Amanda Knox, Giovanni Galati and the wheels of justice

Chief-prosecutor for Umbria, Dr. Giovanni Galati

There is a very good reason why people continue to avidly watch any developments in the Meredith Kercher murder case – it is still very much ongoing and the pendulum, as you shall see, has now swung the other way.   In about 3-4 months time, the verdict will be handed down in the appeal against the appeal.   More on that further down.

The reasons that most who have followed the evidence in the trial accept she’s guilty, rather than buying the American media’s story, is:

1.  Over 140 pieces of evidence were accepted in the trial, 19 justices concurred and the Supreme Court accepted that there had been more than one person involved.   There was an attempt by Knox camp pundits to cast doubt on the SC stance [covered in previous posts] but the very words of the SC itself put paid to that.  The trouble is, it’s easy to forget the actual words, the things established and to construct alternative arguments without them;

2.  Much of the point-by-point argument from the defence has been debunked [a couple of these points are below], to the extent that the defence case is palpably based on falsehoods mixed in with fact.  The methodology of the defence, currently under scrutiny by the Supreme Court, is quite unacceptably accepted uncritically by the appeal judges.  Lawyer Cardiol has summarized this methodology thus:

The potentially most incriminating issues in this case [include] whether Meredith did scream just before she died, and if so when Meredith screamed.  The Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito “innocentisti” members know this, but they avoid focus on it in order to minimize attention to those issues, as crucial as they are.

A key focus-avoidance ploy is to confuse the issue by isolating each element of evidence from every other element and flood discussion of each element with real and imagined reasons-to-doubt the significance of each element.  By doing so, perception of the location of Reasonable Doubt, in the mind of the designated Finder(s)-of-Fact, may be displaced so far away that they conclude that Guilt cannot be reached, and that the Defendant(s) are Not Guilty beyond a doubt that is a Reasonable Doubt.

This defense ploy is being employed more and more in criminal trials, and is much employed in Meredith’s case, or as it has become, Amanda Knox’s case.  The Supreme Court of course will totally ignore such legal nonsense.

There are a few things going on here at once.  Let’s say that the defence needs to pin it on one person, so that the other two get off.  Firstly, they ignore everything placing the other two there, they ignore the conflicting stories as to whereabouts, they ignore a scream which one of the other two mentions herself and instead, construct an elaborate tale of the breaking in through a window.  By constructing this in fine detail, they bring in plausibility.

Only problem is that the investigation and the court showed that it was not physically possible for entry to the house to have occurred that way.  This being so, the defence, whilst not accepting it, moves onto something else and concocts alternative scenarios based on one or two possible constructs of available evidence, e.g. on the scream.

That’s their job of course but what is amazing is that the appeal judges accepted the defence scenario so uncritically and assumed them in their summing up, even though they were not allowed to be introduced as evidence at the appeal.  In fact, Hellman indicated that he had read all he’d needed to before the appeal and had no need to waste court time hearing it all again.

Pardon me – at an appeal trial on which an acquittal is riding, he does not wish the prosecution case to be presented?

The first-ever documented references to Meredith screaming just before she died came from the mouth (and hand in the case of her notes) of Amanda Knox herself.   Hellmann & Zanetti do not, at first, seem to doubt that a scream was heard by witness Capezzali that night.

However, they introduce the issue of scream under the Heading Time of death, which they characterize as “extremely weak for its ambiguity, since it cannot even be placed with certainty”, as if lack of “certainty” is way-below reasonable doubt (as in “required to reach a guilty-verdict beyond-a-reasonable-doubt”), obfuscatingly merging them into each other.

Hellmann & Zanetti then cast doubt on whether any witness(es) heard any-scream-at-all that particular night and/or time, because he supposed (innocent) screams were to be heard there on many nights and at many times.

Pardon me again but it is not Hellman’s and Zanetti’s place to assume anything which has not been established in the case.   This introduction of strawmen by the judges is what is currently under appeal at the Supreme Court.  Here is a further example:

The calunnia section alone (2,447 words long) to do with Knox’s framing of Lumumba has more than 50 dubious statements. It is also short enough to demonstrate here the weaknesses typical of the whole report, despite this section’s secondary bottom-line significance.

The very first line of this section (beginning on page 21 of the PMF translation) typifies the tone of the whole Report.

The “spontaneous” declarations rendered by Amanda Knox on November 6, and the …….

Note Hellmann & Zanetti’s contemptuous use of quotation marks here.

On the same page Hellmann & Zanetti begin a paragraph thus: “According to the hypothesis of the prosecution…”, but then don’t go at all to state the real hypothesis of the prosecution.

This is not dispute over evidence but over dishonesty in writing up what was actually said at the first trial.  Hellman sums up the prosecution case contemptuously without even admitting that case to his court:

Amanda Knox, at that point exhausted from the long interrogation, and above all demoralized by having learned from the people interrogating her that Raffaele Sollecito had, so to speak, abandoned her to her destiny, denying the alibi [30](Motivazione page number) that he had offered her up to then (having spent the whole night together at Sollecito s house), supposedly resorted to a final defence effort, representing more or less what actually happened in the house at via della Pergola, but substituting Patrick Lumumba for Rudy Guede in the role of protagonist: one black for another, to quote the Prosecutor.

Again, there are all sorts of things going on here. Let’s take just one aspect of the above:

…having spent the whole night together at Sollecito’s house…”  Here Hellmann & Zanetti seem to blithely assume the truth of Knox’s disputed alibi, but is probably merely repeating what her alibi was not “blithely” assuming it to be the truth. If so he should have used the proper quotation marks.

By the way, it is still a matter of contention that Knox’s and Sollecito’s versions of where she was that night are opposite and conflicting.   This is not even mentioned by Hellman.   It’s the use of quotation marks, not unlike the way the MSM does to avoid libel suits, which conveys the assumptions and biases.   Remember that this is based on evidence not allowed to be presented at the appeal.    For sheer procedural malpractice, that takes the cake.

It gets worse.  It now comes to the “independent” “experts”.  The Machine:

Conti and Vecchiotti never proved there had been any contamination. Alberto Intini, the head of the Italian police forensic science unit, pointed out that unless contamination has been proved, it doesn’t exist.

They didn’t visit the laboratories of the scientific police or ask about their cleaning procedures. They didn’t know that the negative tests had been filed with another judge. They didn’t know that Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA or that she last handled Sollecito’s DNA 12 days before she analysed the bra clasp. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory.

Conti and Vecchiotti regarded the downstairs flat as part of the crime scene even though no crime was committed there.

Worst of all, they didn’t carry out a new test on the knife despite the fact they were specifically instructed to do so and there are a number of laboratories that have the technology to carry out a test on the remaining the DNA.

Incidentally, Vecchiotti was appointed by a judge at the Cosenza court and the judge didn’t accept her findings. Other experts were appointed and they found incriminating DNA evidence that she had missed. The suspect admitted his guilt.

And step back and look at what they are contending.   They have come to a piece of DNA evidence four years after the trial and say it is 1.  too small a sample and 2.  it is contaminated.   It’s quite bizarre, not that they should say it but that the court should blithely accept it, unestablished.

Now these are procedural issues so grave that an appeal judge is bound, on procedure alone, to dismiss this contention.  This is a point made in the current appeal against the appeal by Dr. Galati, in a document longer than the summing up of the appeal itself.   It’s hard to convey to either the casual reader or Knox supporters that, whether or not their girl is guilty or innocent, these procedures represent a travesty and yet the media and through them, most people, hear the word “contamination” and automatically assume that because Hellman accepted the “independent” “experts” contention of contamination, then it must be so and therefore it becomes part of folk law on the case.

Yet it is demonstrably wrong.  This in today from The Machine summarizes it:

Judge Hellmann specifically instructed Conti and Vecchiotti to carry out new tests on the knife and Meredith’s bra, if it was possible. They refused to do this even though it was possible.

Professor Novelli testified that there was another DNA trace on the blade that could have been tested using cutting-edge technology that it is available in a number of laboratories. The prosecution asked Judge Hellmann for a new test on the remaining DNA. He refused and in doing so he violated the procedure code which states that the opposing party must be allowed to admit evidence to the contrary if new evidence is admitted.

Incidentally, Professor Novelli also claims that Meredith’s DNA was definitely on the blade and he categorically excluded any possibility that contamination could have occurred in the laboratory. He said that 100 samples had been examined in the same laboratory room during the six days prior to the examination of the knife and after. He personally checked the results of all these tests and he did not find any contamination from Meredith’s DNA.

Conti and Vecchiotti didn’t visit the laboratories of the scientific police or ask about their cleaning procedures. They didn’t know that the negative tests had been filed with another judge. They didn’t know that Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA or that she last handled Sollecito’s DNA 12 days before she analysed the bra clasp. Vecchiotti conceded in court that these procedures rule out contamination in the laboratory.

Comodi said that the gloves used by the forensic police contain starch and this explains why starch was found on the knife.

Plus an unfortunate verdict in another trial has just been handed down:

David Burgess this week was convicted in Reading of murdering Yolande Waddington, 17, some 46 years after the crime was committed, thanks to all the advances in DNA technology. Back then, he was already convicted of killing Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams.

It puts the 46-day delay (caused by the defenses) in retrieving the bra clasp into perspective.

But not all is plain sailing.  If the Court of Cassation throws out the Hellman appeal holus-bolus, then there would be no ordering of whether Meredith’s DNA was elsewhere on the blade and so it remains unresolved, to the defence’s satisfaction.   So yes, it’s a double-edged sword but if you’re interested in the whole truth coming out – not one truth and the other suppressed by an appeal judge – then there are always risks in open investigations.  That’s as it should be.

A word or two about Dr. Galati:

Milan and Rome are the main venues for Italy’s important business trials. Those in Perugia are small and relatively obscure.

In contrast Perugia handles very important criminal investigations for the central government when there are conflicts of interest in Rome. So Perugia was handed the very sensitive and politically explosive investigations into Rome politicians siphoning funds from the 2006 winter Olympics construction and the 2010 earthquake damage reconstruction.

This explains why Dr Galati the chief prosecutor for Umbria was transferred from the Supreme Court in January 2011 where he had been a deputy chief prosecutor and why he has a high profile throughout Italy. And why Judge Hellman, a business judge, is almost unknown outside Perugia who at times seems a little cranky with his lot in life. His co-judge Massimo Zanetti, also little known, handles civil trials.

The contention is that the Berlusconi appointees as justices in this case were bizarre to say the least and some of that summing up above shows the type of thing Hellman [or Zanetti] were indulging in. It’s almost as if they were so bad that it was meant to go the full distance – that the Court of Cassation will overturn the appeal and therefore a new trial ensues.

Read in Italian, Dr Galati’s Supreme Court appeal against the Hellman/Zanetti appeal verdict, which is some pages longer than the Hellman & Zanetti report, is absolutely scathing. Dr Galati seems almost offended to be facing what he seems to see as a childish and legally inferior piece of work.

[He] takes Hellman & Zanetti apart at three levels, as the Perugia media summarised at his press conference five months ago.

First, that the scope is illegally wide for an appeal judgement.

Second, that the DNA report by Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti (which concluded with innuendo rather than firm findings) was unnecessary at the appeal level and should never have been commissioned.

And third that Hellman & Zanetti are out of order in their subjective interpretations of trial evidence their appeal court mostly didnt look at, and trial witnesses their appeal court never saw.

Irrespective of the case itself and its whys and wherefores, this now is all about Hellman and Zanetti, two obscure judges, a case brought by a heavyweight, backed by the prosecution and the police.  Therefore, for American journalists to write “when the appeal is finally confirmed and Amanda Knox’s innocent established” – pardon me for a third time but that’s simply not what is going on here.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceeding fine.

15 Responses to “Amanda Knox, Giovanni Galati and the wheels of justice”

  1. guppy July 22, 2012 at 18:08 Permalink

    Who is the Machine, I can not accept anything from a so called expert if he/she will not even use his/her name, and give his/her credentials. that makes every thing the Machine says only his/her opinion and not any more useful than that of anyone on the street

  2. James Higham July 22, 2012 at 18:18 Permalink

    This is silly. The Machine is only reporting, just as I am, just as you are. The issue is do you trust anything Galati says, as he is the one who will cause the damage, not the Machine.

  3. Wolfie July 22, 2012 at 20:58 Permalink

    Can we have another Katie Holmes post?

  4. Gianettino July 22, 2012 at 21:32 Permalink

    So satisfying to read this summing up of the situation so far.

  5. Bob M July 22, 2012 at 22:51 Permalink

    This article by J. Higham is very deceitful in its declaration that there is ‘evidence’ against Knox/Sollecito which proves their guilt. This is so far from the truth! Some sort of perversity must have taken residence in J. Higham’s head which gives him/her this desire to dream up the causations/scenarios which he/she proclaims. The following is not an attempt at an exhaustive defense of innocence, but is, instead, some quick snippets which certainly indicate the innocence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito:

    –There is no apparent motive today and there was no believable motive in November of 2007

    –There is no evidence of Knox/Sollecito presence in the bloody bedroom; the appeal court commissioned an independent study which produced the Conti-Vecchiotti Report completely debunking the ‘knife’ and ‘bra clasp’ as probative evidence. In addition, the Conti-Vecchiotti study brought humor to the court room as all in attendance were literally laughing at the antics of the scientific police as they attempted to collect samples for testing. Contamination possibilities abound when a crime scene is processed in this manner.

    –There is no suspicious evidence of Amanda Knox in her bathroom which she shared with the victim—Meredith Kercher. Why would one not expect to find mixed DNA in a shared bathroom?

    –There are no witnesses (Quintavalle is lucky that he has not yet been charged with perjury; the heroin using homeless man confused Halloween night with the following night (Nov. 1). The homeless man is no longer homeless since he resides in prison on drug charges).

    –The hallway footprints revealed by luminol are bloodless footprints which played no part in the assault/murder—follow-up TMB tests were negative for blood.

    –Rinaldi’s assignment of the bathmat footprint to Raffaele as opposed to Guede defies explanation. Any lay person comparing Raffaele’s footprint and Guede’s footprint to the reference print on the bathmat would declare that Guede left the footprint, not Raffaele. What more needs to be said about this diversion hoisted on the court proceedings by Lorenzo Rinaldi?

    –The man convicted and serving 16 years for the assault/murder (Rudy Guede) entered the girls’ flat via a window in flatmate Filomena Romanelli’s bedroom. Breaking and entering was not new to Guede; he had previously broken into a lawyer’s office via a second story window.

    –Amanda did not tell a pack of ‘lies’. She told one story of her presence with Raffaele at his apartment and a coerced, confused story of being there when Lumumba was supposedly present with the victim. Amanda recanted her accusation, Lumumba was later cleared of any involvement,and Amanda reiterated her presence with Raffaele in his apartment for the entirety of the night of Nov. 1, 2007.

    –The time of death (TOD) of the victim was most likely between 9:00 pm and 9:30 pm the night of Nov. 1, 2007. The TOD is book ended by an 8:56 pm call which didn’t go through to Meredith’s mother and a 10:13 pm GPRS internet connection from Meredith’s phone. The lack of any attempt to retry the aborted call to Meredith’s mother, no other computer activity, and the failure to remove any outer clothing are strong indications that she was accosted upon her entry into the flat. These strong considerations for a time of death before 9:30 pm are supported by analysis of the autopsy report showing a lack of material in Merediths’ duodenum.

    An 8:40 pm visit to Raffaele’s apartment by Jovana Popovic, a 9:08 pm computer interaction, and a (disputed) 9:26 computer interaction squeezes the window of opportunity for Amanda and Raffaele to hook up with Guede and commit the ghastly murder of Meredith Kercher.

  6. Harry Rag July 22, 2012 at 23:27 Permalink

    @guppy,

    The likes of Anne Bremner, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer et al have used their real names and got countless facts wrong. It should also be pointed out that Anne Bremner used the pseudonym Jane Doe when she was trying to weasel her way out of a drinking and driving charge. She still ended up in the slammer. Ultimately your credibility is judged by what you say and not by the name you use.

  7. James Higham July 22, 2012 at 23:29 Permalink

    Perfect example of Knox shills. Thanks for providing it.

    This article by J. Higham is very deceitful in its declaration that there is ‘evidence’ against Knox/Sollecito which proves their guilt.

    Yes, not only the first court accepted it but 19 justices confirmed it and the Supreme court also established that there was more than one. Hardly something out of one blogger’s head.

    But that’s what Knox shills do – ignore facts and twist constructed scenarios into assertions which are then meant to be taken as fact. This is beautiful – the Knox double-whammy. First the straight ad hominem, then the “dreaming up”, whereas the case has always been based on the court testimony. Nothing whatever to do with James Higham.

    To the independent reader, I’d like to point to the style of attack in both Guppy’s and Bob M’s comments above, directed at me as a person, whereas you can see, from reading the post, that nothing comes out of an observer’s head at all – it’s all testimony based.

    These strong considerations for a time of death before 9:30 pm are supported by analysis of the autopsy report showing a lack of material in Merediths’ duodenum.

    Absolute rubbish as was shown in the last post and at TJMK. Readers – do you see the adjective “strong”? Who says it’s strong? Certainly not the court. No, again, only the Knox camp, out of their heads. There is not the least connection between the stomach and a 9:30 time.

    Based on apple crumble around 8 p.m., which is where the testimony of the girls places it, along with the phone calls and other indicators, the pathologist indicates a best time of around 10:30 to 11:00 p.m, which also fits in with the screams Knox herself first alluded to.

    Not only that, it was shown categorically, on other evidence that a 9:30 scenario was not possible.

    However, this is hardly the point and again I’m glad a Knox shill has introduced this. You see, it’s trying to lead us into conjecture on points which are secondary to the main evidence, therefore not permitting us to discuss that, e.g. their lies to the postal police over the call to the criminal police.

    Given also that Knox’s alibi falls down as she was not supported by Sollecito – still a bone of contention between them that the defence never resolved, she had no solid alibi whatever. That’s before we even begin on the Rudy sightings.

    This is the disingenuity of the Knox shills. Then they have the nerve to turn it into a slanging match, accusing those who quote the evidence as pursuing the same tactics as themselves.

    And that leads us to the last point – we’re not even discussing the case here – the post makes it quite clear that it is discussing Galati and why he is disgusted.

    Knox people can’t attack him, so they try to reopen the case with precisely the methodology that Cardiol said they used – to flood individual secondary points with supposition coming out of their heads, not supported in the court accepted testimony whatever and then make out that this is somehow evidence. Then they make it into an ad hominem on one person, i.e. whoever daresto question Knox’s innocence. This is not unlike Scientology.

    Hell, I could concoct a story of K’s and S’s guilt which allowed for no debate but unfortunately like the Knox case, it is better to rely on the court testimony and that’s all we’ve done all along. Nothing has been put in these posts which does not relate to that testimony.

    As for Popovic – LOL, do you SERIOUSLY want to use that as part of your case?

  8. Harry Rag July 22, 2012 at 23:37 Permalink

    @Bob M,

    Raffaele Sollecito claimed in his witness statement that Amanda Knox wasn’t at his apartment on the night of the murder. Here is the relevant part of witness statement:

    “The first of November I woke up about 11.00, I had breakfast with Amanda, then she went out and I went back to bed. I then met up with her at her house around 13.00-14.00. In there was Meredith who left in a hurry about 16.00 without saying where she was going.

    Amanda and I went to the [town] centre about 18.00 but I don’t remember what we did. 

    We remained in the centre till 20.30 or 21.00. 

    I went to my house alone at 21.00, while Amanda said that she was going to the pub Le Chic because she wanted to meet with her friends. 

    At this point we said goodbye. I went home, I made a joint. Had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. 

    About 23.00 my father called me on my house phone line. I recall Amanda was not back yet.

    I web surfed on the computer for two more hours after my father’s phone call and I only stopped when Amanda came back in, presumably about 01.00. I don’t remember well how she was dressed and if she was dressed the same as when we said goodbye before dinner. I don’t remember if that evening we had sex.”

    Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder. They both gave the police at least three different accounts. In other words, they told the police a pack of lies.

  9. Bob M July 22, 2012 at 23:42 Permalink

    No shill here. I just look at the evidence and the lack of evidence and see that two young college students got caught up in a whole lot of BS thrown at them and thrown in the court room where judges and jurors had misplaced their BS detectors.

    There is evidence of one, and only one, person in the bloody bedroom where the assault/murder took place–Rudy Guede, a known drifter in desperate need of money. Thus, a burglary gone wrong–unfortunately, this happens all too often.

    How in the world did Knox/Sollecito avoid leaving any evidence of their presence in the bloody bedroom? Levitation?

    Why would a couple of only 6 days wish to hookup with the loser Guede for a four way sexual romp? Why?

  10. James Higham July 22, 2012 at 23:45 Permalink

    Yep and following on from that, look again at Bob M’s terminology: “squeezes the window of opportunity for Amanda and Raffaele to hook up with Guede”.

    It only squeezes it if the a priori of the 9:30 time of murder is indicated but as it’s not indicated in the least but a 10:30 onwards is, then there is no squeezing whatever.

    This is a perfect example of the Knox camp legerdemain. I’d like you to address real evidence, such as how to account for the different stories of where AK was. Let’s not introduce a flurry of other things – let’s establish that first. It would seem a little bit important, would it not – where she was that night.

    How in the world did Knox/Sollecito avoid leaving any evidence of their presence in the bloody bedroom? Levitation?

    You know very well she was seen at the supermarket buying the cleaner but even letting that one go, the place had been cleaned. Let me ask you one – why was her bedlamp in Meredith’s room?

    There is evidence of one, and only one, person in the bloody bedroom where the assault/murder took place

    This is a blatant lie because the Supreme Court indicated – and the exact text was quoted in the last post – that there was more than one. That is in rock in the record. Another shill tried to make out last time that the qualifying remarks leading to that statement the SC made was open for debate and it was. If you took just the leading in remarks, you’d be led to conclude that the SC accepted one person. Then they went on to their actual conclusion which was that they were satisfied there was more than one.

    Now that’s what makes me angry. That is outright dishonesty and misrepresentation of what the SC said and in a court, it would get that man in trouble. And irrespective of the guilt or not of AK, it is the tactics of the supporters which are so low or the most charitable thing is that they clearly have not read either Massei or Mignini properly. If they had, they’d not state things as having been said which quite clearly weren’t.

  11. Bob M July 22, 2012 at 23:54 Permalink

    Time of Death as outlined below is hard to dispute. These are facts, nothing made up here, nothing nebulus:

    The time of death (TOD) of the victim was most likely between 9:00 pm and 9:30 pm the night of Nov. 1, 2007. The TOD is book ended by an 8:56 pm call which didn’t go through to Meredith’s mother and a 10:13 pm GPRS internet connection from Meredith’s phone. The lack of any attempt to retry the aborted call to Meredith’s mother, no other computer activity, and the failure to remove any outer clothing are strong indications that she was accosted upon her entry into the flat. These strong considerations for a time of death before 9:30 pm are supported by analysis of the autopsy report showing a lack of material in Meredith’s duodenum.

  12. James Higham July 22, 2012 at 23:59 Permalink

    Time of Death as outlined below is hard to dispute. These are facts, nothing made up here, nothing nebulus: The time of death (TOD) of the victim was most likely between 9:00 pm and 9:30 pm the night of Nov. 1, 2007.

    Utter crap!! On whose say-so?

    Yep – only the Knox camp. Forensics, phones and the other testimony puts the death at 10:30 or thereabouts. Not only that, she didn’t even get home until 9:15 p.m., for goodness sake – that’s not even in dispute. Why are you pushing something that not even the defence is insisting on any more? Or are you directly challenging the girls and when Sophie said she last saw Meredith? Is this a direct call of liar? Because if so, on what possible basis can you, a mere observer, dispute her testimony as to time?

    You see, the time I quote comes from the record, as I’ve said over and over and still you bovinely refuse to even heed that. The reason is simple – you have to ignore it because to concede it undermines your concocted case.

    You are telling an out and out porky, Bob M. Not only that but you are attempting to open up the case again in this thread which specifically said it was about Galati and his appeal against the appeal. There is zero point wading through the Knox camp fabrications point by point because that is precisely what Cardiol said the Knox camp does and I quote:

    A key focus-avoidance ploy is to confuse the issue by isolating each element of evidence from every other element and flood discussion of each element with real and imagined reasons-to-doubt the significance of each element. By doing so, perception of the location of Reasonable Doubt, in the mind of the designated Finder(s)-of-Fact, may be displaced so far away that they conclude that Guilt cannot be reached, and that the Defendant(s) are Not Guilty beyond a doubt that is a Reasonable Doubt.

    This defense ploy is being employed more and more in criminal trials, and is much employed in Meredith’s case, or as it has become, Amanda Knox’s case. The Supreme Court of course will totally ignore such legal nonsense

    What you are trying to do is create equal and opposite evidence but you can’t do that out of your head – it’s just not an acceptable ploy. You can only go by the record.

  13. James Higham July 23, 2012 at 00:41 Permalink

    OK, I made a statement that “you are telling an out and out porky, Bob M.” As with every statement I make, I have to back it with evidence. If not a porky, it is a fixation with a stance which has no support and never did.

    I base my conclusion that the 9:30 death time being “hard to dispute” and that “these are facts” are anything but facts and are easy to dispute – on the analysis by Storm Roberts:

    ………..

    Friday, December 03, 2010
    Explaining The Massei Report:: Establishing The Time When Meredith Passed On

    Introduction

    Perhaps the hardest parts of the Massei Report for compassionate readers to take are those concerning Meredith’s wounds and time of death.

    Those passages commence early in the report and, as with our translation of much of the Micheli report, left our translators and many readers disturbed and a few of them at least in tears.

    This is an abbreviated overview of how forensic medicine helped the court to establish the time of Meredith’s death.

    Medical science is often called upon to help to identify a precise time of death. However, this is not possible. The only way of knowing a precise time is if the death is witnessed and a time noted – medical science can only give a “time window” during which it is likely that death occurred.

    There are several ways of establishing time of death and I shall look at four, briefly: the extent of rigor mortis; the temperature of the body; hypostasis; and, the state of digestion.

    Rigor Mortis

    Rigor Mortis is the stiffening of muscles after death. As oxygen is no longer being provided to the tissues of the body certain chemical reactions can no longer happen and changes occur. In the muscles this leads to a state of contraction which remains until the muscle tissues start to decompose.

    Rigor Mortis begins to establish approximately three hours after death and is fully established at twelve hours and remains so until 48 hours. Rigor then begins to dissipate and 80 – 90 hours after death rigor mortis will have fully dissipated.

    Thus rigor mortis can be used to establish an approximate time of death based on the degree of stiffness and whether the body is going into or going out of rigor. External factors can have an impact on rigor mortis, but as the cause of rigor is a lack of oxygen preventing a chemical reaction taking place external factors have less effect than they do when considering other methods of establishing time of death.

    Body Temperature

    The accepted temperature of a healthy human is 37 Celcius. Upon death the body starts to cool. The body temperature, normally taken rectally, drops 1-2 Celcius in the first hour and 1 Celcius every hour for the following 8 hours, thereafter the temperature drops gradually until the body reaches ambient temperature.

    Factors that can affect this process, thus complicating it’s application to the establishment of the time of death include:

    - the covering of the body as this insulates and changes the rate at which the body loses heat;
    - injuries sustained and blood loss; and,
    - any change in the environmental temperature (if the temperature surrounding the body changes – such as a night time temperature drop or if the body is moved).

    Hypostasis.

    Hypostasis is the settling of red blood cells under the force of gravity – the red blood cells fill capillaries (our smallest blood vessels) giving a red coloration to the skin. Initially the red blood cells are still mobile however eventually they coagulate and the coloration becomes fixed. It is generally accepted that the coloration (stain) appears one to two hours after death and begins to fix, from the central area of the stain outwards, from around the sixth to eighth hour. Fixation is complete from 24 to 36 hours after death.

    Stage of digestion.

    From the time we start to eat a meal, and thus initiate the digestion process in the stomach, there is a set pattern of events within the digestive process that can allow us to determine approximately how long after the start of the last meal digestion was interrupted by death.

    When we eat a meal our food is initially broken down my two main means: firstly – chemical, namely enzymes and the acid in our stomach; and, secondly – mechanical, namely chewing and the action of the stomach muscles. Once our food has achieved a liquid consistency it is able to leave the stomach and enter the first part of our intestines – the duodenum.

    This emptying of the stomach normally occurs from around 3 hours after eating. However, how fast we digest a meal and the stomach empties depends on a multitude of factors, just a few of which are:

    * what we have eaten;
    * how the food was prepared;
    * how our body reacts to the food;
    * our state of mind (for example: ever had “butterflies” or an upset stomach when you were worried or excited? );
    * our state of health; and,
    * what we drank with our meal.

    In reality the speed of digestion varies not only person to person but meal to meal – You could eat the same meal twice and have significant differences in the speed of digestion each time.

    If our “fight or flight” mechanism – the release of adrenaline – is bought into play it is possible for the digestive process to temporarily halt as our body diverts it’s resources to deal with more pressing matters of survival. This however is not certain, everyone is different and how such things affect us is unique.

    What is explained in the report

    Above I said that the stomach can empty after 3 hours, all of the above factors and many more can more than double that time to 6 hours or possibly more. Professor Cingolani testified that the stomach can empty after as little as one hour or take as long as 12 or more hours. Thus as stated above, the state of digestion, whether the stomach has emptied or not, is only able to provide a “time window” during which death could have occurred.

    N.B. The following references to page numbers relate to the translation of the Massei Report (see link in the menu to the left of your screen) – specifically the first published version – v1.0 – dated 8th August 2010.

    The Massei Report [Page 109 (full medical forensic considerations) and Page 173(specific report on the time of death.)]

    The first thing the Massei Report notes on the subject of determining the time of death is that all the expert witnesses emphasised how difficult it is to determine, in part because there are “variables which are not always determinable and measurable with the necessary precision.”

    The experts heard by the court on this matter were:

    * The Coroner, Dr. Lalli (whose evidence with regards to his observations and calculations regarding time of death are on Pages 113 to 116 of the Massei Report);
    * Consultant appointed by the Public Ministers (prosecution), namely Professor Mauro Bacci;
    * Consultants appointed by the court (the GIP – judge at a previous hearing), namely Professor Giancarlo Umani Ronchi and Professor Mario Cingolani;
    * Consultant for the civil party, namely Professor Gianaristide Norelli;
    * Consultant for the defence of Amanda Knox, namely Professor Carlo Torre; and,
    * Consultants for the defence of Raffaele Sollecito, namely Professor Francesco Introna and Professor Vinci.

    Evidence such as the time of Meredith’s last meal (approximately 18.30 hrs) and when she was last seen by her friends (a few minutes before 21.00 hrs) was used by the court to ascertain the earliest possible time of death, i.e. 21.00 hrs was the last time Meredith was seen alive and the “time window” calculated with reference to forensic medical evidence could not start earlier than that [Page 131].

    Arguments were heard with regards to how various factors would have affected calculation of time of death, these are all detailed in the Massei Report as are the different views and opinions of the various consultants noted above. The main points of contention were the effect the covering of the body had and the timing of the emptying of the stomach.

    Details from the report

    Dr. Lalli saw the body at around 14.40 to 15.00 hrs on 2nd November and noted that there was “cadaveric rigidity… of the ankle and toes” [Page 110]. He did not examine the body fully at that time as the scientific police were conducting their investigation and it was important to preserve the crime scene so they could do their job. He first examined the body at 00.50hrs on 3rd November 2007 – it was subject to rigor mortis. Rigor was still established at 12.00 hrs on 3rd November and was resolved by 10.00 hrs on 4th November – and thus he considered that the stages of rigor supported the time window established by the temperature of the body.

    Dr. Lalli used both his experience of various factors which affect the rate of loss of heat energy from the body and also mathematical methods – namely the application of the Henssge nomogram – to establish a time window by considering the body temperature.

    His calculations led to him reporting a window of between 21 and a half hours and 30 and a half hours prior to his first examination of the body (00.50 hrs 3rd November). He noted that the intermediate point of this window was 23.00 hrs on 1st November [Page 173]. Discussions centred on the weight of the body and also the effect of the cover placed over the body specifically how these would effect the application of the Henssge nomogram.

    Looking at the hypostatic staining in this case did not help to narrow the time window [Page 114]. During his first examination of the body at 00.50 hrs on 3rd November Dr. Lalli noted that the stains were not fully fixed – digital pressure caused the stain to fade but not to disappear. In the following examination at 12.00 hrs on 3rd November the hypostasis was “fixed to finger pressure”.

    This indicated that death occurred 24 to 36 hours earlier – however it is not known at what precise point in time between the first and second examination of the body that fixation occurred – therefore the court considered that the time of 12.00 hrs on 3rd of November was the latest possible time to count back the 24 to 36 hours.

    Iin other words based on the observations and the times they were made the time window suggests death was between 24.00 hrs on 1st November and 12.00 hrs on 2nd November however full fixation of the stains occurred at a point between 00.50 hrs and 12.00 hrs on 3rd November if that point in time were known it would allow the time window to be pushed back and be more accurate. As this was not possible the court concluded that hypostasis was unable to provide information more accurate than that provided by the temperature of the body.

    With regards to the state of digestion discussions covered areas included the time of the meal Meredith had shared with her friends (around 18.30 hrs), the point from which calculations should be taken, what had been eaten and the degree of digestion and how long it would take for the stomach to empty.

    Also discussed was the possibility that Meredith might have had a snack when she returned to her home, a snack which might have included mushroom and a small quantity of alcohol (no more than a small glass of beer or wine) – it is not certain that she partook of such a snack but it was considered by the court [Page 179].

    Dr. Lalli concluded that the time of death suggested by the state of digestion would have been between 21.00 hrs and 24.00 hrs on 1st November [Page 174] which is consistent with the time of death suggested by the temperature of the body and rigor. However other consultants, particularly those appointed by the GIP emphasised that this method has many variables and thus cannot provide an accurate time window [Page 179].

    Conclusion.

    The time of death can be said to be within a ten hour time window of between 18.50 hrs on 1st November and 04.50 hrs on 2nd November. The court and all the consultants and experts agreed on this time window [Page 179]. The mid point of this window is 23.50 hrs on 1st November. Meredith was last seen alive by her friends at 21.00 hrs on 1st November 2007.

    However, forensic medical evidence is only one aspect of this case. Evidence with regards to biological trace evidence, telephones, computers and witness statements, for example were also introduced to the court and are detailed in the Massei Report. After careful consideration and weighing of all the facts the court concluded that Rudy Guede, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito entered the house at 7 Via della Pergola at around 23.00 hrs [Page 361] and Meredith was murdered shortly after 23.30 on 1st November 2007 [Page 382].

    ………..

    Now that is what the court concluded, NOT that there was any 9:30 time. The 9:30 time was invented by the defence because they had to have such a time to bring Popovic into it. If you’re going to argue, you have to do it within the available evidence and before you do that, you have to actually read it. Massei is accessible from my sidebar.

    Some times:

    20:18:12 Amanda, via a cell that does not cover Raffaele’s home, receives an SMS from Patrick Lumumba asking her not to come in to work that evening (p345). Amanda is located inside a phone cell which covers her route to Lumumba’s pub (p345).

    20:20 Jovana Popovic’s lecture at the Three Arches ends; her mother had called to say that she was unable to send the suitcases because the driver refused to take them; Jovana starts walking to Raffaele’s to tell him she no longer needs a lift to the station (p53).

    20:35:48 Amanda, located in Corso Garibaldi or environs, sends an SMS in response to Patrick’s (p345). No further activity occurs on Amanda’s phone for the rest of the day; Amanda declared during the hearings that she switched her phone off when she got back to Raffaele’s house because she was happy not to go into work and be able to spend the night with her boyfriend (p345).

    Around 20:40 Jovana Popovic arrives at Raffaele’s to tell him about the lift; Amanda opens the door and tells her that Raffaele is in the bathroom (p53).

    20:42:56 Raffaele’s phone has a call, and is located in Corso Garibaldi (p339). The call is from his father, who has just come out of the movie theatre and recommends the film; Raffaele mentions the leaking pipe in the kitchen to him; Amanda and Raffaele must therefore have finished dinner around this time (p341, p384). Raffaele tells his father that he is with Amanda, and will be with her the following day as well, having in fact organised a trip to Gubbio; he mentions noticing the water leak while he was washing the dishes (p52).

    20:56 Meredith’s English phone recorded details of an attempt for an outgoing call “home”, to her mother (p350).

    Around 21:00 Meredith returns home to the cottage (p388), leaving Robyn and Amy’s place with Sophie (p21); Sophie remembers waving goodbye to Meredith at 20:55 because at 21:00 there was a program on that she had to watch (p24).

    Around 21:30 – 22:00 Antonio Curatolo, while reading the Espresso newspaper, notices Amanda and Raffaele in the little square in front of the University for Foreigners; he knows each of them from before, by sight; he notices them again around 23:00 (p383).

    21:10:32 The film file Amelie.avi closes on Raffaele’s MacBookPro laptop, from either being stopped, or reaching the end of the file (p327). Raffaele’s computer remains connected to the Net throughout the night and only 11 files are created, at regular intervals, by either the operating system (Mac OS X) or within the Mozilla Firefox browser cache; the P2P service also remains active (p328). The logs from Raffaele’s service provider, FastWeb, show no web page retrieval requests during this time period (p330).

    21:58 Meredith’s English phone recorded details of an attempt to call Voicemail; no phone traffic was generated according to the phone provider’s records, as would be expected if the caller disconnected before the welcome message finished, consistent with a parsimonious student (p350, p352, p353).

    22:00 Meredith’s English phone composed the number for “Abbey” (an English bank), the first entry in the contacts list, but since the international prefix was left off, the call did not connect; the roaming profile provider Wind captured the details, the phone’s memory did not (p350, p353).

    22:13:19 In her last call for the day, Meredith’s English phone does a 9-second GPRS connection to IP address 10.205.46.41, via cell 30064, covering Via della Pergola and which does not cover Via Sperandio (p337, p350). This might have been an MMS message from its size, 4708 bytes received, 2721 bytes sent; alternatively, it may have been a brief WAP Internet connection, but, based on the byte traffic, with no fruitful interaction occuring; alternative three, it was an unintended WAP connection with a delayed disconnection. Since the MMS was not stored in the phone’s memory, the Court inferred that Meredith simply deleted it without opening it (p351, p352, p353)

    Around 23:00 Antonio Curatolo, on his park bench, again notices Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana; he sees Raffaele going to the railing and looking through it, to where the Via della Pergola driveway gate is located (p384).

    23:14 Raffaele’s father sends him an SMS, which is received on Raffaele’s phone the following morning at 06:02 (p340).

    ………..

    Added to that must be Sollecito’s testimony that he was home alone, a denial of Knox’s claim that she was at home with him the whole evening and night.

    Also add Judge Michelli’s question about who moved the body, given Guede did NOT move Meredith or clean selectively to simulate a sex crime several hours after she passed away. First, he had no reason to (good reason not to, in fact), second, he left no evidence of that nature, and third, he was already otherwise engaged, in front of various witnesses.

    Guede’s DNA and other evidence of his presence was untouched. There is no evidence he moved the body from near the cupboard. Someone did though. This is one of Michelli’s key points. It was none of the residents of the flat or downstairs, except for one left without a sound alibi.

    There is the broken window. It’s established that it was from the inside so the questions are why and by whom? The effect of that broken window from the inside was to establish that Rudy had come in that way. For what reason would Rudy, already inside the house [as the window was broken from the inside] go in to the other girl’s room to do that? If Meredith let Rudy in via the door, why would he need to break the window in the other girl’s room?

    Last for now: forensic establishes that whoever broke the window seems to have gone from Filomena’s room straight out of the front door, shedding tiny particles of broken glass as they went.

    ………..

    Just one more for now. Bob M said:

    There is evidence of one, and only one, person in the bloody bedroom where the assault/murder took place–Rudy Guede, a known drifter in desperate need of money. Thus, a burglary gone wrong–unfortunately, this happens all too often.

    Seriously? I mean – is he really saying that? Even the defences didn’t ever, ever argue that!! They avoided the mixed blood and rearranged bedroom like the plague. Aviello and Alessi were both introduced to explain the obvious fact of three attackers in the room and marks on Meredith’s body.

  14. James Higham July 23, 2012 at 03:05 Permalink

    It’s 20 minutes to 3 here and I have to sleep for work tomorrow. One last one:

    Addressing the failure of Meredith to speak on the phone and that her calls after 9:00 indicate she was already dead, there is, for a start, a time lapse in the killing, i.e. it took some time.

    Also, Knox has no alibi for after Popovic. It does put her at Corso Garibaldi or environs at 20:35:48 and Sollecito’s at 20:40. There is only her word that he is there. Defence insistence on a killing shortly after 9:00 does not help Knox at all as she is unaccounted for and Sollecito, though he tells his father he’s with her, denies she’s with him at home.

    Conclusion – they’re out and about. On Sollecito’s testimony, she is out and about. Both scenarios have her out and about.

    OK, how is Guede in the house at 9:00? The break-in is staged, no one disputes that now, so how? He claims he was friendly with her so she had to have let him in. How would he go from that to killing her in the space of a few minutes? He’s known for petty crime, not murder.

    He’s also claimed they were there.

    So, going with the him-alone scenario, which the SC does not accept, who moved the body later? We keep coming back to that. In one of her stories, she admits she was in the house.

    21:30 to 22:00 has her seen in the little square with Sollecito. He claims he was at home, the computer doesn’t say that and he denies her alibi that she is home with him.

    More tomorrow.

  15. James Higham July 23, 2012 at 07:53 Permalink

    It is significant that this post went up at 11 a.m. Sunday. Discussion should have taken place during the day or into the evening. And what happened?

    There was a bit of sniping from the Knox camp to the extent that it was known that this post was here but were the points answered?

    They were not. Instead, despite three entreaties for them to answer the critical questions put, the tactic was to flood with counter-questions which followed exactly the pattern Cardiol, a lawyer himself, said they do – namely never to put a sustained scenario based on the totality of evidence but to ignore the evidence in many places, e.g. the anomaly of the Knox/Sollecito lies to the postal police, e.g. the two different alibis for the night in question, e.g. the question of the moving of the body.

    You could throw in the faked burglary which one Knox troll has questioned yet again when it was laid to rest before. The witnesses themselves, the postal police and everyone in that house but the terrible two saw the burglary as faked. It was subsequently held to be faked by the court and the SC and all along the way, the reasons were patiently given.

    For example, the impossibility of that particular window being entered without a ladder, given the lack of foot and handhold in the reconstruction at the scene, the illogicality of that window being used when there was a far better window which would have suited, the shards of glass falling in the pattern they did, what else was found in that room and so on and so on.

    It is not my job to rehash, over and over points which have already been accepted by the court. Not only that, it’s not my job to rehash the case itself when it is written up in over 400 pages for people to read themselves.

    What happened yesterday and early this morning is that the Knox shills waited until the early hours, British time, from 1:00 a.m. through to 3:00 a.m. and then flooded this blog and email with hundreds of counterpoints.

    I made a statement above – check the timestamp, that as it was 3 a.m. and I had commitments today, which I do, that I was not addressing these until then.

    I’m also not addressing the flood which Cardiol warned of until the points I asked are answered. They have singularly not been answered in any post so far.

    I consider it a shoddy tactic to hit me with this flood in the wee hours and by my not immediately stopping every other RL thing I’m doing and wasting my time reiterating old material which has already been discussed ad nauseam, they can then conclude I’m “running away” from it.

    There is a comment for your tactics – Arkell v Pressdram – go look it up.

    What I shall do though is, at 4 p.m., after my commitments are done, to begin taking the points made by the Knox camp bit by bit, at my pace, in a sort of ongoing live blog I’ll add to, bearing in mind there is a readership which doesn’t give a toss about the whole thing and I shall not bring the blog down by flooding it with Knox camp guff on their time frame.

    Their tactics are shoddy and have nothing to do with getting to the truth on these things. One of those points, for example, is why Knox and Sollecito were held for a year without charge. There is an answer to it, it’s in store here and it will be one of the pieces I lead with in that 4 p.m. post “store”.

    Another I’ll address here. I was asked why I continue to “hide behind” TJMK in my answers. You will note the emotive language, the slur, as if there is some cowardice here.

    Go through my posts on this blog please and show me one where I have shied away from the facts in an issue. Regulars here, whom I’m writing for, not for the Knox camp, know that slinking away from a fight has never been one of my defining features – often too much the other way.

    Yet a flood, which is what I’ve received in the wee hours, can’t be fought in that time frame and nor should it be. For example, there was a sustained attack on Guede’s character – comment after comment after comment, as if that somehow addressed what Galati is doing, which is what the post was about – not reopening the case.

    Now, about 3.20 this morning, after wading through the second of these, it was patently obvious that they were firing point after point after point about Guede which was entirely unnecessary, as it was largely not in dispute.

    That wasted my effing time and I neither like nor can afford my time wasted that way. The points on Guede which do need addressing were not addressed in the least, e.g. his sightings that night. Oh they were mentioned, but in passing.

    Arkell v Pressdram. Bearing in mind the readers of N.O and how much they should have to wade through before they just click out, the points made in the 4 p.m. ongoing post will be at intervals, a few at a time, until a substantial amount are built up over the next few days, as and when I have the time.

    Coming back to the point of me “hiding behind TJMK”, I never argue from the top of my head, which is precisely what the Knox shills are pretending. If they can establish that I do, then they have discredited me.

    Arkell v Pressdram, I repeat to them.

    If I do not go back and check the relevant documents, check the facts, get the information to answer the questions, being but a humble blogger, then I’m doing neither myself nor my readers any favours and unlike the Knox shills, I refuse to talk out of my proverbial.

    The main repositories of the documents in the case are known to be at TJMK and PMF, so much so that the Knox camp itself uses them. For example, one shill tried to put up his own version of the translation from the Italian and I posted a fragment from both translations which largely agreed, except in some minor wordage.

    He translated a few pages of the 400 and then gave up because 1. there was no percentage in doing a counter translation which came out roughly the same and let’s be fair – he did not cut out the bits he didn’t like – he translated all of that fragment. 2. it takes work and they do not want to do the work – they’d rather flood with constructions out of their heads, then charging that the records are constructions in themselves.

    That’s why I go back to the documents each time, to make sure I have it right and I’m way too long in the tooth to be bullied and harrassed into a rapid counterattack. It’s done at my pace or not at all.

    So now I put this aside for the nonce and take care of my RL issues which have much riding on them this morning and early this afternoon.