert chose to skip.

Also that they cannot rule out that there was no contamination on the bra clasp (above) and that Sollecito’s DNA might indeed have flown through the air - though from where? There was only one other DNA sample for Sollecito in the entire house.

Italy does follow its own DNA protocols, but for reasons that are not altogether bad. It is very common for nations to depart from international protocols in all areas, not only forensic, if they think theirs are in some ways better.

Jurors did not say after the 2009 trial that either of these bits of evidence or non-evidence were the make-or-break items for them. The defenses asked for 33 re-examinations of evidence in their appeal submission but were granted only these two.

The DNA in the bathroom and the corridor and Filomena’s room all still looms very large. So do the cellphone, computer, eyewitness and alibi testimony. For the defense, it seems still an uphill task.


The following evidence is also key: the mixed blood samples, Sollecito’s bloody footprint on the blue bathmat, Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare bloody footprints which were revealed by Luminol, the three traces of Meredith’s blood in Knox’s room, the mobile phone and computer records that provide irrefutable proof that Knox and Sollecito lied, Knox’s telephone calls and conversations with Filomena on 2 November 2007, Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Diya Lumumba which she didn’t retract the whole time he was in prison, the staged break-in, the testimony of Nara Capezzali and Marco Qunitavalle and the testimony of countless forensic experts who testified that more than one person killed Meredith.

Posted by The Machine on 06/29/11 at 05:16 PM | #

It’s also a long haul, Pete. Perhaps we all need to be reminded this is a small victory for the defense, which may or may not be resolved until this ends up in the Supreme Court, as we always thought it would.
But yeah, “bombshells in court”, as I said.

Posted by Ergon on 06/29/11 at 05:17 PM | #

It increasingly sounds like it just might be a sloppy report that the prosecution and scientific experts will contend, though that may be just the cherrypicking by the media now going on.

“Contamination cannot be ruled out” has long been a defense mantra though once again we get no actual proof of that.

And questions are already beginning to surface as to why this report has been leaked now. It was to be the court’s function tomorrow to accept (or not accept) the report and then choose or not to release it as a court document.

One of the two experts who wrote the report was reported as having compromising connections when they were appointed which maybe should led to them being replaced by someone neutral.

Poster DGFred has just posted these good questions on PMF:


Who would have ‘leaked’ the information/analysis?

Why would it be ‘leaked’ if they were going to only give their reports to the court tomorrow?

Were they not going to ‘review’ their findings at a later date?

Are they going to be ‘in trouble’ for leaking the report?

Why would they ‘leak’ this anyway?

Couldn’t they have ‘leaked’ the information earlier?

Something smells rotten to me.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/29/11 at 05:27 PM | #

did they leak the report or someone else who may have had access ...lawyers for example

Posted by mojo on 06/29/11 at 06:14 PM | #

Well in our estimation maybe 90 percent of the leaks throughout the entire case many of them inaccurate have come from the defense. One of the experts may be in cahoots with them. Girlanda has been nosing around. Conclude what you may from that. Mignini never or almost never leaks by the way.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/29/11 at 06:34 PM | #

We look forward to the full translation. You say of the knife, Peter, that the testing “...may have been invalid,” which raises a doubt while falling short of rejection.

There remains also Sollecito’s unquestioning acceptance of a trace of blood on the blade of his kitchen knife along with his invented reason for it. Dr. Stefanoni (?) may also give her own strong defense, with presented evidence.

As for contamination of the bra clasp, it has been often reported that the quantity of DNA was large: only problem was in date of its collection & possibly in part because it was hidden under pillow or duvet.

Addressing the question of possible motive, here. I could imagine (as a guess) that the mere doubt raised could favor the Italian Sollecito who might be seen as a comparative weakling who let himself be dragged into this misadventure by the far more energetic & decisive Amanda.

Predictions mean nothing by way of fact & I live in retirement in “upstate” New York, as the locals sometimes say, far from the Italian scene. Yet I dare predict by way of expressing my sense of values & motives at work:

The knife & bra-clasp evidence will not be entirely dismissed but the doubt of experts will be acknowledged by the court. On strength of this a reduced sentence for Sollecito may be in prospect—& in view of the reduction in Guede’s term.

It seems unlikely that Amanda’s sentence will be reduced given many factors not here to be mentioned.  In neither case will a verdict of innocence be returned.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 06/29/11 at 06:57 PM | #

There are two different copies of the conclusion around Italy in this moment;
this: Mac OS X 10.6.7 Quartz PDFContext 20110629112955Z00’00’
and this: Generic 35C-4 20110629125729+01’00’

both the scans are registered with the stamp of the Court of Perugia, so ….

Posted by ncountryside on 06/29/11 at 06:58 PM | #

A surprisingly fair and balanced report from the New York T*mes.

‘The lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, said the word of the independent experts would not be the last word, and said he would raise his objections during the last week in July, when the report will be formally discussed during a week of hearings.

He said that the scientific police and the consultants who carried out the original tests had far more experience than the independent experts appointed by the court. “I was surprised that these experts were so certain, and gave such strong, drastic opinions, given that they don’t have the same number of years of experience under their belt,” Mr. Maresca said.

Other accusers of Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito said that the DNA was just one piece of evidence in the case that they built against them, based on various testimonies, their lack of an alibi and what prosecutors say is other damning physical evidence, which has not been reviewed. During one interrogation, too, Ms. Knox allowed that she was in the house while Ms. Kercher was murdered, an admission she later retracted.

“The first jury decided looking at a wide range of evidence, the DNA was only part of it,” said one prosecutor, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case. “Everything else still stands.” ’

Posted by Janus on 06/30/11 at 02:44 AM | #

The independent forensic experts report seems very favourable for Knox and Sollecito and discards both items, the bra clasp and the double-DNA knife as reliable evidence. Barbie tweeted that protocols weren’t followed and that they cannot exclude the possibility of contamination. They also say that Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the knife blade is not acceptable evidence, because it is low copy number. According to Barbie “Experts say neither bra clasp nor knife testing followed rules of Comunita Scientifica Internazionale.”

I agree with Peter Quennell that the “leaking” is a bit suspicious. Since days there are Knox supporters claiming to know what the report was going to say and I have to wonder why. It has been released just a few hours ago, how could they have known with certainty what the results were?

Posted by Nell on 06/30/11 at 02:46 AM | #

In my book if you consider the timing it has to be a
leak by the defense. or perhaps Curt Knox since all it does is raise the hopes and give credence to FOA among others. I think it’s just another way of promoting their belief ( contrived or not) in Knox’s innocence. Don’t forget there is quite a large Amanda Knox cottage industry going on and if and when this trial ends then their little golden goose is cooked. ie No more books and articles in various newspapers promoting the conspiracy theories so rampant these days.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 06/30/11 at 02:51 AM | #

We have the full report in Italian in text and PDF format. We are doubting that it is worth translating. It is puzzling to say the least. Half or more of it is straight text from basic handbooks.

This is from one of our internal emails.


I haven’t read the whole report, not even half, but my first impression is just like [a] source said, it is “perplexing”.

Just to give an example, there’s quite a number of pages in the report that are basically guidelines instructions on certain procedures and it quotes various sources and seems it doesn’t lead to anything other than just quoting books/references dates and titles.

I’m sure Stefanoni and others will thank them for the bibliography! Embarrased smile. I’m talking about these two chapters:

1) Guidelines for inspection and evidence collection techniques ((from page 32 to 39))

2) Guidelines for laboratory investigations for forensic purposes ((From page 40 to 49))

Also it seems to concentrate a lot on the NO blood substance found on the double DNA knife. Well, Stefanoni already said that three years ago and as far as I read in the report it does not absolutely exclude that DNA was on either exhibit, the word being used is “uncertain”, which is not a certainty one way or the other.

The FOA can spin this as much as they like but let’s remember that the Court [judges] will have to pass judgement on this particular report once they hear all the arguments from all other consultants who were also present during this review and of course the prosecution and civil party.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30/11 at 02:52 AM | #

Someone, please, tell me that this evil Knox is not going to get away with murdering Meredith Kercher. I’m now worried she’s going to get off scot-free, and swan off back to Seattle having sent Meredith to her grave.

This DNA news is VERY SUSPICIOUS and truly puke making to read. Amanda Knox is a guilty evil murderer but she seems to be getting everything her own way.

(1) How much money has Curt Knox paid the scientists to come in with a favorable DNA report?

(2) Now I know why Amanda’s defense needed an extra 40 day extension - they needed more time for Curt to seal the financing for the bribes.

Knox is GUILTY. If she does pay her way out of Italy, I hope her plane crashes and burns above the Atlantic before she reaches US shores.

Posted by proud-american on 06/30/11 at 03:32 AM | #


Even though the independent experts report seems disappointing, I don’t believe it is going to make or brake the case. It is my believe that Judge Pratillo Hellmann is (and always has been) very cautious. If these two pieces of evidence raise doubts than be it, but there is plenty of other evidence that stands.

In my opinion, the double-DNA knife only gives us information about the dynamic of the crime. I believe it proves that there was some premeditation, because otherwise they wouldn’t have brought the big kitchen knife from Raffaele’s flat to the cottage. Other scientist disagree with the findings of the court appointed experts and find Dr. Stefanoni’s results to be reliable. You can chose whoever you want to give more credibility.

What is most incriminating in my point of view, is not the fact that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox don’t have an alibi, but that they lied about what they did and when they did it, and that their stories don’t match. Furthermore there is the staged break-in that shows that Amanda Knox was involved, as she was the only one who could have had an interest to lead the attention of police investigators away from the cottage.

More incriminating than the double-DNA knife is Amanda Knox’ DNA mixed with the victim’s blood at different spots in the house. That is the most damning evidence against her in my opinion. Knox supporters always respond that it is not sensational to find your own DNA in your house and that is true. What is noteworthy though is the fact that other flatmate’s DNA wasn’t found mingled with Meredith Kercher’s blood, only Amanda’s. The DNA/blood mix wasn’t restricted to the bathroom either like the family of Amanda Knox wants you to believe. The most incriminating (and cleaned) spot was revealed in Filomena’s room, where the break-in was staged. The clean-up alone is highly incriminating for Amanda Knox.

Even if the court would dismiss the bra clasp and double-DNA knife, I don’t see her exonerated anytime soon.

Posted by Nell on 06/30/11 at 04:31 AM | #

Hi proud-american,

Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Professor Giuseppe Novelli and Dr. Emiliano Giardina will challenge the findings of Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti in court next month. Judge Hellman will then decide whose opinion is more valid.

Posted by The Machine on 06/30/11 at 09:42 AM | #

Hello everyone.  I am making my first tenuous and nervous steps into this debate.

I find everything about the report and its leaking unusual.  Do I sense the subtle brain of Giulia Bongiorno at work?

The two pieces of evidence (to my mind) are not equivalent.  The knife always seemed to me of far slighter value than the bra clasp.  My (imperfect) understanding was that the amount of DNA on the bra clasp was sufficient for a clear result to be obtained.  It placed Sollecito in the room. If the real report (not the spun version) casts doubt on this then Sollecito has made a real move.

Will this help Amanda?  Will Giulia Bongiorno consider sacrificing Knox for the sake of her precious client?

Just thoughts.

Please keep up the good work.  The true victim of this, Meredith, requires of of us all that we do everything to ensure that justice is done.

Posted by Peter Oliver on 06/30/11 at 01:24 PM | #

Hi Peter,

A number of Italy’s most experienced and respected DNA experts have confirmed that Sollecitio’s DNA was on the bra clasp. Former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano said the following about the bra clasp evidence:

“The RFU number is high enough. So the result is perfect.”

The prosecution’s experts will have the opportunity to challenge the findings of Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti in court next month.

The computer forensic evidence and mobile phone records provide irrefutable proof that Sollecito lied repeatedly to the police. He gave three different alibis to the police and they all turned out to be false. He also left a visible bloody footprint on the bathmat. He will lose his appeal.

Posted by The Machine on 06/30/11 at 01:54 PM | #

These are all of our postings on the subject of all of the DNA.

For a correct perspective the Machine’s post of December 20, 2010 is an especially important read.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30/11 at 03:00 PM | #

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