Monday, July 9, 2012

The Amanda Knox Case: The Unbearable Thoughtlessness of Guilt

(Monday July 9, Turin, Italy) Written by Luca Cheli (Roteoctober)

“They wanted to pose as the greatest Sherlock Holmeses and they put two poor kids in jail for four years.” 

Carmelo Lavorino, Italian Chriminologist 
October 4th 2011 

In this paper I examine the available evidence and the clues, real or supposed, concerning the Kercher case in order to show how unfounded and illogic is any theory which assumes the guilt of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

The line of reasoning will mainly follow the Massei Report but I will also deal with other possible scenarios assuming the guilt of the two students.

I will not deal with DNA issues (especially with the LCN issue) since this is a field which I leave to scholars of the matter, professionals and amateurs alike.

My work will be almost exclusively based on logic and its task is to show how Knox and Sollecito could and should have been acquitted even without the Conti-Vecchiotti Report, that is how they should have been acquitted even in the first trial and not because of but rather notwithstanding a DNA evidence review.

I will assume the reader has a good knowledge of the case and access to the main documents quoted as references (mainly the Massei and the Hellmann reports, with page references taken respectively from the PMF English translation and from the Italian original).

Guilt of the first type – Lack of premeditation

The orthodoxy – Massei’s Tale

The main guilter scenario not involving premeditation is of course the one detailed in the Massei Report, that is the one on which was based the conviction at first instance of Knox and Sollecito. I assume that the reader is knowledgeable about it and I will not duplicate the lengthy pages dedicated by Judge Massei to  expounding it: I will simply counter them.

In this scenario there is no motive, the only thing coming somehow close to an explanation in the Report being a rather vague reference to an “inexplicable choice of evil”, that is an arbitrary, axiomatic assumption which tries to hide the lack of a specific reason for the murder.

November 1st
But let’s follow Massei and let’s accept for now that Knox and Sollecito, having decided not to spend the evening and the night together at Raffaele’s, as it would be expected for two young lovebirds, spent instead an hour and a half at Piazza Grimana, which they shared in a cold Perugian night presumably only with Toto Curatolo, the witness who allegedly saw them loitering around for ninety minutes in that barren square.

As an aside, in a scenario not involving premeditation, it is impossible to think that Amanda and Raffaele waited for a long time in the square just to avoid being seen by the people in the broken car in front of the cottage or by the driver of the rescue van: in such a scenario, up to this point, they are just two innocent lovebirds who are going to spend the evening/night in a place where they are fully entitled to go, so they have no motive to hide or avoid detection.

Let’s also accept for now that finally, sometime after 23.00 on November 1st (but Curatolo said nine times “before midnight” and just one “sometime after 23.00” during the first trial [hearing of 03.28.2009, pages 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 25]), they decided to go to the cottage at 7, Via della Pergola, presumably joined on the road by Rudy Guede, who had seen Amanda once or twice and Raffaele not at all.

Let’s assume also that the two lovebirds had no problem in sharing their second love nest with someone they barely (Amanda) or not at all (Raffaele) knew and finally let’s assume that out of weed, grass, pot and God only knows what else, things really went as Massei says: “a few minutes after 23.30” [Massei page 382], that is probably 23.35, Meredith is dead, Rudy flees and Knox and Sollecito are left with a bloody knife in hand, a corpse on the floor, blood everywhere, and a big problem.

What next?

According to Massei they are naked (while Guede was clothed) and presumably covered with Meredith’s blood, so they now have at least to:

1) Clean themselves.
2) Get dressed.
3) Flee and on the way throw Meredith’s cell phones in the garden of Lana’s villa.

All these steps have to be accomplished before 00.10 on November 2nd, when a call to one of the cell phones is tracked through cell towers logs as having happened with the phones already in that garden.

Lana’s villa at Via Sperandio 5b is at a distance from the cottage at least twice that of Raffaele’s flat, which means at the very least 10 minutes practically running and assuming that you exactly know where you want to go.

So the couple had to leave the cottage by midnight at the very latest, more realistically let’s say at 23.55.

Washing themselves and dressing up, putting the duvet on Meredith’s corpse, taking the phones, locking the door of Meredith’s bedroom and leaving the cottage can be done perhaps in ten minutes if you assume the duo didn’t spend even a minute looking at each other with fear, amazement, disbelief, since they had after all just “casually” killed a friend or at least an acquaintance.

But if you have to stay in Massei’s timeline you have to suppose that Amanda and Raffaele acted in perfect synchronicity as a couple of tried and tested professional killers. The more so since they now also have, always according to Massei, to enact the single most controversial deed of their frenzied night: the fabled staged burglary.

According to Massei (page 381), it went this way:

“The situation outside the house must have seemed quiet (the tow truck had arrived and left by about 23.15 pm and there was no one in the street looking at the house, moreover Capezzali and Dramis, who testified that they had heard the scream, did not go outside their own homes) and it was then decided to break the glass in order to create the staging of an unknown criminal entering from the window, and they decided they could go outside. It is to be believed that Raffaele Sollecito, who in the
meantime, after having been in the small bathroom, must have put his shoes on again, went around [the outside of] the house to look for the big stone (subsequently found) to use in order to break the glass, and Amanda could, in her turn, go to the bathroom to wash her hands and feet; when Raffaele came back in with the big stone the disorder in Romanell’s room was created, the glass was broken, and the shutters pushed towards the exterior .”

You may notice that Massei has to superpose Amanda’s washing with Raffaele’s search of the “big” (not so big when seen in a policeman’s hand in a photo) stone in order to more or less squeeze so much action into so small time. But this is accomplished at the price of stressing the level of coordination and readiness of action of the couple.

I suppose it was always assumed that it was Amanda who gave the orders. Perhaps in German.

So, recapitulating, Meredith is killed at 23.35 and Knox and Sollecito have to leave the cottage at 23.55: they have twenty minutes to wash themselves, dress themselves, stage the burglary, go back to Meredith’s room, cover her with the duvet, steal her phones and close the bedroom door. Strictly speaking it can be done, but, again, you have to assume that Amanda and Raffaele have a perfect blueprint for action in mind from the moment when Meredith is stabbed to death.

That this last assumption is realistic or not concerning two youngsters who have no experience of such situations (I leave out the most far fetched guilters’ theories), who are moreover probably still under the effect of some drug and while the other murderer has simply run away without even washing himself (always according to Massei), well this I leave for the reader to judge. But let’s go on: we are now back at Raffaele’s with the couple, but they are not alone, they have a companion: The Knife.

Yes, because according to the first instance ruling, Amanda and Raffaele were so shrewd, so cold, not to simply throw away The Knife in the same supposed ravine where they had thrown Meredith’s phones (they ignored it was Lana’s garden) or somewhere else during the flight: no, while washing, dressing and staging, they were also able to think The Knife was inventoried so that they have to take it back to Raffaele’s and to put it back in its drawer.

Yes, of course.

This will not be the last time the two students are made to appear very devious just to fulfill the needs of the prosecution case: since the knife was seized at Raffaele’s an explanation was needed of why it had not been simply thrown away and so that apparently clever story of the inventory was conceived.

The Hellmann Report rejects it saying that:

“The absence of an inventoried knife would have certainly constituted a much smaller risk than having the murder weapon seized in the house” (Hellmann, page 66)

and that’s the same thing that any would be murderer would have thought. If this is all but the last time that Amanda and Raffaele will be made the puppets of the prosecution case, it is also not the first in this narration: the supposed disposal of the cell phones in Lana’s garden is another, since, as again noticed by Hellmann, simply taking away the batteries would have been much more effective.

It is true that someone did really threw those still operational phones in that garden and if it was Guede, why didn’t he too think to take away the batteries?

Indeed, there is a difference between the students and Rudi, especially in Massei but more or less also in any guilty scenario I’m aware of: Rudi flees immediately, he behaves as in panic, while Amanda and Raffaele act with coolness and are even able to imagine on the spot the need for a staged break in (more on this later).

However, we are now back at Raffaele’s a little bit after midnight with the two lovebirds now also partners in crime: what is supposed they are going to do?

This is a sort of black hole for the first instance ruling, since the prosecution case during the first trial supposed, at least initially, the alleged clean up of the crime scene had taken place during the night, while Massei opts for placing the clean up on the morning of November 2nd:

“That this action of cleaning could have been carried out the same night, immediately after the murder, seems difficult to hypothesise. To linger on in the house where Meredith's body lay could have been risky. On the contrary, returning in the morning would have allowed [them] to do the cleaning under better conditions and with more time available” (Massei, page 386)

We will discuss later the dubious logic behind Massei’s reconstruction of the clean up, for the moment it is enough to notice so far as concerns the first instance ruling the night after the crime is an unknown: it simply does not deal with what Knox and Sollecito could have done that night. Massei did not, but we can do it and we want to do it, since it is very important in the “economics” of a guilt scenario.

So what did the lovebirds now “crimebirds” do?

Oh well, if I were writing a novel about a real dark lady, I would suppose that they had sex: sex after the crime, wow!

But back to serious business: we cannot suppose that they simply went to sleep, postponing any further action to the following morning: how could you sleep in such a situation, full of adrenaline and of fear?

One can imagine that they executed the clean up of the knife with bleach, maybe holding it by the handle and cleaning just the blade, but however it was done, such a cleaning couldn’t need more than ten or twenty minutes, so what was done during the following hours?

The most obvious thing, the thing that anybody at their place would have done would have been to plan the cleanup of the crime scene for the following morning and, above all, conceive a story, invent an alibi for themselves for that evening.

This point cannot be stressed too much: if guilty they would certainly have spent the wee hours of November 2nd in planning a common, shared tale of their actions during the previous evening. They are clever, aren’t  they?

So they had to imagine that they would have been questioned about their whereabouts on that evening and they would have all too naturally worked out a more or less detailed story of their actions.

Usually the weakness of concocted stories between accomplices is that they agree too much: the common error is that of working out too many details, of telling them with too much precision and with little or no difference between the two accounts.

While we can suppose that our clever and devious couple will not commit such a mistake, it would also be an offense to their intelligence to surmise that they will not at least agree about the basic elements of they concocted story or that they will not be able to say with certainty at what time they had dinner, when there was the pipe leak, when they stopped watching the movie, when they had sex and approximately also when they fell asleep.

Because if they are guilty they know perfectly that it is all important that their story appears believable, that it doesn’t change and that at least a timeline if not the minute details must be agreed upon and coherently repeated to everyone.

In this scenario Raffaele would have never told a totally different story to a British journalist (letting alone the possibility Raffaele misunderstood her questions and/or she misunderstood his answers).

But also, Amanda would never have appeared vague or shifting about the time of the dinner or about the pipe leak: they would have put times in their story, maybe not down to the minute, but certainly down to the half hour.

In synthesis: they would have had a better reciprocal alibi than the one they presented in the historical reality.

And having prepared their common tale they perhaps mused about what had happened, certainly, but if they had shown such sangfroid as to be able to quickly determine the need for a faked break in and to realize it without delay, they must also be very determined to get away with the murder and not to be caught.

So maybe they spend more time revising their post-crime actions in the cottage, searching for weaknesses…and in such a review can they neglect what almost everybody else will find so evident, namely those glass fragments above and not below the objects in Filomena’s room? But perhaps they are just too tired by now, so let’s let them sleep…

November 2nd
They could not sleep for long, how could they have slept with such a tension in their souls? Maybe Raffaele did really wake up to listen to some music at 5.32, but it doesn’t matter. What counts is that we are now going to introduce the first really important event of the day: Quintavalle’s sighting of Amanda.

I use the term “sighting” because it really seems one of those close encounters of the third kind made famous by Spielberg: Quintavalle “sees” someone whom he recognizes as Amanda but who walks through his shop without buying anything, and then goes away, like a ghost. In Massei the motivation of this close encounters is a “possibility”:

“That this action of cleaning could have been carried out the same night, immediately after the murder, seems difficult to hypothesise. To linger on in the house where Meredith's body lay could have been risky. On the contrary, returning in the morning would have allowed [them] to do the cleaning under better conditions and with more time available; it is also possible that more cleaning products were needed, as the visit to Quintavalle's shop leads us to believe. Furthermore once the mobile phones had been taken, and the door had been locked, there would have been no compelling reason not to put off the cleaning until early the next morning. If anyone had arrived at the house (Silenzi, for example) the closed door would have convinced him or her that Meredith was not in her room, and the impossibility of hearing Meredith's phones ring would not have given rise to any suspicion.” (Massei page 386)

Not the first time, indeed, nor the last, that Massei invokes a “possibility”, but this one appears really weird and free of logic: there were two bottles of bleach at Raffaele’s and they remained there, and there were also cleaning products at the cottage, so why go to Quintavalle’s shop to buy…nothing, because the witness could not affirm that the supposed Amanda had bought anything.

However, all the quoted passage above is doubtful: as a murderer would you feel so easy to postpone the clean up to the following morning? Would you be so cool as to reason as Massei think they reasoned? Or wouldn’t you want to clean your traces as soon as possible? Moreover, had somebody arrived, especially Filomena, who was in Perugia that night, what if the burglary had been discovered, wouldn’t that have caused an immediate call to the Police with the possibility of a subsequent discovery of the murder?

By the way, this was exactly the dynamic of what happened and it doesn’t matter that Amanda and Raffaele had or had not staged the break in: Filomena arrived, was alarmed even though she couldn’t hear Meredith’s phone ringing (or maybe just for that reason: the exact opposite of Massei’s ponderous logic) and had the door broken down.

Back to Quintavalle: all that matters in his testimony is that he had seen Amanda at 7.45 passing through his shop like a vision and then going out turning right, towards Piazza Grimana and the cottage.

And why does this counts? Because if he speaks the truth, Amanda lied because she had denied going to his shop that morning. And if Amanda lies…

But now let’s use logic and ask ourselves: would a shrewd, cunning Amanda make such a visit and then deny it?

No, she would not have behaved like that, and what follows is why.

A guilty Amanda would have known that her movements would have been analyzed and her story checked and Quintavalle’s shop was a couple of hundred meters from Raffaele’s flat and on her way to the cottage: it was almost mathematical that the owner would have been questioned by the Police (it was less mathematical that he would have told the whole story only a year later, but that’s something neither Amanda nor Foxy Knoxy could have ever have imagined).

So she, if she really had gone to the shop, would never have denied being there, she would rather have invented that she hadn’t found what she was looking for, better yet she would have bought something innocent, maybe tea and biscuits for an alleged breakfast. But in truth it is her whole presence there that makes no sense.

Once we know she bought nothing and once we know the bleach at Raffaele’s went unused, what was the purpose of her presence there?

Probably it was just to give value to Quintavalle’s testimony…

Yes, exactly that, because she seems one more time a puppet in the hands of the prosecution and of Massei: she has to go to Quintavalle’s shop even if she has no reason to do so, and she has later to deny it, even if, again, she could easily have found a justification, just because in this way Quintavalle’s otherwise “ghostly” testimony assumes a meaning: Amanda lied, and if she lied…

But now let’s go on following the steps of Massei’s reconstruction of events: Amanda arrives at the cottage at 8 o’clock in the morning more or less and presumably begins the famous, alleged, clean up.

She has four hours before the 12.08 call to Romanelli, that is four hours of free time, since in Massei’s tale she doesn’t have any shower, she just cleans the crime scene.

But before analyzing the holes of the alleged clean up, let’s pause and ask ourselves “and Raffaele?”

Well Raffaele is at home, and why?

Because, according to Massei:

“carrying out [of the clean up, not of just going to the store as erroneously translated by PMF] was entrusted to Amanda alone since, if they had been together, and someone had seen them at that time of the morning, they would have been far more noticeable and if they had met anyone who knew them, they would have most likely have had to give an explanation”

We have here Massei’s (il)logic at its best: if someone whom they didn’t know had seen them together what sort of inference could he/she have derived from seeing a young couple walking together? In what sense “far more noticeable”? And in any case, were they really more noticeable as a pair? Amanda alone was invisible or what? If their fear was that somebody could subsequently report having seen them going early at the cottage, the fact that Amanda had gone alone would have changed a lot or wasn’t in itself an element  exploitable by the prosecution in itself, as it eventually happened in any case?

And “if they had met anyone who knew them”, wouldn’t this “one” have perfectly known that they were a newly formed and very close couple, so that they shouldn’t have given any explanation whatsoever to anybody?

The truth is that here again Amanda and Raffaele are the puppets of the masters of their story: Raffaele has to stay at home because it was ascertained that at 9.30 he received at a call from his father there and so the story had to accommodate this detail.

The fact that Amanda during her interrogation didn’t remember that call was considered a proof of the correctness of Massei’s reconstruction, but, aside from the fact she could have been still asleep or in the bathroom (Hellmann, page 129), in a scenario of guilt it is much more probable that the two accomplices, well knowing that they would have had to defend their alibi, would have kept each other up to date about events they were supposed to know if they were together. In short: Raffaele would have briefed Amanda about that call.

But indeed, if they really had been guilty, Raffaele would never have answered that call from home, because he would have been with Amanda at the cottage, busy with the clean up. Because if you have your freedom and your future depending on the quality of that clean up, you don’t entrust anybody with it, not even Mistress Amanda, you want to be there to ensure it is done in the best possible way!

Imagine being a guilty Raffaele on that morning and tell me what you would have done at his place…

And now let’s talk about the clean up. A clean up of mixed quality: unbelievably (literally) perfect in Meredith’s room, quite cursory in the bathroom and in the corridor.

The perfect one first: Massei is vague about it, and with cause, because openly stating that a twenty year old girl (moreover alone), without forensic knowledge or experience could selectively erase some of the evidence, including most probably DNA, hair, fingerprints, but leaving that belonging to Guede, would have been considered a bit far fetched even by that Court. Moreover Massei is vague also about the meaning of that selective cleaning: he does not state it was done in order to frame Guede, even if this could be the only possible meaning, because such a statement would cause him more than a problem with Amanda’s supposed calumny against Lumumba, as we will see later.

Finally, I sincerely think such a selective clean up, with the means and knowledge at Amanda’s disposal, can quietly be classified as technically and factually impossible. Period.

Massei doesn’t say very much about the clean up, but the little he says really rocks, albeit maybe not in a sense that he would like.

“Nor is it held that what was presented with reference to the cleaning activity and the prints elimination is contradicted by the prints that were actually found and this with particular reference to the prints of shoes left in the corridor. In this regard, it can in fact be hypothesised that the cleaning action was not particularly careful or else ‑ and this second hypothesis is held to be more probable since the shoe prints, as has been recalled, were fairly evident - that such an omission was intentional, in the knowledge that, having been in Meredith's room,when the latter was killed, with bare feet as has already been noted, the shoe prints in blood would have constituted an exonerating element in their defence.” (Massei page 386) Here he is dealing mainly with Guede bloody shoeprints, and the logic is, please allow me to use this term, flabbergasting: Amanda purposely doesn’t clean Guede’s bloody shoeprints not expressly to frame him (this cannot be openly stated because it would hamper the calumny charge), but to build an exonerating element in their defense because she knew that they (she and Raffaele) were with bare feet in Meredith’s room.

She, if guilty, did know it, but how could the Police and the Office of the Prosecution possibly know that?

That’s it, just how?

In just one way: if they discover those bloody footprints that Amanda is supposedly trying her best to erase!

So here we have a circular contradiction: if Amanda cleans well the Police cannot realize that she and Raffaele were with bare feet and so leaving Guede’s footprint has no defensive value, while on the other hand not cleaning well their own naked bloody footprints means leaving behind evidence damning in itself…

Let’s look now at the rather shoddy clean up in the bathroom:

“We believe that the small blood stains in the bathroom were not considered to be significant as to require specific cleaning and the same goes for the stains on the mat which could be explained either by referring to wounds which the criminal would have sustained when entering the house by breaking the glass, or by referring to a loss of blood attributable to menstruation (furthermore, the house was occupied by four young women).” (Massei page 387)


No, it is not reasonable, because if Amanda had enough forensic knowledge as to be able to understand the probative value of biological material, as shown by her clean up in Meredith’s room, she would also realize that those small blood stains could contain also her (or Raffaele’s) DNA.

After all, a lot of serious people imagined there was “mixed blood” in that bathroom…

But even if Amanda is so shrewd as to foresee that the presence of her DNA in her own bathroom doesn’t prove anything (and indeed it doesn’t), leaving intact the print on the mat is inconceivable. As two trials would demonstrate, that print on the mat would have been the object of an endless controversy and thinking that it could be simply dismissed as “wounds of the burglar” or worse “menstrual blood” is much too naïve for Amanda the Master Cleaner, albeit not so for Amanda Marie Knox, the one who had a shower in that bathroom and who really thought that it could have
been menstrual blood.

But let’s suppose that there is just one Amanda, that she is guilty and that she really testified of having thought it was menstrual blood because that was her cover story since the time of the clean up: there is still a missing piece of the jigsaw, Raffaele.

That print, for Massei, is Raffaele’s and while in Massei’s tale Raffaele during the clean up is quiet at home, maybe reading mangas, he certainly arrives at the cottage some time after noon and for heaven’s sake, I challenge anybody to say that he doesn’t control how the cleaning has been done. And I challenge you to be him, look to that bloody footprint that he knows is his, a footprint that may cost him life in jail, and imagine that you in his place would have shrugged your shoulders and accepted the “menstrual blood” cover story, even if it was the Venus in Furs who proposed it. Tell me that anybody in his position would not have immediately and hurriedly washed that footprint with bleach or some detergent and I’ll tell you that donkeys may fly. All right, let’s now leave the clean up behind in Massei’s words:

“Once the cleaning [action] which had been planned with Raffaele Sollecito had been carried out, Amanda returned to the house on Corso Garibaldi; this was around 12.00 noon.” (Massei page 387)

This is a sentence of enormous consequence and if Massei didn’t (or didn’t want) to realize it, we will do it in his place: in his own words the cleaning has been completed and this, together with the fact, acknowledged by Massei himself, that the Carabinieri were called before the arrival of the Postal Police, means that according to Amanda and Raffaele (if guilty) the stage was set and everything was ready for the discovery of Meredith’s body.

This simple fact dispels and nullifies, as we will soon see, all the constructions, innuendos, speculations, suspicions and God only knows what else, elaborated concerning Amanda’s and Raffaele alleged inconsistencies or contradictions at the time of the discovery of the crime.

Let’s first consider what are the presumed contradictions:

1) Raffaele first says that nothing has been stolen in his call to the Carabinieri, then he says to the Postal Police that there has been a theft.
2) Amanda calls home “when nothing had yet happened”.
3) Amanda says that Meredith usually or anyway at times locks (or closes?) her door, while Filomena denies it to the point of saying that she almost never locked it.
4) Raffaele’s attempt to knock down the door was “weak” or half-hearted .
5) Amanda didn’t show any panic at the cottage but in her mail to the US she wrote she was in panic.
6) They both stayed away from the door when it was finally knocked down and seemed uninterested in seeing what has happened inside the room.
7) Behaviour at the Questura (Police Station) on the afternoon of November 2nd.

Point 1
Let’s start with Raffaele’s alleged “change of version” about the theft, which is considered by Massei further proof that the burglary was staged, so that we can also add a few considerations about the “staging”.

Hellmann has expounded very well on this subject and I can only repeat what he said and which sounds rather obvious to any non prejudiced mind: Raffaele is just using the term theft or burglary in a generic meaning, to point out an anomalous and alarming situation, he doesn’t use the terms coherently as a lawyer would, as that would be requiring too much from him.

Massei pretends that during the call he was so preoccupied with representing the penetration into the house via the breaking of the window pane by whoever did not have access to the keys, in order to divert suspicion from himself and from Amanda Knox who had the keys, that he betrayed himself about the real nature of the event, with his attention being focused on showing the way the house was entered rather than on the theft of  goods from the house (which according to the prosecution’s theory he knew had not happened) then  apparently he realized the slip-up he had made and tried to undo it, telling the Police officers who arrived  moments later, that he was waiting for the Carabinieri because a theft had occurred inside the house.

Also he couldn’t know, if innocent, that nothing had been stolen because Romanelli had not yet checked her belongings.

But now let’s use that common sense so evidently missing in Massei: should you see a broken window and a ransacked room in the house of a friend, would you be careful to use or not use the  word “theft” until the owner has carefully checked his/her belongings or would you simply rely on the person who is with you and who lives in the same house and has just told you that nothing has APPARENTLY been stolen because she probably has at least an idea about what are the most important belongings of the owner?

And when the Police arrive would you carefully use the term “attempted theft” or instead simply say “theft” because it is the word that comes first to your mind?

But finally, and to our ends most importantly, if you stage a burglary don’t YOU steal something, something of value that you can easily take with you?

Even if they forgot to take away something during the frenzied staging coming immediately after the murder, they had a night (a mostly sleepless one as we said before and as would be natural after such an event) to think about it and then again the whole morning of November 2nd: it would be very silly to suppose that in all that time they never once realized that they HAD to steal something.

And something small but of value could be taken at any time and put in a pocket, even on the late morning of November 2nd.

So if the burglary had been staged by Amanda and Raffaele, there would also have been a theft and moreover Raffaele would have been more cautious in the use of terms that an innocent person normally is.

Another issue that weakens the case for the staging is that with the dynamics supposed by Massei (from the interior of the room with the glass pane open to an unspecified angle, but certainly enough to allow the arm’s swing needed to throw the rock, and with enough force to dent the shutter behind it) or in short with any dynamics which exclude a throw from outside, the spatial distribution into the room would have been quite different from the one really found in Romanelli’s room, with glass fragments thrown as far as to somewhere just below the nightstand near Filomena’s bed (practically facing the frame of the window) and even in the corner of the room opposite the broken pane.

Such a disposition could have been itself the product of a clever staging, one very attentive to the laws of physics, but then, if they had the time and the smartness to devise such a complex staging, it is all the more unlikely they didn’t realize that to simulate correctly a break-in from outside they needed to take away the glass from above the ransacked objects [of course we are always reasoning using a hypothesis of guilt; that’s not to say that things went that way].

One last consideration about the supposed staging concerns the choice of Filomena’s room as the right one for the staging of the burglary: all those objections which subsequently where made by those who believe that there was indeed a staging could have been arisen to the mind of Amanda and Raffaele too.

Even if they were in a hurry to stage a burglary immediately after the murder, the easiest and most immediate choice when a quick decision was needed (which doesn’t automatically mean the best for a real burglary) would have been the window on the terrace or the one on the side of the house after the porch. While this last was protected by a shutter, Amanda, having been the last one to leave the house in the late afternoon of November 1st, could well have said to have forgotten to close it.

But more simply, why could AK&RS not just think it would have been assumed that Meredith had let her aggressor in herself?

Because Meredith would have never brought a man at home? Well I don't know if Knox would have thought that way that night, because at that time the bipolarism Meredith-Amanda Saint-She Devil wasn't born yet, that was a post-hoc creation and Knox would have supposed Meredith to be a girl like herself.

Point 2
The famous call made “before anything had happened” was made at 12.47, three minutes before Raffaele’s call to her sister (at the time a Carabinieri officer) and so it was really made when the tension was already mounting if one believes in innocence or when it had been decided to let others discover the crime if one believes in guilt.

A call could be motivated in both scenarios so in itself it proves nothing. But there is a detail from the first trial which points to innocence.

During the cross-examination of Amanda Prosecutor Comodi asked Amanda why she had made that call but, by mistake or purposely, referenced it as having been made at 12.00. A puzzled Amanda said she didn’t remember having made a call at that time but she appeared confused and it is possible that this was exactly what the prosecution aimed for if the wrong time
was not a mistake by Comodi.

The detail I hinted to before is this: a guilty Amanda, who had purposely and according to plan called her mother just to simulate concern and anxiety, would have known perfectly that the time reported by Comodi was wrong and would have corrected her: “I’m absolutely sure I made that call just before Raffaele called his sister”.

Point 3
As a foreword to this point I must say that most probably there were problems with translations and that in any case Filomena couldn’t say that Meredith never locked her door (as Massei has her saying except for that single occasion when she went back to England) any more than Amanda could say she always did (and Amanda probably just said that she closed, not locked and I doubt she really meant “always”).

But let’s forget what was lost in translation and consider another aspect: what was the point in trying to portray the situation as normal? Because the only possible reason Amanda could have had in lying about the abnormality of that locked door would have been trying to delay the discovery of the crime.

But since Massei himself admits that the cleaning had been accomplished and the Carabinieri had been called before the arrival of the Postal Police, this means Amanda and Raffaele, in a scenario of guilt, where ready to have the body discovered, not only that, but that at that point the discovery was their primary target, so any delay would have had no meaning.

Hence a guilty Amanda would not have tried to delay the discovery by portraying a less than alarming situation, hence the supposed contradiction is no proof of guilt, on the contrary it is an indication of  innocence. Q.E.D.

Point 4
As with the point above, a guilty duo would have had no reason at that point to delay the discovery of the corpse, but would also have had more interest in letting others discover it, since they, as a guilty party, would have been nervous at the idea of potentially leaving traces (hair, fingerprints) at a crime scene so carefully cleaned of their traces that same morning, so they would simply not have tried at all to knock down the door.

Point 5
A guilty Amanda would have been in no panic at the cottage, but she would also have been particularly careful not to write anything to the contrary in her mail, especially if that mail, as it has been alleged, was written to give herself some sort of alibi or even just to buttress her cover story. On the other hand an innocent Amanda would have simply relived her memories through the awareness that her friend had been hideously murdered, so what was maybe a simple sense of uneasiness could have become panic in retrospect.

Point 6
A guilty duo would have enacted exactly the opposite behavior: great bewilderment and great distress, exactly because they would have known what was behind the door and had had time to prepare themselves, especially Amanda, who is, in guilters’ lore, a great actress. This same supposed aspect of Amanda’s personality is the key to the point coming next.

Point 7
Amanda the murderess, as portrayed by the prosecution, by Massei’s ruling and by guilters alike, is a devious, cunning, calculating, manipulative young woman and also a great actress, to some even a drama queen.

But Academy Award Winner Amanda Knox failed miserably at the Questura on the afternoon of November 2nd.

Indeed, a devious, cunning, calculating dark lady would have never given herself away with details she should not have known about the murder in the way Amanda Marie Knox allegedly did that afternoon.

Because she didn’t betray herself through some little detail that she let slip off when caught off guard, no, she happily told to almost all of the British friends of Meredith who were there (Butterworth, Purton, Bidwell, Howard and Power, according to the transcripts of the hearing of February 13 2009) a heap of descriptive details about Meredith’s corpse (body covered with a duvet, a foot out of it, the cut to the throat and so on) that she would have carefully kept for herself if guilty.

Even if she had heard those details from Luca Altieri in the car to the Questura, as it happened in reality, she would have remained attentively elusive about those details for fear of adding something that later Luca Altieri could have denied having told her.

Concerning the behaviour with Sollecito (kissing, canoodling, etc), I’m seriously unable to think that the great actress and drama queen supposedly living inside the Seattleite did not realize that after a murder of a friend the correct behaviour is that of crying in desperation and hugging warmly every friend of the deceased (so that Sophie Purton could not have found her “cold”). And a cunning, devious, calculating Amanda would certainly have realized that behaving in that way (kissing, etc.) was bound to give rise at least to perplexity, if not suspicion as indeed happened.

Again we have a clear demonstration of Puppet Amanda: when needed by the guilty scenario she is cool and calculating, even able to foresee the future steps of the oncoming investigation (staging, cleaning but leaving Guede’s traces, the mail sent to the US) but when instead the script for conviction demands so, she becomes one of the silliest culprits seen in criminal history.

Night at the Opera – November 5-6
Much has been said concerning the night interrogation and I won’t deal with its length or the methods employed in it, nor whether there were tea and pastries or not and/or when. I will simply address the issue of calumny but from a specific point of view.

The prosecution has always stated (up to its recourse to Cassation) that Amanda can be guilty of calumny only if guilty of murder, also because the calumny was finalized to protect herself and her accomplices: in short Lumumba was accused of murder to protect Guede (“black man for black man”).

Massei upheld this claim.

And finally here comes the motive for Massei’s vague, tortured and unconvincing way of explaining the reason for Amanda leaving behind Guede’s traces: he could not simply state that Amanda wanted to frame Guede, because had he done so, the reason for accusing Lumumba and so the reason for the calumny would have disappeared.

On the contrary there would have been a perfect opportunity for definitively framing Guede, the more so since a guilty Amanda would have known perfectly that various forensic traces from Guede would have been found by the labs in a few days.

And as the icing on the cake, one could add that since Amanda could not possibly know that the Police would have been able to link Guede to his bloody fingerprint through the one on his permit of stay request, she, if guilty, would have served her best interests by naming him explicitly. 

The best quotation from Massei. 
“All of the elements put together, and considered singularly, create a comprehensive and complete framework without gaps or incongruities and lead to the inevitable and directly consequential attribution of the crimes to both the accused” (Massei page 388) Goodnight everybody.

Variations without premeditation
Various authors, bloggers and members of Internet forums have produced theories of the crime which, while essentially following Massei’s blueprint, have a different timeline for some important element of the story.

One such theory is the one outlined by Barbie Latza Nadeau in her book “Angel Face: the true story of student killer Amanda Knox” (this at least was the original title…): the main variation presented by Nadeau is that Amanda and Raffaele are so stoned that after having killed Meredith they fall asleep (or collapse) while still in the cottage and wake up in the early hours of the following morning without much memory of what had happened and surprised by the presence of Meredith’s corpse.

In this scenario both the staging and the cleaning happen in the morning of November 2nd and this is the main difference with respect to Massei.

Such a scenario gives less time to the lovebirds for planning a common cover story and this, together with the hangover could partially justify the imprecise accounts they gave of the evening of November 1st but, this aside, the objections made above to Massei’s case for guilt are valid for Nadeau’s too.

Moreover Nadeau’s story has difficulty explaining human interaction at Raffaele’s computer at 5.32 and also justifying Raffaele’s movements back and forth from the cottage to his flat (he has to be there by 9.30, since it has been determined that’s where he received his father’s call). All in all, Massei’s tale seems a tad better than Barbie’s.

Guilt of the second type – Premeditation
A scenario involving premeditation has a big advantage: it allows us to get rid of the clumsy pseudo-motive presented by Massei and by his variations (as with the heavy drug abuse presented by Nadeau) and to read details in a coherent framework where everything pertaining to the murder can be seen by definition as planned.

But this doesn’t provide better results.

First of all a motive, a real one, is needed anyway and when you are forced to rule out money and are serious enough not to consider things like disagreements about the cleaning schedule or toilet flushing, you have to suppose some sort of “resident evil” in Knox (Sollecito, as usual, can only play the stooge), and that is not very different from Massei’s “evil for evil’s sake”.

But motive aside (a big “aside” in a premeditation scenario), there are also logical contradictions which make a premeditation scenario even more difficult to uphold that a non premeditated one, unless you are ready to radically change the case as it was presented in Court, and that too at some expense.

For example, in a premeditated scenario The Knife (that one) cannot seriously be considered the murder weapon: nobody would plan a crime with a knife that has to be put back in the drawer at home, one would use a disposable one.

The only way to circumvent this hurdle is to presume the Police got the wrong one, which by the way implies that Meredith’s DNA on it was a product of Stefanoni’s dreams and which also leaves you without any evidence of Amanda’s direct involvement in the crime.

This last part goes dangerously close to a case for innocence for lack of evidence!

Another noteworthy difficulty concerns Toto Curatolo: while in a premeditation scenario you can argue that Amanda and Raffaele had to wait for a long time in Piazza Grimana because they didn’t want to be seen by the people working or waiting on the broken-down car in front of the cottage, you have also to admit that they could not have considered Toto’s continuous presence a much better choice.

Short of killing him too, they should have given up for that evening.

They had also little time for planning the crime that evening, since up to about 20.40 they had respectively to go at Lumumba’s pub and to the bus station with Popovic, but this can be circumvented by assuming the crime had already been planned before and they just decided that was the right evening when left free from previous engagements.

Of course this implies that since Amanda and Raffaele had met just six days before, the boy was very quick to join in the murderous plan, but one can also assume that Amanda has mesmerizing powers (and many guilters do that without any problem).

One more jarring detail is that of the switched-off cell phones: if in a non premeditated scenario they are at best neutral, if not even a pro innocence clue, in a premeditated scenario they are a problem, because in a carefully planned murder they would have been left switched on at Raffaele’s in order to support the alibi of having spent there the evening/night.

The break-in also would have been staged better and maybe it would have occurred to them, with all that time dedicated to planning, that staging a forcing of the lock of the external door was easier and more immediate than a staging in Filomena’s room.

Also, in a premeditated crime you choose your accomplices, and while Sollecito could be so besotted as to be controlled with a joystick (so goes the lore), the same reliability couldn’t be ascribed to Guede, whom Amanda barely knew.

So one must assume that Guede was there “by chance”, which is more or less what he said, so that you can imagine a premeditation scenario where Rudi is innocent and Amanda and Raffaele are guilty.

For example, imagine Amanda and Raffaele having already prepared everything before and deciding around 21 – 21.15 that that is the right evening.

They have prepared coveralls with nylon in order not to leave traces and also have gloves, but they will don them only just outside the cottage.

They go and reach the cottage at about 21.30 (no, they aren’t seen by Toto and above all they don’t spend time in Piazza Grimana), don the overalls in the darkness just outside the cottage, they enter while Guede is in the bathroom with iPod plugged in, they kill Meredith with a short fight but her harrowing scream alerts Guede who runs in and Amanda and Raffaele escape. Since they wear those overalls they are difficult to recognize, so that Guede will need months to remember their faces.

They run and leave poor Rudi in the lurch: he tries to help Meredith but when he realizes that it’s hopeless, he gets panicked, thinks he could be framed and runs, forgetting to call the emergency number, but since he is in panic…

The time is more or less around 22.00, maybe it was him who fumbled with Meredith’s phone about that time, but he never said so…so we cannot say that he attempted to call an emergency number but couldn’t because of shaking due to panic, nor we can say that he ran with the phones and threw them away just because he was in a panic at being framed.

By the way, since it is about 22.00, Capezzali, Monacchia and Dramis never heard anything which was case-related.

In the meantime Amanda and Raffaele have got rid of their overalls, their gloves and the knife (the one used in the murder, not that other one, which was always in its drawer), but now they have to deal with Rudi.

This could lead them to stage a burglary, but why?

They can’t possibly know Rudi is a burglar, and the fact they found Rudi at the cottage, in itself, would lead them to think there was no need to stage a burglary: anybody would have thought him to be somebody Meredith knew.

But let’s assume they decide on the staging: they can do it the morning after, but since it’s a simple staging without cleaning (they have left no traces), there is no need to pay a visit to Quintavalle (not that there was such a need in the other scenarios…) and Amanda may well get up later.

Amanda and Raffaele are maybe a bit overconfident and make sloppy work of it, ransacking the room before breaking the glass and forgetting to steal something (maybe the staging was Raffaele’s idea and he carried it out: he is not at the same criminal level as Amanda).
The rest is history.

Well, in this scenario you can justify more or less anything, BUT… you are left without evidence:

- There cannot be Meredith’s DNA on THAT knife.
- There cannot be Raffaele’s DNA on the bra clasp.
- The famous luminol-enhanced footprints cannot be crime-related.
- The print on the mat cannot be Raffaele’s.
- Every trace of Amanda in the bathroom cannot be crime-related.
- Curatolo, Quintavalle, Capezzali, Monacchia and Dramis didn’t see or hear anything crime related.

In conclusion you are left with no forensic evidence and no witness, well except for…Rudi, for what that’s worth.

The only possible clue (not even evidence) is the staging, but you cannot rule out that since Rudi saw himself as somebody who entered the house legitimately, he too could have well, in those frenzied moments after Meredith’s death, thought to stage a burglary similar to the ones he was accustomed to, in order to divert suspicion onto someone else, someone who had not legitimately entered the house.

So you have an almost perfect case for guilt, but you cannot use it because it left no evidence behind.

I said “almost” because there is always a little problem, always the same: the calumny against Lumumba.

Yes, because, as already explained before, a guilty Amanda feeling trapped and knowing that only Guede’s traces where at the murder scene, would have fingered Guede, not Lumumba. What a shame…I thought that I finally had made the case for guilt a serious thing!

It has been a game for many people for four years to play: Amanda and Raffaele guilty or innocent? It was a game that was played on TV, in the newspapers, on the Internet, and above all in Court.

Because starting in Court and continuing outside by many means the lives and personalities of two decent human beings were nullified and substituted by puppets played by Masters who never cared a damn for them as human beings.

It has become so much of a game that I myself, in writing these pages, played at it, with the best intentions, or at least I think so, but nevertheless I played it too.

So, while hoping to have contributed to a good cause, I also realize that for the future it would be better to play the old game a bit less and, following the Pink Floyd, “leave the kids alone”.