I've posted a video trailer for my book, The Monster of Perugia - The Framing of Amanda Knox. The trailer poses some of the many questions that remain about the travesty of injustice and crimes committed by Perugian justice authorities.
Just what is the special relationship between Prosecutor Mignini and the murderer, Rudy Guede? Why was Rudy repeatedly released after being captured for burglary? What was Mignini's real motive to frame Amanda and Raffaele?
An investigation should be demanded. Please help me spread that word by reposting the link to this simple, but important video.
October 11, 2011
September 28, 2011
Note: This is a guest posting by Krista Errickson, a journalist and former actress who has followed the case of Amanda and Raffaele extensively.
It originally appeared in her blog, Woman on a Wire at http://womanonawire.blogspot.com/2011/09/unarresting-arrested-famed-fbi-profiler.html .
The note below is her own.
This article was originally supposed to be run in Il Messaggero. It was given to me as an assignment, after the editor and legal expert of the newspaper saw the Maxim interview with famed FBI profiler, John Douglas, in their January 2011 issue.
When the article was turned in, my editor told me – “this article is too dangerous to print in Italy”.
So, for your reading pleasure, the article too dangerous for Italy.
Hunting the Hunters
There are two kinds of hunters: the hunter that waits and the hunter that tracks. The difference of two is the complexity of their hunting techniques though both aim for the same thing; bagging the prey.
Hunters who wait prefer to lure their prey into range. This is usually the preferred method of serial killers. They watch, and wait for the chance to pounce. Hunters who track their prey, involves a more detailed approach; knowing the specific differences, patterns and behaviors of the hunted, and calculate their next moves. John Douglas is of the latter. However, he pursues a different kind of animal: serial killers. He is the investigator and legendary criminal profiler known as “The Mind Hunter”.
When Douglas joined the FBI at 25 years old, no agents were interviewing captured killers. He began his study in prisons, speaking with hundreds of criminals to understand who they were, and what motivates them to kill. “They want to talk. Many are proud of what they accomplished. In my interviews, I try to make them feel comfortable, and speak with them in what they desire most; as a fan”. And they talked, one by one – from Ed Gein, (whose real life-adventures were fictionalized in Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs), Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, The Son of Sam, to Jeffrey Dahmer, among other nefarious, infamous criminals that have roamed the earth.
Manson is a great example of Douglas’s approach. “I’m 6’2”, Manson is 5’4”, Douglas says. “I knew he’d want to dominate the room. He stood on a chair during the entire interview. It seemed to make him comfortable, so I let him. All I wanted was information, that’s my goal”.
Pioneering modern criminal profiling 25 years ago in the FBI, Douglas helped create the “Behavioral Science Unit” (BSU). “My first office was in Detroit. Back then, we had about 800 homicides a year. It may be a terrible place to live, but for a young agent, it was a great place to learn”. Criminal Profiling has been an accepted method in American murder investigations since the late 70’s.
The job took its toll in 1985, when he nearly died. He came down with viral encephalitis; his body temperature reached 107 degrees, his pulsed raced to over 220 and had uncontrollable seizures. The tombstone was already etched with his name and the grave site chosen. It was years of physical rehabilitation. But Douglas was back on the job 5 months later to nab countless mass murderers before retiring in 1995.
“It’s tough. You’re alone, with this extraordinary pressure, especially the in-between. Here I am trying to work a case, which in of itself takes a toll; looking at what the murderer did, horrifying things, forcing myself to enter their twisted, sick minds, then add in the factor that you are not always welcome by local law enforcement, even hated at times – even with my background. It gets to you, it really does”.
Bestselling author of over a dozen novels, books and manuals, he was the inspiration for Jack Crawford’s character in “The Silence of the Lambs” and probably ever other fictional protagonist that a screenwriter has used to sculpt their characters.
In addition, Charlize Theron’s company optioned Douglas’s biography, “Mindhunter” for HBO. Since retiring as head investigator for the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime at the FBI, Douglas now travels the world hired by international and domestic law enforcement and defense teams who request his help in investigations.
Criminal Behavioral Profiling has also proved to be a useful tool in exonerating the wrongly accused or convicted, of which Douglas also dedicates his time.
Probably the most well-known of these was the JonBenét Ramsey case. The case is notable for both its longevity and the media interest it generated. The media and local law enforcement agencies considered the girl's parents and brother to be suspects. Douglas was the first to publicly proclaim their innocence, long before DNA legally exonerated them.
Douglas has worked on over 5,000 cases, hired by defense teams and domestic and international law enforcement to work on cases. Of those 5,000 cases, he’s never been proved wrong. “I think that’s probably the biggest pressure, is the possibility of being wrong and why I got sick”, Douglas tells me.
Currently, he is working on the Knox-Sollecito case and West Memphis Three case, the name given to three teenagers who were tried and convicted of the murders of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, United States in 1993 by a prosecution team that put forth the idea that the only purported motive in the case was that the slayings were part of a Satanic ritual.
The case has received considerable attention. Their supporters believe the arrests and convictions were a miscarriage of justice and that the defendants were wrongfully convicted during a period of intense media scrutiny. The defendants remain imprisoned, but legal proceedings are ongoing.
In a recent article of Maxim, Douglas said he was convinced the Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent.
KE: How do you analyze and create a profile in a case?
JD: Criminal investigative analysis, or what you call “criminal profiling” is - the overall process whereby crimes are reviewed in their totality. It involves the process of criminal investigative analysis both by behavior and investigative perspective. We interpret the behavior before, during and after the crime and from that we develop strategies and profile the unknown offender. Then we assess the suspects, provide interrogation techniques.
One must be able to identify with both the victim and the subject in order to answer the investigative of formula of: why + how = who.
JD: The criminal profiling process alone does not convict anyone. The foundation of any case is a properly conducted, thorough and well planned investigation. If the investigation is not good, the results will be tainted. Garbage in…garbage out!
KE: What did you know about the case beforehand, and what interested you?
JD: I really didn’t know much about the case. Just what I read in passing – perhaps it’s just as well. It had extraordinary media attention, and it was controversial. There seemed to be strong arguments on both sides. The public seemed convinced of either their innocence or their guilt. This always interests me.
KE: Did you speak with the Knox family?
JD: No. I’ve never met them. The case was brought to me by a former FBI agent who strongly believed they (Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito) were innocent.
KE: Why did you decide to take this case, in particular?
JD: I thought I could come up with an analysis. I was interested to find the truth, and not be swayed by either side. In fact, whenever someone brings me a case, I tell them that my answer many not support their theories – you may not like what I have to say. . I act like the lone ranger; I give my opinion without caring about the politics. I don’t care how it really works out; in my mind, I am working for the victim. Part of my downfall, the viral encephalitis, was due, in part, because people do not always necessarily like me or my findings.
KE: Did you feel you had all the information necessary or at your disposal to make your conclusion?
JD: I will not do an analysis unless I am provided with all the information necessary.
I had everything I needed. In fact, even more than I have had in other cases. Fortunately, I also had the crime scene evidence collection tapes to view. Often in America, we only have photos of the crime scene and you can not clearly understand what is happening. There was more than enough to assess.
KE: What was your conclusion of the behavioral profiles you conducted?
From the profiles created, none of the behavioral or forensic evidence leads to Amanda and Raffaele. There is no history or experience related to violence or mental illness in their backgrounds. None of the behavioral or forensic evidence leads to Amanda and Raffaele. This is not a case of serial killers, cold blooded murderers. They used marijuana, but that’s not some hard core drug that will change a normal personality. There’s nothing is in the background of the kids. They should’ve walked out of there.
KE: What behavioral evidence should there have been?
JD: Well, fleeing for one. Which only Guede did. They would’ve been nervous, drinking heavily,
JD: Based on my experience, the crime scene does not indicate the presence of three individuals in the room where Meredith was murdered. What was done to the victim, the way in which the crime occurred, was not the result of three people. This can be concluded without a DNA test.
KE: And third suspect, Rudy Guede?
JD: Guede has the history; he was an experienced criminal, he had the motive (are you listening, Mr. Pisa?) and all evidence points to him. The crime scene does not indicate the presence of three individuals in the room where Meredith was murdered. It was brutal, bloody homicide, and it’s a reflection of his personality. And that behavior was exhibited at the crime scene, that’s his “canvas”; the result is his “artwork” of the subject.
You should be able to find other “canvases” of his like that – not necessarily homicide-but you should find a violent past in this person’s background. I know that he had committed some robberies, but I’ll bet money that there are more cases that he may have been involved with that remain unsolved. I don’t know, maybe before he came to Perugia – whatever he may have been escaping previously. Behavior reflects personality. And that behavior fits only Rudy Guede.
KE: What was the motive?
JD: The primary motive was burglary. But we have an opportunistic offender here. And that opportunity was presented when Meredith came home, and she became the victim of the opportunity.
KE: There are many who’ve said covering Meredith’s body with a duvet may prove that the murderer was a female.
JD: That’s absurd. There are different reasons why someone will cover a body. There is a certain sense of wanting to undo the crime. Guede didn’t leave after the crime, but he doesn’t want to look at her; that’s what happened in this case. It’s not that he didn’t feel good about what he has done; I can see that because of the way he killed her and sexually assaulted her. He’s a sadistic individual with a violent past. He put the blanket over her because he was wandering around the apartment and didn’t want to see her.
Sadly, this was a very pedestrian murder. And that’s not to diminish this beautiful woman’s life, Meredith. It’s not that complicated, crimes are not so complicated. After a week, I would’ve said, “Are you kidding me? You mean you haven’t arrested the guy?”
KE: In your professional opinion, what went wrong?
JD: Let me first say, for the police in Perugia, they may only have the opportunity to see a case like this in a career. Unfortunately here, we see homicides like this all the time.
The first investigators didn’t know what they were handling. The collections and preservation of evidence was done incorrectly and led to contamination. Luckily we have the video and not only photos. You can see all the mistakes that they have done.
If I was brought in on this investigation, I would have told them they were on the wrong track.
KE: The media have been very interested and involved in this case from the beginning: do you think their role helped or damaged the investigator’s job and the judge’s assessments?
JD: It absolutely damaged both. The media can shape the opinion of people. A single photograph seen out of context, can affect us. The investigators can also be responsible for leaking information to manipulate the media and thus public opinion.
KE: Do you believe the investigators made mistakes that subsequently diverted the course of the investigation?
JD: Well, that’s the entire story, isn’t it? First, there were too many people in those rooms. They should have removed Amanda, Raffaele and anyone who was not part of the investigation team, and roped it off.
From the video taken from the crime scene, there were numerous mistakes. The investigators can be seen passing evidence, dropping it on the ground, using the same tweezers, not changing gloves, no protective caps to cover hair. Any insider can recognize these errors. What the investigators have done may seem right "outside", they had their protective clothing, boots, but the cross- contamination of the evidence was more than evident.
KE: What is cross-contamination, exactly?
JD: It means simply that evidence from anyone, anyone who came and went in those rooms have the potential to leave their DNA, prints, etc. and run the risk of being transferred microscopically.
In this case, the prosecution allowed theory to rule over evidence
KE: The prosecution is adamant that DNA of Sollecito’s found on the bra clasp of Meredith’s. DNA of Amanda Knox’s is said to be on the murder weapon; on the knife’s handle and Meredith’s on the blade.
JD: It’s not the murder weapon. As far as I’m concerned, it hasn’t been found; probably never will. It doesn’t fit with imprint made on the bed sheet, or the wounds found on Meredith. The evidence collection video from December 18th shows a knife, randomly chosen, from Sollecito’s apartment and transported to the lab.
The video taken on November 2nd shows the bra clasp, very clearly on the floor of the crime scene. On December 18th, after already returning to the scene more than 16 times, the video shows the bra clasp, still there. It had already been kicked and shuffled around on the floor for six weeks. Secondly, the amount of DNA, supposedly, that was Sollecito’s is highly suspect.
Moreover, if that’s all the evidence you’ve got, two tiny pieces of DNA of the plethora that should have been there? Well, it’s simply ludicrous.
KE: Are these errors by the investigators more common in Italy than in other parts of the world?
JD: Are all the investigators in Italy incompetent? Are they badly trained? Absolutely Not! The training is probably good, very good. But in any profession people get careless, they can get lazy. But this does not mean that the system does not work. Look at the West Memphis Three case. Just because there was incompetency there, does not mean that all the investigators in Tennessee are incompetent.
KE: You understand that the Italian officials might see your conclusions on this case as an external interference.
JD: No one in Italy, America or elsewhere in the world, likes anyone looking over their shoulders. But I think if an investigation has been carried out accurately, without errors, you should not fear the analysis of other professionals.
KE: What about Amanda’s confessions during the interrogations?
JD: To be interrogated from 10 pm until 6 am in the morning? These are not sophisticated young people – it would not take a dozen interrogators to break them. I know the tricks, I know what they do in there; I’ve done it. No one could hold up. I couldn’t hold up - especially over 5 days.
KE: Amanda, while under interrogation accused another man, Patrick Lumumba, why would she have done that?
JD: The police knew that they had negroid hairs at the crime scene. The interrogation tactics were used to have Amanda say what the police wanted. You get people to confess under this psychological torture.
KE: Do you think the prosecution acted based on prejudices towards Amanda and Raffaele?
JD: I don’t think prejudice is exactly correct. The prosecution had a theory from the beginning and continued with it – despite the facts. They discounted evidence that didn’t support their theory. Their theory was a threesome murder and they let this theory guide them.
KE: Manuela Comodi, lead prosecutor recently said that “the DNA doesn’t matter, because they have a ton of circumstantial evidence”.
JD: Circumstantial evidence is the weakest evidence of all. Witnesses can be bought off, or bargain for favors, recollections that can’t be counted on...it’s fine to start with, in fact, so are hunches, so are theories, but that all has to go out the window if the hard evidence, and in this case, there’s an overwhelming amount of it, points in another direction. You can see the motivation of some prosecutors to win, no matter what it takes to win, even if truth doesn’t fit into your facts and figures.
This does not concern only Italy. During the West Memphis Three case, the prosecution team created a grand, theatrical scene in the courtroom. They stabbed a grapefruit with a knife to prove it was the type of a weapon that created wounds on the victims. They did this to influence the jury and win the case. Only later, during the appeal, it was discovered that the wounds on the bodies of the boys had not been inflicted by a knife at all, but by an alligator snapping turtle! (the children's bodies were thrown into a river).
KE: So, you’re saying you don’t think there was any “conspiracy” to convict Amanda and Raffaele?
JD: No. They began to panic when the evidence returned and didn’t match up to the other two; it was all going to Guede. Instead, they returned, over and over to the crime scene, even six weeks later – what was it? Why do you have to go back? Did you miss something? Did you get some new lead? Did you develop something in the lab, and now you have to find it? No. They had to go back because they were looking for something, anything, to fit their theory.
KE: When you mean “they”, are you referring to PM Giuliano Mignini?
He certainly spearheaded it. Speaking of behavior reflecting personality – he has similar behaviors of following theory over evidence in the past. He’s got win, no matter what; even if the truth doesn’t fit into the facts and figures. The Monster of Florence case is a great example.
I understand Mr. Mignini was under indictment for abuse of office, illegal harassment, and the wire-tapping of journalists relating for that case while prosecuting this trial. It boggles the mind why he was not removed from his office. Moreover, that he was/is allowed to continue to his duties.
KE: But the PM didn’t convict her, a jury did
JD: It’s the way the evidence was presented to the jurors. There was no evidence, there is no evidence.
Isn’t it strange that all the officers and technicians working on the case received medals and official recognitions? They were preparing the next jurors. When I saw that I said to myself, “aaah, they’re greasing the wheels”.
KE: Do you agree with the court of appeals to give the DNA analyses on the evidence to third parties experts?
JD: Absolutely. The more the merrier.
KE: Do you trust the Italian justice system?
JD: It is not a question of trust in a system. I may not trust certain individuals in a system. I am not here to create tensions between America and Italy, or to teach others how to do their job.
KE: Are you aware the two defendants said they trusted the Italian justice system?
JD: If I were in prison, I probably would say the same thing! Amanda and Raffaele at this time have no control over their lives. If they are released, they might express a different opinion.
These two individuals – Amanda and Raffaele, for them to commit this horrific crime and leave the crime scene that way – it was a massacre – and then hours later, be back at the crime scene, doesn’t fit. The fact that they were kissing - people looked at this as a sign of guilt, if anything; I look at this as sign of innocence. These are two young people who cannot fathom what has taken place. (It was so surreal) she thought she was going to stroll in and stroll out of there and justice would prevail. But, it didn’t happen that way. Justice did not prevail.
This is like the Ramsey case. DNA eliminated the family as suspects. The family did not do it. Besides, I saw what had been done to the child, how she was sexually assaulted. Parents kill, they do. But not these parents. Not in the way, and method that child was killed. They are not the type to kill their daughter. There are people on websites that hate me to this day because of the Ramsey case. I want to say to them “Give it up!” – but they just won’t do it”.
September 25, 2011
The prosecution's closing arguments in the appeals of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy comprised a rehash of long-since discredited claims. They stated, for example, that they had proved beyond a reasonable doubt in the first trial that "mixed blood" of Amanda and Meredith was found. That claim was based on a preposterous misinterpretation of the mundane fact that Amanda's DNA was in her own bathroom, a fact without meaning since every one of us has left our own DNA in our own bathrooms. Oh, and, also preposterous because Amanda had no wounds from which to bleed.
There is a term for statements like this that are not true. They are called "lies". The prosecution lying to the jury and the press in this trial is nothing new, lies have been the core of their case. It is also not surprising that they have been allowed to lie without correction. In other courts such deliberate misstatements could lead to disbarment, but Italian jurisprudence is flexible and sophisticated about such matters, we are told.
What has been amazing is how many times they have gotten away with it. The first court bought dozens of Mignini's claims hook, line, and sinker, except when it could actually improve upon them. Most of the press, too, went along for years, on the joy rides of a "satanic sex cult" then a "sex game gone wrong" along with many other Mignini fantasies, even though there has never been a shred of evidence presented to support them.
Amazing as Mignini’s ability to get away with serial prevarication has been, it is not without precedent.
In Saturday Night Live’s famous “Landshark” skit, the imaginary creature of the Jaws cinema era told ridiculous lie after ridiculous lie, trying to gain entrance to its prey’s home. No matter how cautious, savvy, or well-informed the victim, that clever and persistent Landshark would eventually devour them.
“Flowers,” announced the tentative, nasal voice at the door as the ominous Jaws theme music began.
“Flowers for whom?” the suspicious woman replied.
“Plumber, maam,” the voice inexplicably changed its claim.
“I don’t need a plumber,” the woman skeptically replied. “You’re that clever shark, aren’t you?”
“Candygram,” came the voice, testing out another approach.
“Candygram my foot! You get out of here before I call the police. You’re that shark and you know it!"
“Wait… uh… I’m only a dolphin, maam.”
“A dolphin? Well, okay….” she said, as she opened her door to Landshark doom.
The comedic setup here, the conceit, is the idea that anyone would be so stupid, after hearing three consecutive lies, as to believe the fourth lie from the same source. One would think, after all, that the source's credibility might be shot after being caught two or three times. Not with that clever Landshark, and its infinitely gullible foil.
And not with Mignini. After his original "satanic sex cult" lie didn't catch on, he switched to the sex game story. When that didn't gain traction it was a "vendetta" held by Amanda against Meredith. And when no one seemed to remember any malice to support that, Mignini claimed that Amanda committed murder for no reason at all, which was especially despicable. Now it's back to the sex game theory, because, well, you know how kids are nowadays.
It has only been after nearly four years of false imprisonment that doubts are finally being expressed by much of the press, and more importantly, by the appeals court.
After repeating, yet again, a slew of such Landshark-like claims in his closing, Mignini demanded that Amanda and Raffaele's sentences be increased to life in prison from the current 26 and 25 years, respectively. He also asked, as he has before, that these sentences include six months of daytime solitary confinement for Amanda and two months for Raffaele.
Such confinement can cause irreparable psychological damage and is meant to destroy the will of the prisoner. Mignini's sadistic attempt to inflict this cruel, unusual, and senseless torture is a clear indication that these are the actions of a deranged prosecutor, and anything but the pursuit of justice.
There was a controversy a while back about the naming of two parks in the sister cities, Perugia and Seattle. Each city was supposed to name a park for the other. Perugia then named one of their parks in honor of Seattle, calling it "Orca Park". Seattle was planning to name one "Perugia Park" until outrage was voiced by some who have observed the apalling abuse of Amanda by Perugian authorities.
"Orca" is not "Seattle" but I guess it's the thought that counts, and I've had one of those.
I propose that we, here in Seattle, name a park "Landshark Park" in honor of Perugia.
We owe them no less.
May 11, 2011
Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, has managed to shut down Frank Sfarzo's Perugia Shock blog. Frank's blog has been a primary source of unsoiled information about the kangaroo court and framing process orchestrated by Mignini. Various people are now working to post mirror sites and they will be up shortly. This site will post selected excerpts from that blog and also other materials that show how Mignini has suppressed the facts, committed an outrage of injustice, and attempted to intimidate any journalist that dares to write the truth. He is truly the Little Dictator described in The Monster of Perugia – The Framing of Amanda Knox.
More later today!
More later today!
February 22, 2011
January 20, 2011
As the appeals trial of Amanda and Raffaele gets under way, after more than 3 years of wrongful imprisonment, it is finally time for my book on the framing of Amanda and Raffaele to be published. This book describes the tragedy in Perugia as accurately, clearly, and compellingly as I was capable of doing. It is my hope that it will help people to realize, with crystal clarity, that these convictions, imprisonments, and outright persecutions are terribly wrong, and must be brought to a halt.
(NOTE: There is a problem with the table of contents in the version of MoP that is currently at Amazon. The corrected version will appear very soon and can be downloaded to replace the version without the TOC.)
I've set up a blog specifically for news about The Monster of Perugia (MoP) at www.monsterofperugia.com. News and information about the book will be available primarily through that site.
The Monster of Perugia – The Framing of Amanda Knox is now available as a Kindle edition book through Amazon.com. It will soon be available in print form and print on demand format.
(NOTE: There is a problem with the table of contents in the version of MoP that is currently at Amazon. The corrected version will appear very soon and can be downloaded to replace the version without the TOC.)
Images of the front cover of MoP appears below. Click on the images below for larger sizes.
October 21, 2010
This post is Part I of a three part sample chapter from my upcoming book,
The Monster of Perugia – The Framing of Amanda Knox
Parts II and III are now posted directly below
The Motivation Report from the Court of Assizes in Perugia, Italy attempts to explain the wrongful convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher. It does so in spite of the lack of evidence, lack of motive, and lack of common sense. Producing such a lengthy and impressive document that justifies doing something terribly wrong is not an easy task – it requires inspiration.
After careful study, it appears to me that the court’s inspiration was Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. In that classic work, the characters inverted reality and tortured logic with tenacity undaunted by reality. The Court of Assizes found a similar challenge before it. Without valid evidence, without anything resembling a believable motive, without any prior history of crime or violent acts whatsoever, it is unbelievable that Amanda Knox committed such a crime. So the Court turned to pure fiction to justify its actions.
In Through the Looking Glass, Alice speculated about what it would be like on the other side of a mirror. To her surprise, she was able to pass through to that other side, but when she did, she found herself trapped in a world where everything was backward, where logic itself was inverted.
The Motivation arrived at the outlandish conclusion that a rock that was clearly thrown through a window from the outside to break into the cottage, was instead thrown from the inside of the cottage to simulate a break in. Once that rock passed through that window backwards, logic in the Perugian court was turned into its mirror image, and outrageous conclusion after outrageous conclusion was reached. With those conclusions, Amanda Knox passed through the looking glass and was found guilty in spite of overwhelming evidence of her innocence.
Nevertheless, the Motivation is important evidence. Very poor evidence against Amanda and Raffaele, but very telling evidence against Giuliano Mignini and the judges that made this decision. As we analyze it, we see a pattern of contortions that go well beyond bad judgment calls or mere incompetence. Instead we see sign after sign of willful and deliberate twisting to achieve a desired result.
The Motivation Report is compatible with the framing of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
The 400+ page long Motivation begins by meandering about through almost random observations as if to take up space, or perhaps to lull its readers to sleep. At times no real attempt was made to develop a coherent narrative from these observations, they are like postcards from the edge of a murder.
“Meredith was very attached to her family and very affectionate; she had bought some presents and had a case full of chocolate she had bought in Perugia that she wanted to bring for her sister, Stephanie Arline Lara Kercher.”
“She loved pizza very much and at times went dancing.”
These and similar insights must have served to guide the Court’s reasoning. To avoid putting my readers to sleep, this chapter will walk through the perverse logic that was applied to just a few important aspects of the case. Of particular importance are the Court’s findings that the break-in at the cottage was staged rather than actual, and that while Rudy seemed to break in everywhere else, he would never have done such a thing as break in there.
To make these assertions, the Court reached conclusions that fly in the face of common sense, all the while cloaking itself in a guise of reason. Tweedledee and Tweedledum, rotund twin brothers imported from a nursery rhyme to the looking glass world, were masters of this.
“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”
“I was thinking,” Alice said very politely, “which is the best way out of this wood: it’s getting so dark. Would you tell me, please?”
But the little men only looked at each other and grinned.
The Motivation is also called the Massei Report because it was mostly written by Judge Giancarlo Massei. In it, he disagrees with the contentions of prosecutor Giuliano Mignini on many major points of evidence and witness testimony, even calling some unbelievable.These two little men disagreed on many fundamental points, except for one thing on which they agreed: guilt. There is a precedent for this.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
Even though the court did not accept the prosecution’s proposed motive, much of its evidence, or the scenario for how the crime occurred, these little men, Mignini and Massei, like Tweedeldum and Tweedledee before them, quite forgot their quarrel when it came to assigning guilt to Amanda Knox.
For the prosecution and the court to disagree on so many matters and yet to agree on guilt is not a minor point. The prosecution itself repeatedly changed the supposed motives, evidence, and diverse claims that it made against the accused to advance their case. The only thing that remained constant was guilt. In the Motivation, it is clear that to the Court itself the evidence, motive, etc. were mere details, not the important thing at all. The important thing was casting about for a justification for the guilt of Amanda Knox.
It is a critical fact for the understanding of this trial that guilt was preordained; the evidence was an afterthought. Once one sees this cart-before-the-horse mentality for what it is, one can practically sit back and watch as the evidence is twisted to achieve the result, rather than being objectively discovered and analyzed. The distortion of the evidence to wrongfully convict Amanda and Raffaele is especially clear in the Motivation. I urge everyone with an interest in this case to read it. Even in the translation produced by the anonymous and unaccountable team assembled by the guilters, the Motivation is self-damning in its illogical and preposterous assertions.
It is not a coincidence that while those who assert that Amanda and Raffaele are guilty point to this document, they rarely cite its actual contents. Those contents show just how weak the prosecution’s case was. As several observers stated shortly after its release, it appears to have been designed to be overthrown on appeal on the basis of its own content. It is as if those who wrote it knew perfectly well that they were convicting innocent people, and sought some form of repentance by including the seeds of self-destruction.
Perhaps the most critical conclusion reached in the Motivation is that the break-in of the cottage was staged rather than being an actual burglary. From this reference point the court goes on to claim that Amanda, and only Amanda, had a motive to stage that break-in, and that she must therefore be guilty of murder. Let’s walk through this “reasoning” in some detail.
“It must be held that when Filomena Romanelli left the house in via della Pergola, she had pulled the shutters towards the interior of her room, (although she did not think that she had actually closed them.)” P–48
Filomena “did not think that she had actually closed them” in the Court’s words, and yet, the conclusion was “it must be held” that she closed them. Why? Because, the Motivation says, the wood was old and swollen, and it was difficult to close them. Anyone who has ever pulled closed an old door or shutter knows about this. You pull it kind of shut but it doesn’t really close all the way because it is swollen and doesn’t close right. So it is left partly open. Yet the Court concluded the opposite, in spite of Filomena testifying that she did not think she had actually closed the shutters. This conclusion, trivial on the face of it, is the first of many sequential and improbable conclusions – improbable conclusions culminating in convictions and years in prison.
Let’s call this Improbable Conclusion #1. Filomena did not think she had closed the shutters; therefore, they were closed.
Improbable Conclusion #2 is that because the shutters were closed, they would have had to be opened in some way.
“Consequently, since the shutters had been pulled together and their rubbing put pressure on the windowsill on which they rested, it would have first been necessary to effect an operation with the specific goal of completely opening these shutters.”
The Court then reasoned that because no tool for opening them was found at the scene, Rudy would have had to climb up to the window and open them before throwing the rock. A shutter opening tool…. what will they think of next?
So even though Filomena didn’t think she had closed the shutters, and was at the minimum not certain that she had, an elaborate line of reasoning was born based entirely on the conclusion that the shutters were closed.
It was also claimed that opening the shutters would have been a substantial undertaking. But if they were in fact only partly closed, all it would require is hopping up, using the grating and the wall to gain height, and yanking at the shutter on the right. Remember that the shutters were at about the same height as a basketball net, and Rudy was an accomplished basketball player. It would take only a second or two to accomplish. Yet the court regards this simple possibility as highly improbable.
“This scenario appears totally unlikely, given the effort involved…” P–49
Notice that opening the shutters is only required if the shutters were closed in the first place. This whole line of reasoning is sequential: each step depends on every one of the previous conclusions being correct, so the probability of the whole line of reasoning being correct is the product of the probabilities of each step; it becomes smaller, and smaller as the improbable conclusions multiply.
Witnesses recounted that they didn’t see any signs of climbing up the outside wall. Strangely, however, no close up photos of the wall appear to have been taken. No good photos of the wall or of the ground below seem to exist. Only a limited investigative effort was made on one of the most important sites in the case.
“She said: ‘We observed…. no traces on the wall.’”
P – 50
A picture would have been nice. Why are the Court’s conclusions reached entirely on the basis of their investigator’s reported observations rather than on the basis of actual, recorded images or other documentation?
And, just as damning in the Court’s eyes, a nail sticking out from the wall in that vicinity wasn’t bent, as the Court believes it would have been, but there are all kinds of simple explanations for this. Rudy didn’t happen to step on it, for instance, or he touched it but simply didn’t happen to bend it. The nail is situated at roughly the midpoint between the window and the grating below. There is plenty of space between. The nail doesn’t not occupy some special space where it could not be avoided.
Another point cited as evidence that there was no entry by the window was that the vegetation beneath the window wasn’t “trampled.”
“…none of the vegetation underneath the window appeared to have been trampled; nothing”
To test this, try an experiment. Go outside and walk on the grass some night. Come back the following afternoon and look to see if that grass appears to have been trampled. Or you could skip the experiment, because everyone knows that “vegetation” is alive, and the vegetation planted around homes recovers rapidly from having been briefly stepped on. This is true at your home as well as in Perugia. There is nothing surprising about the plants beneath the window not appearing to be trampled. In this case, not seeing evidence of activity does not mean that there was no activity. And why would anyone asssume that the vegetation would be “trampled”? It would be stepped on for a second or two by a burglar hurrying to climb up and through the window. There is no reason to expect signs of a stampede outside the window.
And, in fact, in one photograph that exists of the outside wall there is an apparent scrape mark above the lower window. The window is not very high up, and there is a starting point to the right of it that would make access fairly easy.
And so we have Improbable Conclusion #3: the lack of trampled grass and marks on the wall disproves a break-in.
Through the Looking Glass
Perhaps the most improbable conclusion of all is the remarkable assertion that the rock went through the window in the wrong direction. This is Improbable Conclusion #4: that the rock was thrown from the inside. In arriving at this conclusion, tremendous weight was attached to the lack of pieces of glass outside the window on the ground below. We will never really know if there were no pieces there, however, because no proper documentation of that area was performed – only the visual observations of the Polizia. Did they miss pieces because the glass sifted down under leaves? Who knows? Can we take their word for it? Who knows?
The glass from the broken window was scattered about inside the room and on the window sill, exactly as one would expect if the rock were thrown from the outside. This was explained by defense expert Sergeant Pasquali, but his testimony was dismissed because he is merely a ballistics expert, not a rock throwing expert (ballistics being the study of bullets flying about, not rocks).
“Pieces of glass from the window pane were distributed in a homogeneous manner on the inside and outside parts of the window sill, without any displacement being noted…”
P – 51
In fact, the pieces of glass on the windowsill are not distributed in a homogeneous (uniform) matter at all. There are several large shards of glass that appear to have been removed from the window edges and placed on the sill. This appears to have been done to allow the burglar to reach in and open the latch to enter.
The Court claims to have an ability to read evidence that is little short of mind reading. For instance, their stating that the chaos in Filomena’s room is proof of faked burglary rather than the real thing: “The drawers of the little dresser next to the bed were not even opened…” In this it is claimed that particular drawers should havebeen opened and others not, if indeed it was a real burglary. And how did the Court know that these drawers weren’t simply opened and then closed again?
“No valuable item was taken, or even set aside to be taken.” Rudy’s final act of the burglary before being interrupted by Meredith was apparently to use the toilet.
The night of the murder was the night before rents were due in Perugia. Students generally pay these rents in cash, so it is well known that they are gathered from the various occupants of apartments on that night. The “banker” for Via della Pergola was Filomena Romanelli, the woman whose room was ransacked by Rudy. It is highly probable that Rudy was searching for 1200 Euros in cash (4 occupants X 300 Euros each) that he believed Filomena would have had somewhere in her room. That cash would be far more valuable to him than difficult-to-fence items. It is also highly probable that he started to look for that, interrupted his search to use the bathroom, and then Meredith Kercher came home unexpectedly.
“Romanelli’s own statements are significant and decisive. In her questioning of Feb. 7, 2009 she recalled having left her computer in its case, ‘standing up, not lying down.’”
P – 53
Snap Quiz: Where, and at what angle, did you leave your laptop computer some night 15 months ago? Someone’s life depends upon the accuracy of your memory. Who remembers something like that? The court places “decisive” value on such testimony while ignoring photographic evidence that contradicts it and common sense. This misplaced faith in human memory is so ludicrous as to be inexplicable unless the court had an agenda to fulfill.
After rejecting the simple, straightforward explanation of the broken window, the Court invented an amazing interpretation of its own:
“This situation, like all the other glaring inconsistencies, is adequately and satisfactorily explained if one supposes that the rock was thrown from the inside of the room, with the two shutters pulled inwards so that they blocked the pieces of glass from falling to the ground below.”
P – 51
Speaking of inconsistencies, if you think about the Court’s conclusion on this matter, it comes down to this: Amanda and Raffaele went outside, got a rock, brought it back into the house, and inexplicably threw it out through the window to simulate its having been thrown in through the window. Then they went back outside, found the rock they had thrown, and brought it back into the room. Why would anyone do something so stupid? Why would they throw a rock through the window backwards, going through several extra steps to do so, when all they would have had to do was throw it in from the outside?
I’m a materials scientist with a strong emphasis on theoretical mechanics. I have reviewed the evidence of the glass distribution, the pitted inner shutter, the condition of the glass left in and on the window sill, etc. It is my professional opinion that this evidence is clear: the rock was thrown through the window from the outside, not the inside. In addition to the defense expert Sergeant Pasquali, an unpaid independent forensic engineer, Ron Hendry, has also reviewed the evidence and come to the same conclusion. But you don’t have to believe us, because this is a very simple thing. Ask any kid who has just hit a baseball through a window which way the broken glass flew. All that broken glass spread all over Filomena’s room got there because the rock was thrown from the outside. It’s that simple.
But the Court found the opposite – that the rock flew through the window in reverse. That finding set up a chain of similar insights that grew ever more absurd, just as the events in Through The Looking Glass were unencumbered by common sense. The next flight of the imagination taken in the Motivation was to claim that the “staged” break-in would only have been staged by Amanda Knox. The logic in this case is simply silly.
“Amanda was living with Meredith and had the key to the front door of the house where she lived…” P–60
The Court’s reasoning on this may be summarized as follows: “Ahah! Since a break-in was staged, it must have been done so to deflect suspicion. And only someone who had the key to the front door would have such a motive. And only Amanda Knox had the key to the front door and was in town when the murder happened. Therefore, Amanda Knox murdered Meredith Kercher.”
If you don’t believe me – I know it is difficult to believe that the Court would follow such a weak line of reasoning – read the Motivation, page 60. This thinking would be laughable if it weren’t utterly tragic. First, we know that the break in wasn’t staged, but let’s assume that it was for a moment. Amanda was IT because she had the key to her own home? Ever rented an apartment? Everyone who has ever lived there probably has the key, or could have the key, because landlords generally don’t change the locks until someone breaks them.
Yet from this, the Court leaps to the conclusion that Rudy Guede was let in by Amanda Knox, simply because she had the key to her own front door! Forget the lack of motive, lack of any prior violence, lack of evidence of her presence in the room. The Motivation arrives at its conclusion that Amanda Knox murdered Meredith Kercher by outlandishly asserting that the break-in was faked, and then fixating on her as the culprit because she had the key to her own house.
Special thanks to Heather Coy for copy editing these pieces.
Illustrations from John Tenniel, from the 1870 version of Through the Looking Glass