Bad police techniques and incompetent witnesses were the topic of discussion Monday night as Seattle University hosted a panel on making the case for the innocence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
One of the guest speakers, Paul Ciolinio, is a well-known private investigator, based in Chicago, who works frequently with CBS’s well known show 48 Hours. In late 2007, Ciolino and the 48 hours crew flew to Perugia to investigate the death of Meredith Kercher.
The last to speak at the event, Ciolino revealed surprising details that raise serious doubts over the competency of the police and prosecutors who investigated the murder of Meredith Kercher and the reliability of their witnesses.
“We don’t care if you’re innocent, we like a story,” Ciolino remarked during his introduction.
Ciolino spoke at length about a discussion he had with Edgardo Giobbi, head of the Rome police squad responsible for arresting Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. He made the now notorious remark to a documentary crew in the movie “Sex, Lies, and the Death of Meredith Kercher,” that “[W]e were able to establish guilt by carefully observing the suspects psychological and behavioral reactions during the interrogation. We didn’t need to rely on other kinds of investigation as this method enabled us to get the guilty parties in very quick time.” Incidentally, this determination of guilt was made before the police had caught the actual killer, Rudy Guede, a drifter from the Ivory Coast whose physical evidence was all over the crime scene.
Shocking statements like Giobbi’s illuminate the incompetent and preconceived judgments made by the Italian police before the forensics came in. But according to Paul Ciolino’s recollections of his encounter with Giobbi while he was in Italy, Giobbi’s methods for determining guilt were even more absurd and egregious than previously thought.
During the panel discussion, Ciolino retold the story of his meeting with Giobbi during his investigation, “Guy who arrested Amanda ‘I said to him, ‘you don’t have any physical evidence, you don’t have eyewitnesses, you don’t have a murder weapon, what do you got?’ Tell me…convince my why this girl did this?”
According to Ciolino, officer Giobbi only needed to know one thing to determine guilt, “He says, ‘I’ll tell you why…….she was eating pizza!”.
Ciolino elaborated, “A week after they initially made contact with Amanda, he’s looking for Amanda and Raffaele, and he’s got Raffaele’s cell phone, and he calls Raffaele up, and he says ‘I want to see you and Amanda’ and Raffaele says ‘ok’. And he says ‘where are you?’ and he says ‘we’re getting a pizza, we’re right by the university’. He says ‘come on over’”.
For Giobbi, this event was enough to convince him he had the right people. “And he says ‘At that moment, I knew she was guilty.’”
“This is from the head of police…..I knew she was guilty because if it was me, I’d be in bed curled up and crying still if my friend had been killed.”
“I said ‘this is a week later, she’s not supposed to eat’?…..You’re telling me she should be in bed crying? ‘Yes yes yes, that’s what I’m telling you, I knew she was guilty when that happened. ‘ This is the case against Amanda Knox!”.
But Giobbi’s incompetence wasnt the only revelation revealed by Ciolino. Also discussed was’ Ciolino’s discovery that the police neglected to canvas the neighborhood near the cottage where Meredith Kercher was murdered.
“If you’re a policeman, and there’s a murder in the house and you got a dead body there and you don’t have any witnesses…..who do you want to go talk to to see if they’ve seen anything?” Ciolono asked the audience.
“We call it canvassing the neighborhood here in the states….We go over to the apartment building and I start knocking on doors. Guess what? No policeman has ever rung a door bell in that building. To this day, never, never has anyone been interviewed in that building….No police officer, no prosecutor, no one ever went to that building and rang that door bell and asked ‘have you seen anything’?”.
Unlike the Italian police, Ciolino actually did canvass the apartment buildings next to where Meredith Kercher was killed. One of the people he spoke with was Nara Capaziell’s niece. For those unfamiliar with the case, Nara Capazielli (sometimes referred to as the “ear witness) is the woman who stated during the trial that she heard a blood curdling scream. However, she never bothered to call the police. Recently, Oggi Magazine, one of Italy’s most popular and widespread newspapers, reported that Nara is not only nearly deaf, but has also spent time in a psychiatric ward.
Paul Ciolino discussed meeting Nara’s niece, who incidentally lived in the apartment above Nara, and confirmed Nara’s unreliability, telling Ciolino that Nara “hasn’t been out of the house in ten years, she’s nuts. When her husband died she lost it and we have to take care of her and she’s mentally ill and she got hospitalized a bunch of times and she’s nice and she’s harmless….but she’s crazy.” Ciolino emphasized, “And this is from her niece and nephew who live in the building and take care of her.”
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s case is now on appeal where independent experts are expected to testify about their findings on May 21st.