David C Anderson
Let me start with a truism. At two extremes of humanity lie good people and bad people. There are also mixtures of both, and stupid people who just believe what they read in the papers. The same goes for institutions, and professions. But even within a good institution or profession or organisation some bad people will always infiltrate themselves, and they are not always easy to detect. The exceptionally bad people are the 1% or more among us that qualify for the diagnosis of psychopath; these are individuals who, because the amygdala set deep in their brains is defective, completely lack empathy. They never see in the distress of others a mirror of their own distress, which is an essential element of socialisation. This means that they can only imitate normal behaviour, they lack real friends, lack a normal aggression inhibition mechanism, and in fact engage in a process called targeted aggression. To cover up, they develop superficial charm that misleads the rest of us. They are also adept at manipulating others by intimidation, coercion and flattery. Within any powerful organisation the non-detection of psychopaths is almost guaranteed if the possibility of their very existence is denied, and if it closes ranks to protect its own and in doing so appeals to its own authority. We see this in politics, on Wall Street, in banks, even in the caring professions (that is those that are supposed to care for the rest of us), which includes Medicine and Nursing. And of course the Police and the Law. Strange, I know, to think of the latter as caring professions, but that is what they clearly are supposed to be, since their job is to pursue criminals while protecting the innocent. Often, alas, it isn’t what they do; and the more they are left unquestioned by normal people over whom who they tower, the more psychopathic these systems themselves become.
As a hangover from the medieval period when people believed in the devil and understood little about psychopathology, the civilised world replaced trial by fire or drowning with judicial systems meant to try and inject a bit of justice into criminal trials and the investigations that precede them. In Britain, we have a jury of 12 supposedly normal people, who are meant to synthesise the truth from a consideration of two opposing partial versions, often mixed with lies, in our adversarial trial system. The same holds for jury trials in the United States. They are supposed to weigh up real evidence. Because at least some of these jurors are intelligent, pay attention, and are empathic there is a sporting chance that this will work, and the innocent will not be convicted. Furthermore, we have a number of partial safeguards built in; prosecutors and judges come from separate arms of the law, the police present evidence to an independent prosecution service, and judges advise the jury rather than control it. We also prevent the press from printing salacious or prejudicial comments until after the jury has announced its verdict, and we do not contaminate a criminal case with a simultaneously pursued civil case. Relatives are observers, not participants, in order to help prevent misplaced sympathy for the relatives of the deceased from contaminating justice for the accused.
None of this applies to criminal trials in Italy; the jury of 8 contains two judges, who obviously pull rank over their lay colleagues; the prosecutor decides who is guilty and works with the police and the investigators; the civil case (or in this instance cases) runs in parallel with and reinforces the criminal one; and after initial conviction there is a massive financial incentive for family members of the murdered girl in sustaining a verdict of guilty. The jury is not sequestered from reading about the case in the papers. The trials run on for ever, to great financial satisfaction of all lawyers, so that everyone, including judges and jury can easily confuse facts and fiction. Don’t get me wrong; some of this also happens in the UK and in the USA, each with their special distinctive marks, but Italy has developed it into a post-Medieval art form.
It is difficult to know where to start in any analysis of the 337-page latest so-called motivation report in ‘Caso Meredith’, released on April 29th by Judge Nencini of Florence. But over 5 days I read the whole report, translated many parts of it into English, and made 47 pages of notes, which I have before me. I find it hard to conceive of a more biased piece of judicial sophistry, revealing as it does the absolute priority given to confirming the guilt of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who were obviously a perfectly normal young pair of lovers, in the murder of Meredith Kercher on the night of November 1st 2007. At least one thing is clear from studying this disgraceful legal document; I now believe that it would have made not one jot of difference if Amanda had followed my advice, with legal safeguards, and come over to address the Court in person. So maybe she was right to save both the cost of the airfare, and the risk of criminal judges going back on their word and trapping her in Italy. This document, if any more evidence were needed, makes it abundantly clear that there is a massive conspiracy between public prosecutors and judges within major tracts of the Italian ‘magistratura’, which has not hesitated to save its face by choosing to throw two innocent youngsters under a judicial bus. Supported by a compliant press, they have chosen this outrage rather than bringing into line one or more of their own professional psychopaths, working within their increasingly psychopathic system, to justice. This same system, of course, is the vehicle within which echelons of magestic magisterial masonic robed robots are paid from our taxes, so they can abuse both the law and the innocent.
But before dissecting the document, I need to remind the reader of some strange events that immediately preceded the murder of the unfortunate Meredith Kercher (here mis-spelt Khercher four times). Events distinctly embarrassing for one or more people in the police and/or prosecution/persecution services of Perugia, so much so that it may be dangerous even to mention them, specifically for fear of a charge being leveled of slander. That would, however, place me in good company, so it is a risk I shall take. Let us start with the morning of Saturday 27th October 2007, five days before Meredith was killed, when Maria del Prato, headmistress of a primary school in Milan, entered her school accompanied by a workman. They found that a young Italian-speaking black man, later identified as Rudy Guede, had broken in overnight and was staying there. He was quite brazen, saying he had paid someone at Milan railway station 50 Euros for the key so he could stay for the night! Del Prato quite reasonably called the police, who found in his knapsack a knife stolen from the school kitchen, a lawyer’s new computer which had been stolen on October 13th from the office of lawyers Paolo Brocchi and Matteo Palazzoli in Perugia, a stolen mobile phone and a lady’s gold watch.
The Milan police took Guede to the police station intending to charge him; in fact they had already contacted a lawyer to defend him. However after a phone call to Perugia police, he was mysteriously released from custody, along with the Brocchi computer. The computer was never returned to its owner, but two days later Guede went in person to explain that the computer and cell phone had been sold to him in Milan, and he now understood it was stolen from that office! In fact, the office had been broken into exactly two weeks before, by an athletic man climbing up on the downstairs window grill, and throwing a stone through the first floor window! He didn’t leave his calling card, although interestingly he did leave the lawyer’s coats on top of the glass (presumably in an effort to make it look like a simulated break-in). If we add to this the fact that Guede had broken into the house of a Mr Tarantino at the end of September, and threatened him with a flick knife before escaping with stolen credit cards, we can see a picture emerging. Tarantino recognised Guede when he entered his pub the following evening, and tried three times to report him to the police. Furthermore, Guede’s neighbour, an elderly lady, had had her cat killed, her flat set on fire, and her gold watch stolen in a break-in not long before.
The interpretation of these events given in the book by Mark Waterbury, ‘The Monster of Perugia – the framing of Amanda Knox’ is that Guede was a well known burglar, whose skills were in some way being used also for official break-ins by someone in Perugia’s police. At all events, on November 1st, the night after Halloween, the first floor flat in 7 Via della Pergola was broken into using precisely the same modus entrandi that had been used on Paolo Brocchi’s office on 13th October. Guede is an excellent basket ball player and this technique might be described as a refined rock version of the game, with a window instead of a net, and a stone instead of a ball. Yet according to Nencini, and those that came before as well as after, with the notable exception of Judges Hellmann, Zanetti and their jury in the Perugia Appeal Court decision of 3rd October 2011, the break-in was simulated by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito! This is partly because, as with the Brocchi break-in, clothes were scattered on top of the glass. Strangely though, no one has suggested the Brocchi break-in was also simulated.
It is not as if in Florence they are not aware of Guede’s propensity to break in, as they refer to it on page 61, and agree he was highly qualified to do so, but reverse the logic by saying he would not be that stupid! Why, I ask, should one be expected to believe that he would suddenly become sensible? In fact the document is riddled with examples of how Nencini uses Guede as a witness against Amanda and Raffaele, even when he is blatantly lying (which is most of the time, and is doubtless the reason the Caporali’s, who had adopted him when aged 16, had recently thrown him out of their family). We are also supposed to believe Guede would have taken the sensible route into the flat that the aging non-robber Nencini would have used. He says that to go in through Filomena’s window ‘non avrebbe alcun senso‘, ie it would be daft. And he would have no interest in simulating a theft in that way, knowing the police would have spotted it since breaking in was ‘an activity Rudy Guede did not entirely disdain’! So we now have the absolutely SHOCKING news that burglars must a) be sensible and b) break in using keys. That way, I suppose, no one will ever suspect them.
Nowhere in the document is there any consideration of the mountain of evidence showing that the stone that broke Filomena’s window entered with force from the outside. It’s not that they don’t mention some of the evidence, as for example on page 63 where they refer to splinters of glass being impaled on the outside of the inner shutter, opposite the hole caused by the thrown rock. Or glass being shot across the inside of the room. How can that be caused by a simulation from inside, unless Raffaele (who Amanda felt looked like Harry Potter) actually was said Potter, and so could work real magic? Never mind, what we are talking about here, and read many times in this document, is the legal and procedural truth, which has nothing to do with veracity, or real truth. By the way Nencini (p 66) even mentions a trace of presumptive blood on the window ledge, which is not referred to again. Strange that, considering that climbing in through a broken window in the dark carries its very own health and safety at work risks. I wonder if the DNA analysis on that drop of blood was done, but quietly forgotten. Maybe Patrizia Stefanoni can remember.
But no, the break-in though looking real was simulated, and Guede would have no reason to simulate a break-in. In fact, I should imagine that he would consider it a professional insult. Interesting that it was only Battistelli of the postal police who at the scene thought the break-in had been simulated, and that was because there were clothes on top of the glass. But according to Brocchi’s sworn testimony, as I have already mentioned, that is exactly what the burglar had done on breaking into his office on October 13th. Or maybe Battistelli had been told the break-in was simulated, just as we may suppose that someone in the postal police had been instructed to destroy four relevant computers belonging to Knox, Sollecito, Meredith and Romanelli (which is strangely not mentioned by Nencini). Normally you would fire someone who destroyed only one such computer, let alone four.
Actually, the whole castle of cards is built on the simulated break-in, and it runs something like this. Guede, a known breaker-in, would be the last person in the world to simulate a break-in in a way that he had used before and that would therefore immediately point the finger of suspicion at himself. So he must have been let in by someone. That wouldn’t have been Meredith as he himself claimed, and the only other person in Perugia that weekend with an available key was Amanda. Raffaele was her alibi, (it is immediately suspicious and very foolish for lovers to be alone with each other and not to make sure they always have another back-up alibi in bed with them), so it was necessary for him to have been there too, since he refused to change his story. But then Sollecito is not a public prosecutor, (he is not even a solicitor come to that), and so therefore free to change his story at will. As for example, in fabricating a motive, which has gone from diabolic sex game gone wrong, to nothing, back to sex game, to failure to use a loo brush, then to letting Guede shit inconsiderately, and finally to none of the above!
In Nonsencini we also have interesting observations on the question of a burglar’s defecation habits. Thus it is ‘difficult to imagine that he interrupted his search for objects to steal by going to the bathroom for his ‘propri bisogni’’. I rather like the caring and sensitive way Nencini talks about the burglar’s bowel movements as well as his burgling ones. But perhaps, Presidente, by breaking in he had made himself what we English call shit scared? It is also ‘difficult to imagine that he was surprised by Meredith, and slit her throat without leaving any traces of blood in this bathroom’. (The big one that is). So he would only have been shit scared after he had murdered her, and not, say, just after he had broken in, and before she had come home? Anyway, therefore there was more than one person, who then tried to pin it on poor Guede, who was just interested in a bit of sex. Okay, so there were NO biological traces of Amanda or Raffaele in the murder room, and that means they have canceled them out. Cancelled them out!! More Harry Potter magic.
What about the telephones that were thrown into Elisabetta Lana’s garden after the murder? Obviously by the perpetrator(s) (d’accordo). There had been an anonymous telephone call to Mrs Lana on November 1st shortly after the murder, saying there was a bomb in the toilet, which led her to call the carabinieri at night (p84). Funny coincidence that, but anyway the police checked and there was no bomb, (not even shit) in the toilet; two phones then turned up in the garden the following morning. First the one Meredith had borrowed from flatmate Filomena, which led to Battestelli going to 7 Via della Pergola, her registered address. The second was Meredith’s English mobile, whose presence was revealed by Amanda trying to phone her, in an obviously dietrologically cunning move to deflect suspicion from her since we are told she had thrown the phones there in the first place. Gad, these 20-year old American witches are develishly cunning. And in parenthesis, I wonder why no samples were taken from the surface of either phone, to see if Amanda’s, Raffaele’s, or, perish the thought, Rudy Guede’s were there.
There is much debate about who phoned who and when outside the flat, as Amanda waited for the carabinieri, again extraordinarily suspect-centric. There is also much obtuse debate about the time of Meredith’s death, which is rather important; the only reliable evidence concerning this is the fact that Meredith’s gastric contents had not begun to empty, putting it certainly before 10 pm. But this is dismissed (p 55) as ‘scarcely believable’ (scarsamente attendibile). In fact, as not mentioned, the imprecision derives from the fact that the pathologist Luca Lalli was prevented from measuring the body temperature for 12 hours after the body was found. Why was that, and on whose instructions I wonder?
It is clear reading this document that Nencini and his jury live in a previous era, before the age of DNA profiling revealed just how unreliable witnesses can be, even if they are not first worked over by the police or public prosecutor, which if course they were. The analysis of the first 250 cases of DNA-proven false convictions in the United States showed that inaccurate identification by witnesses was a major factor in 75%; and they were witnesses found shortly after the crime. Curatolo and Quintavale were found by a trainee journalist from Giornale dell’Umbria one year after Meredith’s murder. This was Tramp Curatolo’s third murder trial as a key witness! He was (he has alas since deceased) by his own admission in court a heroin-addicted, born again, anarchic Christian member of Perugia bench. (That is the bench in Piazza Grimana where he slept, not the legal one). Prosecutor Crini (he of the shit motive) thought that showed how excellent a witness he was, and said so in court without the slightest trace of irony. Capezzali’s scream, heard through double glazing, is confirmed by Rudy Guede, who must be right because he was there as Amanda and Raffaele murdered Meredith while he had his hands free to hold her wrist, and abuse her digitally! We are left to imagine how he coped with masturbating at the same time, but of course we don’t really know it was his semen, or even semen at all, on the cushion on which Meredith’s lifeless body was left, since it was not seen as important enough to look at or test it.
The court equally seems to have no concept of false confessions, and the fallibility of the so-called Reid technique in inducing them (as it was here). False confessions were implicated in 25% of the above 250 cases in the USA. Or to ask why there were no recordings at these times. Or what the European Court of Human Rights has to say about psychological and physical torture, which includes the sort of sleep deprivation Amanda was subjected to on November 5/6 in order to get her to shut her eyes and imagine what might have happened. It was, we hear, particularly despicable that she mentioned Lumumba in order to cover up for Guede. We now have a new collective noun for lies over and by Lumumba, dedocated to his venemous lawyer, and it is a ‘Pacelli’. And never mind that Raffaele had never met Guede, something that Guede himself seems to confirm; Amanda had met him a couple of times and so knew him ‘abastanza bene’ (p313), we hear from Nencini. More nimble and not so nimble sophistry. Incidentally the man Guede thought he saw, when he failed to pull up his trousers and so fell over after he was disturbed while shitting, had a distinctive red streak in his hair! (p302). I joke not.
There are few more laughably Kafka-esque sections to this document than the one (p264) on the nutty trans-sexual criminal Luciano Aviello, who had entered Nencini’s court looking to my eyes rather fetching in high heels and carrying a handbag. The Court of Castration had heavily censored Hellmann for not getting him back in July 2011 at the request of the prosecution, despite the fact that when he had been heard he was judged equally by the prosecution and the judges to be non-credible! Never mind, having met Comodi he now had some reliable evidence, namely that he said he had been lying about his mafiosi brother Antonio, (now believed to be deceased) who he said had killed Meredith, and then given him the blood-stained knife and keys etc to hide. In Florence Aviello then retracted this evidence, and said it had been extracted under pressure from prosecutor Comodi, and that his original story was correct. Oh dearie me, blush blush! But in Nonsencini we have a transcript of no less than 12 pages of incoherent testimony from Luciano (now Lucia) Aviello, with the conclusion that including him/her and Alessi was a deliberate ploy by the defence to ‘pollute evidence on appeal’! One is left wondering at this extraordinary inclusion and conclusion. Was it a smokescreen, because the murderer co-witness Mario Alessi, though also a jail-house snitch, might just be telling the truth when he said Guede, with whom he was at one time friendly in jail, had confessed to masturbating over Meredith’s body. But then they never saw fit to check the stains microscopically (for sperm heads), let alone for a genetic DNA profile. More excellent forensics.
And we haven’t even got onto the questions of the supposed murder weapon and the bra clasp, and their admissibility and/or contamination. I mean, where in the world else would the Court accept that a knife 31 cm long (NOT as stated with a blade 31 cm long) picked out as the murder weapon from a drawer in Raffaele’s flat because to a nice policeman it LOOKED TOO CLEAN? It didn’t fit the wounds, or the impression on the pillow case; it was just a kitchen knife. But this of course means there must have been a second knife, smaller (and as it happens small enough to have inflicted all three wounds), which obviously was never found. Then there is great criticism in the document that Conti and Vechiotti didn’t do a profile on trace ’I’ on the blade of the non-murder weapon. So the Nencini Court got some people in the excellent RIS police lab to do it, using the most advanced technology (so advanced it can’t be used forensically) and it showed only Amanda’s DNA. This is because she had used it to cut bread with, while cooking for Raffaele; there were even traces of bread between handle and blade. That explanation is too simple, and so defies the rules of dietrologia.
And the bra clasp is equally laughable, or would be if two young lives weren’t at stake. Kicked around on the floor, and regarded at first as too trivial by Patrizia Stefanoni since they had the whole of the rest of the bra which showed Guede’s DNA only, it assumes massive importance when, having been found (on the floor and moved) 46 days later, it was shown to have Y chromosome DNA on it which might be Raffaele’s. Could also be Meredith’s lover Giacomo Silenzi’s of course, as he probably had on occasion undone her bra; but this crack team of forensic investigators had not seen the need to profile his DNA. Anyway how do we know that just because you can see film of the said clasp being contaminated that actually means it was? Procedurally, according to legal truth, we have to PROVE it was contaminated, by revealing contamination, not by showing that it happened; how is just kicking something around on a dirty floor going to do that?
Oh, and then there’s the luminol, which was used 46 days after the murder, and showed up bare footprints, including one from a woman. Shock horror, but wasn’t the house full of women, many of whom went round barefoot after they showered? Never mind that it did not show up with tetramethylbenzene (TMB), and so wasn’t in blood, or that by then the crime scene was so contaminated as to be forensically useless. Incidentally, it was defence expert Dr Walter Patumi, I understand, who on that day in Mid-December recovered Meredith’s sweat shirt in a pile of clothes; they found Guede’s DNA on a sleeve. It should be no surprise that the police work was shoddy, when it was also the defence team (Raffaele’s uncle) who found a pair of the same type and size as shown on the box in Guede’s flat, in a shop in Bari. It seems in Italy now, the detective work has to be done by the families of the innocent, because the police are too busy doing as they are told by the prosecutors. Never mind, everyone gets nicely paid.
This is an absolutely shameless document, which should be used to shake this self-seeking self-righteous Magistratura off its pedestal once and for ever. If this one document, contrasted with the Appeal Court document 2.5 years earlier, is not used to release Amanda and Raffaele finally from their 7 years of misery AND make politicians in Italy finally and properly review and reform the criminal justice system, then nothing will do so. It shows that you can be extremely stupid and get away with it, provided you are particularly powerful and malicious, controlling a team built in your own image, and there is no referee on your pitch. It is surely time for Italy to realise justice is about more than ‘la bella figura’, and protest vehemently at such obvious corruption; and for the politicians finally to do something about it.