Thursday, July 23, 2009

Case For The Prosecution: #2 The Tough Footprint Evidence

Posted by The Machine

1. Preamble

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in five parts, with a commentary on matters of key significance.

The material has been reordered so that evidence presented at several points in the trial can be described in one post here. Sources used are the many published reports and some transcripts made of the testimony. The first post, below, was on the formidable DNA evidence.

In this post we now elaborate the footprint evidence, some of which is easily visible and some of which is only apparent with the use of luminol.

We reported what happened in the court here and here.

Kermit in his Powerpoint series provided us with accurate prior analysis and post analysis of these flootprints and shoeprints, and Kermit also presented a Powerpoint map of the cottage.

2. About luminol

Luminol is a chemical that reacts with the microscopic particles of iron in the blood if a partial but incomplete attempt has been made to clean a bloodstain away.

The blood traces glow a bright blue quite fleetingly in the dark under luminol, just long enough to allow forensic investigators to measure and photograph it.

Luminol evidence can be among the most compelling. If bloodstains show up under luminol, but not to the naked eye, then it is almost a complete certainty that a crime-scene clean-up has been attempted.

Lorenzo Rinaldi is the director of the print-identity division of Italy’s scientific police, the Italian equivalent of Scotland Yard or the FBI. He testified that one visible and three luminol-revealed footprints and a visible shoeprint belonged to the present two defendants, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. (Another shoeprint belonged to Guede, convicted last October.)

3. Evidence Against Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox’s footprints were found set in Meredith’s blood in two places in the hallway of the new wing of Meredith’s house. . One print was exiting her own room, and one print was outside Meredith’s room, facing into the room. These bloody footprints were only revealed under luminol.

The fact that there was an absence of any visible bloody footprints from Meredith’s room where Meredith’s blood was to the visible bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom that Meredith and Knox shared strongly indicates that some prints were successfully cleaned away altogether.

A woman’s bloody shoeprint which matched Amanda Knox’s foot size was found on a pillow under Meredith’s body. Barbie Nadeau noted the significance of this evidence on The Daily Beast website:

“When the judge asked Rinaldi the size of an unidentified bloody shoeprint found on the pillow below Kercher’s body, he responded, “Between 36 and 38.” The judge then asked Rinaldi what size shoe Knox wears. “The Skecher shoe we sequestered belonging to Amanda Knox corresponds with size 37.”

The significance of the woman’s bloody shoeprint in Meredith’s room is considerable. By itself it debunks the myth that some had propagated for a while, that Rudy Guede acted alone. The bloody shoeprint was incompatible with Meredith’s shoe size.

4. Raffaele Sollecito

Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by luminol in the hallway, and the other one was easily visible to the naked eye on the blue bathmat in Meredith’s and Knox’s shared bathroom.

Lorenzo Rinaldi excluded the possibility that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat was the right size or shape to belong to Knox or Guede instead of Sollecito: “You can see clearly that this bloody footprint on the rug does not belong to Mr. Guede, but you can see that it is compatible with Sollecito.”

Andrea Vogt’s report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer shows just how meticulous and painstakingly detailed the analysis of the bloody footprints was:

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

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

Rinaldi’s detailed PPT described methods of image analysis, metric and grid measurement of the ball, toe, heel and arch, as well the particular characteristics of the footprints and shoeprints as well as the actual shoes and feet of Knox, Sollecito and Guede. The three suspects gave their footprints and fingerprints at police headquarters.”

Another print expert also testified that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, asked Dr. Stefanoni to confirm that other substances like bleach or fruit juice can also react to luminol.

Dr. Stefanoni acknowledged that they do, but pointed out that biologists who work regularly on crime scenes distinguish easily between the bright blue glow of a blood trace and the much fainter glow from other reactive substances


Just awesome, Machine.  For every one of those pitiful arguments the defense spews out you crush them with the truth!  ..Or shall I say you STOMP them out - with luminal?!  Nice work.

Posted by Professor Snape on 07/23/09 at 10:10 AM | #

agreed, professor. the machine nails it….it’s been my own sense that the defense has been incredibly weak, but with so much damning evidence, i suppose hanging their hopes on an appeal and some technicalities will be the only way out. i just wish rudy would talk.

Posted by mojo on 07/23/09 at 11:30 AM | #

True, true, mojo.  Spellbinding. I can’t BELIEVE Rudy would let those two use him in such a manner - it is so degrading and racist. His truth would be embraced by most and yield him a dabble of respect by many.  Justice is coming.

Posted by Professor Snape on 07/23/09 at 04:01 PM | #

Yet another excellent report! Thank you, Machine.

Your reports are hard-hitting and factual: their force does not rely on ‘interpretaions’ of facts, rather, you state the facts in such meticulous detail that they speak for themselves.

Again, excellent work & thank you. I look forward to the one on Friday.

Posted by Scooby on 07/23/09 at 04:17 PM | #

Posted by mojo: “I wish Rudy would talk”.

It’s not in his interest right now. Certainly not before the AK/RS sentence is out. He must hang on to his story. If RS and AK are acquitted, the case against him will likely fall apart as well in appeal since the sentence by Micheli rests on the fact that he, yes, was one of the perpetrators but only someone other than Rudy had the chance to alter the scene later (Micheli gave several reasons why Rudy could not have been the one to do so) and that somelse could have been only a dweller of that house.

He’s got nothing to gain by confessing the crime at this point. But his lawyers might decide to do so depending on how the trial to AK/RS goes. I don’t know whether they would get a reduced sentence in appeal if they all decided to confess. I doubt it, it might be too late in the game.

Posted by Commissario Montalbano on 07/23/09 at 08:32 PM | #

For eighteen months we have been hearing from all angles how weak the prosecution case was and how it would be ripped to shreds as soon as the defence had their say. What have we seen so far? An ‘expert’ who claimed that there was no room for multiple attackers when it has already been demonstrated by computer graphics with measurements and even by photos of police investigators in the room that there was room for them.

We have had the contortions of logic and evidence worthy of Stalin to make us believe that a thief broke in via an upstairs window. Now we have been treated to defence ‘experts’ contradicting each other and apparently giving evidence rather outside their expertise. Would nobody with better qualifications sign up? It appears that under cross examination each has had to concede parts of the prosecution scenario and evidence.

The need for a PR campaign is becoming clearer; it’s because the actual defence forensics are pathetic. The campaign of misinformation continues. One of the first comments on the Newsweek article was a long post of FOA propaganda that asserted amongst other distortions that Torre had shown the DNA on the knife to be non-human ( I thought even the FOA had let that one drop months ago) But still the propaganda churns out. Like Goebbels in the bunker, they will be the last to shut up long after the cause is in ruins.

The PR campaign in the US continues to be in a parallel universe to the legal defense in Italy. More and more it appears to be aimed at the establishment of a myth; innocent but trusting maiden locked up for no good reason by corrupt satanistic foreigners. For whose benefit? Certainly not Amanda Knox’s. For their own diverse motives then? Hangers on and all. Book-writers, bloggers, family members who would rather be victims than nurturers of maniacs, journalists, TV lawyers who need ersatz outrage for audience numbers and PI’s whose schtick relies on conspiracies and outrage. A healthy dose of smug xenophobia and an eye for the main financial chance unites the elements.

My father once pointed out the different fauna and flora of the garden to me including:
You can tell it’s a slug because of the trail of slime behind it.

I guess that makes AK a slug. Probably not the worst of her attributes.

Posted by Faustus on 07/23/09 at 11:14 PM | #

Ta, Faustus. That makes a nice segue into the latest…
Greetings From Slugland! The latest from Steve Shay.
Weds, 22 July, and Ms Knoxious gets another front page article in the West Seattle Herald. Steve dispenses with the twitchy stuff (accused of…Capanne Prison…court…verdict..trial) in the first two paragraphs. Notable this time, however, is that he refers to Meredith by her full name, as though she actually was a person deserving of some dignity. He includes the fact that Knox had met RS only a week prior to the murder (so, perhaps he wasn’t her"boyfriend”, really, so much?) AND, he goes a step further, referring to Rudy Guede as “another acquaintenance (sic)”. (So they DID know eachother? Does Edda know about this one?)
Then of course he flubs by drifting into the expected drivel about the family and their sufferings, (“We’re dealing with a divorced household”, said Curt Knox), but not before sticking the boot in rudy by saying he was previously arrested for “other break-ins and robberies”.
“Amanda’s sisters and halfsisters pride themselves on being one big functional family.” (Curt, again.) “We get asked all the time ,‘have you ever contacted the Kerchers?’ No. I try to put myself in their shoes. They got the worst phone call you can get as a parent.How would they accept our deepest condolences with our daughter still on trial for their daughter’s murder? I want them to know Amanda had nothing to do with it.”
So close, Curt.
And the accompanying snapshot: AK while at UW, sporting a cloud cuckooland Tee, and with what looks remarkably like the scar Voldy left on Harry Potter’s forehead. Must be a trick of the light.

Posted by mimi on 07/25/09 at 08:05 AM | #

Thanks Mimi. This comment from Curt Knox really infuriated me. The audacity of the man!

Curt Knox is asked:  ’have you ever contacted the Kerchers?’

Curt Knox replies:    ‘No. I try to put myself in their shoes. They got the worst phone call you can get as a parent. How would they accept our deepest condolences with our daughter still on trial for their daughter’s murder?’

That’s the lamest excuse I’ve heard for lack of social etiquette and even lack of appropriate sentiments towards the Kerchers. It is so disrespectful.

Ok - so it may very well be awkward to pick up the phone and say: ‘Hey, you know the girl who’s on trial for murdering your daughter? I’m her Dad and wanna say I’m sorry for your loss’, but still, a decent person would have far more concerned with doing the right thing than with awkward feelings. Furthermore, a decent person doesn’t give condolences because he expects them to be accepted or not, or because he expects something in return; condolences are offered as a token of showing sympathy & respect. They are offered because it’s a duty towards the grieving suffering parents, and a symbol of respect for the memory of the deceased. How ill-mannered this man is to think that condolences are offered because one expects some sort of gain, gratitude or return, from those that condolences are offered to!

In addition, the awkwardness of the situation could have been remedied if the Knox/Mellas family had sent a public message of condolence to the Kerchers through the media; either via their PR firm spokesmen or via one of the numberous interviews they’ve given. They’ve had plenty of opportunities to show their respect to the Kerchers, but they missed each of them because they have no respect or interest in the welfare of anyone other than members of their own clan!

Posted by Scooby on 07/25/09 at 02:50 PM | #

You mention 1 footprint of Rudi, but actually Rinaldi said there were 11 such visible bloody prints. Micheli describes 3 visible ones in MK’s room, and there was at least one more on the pillow. I’m not sure where all those other ones were, but they may be the ones leading from MK’s room to the front door.

FOA people are claiming that the footprint by AK on the pillow really belongs to RG, but the photograph they are using as evidence appears to be the one for RG’s footprint, not the one for AK’s. Another expert at the trial attributed it to a women’s size 37 1/2 Asics shoe on the basis of the heel.

Posted by malcolm on 07/25/09 at 07:48 PM | #

Concerning the footprints found in the hallway using luminol – from what I understand, you have Rudy’s trail leading from Meredith’s room out the front door, and Amanda’s and RS’s in the hallway with Amanda’s at some point standing in front of Merediths door, Is this correct?

If Rudy does not have a print pointing to Meredith’d door, then he wasn’t the one to lock it, I would love to see a shot of where all those footprints in the hallway show up, and which way they are pointing.

Posted by John on 05/05/10 at 07:00 PM | #

Hi John,

Rudy Guede’s visible bloody footprints lead straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house. They became progressively weaker and fainter. He didn’t lock Meredith’s door, remove his trainers, go into Filomena’s room or the bathroom that Meredith and Knox shared.

Amanda Knox’s footprints were found set in Meredith’s blood in two places in the hallway of the new wing of the house. One print was exiting her own room, and one print was outside Meredith’s room, facing into the room.

Posted by The Machine on 05/05/10 at 07:26 PM | #
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Or to previous entry Case For The Prosecution: #1 The DNA Evidence