Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Since December 2007, when investigator Edgardo Giobbi, forensic technician Patrizia Stefanoni and prosecutor Giuliano Mignini began their ill-fated quest to frame Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, all lucid, experienced investigators, and observers who were unimpressed with hyperbole and tabloid rumor have been clamoring for a review of the “real” evidence in the Kercher murder case.

It took two and a half years for an honest judge to finally order such a review.  And, true to the suspicions of people who really know good evidence and what it looks like and what it doesn’t, it has come back completely discredited.  Worse maybe.  Likely more than the evidence has been devastated and discredited.  So too, it appears, have been the careers of Giobbi, Stefanoni and Mignini.

The “murder” knife? The knife they like to call the “Double-DNA Knife?”  It was alleged by convicted suspect-abuser Mignini to have the DNA of Amanda on the handle and the DNA of the victim on the blade.  Amanda’s DNA on the blade is not unusual, in that it was in a kitchen in which she cooked—but was 10 minutes away from the murder scene. And as any Kercher-case court-watcher knows, the prosecution’s own witness said that the knife could be ruled out as the cause of all but one wound in the victim's neck.  And the one they could not rule out was simply a slash, which could have been caused by any sharp thing.  So the killer played musical knives? 

Mignini, who is assisting in the prosecution while appealing a 16-month prison sentence, insinuated that the DNA on the blade was derived from Meredith Kercher’s blood.

Well, this knife did NOT have the DNA or the blood of the victim on it.  And never did.  The “Double-DNA Knife” appears to have been misnamed.  It should be called the “Dupe-a-Dummy Knife.”  Meredith’s DNA?  No way. It might not even have been human DNA. The discredited procedures of Stefanoni  apparently allowed her to call the substance she saw on the knife DNA, and once she found that, and as long as she got to make up the procedures as she went, she could call it anybody’s DNA she wanted.  What did the unbiased Italian experts say about Stefanoni’s brilliance?

Relative to trace B (blade of the knife) we find that the technical analyses performed are not reliable for the following reasons:

1. There does not exist evidence which scientifically confirms that trace B (blade of knife) is the product of blood.

2. The electrophoretic profiles exhibited reveal that the sample indicated by the letter B (blade of knife) was a Low Copy Number (LCN) sample, and, as such, all of the precautions indicated by the international scientific community should have been applied.

3. Taking into account that none of the recommendations of the international scientific community relative to the treatment of Low Copy Number (LCN) samples were followed, we do not accept the conclusions regarding the certain attribution of the profile found on trace B (blade of knife) to the victim Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, since the genetic profile, as obtained, appears unreliable insofar as it is not supported by scientifically validated analysis;

4. International protocols of inspection, collection, and sampling were not followed;

5. It cannot be ruled out that the result obtained from sample B (blade of knife) derives from contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling and/or analyses performed.

What does all that mean?  It means that there is no evidence and no reason to believe that blood was on that knife--ever. It also says that the “DNA” on the blade was of such a small amount that an entire category of procedures and equipment were required in order to accurately determine what the substance was; procedures which Stefanoni did not know, and equipment she did not have, and protocols she did not follow.  It was as if you gave a Boeing 747 to a Cessna pilot and said, “Fly this to New York.”  Sure, he’s a licensed pilot, but not licensed to fly something that demanding or complicated.  The result would be catastrophe.  And a catastrophe happened in Stefanoni's lab.  Stefanoni was a Cessna pilot who told the court that she had landed a 747 in New York, ahead of schedule and without spilling the passenger’s drinks.

Additionally, and interestingly, when swabs were taken at the junction of the handle and the tang, no blood was found.  Starch was found.  Starch?  Yes, as in the type of starch found in the water of boiling pots of pasta.  If blood had EVER been on that knife, the starch would have absorbed it and preserved it.  That knife has never even touched blood. The independent examiners actually requested that they be allowed to remove the handles from the knife.  Why?  If the knife was used in a bloody murder (as alleged), then significant residue from the blood of the victim would very likely be lodged between the handle and the blade. One would think that this would be a huge boon to the prosecution.  But the request was denied.  Why? Did the defense object?  No.  The defense wanted the handles removed.  It was the prosecution which fought to have the handles kept right where they were. There is only one reason that the prosecution would want the handles kept where they were:  Taking them off would prove that the knife had never been used in a crime.

Now that the Dupe-a-Dummy knife has been relegated to insignificance and infamy, the only piece of real evidence that “ties” either Amanda or Raffaele to the crime scene is the infamous “bra clasp” of Meredith’s, which was found six weeks after the arrest of Amanda and Raffaele.

This clasp was said to have Raffaele’s DNA on it.  But when requests were made to retest it, the court was told that the DNA was completely consumed in the first test.  NOT SO, say the experts.  They said that they found “copious” amounts of DNA on it.  But NONE of Raffaele or Amanda.  In fact, the DNA which the “expert” Stefanoni said was Raffaele’s DNA was actually so badly misread, that she mistook one chromosome as a “Y” chromosome, which meant that the DNA she had said was Raffaele's was actually from a woman..  Inexplicably though, she said it belonged to a man, but not just any man. It belonged to a man who had never been in the room, but whom the prosecutor had arrested.  I would call this piece of evidence “an arrested development.”

Relative to Item 165B (bra clasps), we find that the technical analysis is not reliable for the following reasons:

1. There does not exist evidence which scientifically confirms the presence of supposed flaking cells on the item;

2. There was an erroneous interpretation of the electrophoretic profile of the autosomic STRs;

3. There was an erroneous interpretation of the electrophoretic profile relative to the Y chromosome;

4. The international protocols for inspection, collection, and sampling of the item were not followed;

5. It cannot be ruled out that the results obtained derive from environmental contamination and/or contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling of the item.

Again, the “Cessna pilot” is chided;

“The international protocols for inspection, collection, and sampling of the item were not followed.”

 So now the bra clasp means nothing. And the knife means nothing. The knife wasn't used in the crime, and Raffaele never came in contact with the bra clasp.  

This is not the case where a technicality causes the prosecution to have to throw away good evidence.  There never was evidence there. This is a case of made-up evidence that has been exposed.

The alleged “confession” (see was so heinous and illegal that it was thrown out over two years ago by the Italian Supreme Court.  And in this “confession” Amanda was simply slapped, kept up all night, screamed at and threatened with the rest of her life, to say that the man the prosecutor wanted to pin the crime on, Patrick Lumumba, was in the house that night.  And Amanda retracted this “confession” hours later, citing coercion. So the “confession” was never a confession, and means nothing.

The “witnesses” were shown to be drug-using, paid, serial witnesses who could not tell the difference between one day of a week and another, obviously mistaking Halloween for the murder night.  So the “witnesses” mean nothing.

Last week, two former cellmates of Rudy testified that he told each of them that he felt guilty, because Amanda and Raffaele had nothing to do with the crimes.  In addition, the cell occupants on either side of Rudy’s cell corroborate the story, saying they heard him tell the story to not only his cellmates, but a priest and a nun.
  So what is left?  Nothing, really. There is no credible evidence left with which to pin a murder on two innocent kids.  But the prosecution will try. In order to protect their careers, which are clearly now on the line, they will allege stupid, ignorant things that people who do not know forensics or investigations might believe because they sound intelligent when they say it.  If you asked a British Gentlemen to explain the consequences of a serious lower-digestive problem and didn’t listen to the exact words, you might think he was critiquing a good wine, simply because of how he speaks. This is what Mignini depends on; sounding believable, regardless of how unbelievable he actually is.

Here is what Mignini's crew is now likely to throw out:
      1.    The discredited allegation that Raffaele’s “bloody footprint” was on a bathmat.  All reputable scientific explanations have shown the footprint to be incompatible with Sollecito’s foot and completely compatible with Rudy’s.  No one outside the case, or the willingly deluded, still believe that the bloody footprint belongs to anybody but Rudy.
      2.         Alleged “bloody footprints” of Knox in the hallway.  Stefanoni herself testified in court that the footprints of Knox were not derived from blood—and Stefanoni said that after she had perjured herself by testifying that she had never tested them for blood.  Most forensic experts agree that the footprints were likely from a shower cleaner.
      3.        The “Staged Break-in.”  This could simply be resolved by sending the glass from the break-in to the FBI lab and have them ascertain for the court whether the rock was thrown from inside the house or out.  This is not rocket science.  It is easily done.  But the prosecution won’t do that.  Why? Wouldn’t that help their case?  Hmmmmm.  They didn’t want the DNA tested either.  Or the handle removed from the knife.  Hmmmmmm.
      4.    Allegations of “mixed-blood” of Knox and Meredith.  This is the most ridiculous claim, and also the most easily refutable, but like the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot, it is a belief still held by those who want to believe it.  The “mixed-blood” supposedly dropped into Amanda Knox’s sink.  In reality, the killer washed off in that sink, which is just across the hall from the murder room.  Amanda had used that sink for weeks.  It was awash in her DNA from brushing her teeth, washing her hands, her face, spitting, blowing her nose, brushing her hair, etc., etc.  There was enough of Amanda’s DNA in that sink that if it was found 1,000 years from now, they could clone a race of Amanda Knox’s, (which if people knew the real Amanda, would not be such a bad thing.)

      What happened was simply that Meredith’s blood dropped off the killer’s hands into Amanda’s sink, coming into contact with Amanda's DNA as it did.  If Amanda’s DNA was not in that blood sample, it would have been suspicious.  But we can resolve this urban legend immediately.  Send the sample to the FBI lab.  They can tell you if there is the blood of two different people in that single drop.  But the prosecution won’t. They want you to take their word for it.  Like they did for the knife and the bra clasp.  Hmmmmmmmmm.

      Oh, and another problem with the discredited "mixed-blood" superstition is that Amanda didn’t have cuts of any kind or any other sources of blood on her entire body the morning after Meredith was murdered.  So where did the blood come from?
       5.        "Mixed-blood" of the victim and Amanda’s DNA in the break-in room.  The sample that purports to be this specimen is blood tracked throughout the house by incompetent “criminologists” as they walked un-restricted from Meredith’s blood-covered floor, down the hall where Amanda walked barefoot and into the break-in room.  There are two hours of videos showing just this behavior. Additionally, the specimen is not a footprint, a shoeprint, a handprint or any other identifiable thing.  It is a blotch about twice the size of a human foot, and it is circular.  It is compatible with only one thing:  The booties worn by the criminologists.  (I have added a photograph of an actual "criminologist" at the actual Kercher murder scene.  The booties he's wearing are not removable. They are attached to the coveralls.  The video shows these men moving into and out of the cottage, walking onto dirt, and into every room without changing these booties.)

               One might wonder how people can still find a reason to believe that Knox and Sollecito aren't absolutely innocent.  There are several reasons, really.  First, some like Giobbi, Mignini, Massei and Stefanoni have careers riding on it. Others were simply duped by a hostile tabloid press and find it easier to believe that the two kids are guilty than face the fact that the press and a prosecutor would lie to them.  (To them, I say "wake up!")  There are some who are predisposed to dislike Amanda because she is an attractive female, because she is an American, and because she is viewed at "rich." (She is not, except in the currency of friends, in which she is a tycoon.)  Some are just maladjusted. And finally, some are too naive to understand the nuances and complexities of criminology and forensics.  Just today, I read a post by a person convinced that Amanda is not innocent. But to be clear, this particular person is not an unbiased poster looking to be educated on the case or even the nuances of DNA indications; the poster is a serial-poster in several of the hate-Amanda-Knox websites. 9These people post horrible vitriol about Amanda, yet seem to ignore Rudy Guede (whose DNA was inside the murder victim), and Raffaele Sollecito, the co-defendant of Amanda--who is equally innocent.) The poster had read the report I included in this article.  They read that Amanda's DNA had been found on the handle of the knife, and assumed that DNA and blood are synonymous. Which is patently untrue. Rather than check their facts or try to understand the report, they attacked Knox. DNA can be found in skin cells. It can be found in hair.  Blood is only one substance in which it appears.  If DNA = Blood, then anything is possible, I suppose.  The Earth could = the Moon.  People who are unbiased and seeking the truth will seek out knowledge on the subject, not information  

No physical evidence.  No “confession.” No credible “witnesses.” No DNA. No bloody footprints. No knife, no bra clasp. No nothing.  Only two questions about this trial remain:  1)With this situation, what will the Italian judiciary do about it? and 2) Why are the kids still in jail?

The new Judge; Hellman, has shown himself to be a fair and honest judge to this point.  I have high hopes that he will continue on this path and show the world that Mignini and Massei are aberrations, much the same way that the independent forensic examiners showed Stefanoni to be just such an aberration. But one can be forgiven if the blatant bias of Massei has caused an inherent (but hopefully short-lived) distrust of the court in Perugia.  Amanda and Raffaele should be out of prison pending the verdict.  They should be exonerated before the summer is out.

 The enemies of Amanda and Raffaele are avarice, ignorance, megalomania, hate, envy and superstition; not the evidence.  In fact, the evidence is their biggest supporter.  Remember, it is the defense which has been clamoring for everybody to look at the evidence as closely as they can. It is the prosecution which has attempted to hide it.

So, quoting Abraham Lincoln:

With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.”