Monday, December 12, 2011

The Grassroots Organization That Helped Free Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox

Meredith Kercher was murdered in Perugia Italy, November 1, 2007.  Her murder changed many lives forever. For Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, it was the beginning of a long drawn out nightmare that would drag on for 1427 days. On November 6, 2007, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were taken into custody (for their alleged involvement in Meredith’s murder), where they would remain until finally being declared innocent on October 3, 2011.

In the days following their arrest, much of the world thought that Amanda  and Raffaele  were guilty. As disturbing details of the case began to emerge suggesting that an injustice had occurred, support would slowly build for the two, eventually developing into a powerful force that was impossible to ignore. I have no doubt that Amanda and Raffaele's nightmare would have gone on far longer without the help of those who came forward to voice their opinion about the case.

The positive showing of support observed for Amanda and Raffaele has been carelessly misrepresented by the media, often suggesting that the support was orchestrated by a PR firm at an estimated cost of one million dollars. These ridiculous rumors all stemmed from the fact that Amanda’s parents hired a PR firm headed by David Marriott to organize interviews with the press, essentially working as a buffer between the family and relentless journalists. The agreement with Marriott has never been discussed publicly so the million dollar estimate parroted by the media is fabricated nonsense.

The truth is the support for Amanda and Raffaele stemmed from many individual voices that stood up against an injustice. This support was spear-headed by a small group early on that would become known as “Friends of Amanda” (FOA). FOA was founded by filmmaker Thomas Wright of Seattle, WA, consisting of only 4 people early on; Thomas Wright, Judge Michael Heavey, Attorney Anne Bremner, and Jim Lovering. The group expanded to 5 when Dr. Mark Waterbury officially joined after already independently completing extensive work on the case. Investigator Paul Ciolino and best selling author Douglas Preston have also been steadfast contributors to FOA by working to spread the truth about the case through interviews and television segments, including a 48 hours documentary.

When FOA first got off the ground, they faced overwhelming opposition. The world was being fed lies and misinformation at record speed by the press eager for headlines but that would not deter FOA’s efforts. Anne Bremner became the face for FOA, conducting hundreds of interviews on TV and radio, taking rapid fire questions on the case, setting the record straight one interview at a time.

Tom Wright worked extensively behind the scenes to correct the misinformation that circulated about the case throughout the media. He also helped to coordinate the defense fund effort for Amanda Knox, as well as organizing a public forum titled “Amanda Knox: the case for innocence” at Seattle University in April 2011, that featured speakers Tom Wright, Candace Dempsey, Mark Waterbury, Steve Moore, and Paul Ciolino.

Jim Lovering was given the colossal job of organizing the case files so that key elements could be properly presented to the public. Jim did a masterful job of completing this task, working with Tom Wright on, along with many documents and PDF files that presented the evidence in a manner that was easy to understand. Besides everything that Jim has done in view of the public, much of his work was done behind the scenes, providing information and advice to others that contributed to the cause. There is no one that has done more for Amanda and Raffaele than Jim has. I would have accomplished very little without Jim’s guidance and support and I know that many others feel the same.

Judge Michael Heavey is a King County Superior Court Judge, in the state of Washington. Judge Heavey wrote several letters to the Italian council that regulates judges, in 2008, to ask that the case be moved out of Perugia and to protest leaks from the prosecutor, police and prison officials to the tabloid press. Judge Heavey also contributed to an open letter sent to President Obama asking him to take a closer look at the case. Judge Heavey has been one of Amanda’s most outspoken supporters and a strong voice for FOA.

Dr. Mark Waterbury is a scientist and engineer that provided invaluable information to the public early on that was not being made available anywhere else. Mark’s analysis of the DNA opened many eyes and helped to bring a great deal of support to the cause. Mark presented his analysis on his website Science Spheres, and is also the author of “Monster of Perugia: The framing of Amanda Knox.”

Friends of Amanda clearly led the charge for innocence in 2008-2009, with their acronym “FOA” becoming the brand most used by the media when describing anyone who voiced support for Amanda and Raffaele.

In December 2009, despite the efforts of their supporters, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were wrongfully convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. They would be granted two appeals but would have to wait until late 2010 for the first appeal to get underway.

I did not become involved until shortly after the verdict. I have been asked many times how I became involved with the case. The truth is I do not know if I can pinpoint one specific detail that drew me in. I believe it was a culmination of many factors that just became too overwhelming for me to overlook. After hearing the verdicts, I knew that I needed to do something to help two innocent people that had been wronged by many.

When I began to further my research I realized that the case for innocence had already been well documented online but the information was a bit scattered. I had a vision early on to bring all of the information together in order to create one powerful voice for Amanda and Raffaele.

First I needed to become acquainted with those who had been fighting the battle for two years before I had even thought to help. Facebook was the fastest and easiest way to get in touch with all involved. Through Facebook, I became acquainted with Jim Lovering, Mark Waterbury, Ray Turner, and many others that had supported Amanda and Raffaele from the beginning. If I had any doubt about the innocence of Amanda and Raffaele, it was eliminated after these friendships were established. From that point on, I was looking at case evidence in far greater detail than the limited information provided by sound bites heard on the nightly news. Unfortunately, this information was not being heard nearly enough by the general public.

In early 2010, I founded a grassroots organization that would work diligently to further expand the support network for Amanda and Raffaele. This organization would become known as Injustice in Perugia (IIP). The group was born on Facebook, as the setting providing a good platform for people to gather. In March 2010, Injustice in Perugia would be introduced to the world when the organization’s website was launched.

The IIP website is the most comprehensive source for information on the Amanda Knox Case, effectively exposing the flawed evidence used during the first trial. We were confident from the beginning that the DNA evidence would be proven useless if it was subjected to independent testing (these tests were denied by Judge Massei during the first trial). IIP worked to expose the flawed evidence and to highlight the importance of independent DNA testing.

As the Facebook discussions continued to flourish, traffic to the IIP website also continued to increase. Our early success caused me to be even more eager to get the message out to an even larger audience. Many articles were being written about the case almost on a daily basis, and underneath those articles you could almost always find a comment section giving readers the ability to chime in. As I discussed in “Injustice in Perugia,” those comment sections were often dominated by Anti-Knox posters. Several key Amanda Knox supporters such as Joseph Bishop, Mary H, and Jim Lovering, were putting up a good fight but they needed far more support. IIP would do what we could to offer that support. In doing so, we also took the opportunity to advertise the IIP website driving in a great deal of traffic. Our job was to bring the truth to the public and this was a significant step forward.

In April 2010, IIP took another significant step forward when retired FBI Agent Steve Moore came aboard to offer his expertise. Steve introduced himself by writing a series of articles for the IIP website and soon after began making appearances on every major news network in America and several in the United Kingdom. He has been frequently interviewed about the case ever since, most recently in Perugia while attending the final court hearings. Thanks to Steve Moore, IIP’s message has been heard worldwide.

Steve Moore

The influx of intelligent people was invigorating. The growth of IIP energized me to reach out for even more support, beyond that of which we were already receiving on Facebook and the IIP website. In May 2010 the Injustice in Perugia Forum was created to reach out to those speaking independently online using other means, as well as to reach out to others that might be looking to join the discussion. Today the forum has over 1000 members and contains vast amounts of information about the case. The forum has also attracted several translators, who have helped out greatly, including translation of the Conti-Vecchiotti report, detailing the flawed DNA evidence in the case.

In July 2010, IIP began collecting letters for Amanda and Raffaele on the Free Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito Facebook cause page. The page currently has nearly 2400 members. It has been an amazing experience hearing feedback from Amanda and Raffaele’s family members regarding the impact of the letters, and supporters have also received many heartfelt letters in return from Amanda and Raffaele expressing their appreciation.

In September 2010, IIP introduced Forensic Engineer Ron Hendry. Ron completed an extensive analysis of the crime scene using crime scene photographs and video footage that provided invaluable information to IIP readers. Ron’s analysis gave readers an easy to follow presentation showing conclusive proof that Meredith was not killed in the manner described by the prosecution.

In March 2011, IIP wrote a series of articles that we posted on several citizen journalist websites. In our articles, we took on the architects of the “Foxy Knoxy” myth, exposing the horrendous reporting of Andrea Vogt, Barbie Nadeau, and Nick Pisa. We also stood up to the Anti-Knox hate groups led by Peter Quennell and Peggy Ganong, effectively diminishing their campaign.

Unfortunately, there was a time when the Anti-Knox groups were respected by some  as a source for information pertaining to the Amanda Knox case. After the first trial ended, both Quennell and Ganong were interviewed by the media as if they were experts. This was before IIP exposed the truth about their reprehensible behavior. After the verdict came in on appeal declaring Amanda and Raffaele innocent, Quennell and Ganong were interviewed by no one. Once the truth was well known, the Anti-Knox groups were too toxic for even the yellow journalists to approach.

Many other supporters have written articles that have been featured on the IIP website as well as several citizen journalist sites, newspapers, and magazines. Writers include, David Anderson, Joseph Bishop, Chris Halkides, Ron Hendry, Jason Leznek, Jim Lovering (a.k.a. Charlie Wilkes), Grace More,  Karen Pruett, Michael Scadron, Nigel Scott, Dr. Mark Waterbury, and Michael Wiesner. The combined effort provided a constant flow of information online, helping to counter the small pack of yellow journalists that refuse to see the truth to this day.

Many projects were taken on by IIP to spread our message. The group wrote letters to every member of Congress as well as to their local politicians. We actively worked to counter negative comments online, as well as contacting news outlets, that often report misinformation, politely asking that corrections be made. We did what we could to improve the Wikipedia article on the case, and supported Italian journalist Frank Sfarzo who has faced constant pressure for the past four years. We worked behind the scenes encouraging experts to come forward to help the defense as well as helping with translation when possible.

Friends of Amanda and Injustice in Perugia came together as one powerful voice, tirelessly working hand in hand to achieve one goal; freedom for Amanda and Raffaele.

During the appeal trial closing arguments, Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini spent twenty minutes telling the court not to listen to the support groups for Amanda and Raffaele. Without mentioning anyone by name, Mignini went on to describe Steve Moore and the websites for IIP and FOA, telling the court that we were not to be trusted. The truth is if he did not think we made a major impact he would have never mentioned us in the first place. His baseless warning came too late. Our message had already been heard loud and clear.

We will never know to what extent outside pressure may have influenced Judge Hellmann’s decision to appoint independent experts to take another look at the DNA evidence on appeal, but one thing is certain, Injustice in Perugia’s wish was granted. The DNA evidence that once condemned Amanda and Raffaele would have an opposite affect on appeal, all but guaranteeing freedom for the two.

On October 3, 2011, Judge Hellmann spoke loud and clear when he declared that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent. They had absolutely nothing to do with Meredith Kercher's murder.

In the case of the murder (and the sexual assault, transporting the knife, and theft), Amanda and Raffaele were acquitted "for not having committed the act."

With regard to the charge of staging a burglary, Amanda and Raffaele were acquitted "because the act does not exist." (Hellmann's court ruled that the burglary was not staged)

I only touched on the details regarding the support that Amanda and Raffaele received. You can read more about the grassroots effort in my new book “Finding Justice in Perugia (Kindle).”  The book follows the case throughout the appeal, detailing the side shows along the way. The book also includes many heartfelt messages from contributors that gave selflessly to a cause they believed in.

Now that Amanda and Raffaele are free, there is no longer a need for Injustice in Perugia to remain active. The website will remain online for those seeking information on the case but updates will soon stop as it is time to move on. Even though our work is done with this case, it does not mark the end for our group. We will soon begin our next project, reaching out to bring more knowledge and attention to wrongful convictions all around the world. We will soon launch the website and we will start out once again to gather support for our new group “Injustice Anywhere.”

Wrongful convictions occur all around the world. We must do more to prevent the unjust imprisonment of innocent people, and in doing so, we must focus on the larger picture, not just the cases we see highlighted on television. There are many similar cases that go mostly unnoticed, but are of no less importance than any case that happens to attract the attention of the media.

Please do not turn your back on this growing problem. Please take the time to learn more about wrongful convictions and be sure to check out for news and updates. Together we can all make a difference.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Book on Amanda Knox Case: Finding Justice in Perugia

Now Available 
"Finding Justice in Perugia: a follow-up to Injustice in Perugia: a book detailing the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito"

The Kindle Edition is now available on Kindle books can be read on Kindle, Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and PC.  

Click here to order from

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were wrongfully convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, becoming trapped in a nightmare that would drag on for 1427 days. During that time a movie was made, books were written, Wikipedia went haywire, online blog wars raged on, journalists were harassed, a rogue prosecutor remained on the job, an Anti-Knox hate group was formed, a grass roots effort became a force to reckon with, a retired FBI Agent raised eyebrows, even Italian politicians chimed in, all while Amanda and Raffaele sat in a prison cell never losing faith that their nightmare would eventually end.

Discover the truth about the grass roots movement that helped to free Amanda and Raffaele. Read heartfelt messages from contributors that gave selflessly to help two complete strangers that had been wronged by many.

"Finding Justice in Perugia" picks up where "Injustice in Perugia" left off, following the case throughout the appeal, detailing the side shows along the way, leading up to the day that Amanda and Raffaele finally found justice in Perugia.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Forgotten One in Meredith Kercher Case is Her Killer Rudy Guede

It has been reported that Stephanie Kercher has sent out a message asking if people would be willing to use this picture of her sister Meredith as their profile picture on social media sites during this time to help balance the news coverage so that Meredith is not forgotten.

The truth is Meredith Kercher has not been forgotten. In fact her name has remained in the news for the past 4 years for very unfortunate reasons. If the murder investigation had been handled properly, her killer, Rudy Guede, would have been in custody very early on and the world may  have never heard of Meredith Kercher. Meredith  has received a great deal of attention in the news, for a long period of time, because Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were wrongfully convicted for her murder.

Wrongful convictions cause insufferable damage to all involved. The additional suffering the Kerchers have been forced to endure is not the fault of Amanda and Raffaele. They along with the Kerchers have been wrongly punished do to the negligence of the authorities in Perugia, Italy.

On October 3, 2011, Judge Hellmann spoke loud and clear when he declared that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent. They had absolutely nothing to do with Meredith Kercher's murder. In the case of the murder (and the sexual assault, transporting the knife, and theft), Amanda and Raffaele were acquitted "for not having committed the act." With regard to the charge of staging a burglary, Amanda and Raffaele were acquitted "because the act does not exist." Hellmann's court ruled that the burglary was not staged. The nightmare for Amanda and Raffaele has finally ended. This is a major news story and it is expected that the coverage would be enormous. This coverage is in no way disrespectful to Meredith Kercher.

The only person that has been forgotten in this case is Rudy Guede. His name has been almost completely ignored by the media. The media acts as if Guede doesn’t even exist. Rudy Guede attacked and killed Meredith Kercher. Guede has been convicted for the crime and his conviction has been confirmed (finalized) by the Italian Supreme Court. Why is he being ignored?

Unlike Amanda and Raffaele, Guede was arrested after the evidence collected at the crime scene was analyzed and that evidence points right to him—no one else, just him. There was no rush to judgment when it came to arresting Rudy Guede. Investigators found Guede’s hand print on a pillow case found under the victim’s body. The fingerprints led them to their suspect. When police came looking for Guede, he had already fled to Germany. Thankfully, old fashioned police work nabbed Guede; he was stopped in Germany trying to board a train without a ticket and was immediately extradited back to Italy.

The evidence of Guede's guilt is irrefutable and should have been more than sufficient to secure a life sentence for Guede. Guede even admitted he was in Meredith’s room at the time of the attack. His DNA, along with Meredith’s blood, was found on Meredith's purse. His shoeprints, set in Meredith’s blood, were found in the bedroom and in the hallway leading out the front door. As mentioned above, his handprint, in Meredith’s blood, was found on a pillowcase underneath her body. Most importantly, Guede’s DNA was found inside Meredith’s body.

Guede also had a history of break-ins similar to that seen at the cottage. One week prior to the murder of Meredith Kercher, Rudy Guede was caught breaking into a nursery school by the school's owner, Maria Del Prato, when she arrived unexpectedly during off hours with two repairmen. Del Prato along with the repairmen kept Guede at the nursery and called the police.

When police searched Guede's backpack they found a laptop and cell phone that had recently been stolen from a Perugian law office. The break-in at the law office was very similar to the break-in at the cottage as Guede entered through an elevated window broken with a rock in both occasions. In the nursery school break-in, Guede was found in the possession of a large knife said to be stolen from the school’s kitchen. He was also  in possession of a woman’s gold watch which tied him to another break-in occurring 4 days earlier. Guede's break-in at the nursery no doubt made him a suspect in a previous burglary of the nursery in which cash had been stolen.

In the month prior to Meredith Kercher's murder, Guede had gone on a crime spree. This activity was no secret to the police yet they never managed to properly investigate Guede and never took him into custody. Why? The sad reality is, if the police had done their job properly Meredith Kercher would still be alive today and Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito would have never been wrongfully convicted. They failed once again to take Guede into custody in a timely fashion after the murder leading to the pursuit of two innocent people.

In the case of Meredith Kercher, nothing can ever make it right. Her life was stolen from her in an act of senseless violence. Her family will forever be left with the sorrow of her loss and no real closure will ever come. I realize this is a blunt assessment but it is based on the reality of knowing how strong a parent's love is for their children.

I cannot imagine the pain felt by Meredith’s family to have this ordeal dragged out for as long as it has. I am hopeful that the Kerchers will eventually find answers to their questions about Meredith's death by taking a closer look at Rudy Guede.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are Declared Innocent

Injustice in Perugia has often said that we would not rest until Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were fully exonerated and back home with their families. Thankfully that day has finally arrived. 
October 3, 2011: Judge Hellmann spoke loud and clear when he declared that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent. They had absolutely nothing to do with Meredith Kercher's murder. Judge Hellmann: “acquitted because the fact doesn’t exist.”

The nightmare for Amanda and Raffaele has finally ended and now the healing can begin. Please give Amanda and Raffaele privacy as they reunite with their families at home.  
Welcome Home Amanda and Raffaele!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unarresting the Arrested:FBI Profiler John Douglas on the case against Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito

This is an excellent interview of FBI Profiler John Douglas conducted by journalist Krista Errickson.
The interview originally appeared on her blog, Woman on a Wire, and is now available on Ground Report (linked below).
From Krista: This article was originally supposed to be published for 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 the January 2011 issue.

When the article was turned in, albeit shortened, my editor told me – “this article is too dangerous to print in 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”.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Amanda Knox and the Architects of the Foxy Knoxy Myth

Nick Pisa & Barbie Nadeau

Freedom looks to be on the horizon for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, in Perugia, Italy. Both were convicted in 2009 for the murder of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher. Both have adamantly denied any involvement in the murder.

Where the original trial was a prosecutor’s dream come true, the appeal has been a complete disaster, where the prosecution has lost every key issue. The prosecution’s most important witness from the first trial admitted that he was a heroin addict on appeal and told the court, quite unashamedly, he was using heroin on the night in question----a humiliating blow to the prosecution, prompting Judge Hellmann to cut his testimony short and have him escorted out of his courtroom. 

The most damaging blow to the prosecution came from independent experts appointed by the court to review the DNA evidence. The experts’ testimony discredited the alleged murder weapon and a DNA laden bra clasp used to secure the convictions of Knox and Sollecito.  Knox’s father Curt Knox summed it up best when he told CNN “the prosecution has no case left.”

The Architects of “Foxy Knoxy”

While the common wisdom is that the tabloid media played a major role in spreading lies and misinformation, the reality is that a trio of yellow journalists have been the worst offenders.  Those journalists are Nick Pisa, Barbie Nadeau and Andrea Vogt.  These three journalists were the chief architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth and have fueled the Anti-Knox fervor working as mouthpieces for Giuliano Mignini, the corrupt and convicted prosecutor that secured the convictions against Knox and Sollecito.

Media coverage of this case played a role in the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Knox was mistreated horribly by the media with disparaging headlines that were endless.  These disparaging headlines and salacious articles were not confined simply to common tabloids, but to well known magazines as well, such as Newsweek.

Nick Pisa

Nick Pisa

Nick Pisa, a freelance journalist from the United Kingdom who writes often for The Daily Mail, has recently shifted his opinion in the case, now leaning toward innocence.  Regrettably however, his change of heart is too little too late because of the damage he has already caused. in In fact, he was the first reporter to use the name “Foxy Knoxy” after browsing Knox’s MySpace page looking for dirt. The catchy nick-name was very attractive to the media helping to fuel the myth that Amanda Knox (Foxy Knoxy) was a satanic ritualistic sex crazed killer.  However, Amanda Knox was actually given the nickname as a child for her moves on the soccer field. By the time the world came to realize who the real Foxy Knoxy was, it was too late. The damage was done.

Pisa’s tabloid sensibilities were loud and clear in the most recent appeal hearing when Knox appeared to bow her head momentarily in court. This prompted Pisa to contact the family, looking to see if Amanda had “passed out.” As it turned out Knox was completely fine leaving Pisa without his shocking headline.


Barbie Nadeau

Barbie Nadeau

Barbie Nadeau, who reports for the Daily Beast, did not disappoint her fans with her rapid fire tweeting from the pressroom at the most recent hearing. In fact she earned the award for most tasteless tweet for this gem: “Court discussing the appropriate way to cut a bra off a dead body. Where is a mannequin when you need one?”

In recent months, Nadeau has exhibited an obvious bitterness during the appeal----a resentment that most likely stems from being on the wrong side of history.  Nadeau, who published a book under the laughable title: “Angel Face:  The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox” must feel pretty awkward for being so blatantly on the wrong side of history.  At one point, Nadeau hilariously tweeted that she was actually objective, somehow forgetting the title of her horribly written book.

Recently Nadeau wrote an article for the Daily Beast suggesting that Meredith Kercher’s actual killer might receive a get out of jail free card if Knox and Sollecito were allowed to walk. To anyone who understands the forensics in this case, this line of thinking is beyond absurd as all credible evidence in this case points directly at Rudy Guede. Unfortunately, Nadeau has little choice but to go pursue the “Amanda got away with it” angle. Whether she likes it or not, Nadeau is one of the main faces of the yellow journalists who forced Knox’s guilt down her readers’ throats, all while distorting facts, using sloppy analysis and in some cases stating outright lies. 

Recently, best selling author Douglas Preston who wrote the Monster of Florence, confirmed Nadeau’s feelings for Knox and her family when he revealed that Nadeau openly admitted that she despises Knox’s family and she called the Friends of Amanda support group a "cult." Nadeau made these comments almost three years ago, yet she continues to present herself as an objective journalist with regard to this case.


Andrea Vogt

Andrea Vogt

Andrea Vogt, who has written freelance pieces for and attended much of the first trial, has been conveniently absent during most of the appeal.

Currently, Vogt is working on a documentary about Amanda Knox which is expected to air after the verdict. In an amazing and ridiculous course of events, she actually sent an email to Knox’s family saying that they had her permission to ask to be in her documentary.  Yes, you read that correctly. The family of Amanda Knox was told they could ask to be in Andrea Vogt’s presumably horrible documentary which is about their own daughter!  Keep these ridiculous things in mind when you hear certain journalists talk about how objective they are.

Vogt has had an intimate relationship with Anti-Knox bloggers since as early as 2008, interviewing them as objective sources without disclosing that they had been blogging under fake names about their belief in Knox’s guilt long before she ever even had a trial.

Vogt’s propensity for quoting anti-Knox bloggers as legitimate sources had not been confined to isolated incidents.  Rather, she has kept up this pattern consistently for years.  Very early in the case, Vogt quoted a woman named “Laura Wray” under the guise the she was an objective source, when in fact she had been blogging on Amanda Knox hate sites as early as 2008.  Additionally, Laura Wray only possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in science.

However, “Laura Wray” was not the first Anti-Knox blogger Vogt would quote as an objective source.  In January of 2009, before Knox had even been tried for murder, Vogt wrote an article for the Italian publication Panorama in an article entitled “Meredith’s Murder Divides Seattle”.  In the article she quoted a man named Randy Jackson, who is now the moderator of an Amanda Knox hate forum called Perugia Murder File.  Vogt quoted Jackson as if he was an objective source without revealing that he had been blogging about his belief in Knox’s guilt for some time.  That same article quoted a woman named Kris Arneson who had also been blogging on Amanda Knox hate sites quite frequently.  Again, this fact was not revealed.  One would assume an objective journalist would give some sort of disclosure in all these instances, but Andrea Vogt never did any such thing.  Her consistent interviewing of Amanda Knox hate bloggers raises serious questions about her honesty and closeness to these sites.

The Architects Feast at the Table

The architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth, (Andrea Vogt, Barbie Nadeau and Nick Pisa) were recently interviewed together along with an Italian television producer, Sabina Castelfranco, for Dateline Australia. Pisa appeared blatantly uncomfortable throughout the video as Vogt and Nadeau spoke of well-known falsehoods as if they were common facts----the largest being that there was mixed blood found at the crime scene (100% not true).  To Pisa’s credit, he managed to interject a little common sense when he said that the case would have never gone to trial in the UK due to a lack of evidence.

However, Pisa threw journalistic ethics out the window when he pathetically attempted to explain away his horrendous reporting on this case by placing the sole blame on the authorities in Perugia, espousing the principle that you should just write what the police tell you:

"If you're getting some information from a primary source - like a police officer, like a prosecutor - you've got to take it at face value, you've got to believe what you're being told"

Of course this logic is beyond ridiculous.  If this were a journalistic standard to strive for, we wouldn’t need journalists in crime cases----rather we could just have the police write the articles themselves.

In the jaw dropping video, Vogt and Nadeau continue to promote one of the most egregious lies to be seen in this case: there was mixed blood at the crime scene. Both frequently repeat that Kercher’s blood was mixed with Knox ’s blood in several different places in the cottage. Mixed blood was never claimed by the prosecution, and no testimony was heard at trial.  But Nadeau, being the advanced forensic scholar that she is wouldn't let facts get in the way, giving case followers possibly the dumbest analogy ever uttered by a reporter:

"I live in a house with three people (my two sons and my husband); I guarantee you I have never mixed blood with any of them anywhere in the house; I don't bleed where they bleed; we never bleed at the same time."

Yes, she actually said this on video.  Whenever you read something this ridiculous, it is no wonder the media has gotten this case so wrong.  With utterances like these, we are not exactly dealing with sophisticated minds amongst the guilt purporting journalists in this case.

The truth is Kercher’s blood mixed with residual DNA that was already present in the cottage long before the murder took place. Knox was examined by the police and no wounds were found on her body. Knox was not bleeding, but more importantly, she was not there. Knox’s blood never mixed with Kercher’s blood anywhere at any time.

After nearly four years, if the architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth still cannot understand simple falsehoods like these, is it any wonder why the public has been so misinformed in this case?  Readers deserve better than the tabloid principles of Nick Pisa, the illogical musings of Barbie Nadeau and the terribly sourced articles of Andrea Vogt.

Hopefully, when Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are acquitted, it will be the architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth who will have to finally answer some tough questions of their own.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

At Long Last, Ms. Coulter, Have You No Sense Of Decency? By Steve Moore

Steve Moore has written an excellent blog post in response to a recent article written by Anne Coulter. 

At Long Last, Ms. Coulter, Have You No Sense Of Decency? 
By Steve Moore

This is a difficult article to write. It’s kind of like being a cop and finding out that the burglar you’re looking for is your mom.

You see, I’m a lifelong Republican. I tell you this not because I want to pick a political fight, argue ideology, make you like me, or certainly make you dislike me. I tell you this because I am having an identity crisis. For years, you see, I watched Fox News, and for a while I even listened to Rush. I thought Ann Coulter was irreverent, a little over-the-top, but generally right, though I occasionally winced at her statements.

I was a career FBI Agent, the son of an FBI Agent. I was a SWAT team-member, a certified sniper, an undercover agent, and a helicopter pilot. I followed terrorism investigations overseas into Pakistan and Indonesia. I have (and wear) American flag lapel pins. I own guns. I haven’t voted for a Democrat for president since….well, ever. I am a member of the National Rifle Association, and I am an NRA certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor.  I do not buy carbon credits. I have never even sat in a Suburu. My current car has 300 unapologetic horsepower. I love animals but enjoy a good steak. 

Click here to read the rest of Steve Moore's post.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's time to let them go! Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have played by the Italian Rules

By David Kamanski, Esq.

In November of 2007 the 21 year old English student Meredith Kercher was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted in her apartment room in Perugia, Italy by a young, inexperienced burglar, Rudy Guede, whom the cops had already begun to know, but for unknown reasons had never arrested. A shocking crime to her family, her friends, the town of Perugia, and over time many who learned of it throughout the world. Perugia with a university population of 40,000 students had a lot to lose by an unsolved murder of a female student, and many families had their children pack and leave within days. Like many violent crimes that occur in most towns or cities, the authorities set out to do their jobs and find some level of justice. The grieving Kercher family so conflicted in their emotions and highly distracted by the senselessness of such a horrible murder trusted that the Italian authorities would search for the truth and solve the crime with professionalism & integrity. Unfortunately, the many usual assumptions made by good people all over the world turned out to be very wrong, and the authorities fabricated a case within four days to include roommate Amanda Knox & her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. They announced the entire crime solved, despite having no forensic evidence, and as expected the students decided to stay and the police were seen as heroes. 

Meredith Kercher's father was a tabloid writer for the English press and as such had many friends in the often-criticized business, who felt an immense loyalty to help out the stricken writer in virtually any way they could. The local Perugia & Roman authorities saw a nightmare coming and were also facing many personal issues that were now worsening, unless they took some major shortcuts and quickly solved the crime.

What happened next was a sick perversion of the truth and justice, of a proportion rarely seen in modern times.

Not only did the authorities make many errors, mistakes and manipulations to improperly blame an entirely innocent roommate, American Amanda Knox and her recent Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, they spread their fabrication with the world using a hungry press, looking to help out their fellow colleague, using every dirty trick in their books. As the perversity spread, and many simply bought it because after all we are all trained to trust the authorities, the evil functioning of an uncaring press spread the perversity, proud to help their friend, regardless of the monumental destruction they were all inflicting on an innocent young woman, her boyfriend and all of their families & friends.

These fabricated efforts of providing evidence of guilt included the attempted use of an alleged knife handled by Amanda at Raffaele’s apartment that the DNA test fail to show how it has any connection to the crime, the alleged presence of an extremely tiny amount of Raffaele's DNA on the victim’s bra clasp that independent experts say is wrong and/or from contamination, a heroin user was the only sort of eye- witness who claims Amanda & Raffaele were not in Raffaele's apartment as claimed all night, and he saw busses that did not run the night of the murder, a very wrong time of death confirmed by failure of recently eaten food to digest, and a really pathetic unscientific claim that when they found Amanda's expected DNA in her own bathroom, in a few samples it was really her blood mixed with Meredith's. The "mixed blood" argument was shown by forensic experts to be essentially such a joke of an argument, but it demonstrates how desperate people will lie for sick reasons. We all leave DNA in our bathrooms and no tests show Amanda's DNA to be from blood where it was found mixed with Meredith's blood, such that assuming that or saying that it is despite the clear lack of proof is really disgusting and purposely meant to harm Amanda for no reason whatsoever. They also attempted to argue that the commonly found false positive Luminol tests made from a few footprints shows evidence they were made of blood until it was learned, dispute efforts to hide the information, that the footprints were absolutely negative with a second and equally sensitive test TMB, ruling them out as being made by blood. No specific test ever proved they were made from blood and those in the forensic field know how common false positive Luminol results are from many household chemicals and common cleaning products that include bleach or other similar materials. And one more major blunder among many others put forth by the cops & prosecutors was the arrival time of the postal police that they used to argue Raffaele called for police after their arrival. This was shown to be pure fabrication by the police. These are all very common matters we attorneys are very familiar with and make certain the improper and wrongful prosecution that the authorities and press tried to fool the public and jury with, just so they could have their way, regardless of the enormous consequences.

There are so many other examples of misconduct in the prosecution of Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito, and yet finally this year members of the Italian congress have demanded that the improper conduct be investigated, as the reputation of democratic Italy had suffered significantly. There is also no doubt the authorities continue to try and cover their tracks or sue anyone who voices disapproval. We have recently learned that they tried to fool Raffaele Sollecito's sister in a letter sent to her, and we still await Milan's response to lawful discovery requests for information they have on Rudy's conduct there. And perhaps one of the ongoing major insults is the conduct of civil attorney Maresca who attacks the independent experts who were selected by the presiding Judge of the Appeal. There is a time to shut-up, and he has never learned the meaning. There are dozens more examples of inept prosecution and made up crap, but they have all failed, they purposely tried to hide evidence of innocence, made up lies, and they did so miserably. It's now obvious why!

The many errors, mistakes and manipulation by the authorities have now all been completely discovered and proven, with perhaps the exception of testing presumed semen stains found under Meredith's hips (outrageously neglected) and ruling out if anyone truly helped Rudy commit the crime. However Amanda Knox & her friend Raffaele Sollecito remain wrongfully convicted and in prison for almost 4 years. And while all indications appear to suggest that a very smart Appeals Judge gets it, and an innocence verdict will be announced this month, a few questions remain.

Will John Kercher and his family ever see & understand why and how they were so misled, why they were made to believe in a wrongful conviction with the total lack of any credible evidence, and how the local Italian authorities along with the friendly devoted media, helped a colleague press member, for many selfish, greedy and disgusting reasons. They all lied to the world, simply because they thought they could. As the dust clears, and truth along with Justice prevails many frustrating experiences persist. And the world continues to look at John Kercher & his family and ask in all sincerity, do you now finally understand the truth, the truth that brings true justice for Meredith Kercher? In my opinion it will take a major break through for many to understand that their alleged Italian attorney, Mr. Maresca and the prosecution are betraying the Kercher’s trust, and not seeking justice. And finally, whether for money, greed, career growth or perversion, will those who perpetrated this gross injustice ever be held accountable?

Since the initial guilty verdict in December of 2009, Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito have remained in prison, presenting their appeals, and doing all they can, the Italian way, to obtain their freedom. Italian law says that all persons are innocent until proven guilty by competent proof/evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. They have no evidence Amanda Knox and/or Raffaele Sollecito were anywhere other than Raffaele's apartment, as both claim. They left no forensic evidence at the crime scene, no DNA in the murder room, nothing, absolutely nothing. No witness saw them do anything to harm or contribute to killing poor Meredith Kercher. They simply have no proof of guilt whatsoever. It is time to set them free, they are innocent!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Circumstances

By Karen Pruett

September 5, 2011, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s appeal trial for the murder conviction of Meredith Kercher reconvenes after summer break and we expect to see the prosecution’s rebuttal continue.  At the end of July we left off with the prosecution foot-dragging for an entire day asking inane questions to the independent experts who had reviewed key pieces of the DNA evidence from the Trial of First Instance in 2009.  To the disappointment of Amanda and Raffaele’s family and friends, the maneuvering left the judges unable to rule on an end to the appeal, so they ordered a continuance leaving the kids in prison for yet another summer. 

The prosecution was also caught trying to submit a falsified document on the last day of court in July, the Negative Control Test.  This is a common test done to assure that equipment is not contaminated with biological material in-between evidentiary runs.  Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, who collected and processed the original DNA evidence, testified in both the trial of first instance and the appeal that this test was NOT done, yet the prosecution tried to pull a fast one using a poor quality photo copy.  They tried a number of tricks in July and we fully expect to see more in September.  We hope that Judges Claudio Patrillo Hellmann and Massimo Zanetti will continue to exemplify professionalism and not yield to any misbehavior on the part of the prosecution, as demonstrated by the judges in the trial of first instance.

The prosecution’s behavior is transparent; they need more time to perfect their next implausible scheme be it trying to discredit the court’s experts or the creation of ‘new’ evidence or some equally smarmy act of sedition.

By contrast the defense has been professional and patient.  At the beginning of the appeal, last fall, the defense was pleased when the judges ordered the independent review and again when they demanded that Dr. Stefanoni release her original DNA evidentiary report to the court appointed experts, Professors Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti of the University of Rome.  Access to the review and the report has long been denied to the defense, a breach of Italian law.  In July the expert’s conclusions were released and there was a sigh of relief as they agreed with the defense on every point. 

The DNA collection and processing was a shoddy mess and the report highlighted more than 50 departures from international protocol. 

The fickle press is slowly beginning to focus on the truth of this case, that two innocent college students were framed for the murder of a third, while the real killer is swept under the rug and his 30-year sentence halved.  Why are the Perugians so lenient toward the obvious killer and so willingly oblivious to the innocence of Amanda and Raffaele?  And why do people believe their crazy theories?  They have proved themselves to be liars time and again in court; they have proved they don’t care who the real Amanda and Raffaele are, they have proved they are not seeking true justice for Meredith Kercher. 

In 2007 news of Amanda’s arrested swept through my community like a wildfire in dry grass.  As the months wore on we felt a great sadness for her plight and we closed ranks around our friends.  It was not fair, except for trusted members of local media; not a single member of the press bothered to present Amanda or her family as they really are.  All these strangers kept creating sensational personas to sell their stories, every one unduly harsh and horribly wrong.

The real friends will tell you that the Knox and Mellas families are honest and hardworking, that they don’t deserve the cruelty dished on them by these strangers.  We are saddened that the media treated Curt and Edda’s divorce as if it were a diamond the size of a soccer ball, while ignoring the fact that Meredith’s parents were also divorced.  Imagine how difficult must it have been for them to suddenly be thrust in the spotlight together, yet they maintained their dignity despite the cruel things that were being said about their oldest daughter and themselves.  They had to be in shock and you know they were mad as hell; after all, Amanda has essentially been kidnapped; yet all anyone has ever seen is solidarity, concern and love from Curt and Edda and their spouses.  They make a great team.

Amanda is a very lucky girl to have four loving parents at her back and in the great scheme of things, imho, it was meant to be this way. 

Their circumstances have not robbed this family of a sense of humor and you find yourself euphoric while among them; they put you at ease.  I can understand how Amanda has remained serene and centered throughout her ordeal and I’m glad she is coming home to these people; they will help her ease into her New Normal.  I knew of these folks through my community, but didn’t know what to expect when I met them for the first time, I came away with an acute sense of their compassion for the Kercher and Sollecito families and how connected we are through our communities.  Connections we would have never known if Amanda had not been falsely accused.

So it’s with certainty that I say the Knox and Mellas families are some of the nicest people I have ever met.  Whatever behind-the-scenes-family-drama they have, I Just Don’t Care, I think they are entitled to it in light of present circumstances and every time I see them, I admire them more.  This entire family deserves the utmost respect for handling this crisis in such a manner, they are the epitome of teamwork and anyone would be lucky to have them for a support system.  The only ‘issues’ I have ever seen within their family structure are just like thousands of other normal people I know and love.

Amanda Knox in 2007

I invite you to look at Amanda through THIS lens, her family and friends.  Not the prosecution’s POV, which has been crammed down our collective throats for nearly four years. 

The Amanda that we know.  The Amanda who is so boringly normal that the international media took their blood money home because they couldn’t find anyone who wanted the ‘thirty pieces of silver.’  The Amanda that is so mundane that there exists only a couple of online examples of her alcohol use, how many Facebook 20-somethings can say that?   The Amanda that so many love.  Story after story of how ‘she played with my kids’ or ‘babysat my kids’ or ‘helped me.’  Stories of Amanda and her family’s academic, athletic, musical and artistic accomplishments.  She and her Dad have wings on their feet you know and she proved that by lettering in soccer throughout high school.  She is a talented artist with an innate eye for detail and follows in the steps of musical family members by playing the guitar.  She worked several jobs to earn money to study abroad, the smart kid with vision and drive, but still found time to pose for a friend’s photography project.  Stories of her compassion for all living things, buying a cup of coffee for a stranger in distress.  Waiting for her murdered friend’s family so they didn’t have to be alone.  She is the National Honor Society and University of Washington Dean’s List scholar that everyone is proud to know. 

The Perugians made too much out of “quirky.”  As if visitors to a foreign land have never been thought of as quirky by the locals.  Amanda is a child of the Pacific Northwest and we make no apologies.  “Admired” is how her friends know her, her real friends, not strangers with an agenda looking to make a buck.

Strangers have also insulted our home; they have alluded that Amanda lives in the slums, that her neighborhood is nothing more than a gravel pit.  Obviously they have never been here or they would have noticed the spectacular view of Puget Sound from thousands of homes in the neat as a pin neighborhood with a happy and vibrant community.  Obviously they have never sat in the sunshine on our beaches or watched the Pirates land on Alki or climbed our mountains. 

Never a discouraging word, that is one of the amazing things I have seen in four years of intense scrutiny focused on this family; they always look for the positive.  Friends of the Knox and Mellas families are bearing witness to an undeniable fact; these people exemplify normal people who had normal lives and are now being forced to cope with extraordinary circumstances.
They are kind people who have always been concerned for the Kerchers; Edda has reached out through the media many times to Meredith’s grieving family, only to be met with silence.  So they wait politely for the day when the Kerchers are ready to speak to them.  At each fundraiser, if an organizer has a memorial for Meredith, they get a personal thank you from Amanda’s family.  They are acutely aware that Meredith is largely forgotten in the media frenzy.  But not by them, they will remember Meredith long after the world has forgotten about the vibrant young lady whose life was cut short by a Perugian thief.

Photo taken at an Amanda Knox Defense Fund benefit in 2010

Friends from around the planet have donated cash and airline miles to the and  And international friends joined Americans in the effort to alert the White House and State Department about our concerns for Public Minister Mignini’s aggressive behavior toward Americans and the safety of Americans abroad. Thank you for each letter and each prayer but, please, don’t stop yet.

What has been missing in the press is the Defense POV and the online advocacy groups, Friends of Amanda and Injustice in Perugia, are working to bring this information to the forefront and answer anyone’s questions.  I noted that the caliber of the people who came to the aid of the Knox and Mellas families was another reflection of their character.  

The resumes of the folks involved blanket the fields of law enforcement, the judiciary and the sciences with networks that include Congress and NASA.  The vast majority are volunteers from around the planet all willing to help regular people like me.  It’s been a privilege to have access to these people and I found them to be honest, kind and very willing to explain Low Copy Number to the laywoman who only knew about Haplogroups. 

Impressive don’t you think?  All these exceptionally smart professionals speaking out for a girl who some say is the murderous, sexually perverted femme fatal mastermind of an act of Satanism?

In 2007, before she left, Amanda was nothing less that a nice, smart kid preparing for a year abroad, something that thousands of have done and are doing right now.  I’ve known hundreds of kids who went abroad and Amanda is just like many of them, just as Curt and Edda remind me of the parents of such kids.

Raffaele Sollecito
I also think highly of the Sollecito family.  Raffaele is the nice guy that any parent would be glad their daughter brought home.  Especially in light of the fact that this young man, a virtual stranger to Amanda, stayed by her side until her mother could arrive.  Unfortunately the Perugians had other plans and he was also swept up in the travesty, so his family is in court with Amanda’s, six angry parents standing together for their innocent children with Their families at their backs.

And despite this sad situation, I am struck by how much alike Raffaele, Meredith and Amanda are, nice kids from good families whose lives were forever altered by Rudy Guede and a few Perugians. 

Sadly, I see a cadre of writers who have some odd need to smear Amanda and her family.  All I can take away from the rehashing of the Perugian POV or the armchair psychologist’s analysis is that they’re just plain mean.  It’s obvious that they are not ‘investigative journalists.’  When the world catches up, they will know what we have always known, these are decent people and good parents, and when Amanda comes home the public’s Imaginary Amanda will evaporate and be replaced by the Real Amanda, someone Puget Sounders have known all along.  If this weren’t so tragic I'd laugh at the irony, the Perugians thought they had a devil, instead they persecuted an angel and in doing so, they have harmed three innocent families with their ridiculous dramatics.

Poetic justice.  That is what I want for Meredith, Amanda and Raffaele and their families.   Poetic Justice.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What do the West Memphis Three and Amanda Knox Have in Common?


After 18 long years the West Memphis Three are finally free. Damien W. Echols, 36, Jason Baldwin, 34, and Jessie Misskelley Jr., 36, were wrongfully convicted of killing three 8 year old boys, Steven Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore, in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993.

The plea deal agreed to by all parties and confirmed by the district court judge is known as an Alford plea in Arkansas, which allows the men to maintain their innocence but it does not result in full exonerations. The plea that provided freedom may be seen as a disappointment to those expecting full exonerations. Damien Echols released a statement today explaining the decision to accept the plea:
"I have now spent half my life on death row. It is a torturous environment that no human being should have to endure, and it needed to end. I am innocent, as are Jason and Jessie, but I made this decision because I did not want to spend another day of my life behind those bars. I want to live and to continue to fight for our innocence. Sometimes justice is neither pretty nor is it perfect, but it was important to take this opportunity to be free.”
The miscarriage of justice that took place in West Memphis, Arkansas, was due in part to a rush to judgment based on information obtained from a coerced confession. For those following the Amanda Knox case in Perugia, Italy, those words are haunting.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito currently stand convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in late 2007. Both have vehemently denied any involvement in the murder. The case is currently on appeal.

Though the cases are unrelated, similarities in the course taken by authorities to secure convictions are difficult to ignore. In both cases conclusions were made quickly based on perceived behavior rather than actual evidence. Guilt was determined quickly in the Amanda Knox case based on observed behavior. Lead investigator Edgardo Giobbi had this to say regarding Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito:
“We were able to establish guilt by closely observing the suspects’ psychological and behavioral reactions during the interrogations. We don't need to rely on other kinds of investigation as this method has enabled us to get to the guilty parties in a very quick time.”
Keep in mind that Giobbi made these claims long before a single piece of evidence was analyzed and before he had even heard of the real killer, Rudy Guede.

Guilt was decided in a similar fashion in the West Memphis Three case. Damien Echols was brought to the attention of authorities by Crittenden County juvenile officer Jerry Driver. Driver had somehow determined that Echols was a violent person from past interactions with him. Driver also believed that Echols was the leader of a satanic cult. There was never any evidence that the cult existed and Echols strongly proclaimed his innocence. With nothing to go on, the police questioned anyone that had ever come in contact with Echols.

Jessie Misskelley was brought in for questioning based on a tip that he had been seen with Echols. Misskelley was seventeen at the time of his questioning. Arkansas law states that anyone under the age of eighteen must not be questioned without the express written consent of a parent or guardian. However, consent wasn’t given by Jessie Misskelley, Sr. Misskelley is mentally handicapped with an IQ of 72 and a severely diminished reading capacity. He should never have been questioned alone without the knowledge of his caretakers. After twelve hours of intense pressure and coaching, he told police he had seen Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin attack the three boys. Misskelley was no match for the seasoned interrogators and was heavily influenced by their demands for information. His answers clearly showed that he was simply doing what he could to appease the authorities and his answers contradicted the actual evidence. He told police the three victims had skipped school the day of the murders and that the attack occurred at noon. He said that Damien and Jason raped and murdered the victims and tied their bodies with rope.

History shows that coerced confessions do not lead to accurate information. School records proved that all three had attended school that day, so not only did they not skip school, but they were in class at noon. The medical examiner found no evidence of rape, and the boys were not bound with rope but were tied using their own shoestrings. As soon as Jessie realized he wasn't going home he recanted his entire testimony.

Similar interrogation techniques were used by authorities in the Amanda Knox case. Knox was subjected to an all night interrogation putting her in a situation that she had absolutely no control of. Knox was thousands of miles from home, in a country where she had a very limited knowledge of the language, with no legal counsel, confronted by aggressive police officers who were accusing her of a horrible crime that she did not commit. Physical force was used on Knox and she was lied to intentionally to make her believe the police had evidence against her.

Knox was told that they had proof she was at the crime scene at the time of the murder. This was a lie. She was told that she was going to prison for 30 years and she would never see her family again. Knox was told that her boss, Patrick Lumumba was the killer. The interrogators told Knox to imagine she was at the cottage and that Lumumba committed the crime. The interrogators kept telling her over and over again to imagine that she was there. When she could not imagine what they were saying, she was slapped across the back of her head and called a stupid liar.

The abuse went on for hours until Knox was finally broken and desperate to end the questioning. Suffering from extreme exhaustion the twenty year old college student gave in to the interrogator’s demands by describing an imaginary dream or vision. In this vision, she was in the kitchen covering her ears to block out screams while the man she worked for, Patrick Lumumba, was in Kercher's bedroom.  In accordance with Italian law, along with Lumumba, Knox implicated herself by stating her presence at the crime scene.

In both cases, statements obtained during coerced confessions were quickly recanted as soon as the suspects were out of the hostile environment. Information obtained during the interrogation of both Jessie Misskelley and Amanda Knox contradicted the evidence and was found to be unreliable. It cannot be stressed enough that coerced confessions do not provide reliable information. Unfortunately the erroneous information was accepted in both cases.

Both crimes were horrific, leaving many citizens fearing for their own safety, creating an environment that led to a rush to judgment. Authorities have been unwilling to admit mistakes in both cases leading to drastic measures in an attempt to save face including but not limited to; the manipulation of evidence, providing misinformation to the media, and neglecting to investigate other possible suspects. In the Knox case, the real killer, Rudy Guede has already been convicted but authorities refuse to see that all credible evidence points to him as the lone attacker. In the West Memphis Three case there are several possible suspects that have not been properly investigated.

One possible suspect is Christopher Byers' stepfather, John Mark Byers. Christopher's injuries were more violent than the other boys. His body showed signs of previous abuse. It appeared that more aggression was aimed at Christopher during the attack. John Mark Byers admitted at trial to striking Christopher with a belt as a form of punishment in the past. Another possible suspect is Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of Steven Branch. A hair found tied in the knots used to bind one of the victims may belong to Hobbs. Another possible suspect is a black man that was sighted at a restaurant not far from the crime scene covered in blood and mud. The suspect became known as Mr. Bojangles, named after the restaurant. He left the restaurant before authorities arrived. The truth is there were several leads that should have been more thoroughly pursued. Due to inexcusable negligence, this crime may never be solved.

The thought of spending 18 years in a cage for a crime you did not commit is enough to make anyone sick but the long timeframe also played a factor in the West Memphis Three’s freedom. The deal to release the three was made possible by DNA testing that showed definitive proof that they were not present at the crime scene. Testing of this nature was not available in 1993. The newfound DNA evidence prompted the Arkansas Supreme Court to schedule a hearing in November to take another look at the case. Thankfully that hearing will no longer be necessary.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have spent nearly 4 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. On appeal the court has finally heard from independent experts regarding crucial DNA evidence. The defense request for independent testing was refused by Judge Giancarlo Massei in the first trial. If Massei would have allowed an independent review, Knox and Sollecito would have never been convicted in the first place.

The presiding appeals court judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, appointed forensic experts Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from Rome's Sapienza University to review the DNA. Conti and Vecchiotti, appeared in court July 25, unleashing a scathing attack on the prosecution, detailing gross negligence on the part of lead forensic scientist, Patrizia Stefanoni, regarding the key DNA evidence used to secure convictions in the first trial. The alleged murder weapon and a DNA laced bra clasp have been fully discredited by Hellmann’s experts leaving absolutely no credible evidence to confirm the convictions of Knox and Sollecito.

When court resumes in early September, Judge Hellmann will be obligated by Italian law to fully exonerate Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito as he cannot confirm convictions without evidence. For the West Memphis Three the fight to clear their names will continue. Hopefully all three will be able to find happiness and finally begin to live again. The same well wishes go out for Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and many others who have been wrongfully convicted.

My work with Injustice in Perugia no doubt led me to compare these two cases but the sad reality is that the same comparisons can be made with many wrongful conviction cases throughout the world with many found right here in the United States; Marty Tankleff, The Norfolk Four, Kelly Michaels, and Christopher Ochoa, to name a few.

Please take time to learn more about wrongful convictions. When a person has an injustice done to them, it is the responsibility of the masses to stand up for that person; for one day that person just might be you. Even worse, that person might be your son or daughter.

To learn more about Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s fight for freedom please visit

To learn more about wrongful convictions please visit

I have recently taken interest in another case involving an American named Jason Puracal and encourage everyone to do the same. Jason is currently wrongfully imprisoned in Nicaragua. Please visit Jason’s website to learn more about his fight for freedom: