Friday, September 30, 2011

Amanda Knox Appeals Trial Ends Today: Verdict Next Week

New suspect in Meredith Kercher murder case? Or
is it another victim of Amanda Knox?  DNA on kitchen knife
indicates rye bread was slain in a Satanic ritual.  Either that
or in a sex game gone awry.   Will Mignini prosecute?
Amanda Knox's appeals trial in Perugia, Italy ends  today.  Yesterday, the defense put on an excellent summary of the case and why the prosecution's case is utterly flawed and unsupported by evidence.  Today the two accused, Knox and her friend Raffaele Sollecito, will make personal appeals to the jury.  A verdict is expected early next week, perhaps on Monday.

I have read about the case rather extensively, and I have no doubt that the two accused are completely innocent of the crime.  They were not present when the crime went down, had no motive for killing the pretty young victim, Meredith Kercher, and there are no witnesses and no evidence to support their conviction.  They should never have been indicted, never should have been tried, and most certainly never convicted.  However, the prosecution lied repeatedly throughout the first trial, destroyed evidence and obstructed justice.  Luminol indicated that footprints in the bathroom might contain blood, but specific tests for blood showed there was no blood.  Nevertheless, the prosecution (and many media outlets) proclaimed that the footprints were "bloody footprints."

However, the two major pieces of "evidence" on which the prosecution built its case were these:
(1) DNA found on a kitchen knife that they alleged was the murder weapon, and  
(2) DNA found on a bra clasp that was ripped from the bra of the victim during the crime.

First, let's review the knife and its DNA evidence.
A kitchen knife was chosen at random from a kitchen drawer in Raffaele's apartment, 15 miles away from the crime scene, and proclaimed to be the murder weapon.  It wasn't.

In the first place, it is absurd to think that Knox and Sollecito carried a kitchen knife to the crime scene, 15 miles away, used it to murder the victim, then washed it off and carried it back to be placed in a kitchen drawer.  Ridiculous.  As Mark Waterbury points out in The Monster of Perugia, there were plenty of kitchen knives in the cottage where the murder occurred, why would one need to be transported to and from the crime?

More importantly, the knife didn't fit the wounds on Kercher's body, it didn't match the bloody print of the actual murder knife left on her sheets, but the prosecution was bent on framing Knox and Sollecito (why is another story -- see today's ABC report for details) and presented it as key evidence.  A forensics lab, under the control of the prosecution, tested the knife for DNA and found (1) Amanda's DNA on the handle, providing shocking and irrefutable evidence that she once used the kitchen knife to prepare dinner, and (2) a very tiny amount of what might be DNA on the blade of the knife.  The prosecution alleged that it was Kercher's DNA.

That small amount of DNA was below the threshold of accurate testing by the lab's equipment, and might have been from contamination from other samples tested in the same lab.  The amount of DNA the tester, one  Dr. Stefanoni, retrieved from the blade was extremely small, 1/3 of a picogram.  A picogram is one one-trillionth of a gram.  Stefanoni used 1/3 of the sample to test for blood, and no blood was found.  Let me repeat: The DNA on the blade was not from blood. She then used all of the remaining sample to test for DNA, even though the sample was far too small to provide an accurate reading, overriding the testing equipment's TOO LOW indicator in order to do so.  Since all of this DNA was used up, there was no possibility for a second test to confirm the results.  However, it is highly doubtful that this substance was the victim's DNA; other experts who reviewed Stefanoni's results say it was apparently starch from rye bread.  (Perhaps Mignini will now issue a warrant for the arrest of a loaf of bread!)

Clearly, the kitchen knife and related DNA evidence prove absolutely nothing, except that the prosecution was reckless, amateurish and highly biased in their effort to manufacture the evidence needed to fit their preconceived theory of the crime.  The appeals court was right to throw it out.

Second, let's review the evidence of the bra clasp.
When Rudy Guede was raping the victim, he ripped off her clothes.  Her bra was found on the floor and tested for DNA evidence, but the bra clasp was left on the floor for 47 days among the dust and debris before it was picked up and tested.

The prosecution stated that Raffaele Sollecito's DNA was found on the bra clasp, indicating that he must have ripped off the bra and was part of the crime.  However, the DNA of at least three other people was also found on the bra clasp, but these samples were not profiled and the identities of the owners not explored.  When one is attempting to prove a preconceived theory, one does not bother with evidence that might lead elsewhere.

However, it is not at all clear that the prosecution's DNA test proves anything.  About 30% of household dust is dead skin cells.  Dead skin cells contain DNA.  Contamination of the bra clasp, either from 47 days of dust or from the forensic team's dirty gloves (as recorded on video), is almost a certainty.

Further, none of Raffaele's DNA was found on the bra itself.  This is rather incredible if Raffaele ripped off the bra.  Perhaps he ripped it off only by touching the tiny bra clasp in back, either using tweezers or his first finger and thumb.  Who knows what these satanic cultists will do during an orgy?

Some DNA strands were found to match some of the markers for Sollecito, but again, the DNA collected was not good enough to prove this beyond any shadow of a doubt.  One of the outside experts called in from Rome reviewed the DNA testing of the bra clasp, and found DNA markers that matched her own!  Perhaps she was the true murderer -- perhaps you were (can you prove you weren't in Perugia on November 1, 2007?).  It does prove, however, that the bra clasp evidence is worthless.  The appeals court was right to throw it out.

If Knox and Sollecito are exonerated, as they certainly should be, let us be clear:  they will not have been "let off on a technicality."  They will have been exonerated for a crime for which they had no guilt whatsoever.

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