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Appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele SollecitoSalem-News.com
The couple is appealing their convictions of Meredith Kercher's murder.
(PERUGIA, Italy) - Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will appeal their convictions for the Nov. 1, 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher, on Nov. 24, 2010. They are serving 26 and 25 years prison terms, respectively.
This appeal in Perugia, Italy, could take only five days or run for several months, depending upon whether the judge approves defense requests for further testing.
Requests made by Amanda and Raffaele's lawyers:
a) That independent forensic experts examine the DNA evidence used to convict them and for the withheld electronic data files, instrument logs and control tests be released to the defense.
b) Sending computer hard drives damaged by police computer experts to be evaluated by their respected manufacturers in hopes of retrieving lost data.
c) An audio test to determine whether a prosecution witness could have heard a scream on the night of the murder.
d) Tests on a probable semen stain smeared by Rudy Guede’s shoe print that was found on a pillow underneath the victim’s body with a Crimescope.
Independent Forensic Examination
Independent forensic examination of Raffaele's kitchen knife, the alleged murder weapon, would result in it being thrown out on appeal. Any DNA that may have been on the knife was destroyed during testing by the prosecution's forensic expert. Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni stopped testing when she received a ‘too low’ reading on other samples. She broke protocol in the testing of the knife which received a reading of ‘too low’ at least four times prior to the results that were then tested out of existence.
She also broke DNA testing guidelines in the process. These tests were done even though the knife had tested negative for blood. The appeal is asking for the withheld electronic data files (fsa), instrument logs and control tests for the knife to be turned over to the defense for examination.
The court found the murder to be unplanned and explains the use of the Raffaele’s kitchen knife by saying Amanda was carrying the 12 inch knife in her purse for protection.
The appeal points out that this is implausible. The knife size is also not compatible with any of the victim’s wounds or the outline of a knife made on the bed sheet. To see the testing notes on the knife tests click here. Raffaele’s appeal is requesting that new testing be done on the Bra Clasp claimed to have his DNA on it performed using LCN (Low Copy Number) requirements. According to Raffaele's appeal the DNA is not even his because there are several alleles that don’t match his profile, which rules him out completely. Raffaele’s appeal contends that testing will show DNA on the clasp is either not his or that it was found on the bra clasp only as a result of contamination. The bra clasp was only recovered 47 days after the murder and video captured that it had been moved from its original location.
The clasp also has the DNA of 3 unknown profiles which shows the clasp was definitely contaminated.
Video of the forensic team clearly show the team members passing the clasp around with gloves exhibiting dirt and spots on the fingers. It may also have been contaminated while being moved around the room or when it came in contact with the pile of objects it came to rest in. Amanda's defense team argue that the court improperly identified bare footprints revealed with Luminol in the hallway outside of Meredith’s bedroom as being made by Amanda the night of the murder. This is despite no footprints of Amanda being found anywhere at the bedroom crime scene.
Luminol is a presumptive test for blood but also reacts to other substances such as household cleaning products. The Luminol revealed the bare footprints but the forensic team claimed not to have performed actual blood tests on the prints.
In July 2009 testing records were obtained by the defense that showed the prints HAD been tested using Tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) and all the Luminol prints tested negative for blood. TMB is a highly reactive test that may give false positives but rarely false negatives.
Meredith’s DNA profile was not found in any of the bare footprints as another point. It is therefore unknown what the Luminol reacted to, whether the prints even belonged to Amanda and they cannot be dated.
The Bathmat Footprint
Dr. Rinaldi's measurements of a bloody footprint left on a bathmat said to be made by Raffaele were in error and the print could not have been made by him. The defense argues that inspection of the bathmat print clearly shows that the tip of the second toe blended with the top of the big toe. Dr. Rinaldi measured the big toe including the top of the second toe. This error caused the width of the big toe to measure 30mm. When measured correctly the toe on the bathmat measured 24.8mm, which is incompatible with Raffaele’s toe measurement of 30mm.
It is impossible that Raffaele’s foot made the print on the bathmat. Instead of the court agreeing that this measurement correction rules out Raffaele’s foot, the court states that the vision of a whole smear is different than a footprint daubed on the material, which is not a logical explanation. The court ignored the measurement correction and should have recognized Dr. Rinaldi’s error.
The Alleged Clean up
The court wrongly alleged that Amanda and Raffaele conducted a clean up of the crime scene the morning after the murder between 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. It would have been impossible to remove all traces of Amanda and Raffaele while still leaving undisturbed evidence left by Rudy Guede.
The defense argue that there is no proof or logical reasoning to suggest they had 4 hours to clean up and missed so many items. There were many visible items such as the bathmat footprint, bloody shoe prints in Meredith's room and the hallway, fingerprints and blood traces in the bathroom.
The Luminol footprints if cleaned would have appeared as smears instead of defined prints. Trace evidence of a clean up does not exist and the defense contends there were no signs of bleach use or other cleaning to support the claim of one.
Computer activity and data retrieval
Raffaele’s appeal shows a 20 minute video was activated at 9:26 p.m. on his computer. It doesn’t prove they stayed to watch the video, but it does place them in his apartment at 9:26 p.m. to activate the video, which makes the eye witness account of the park bench witness unreliable because he claimed they both were at Piazza Grimana at that time. The hard drives of Amanda and Raffaele’s computers were damaged during police testing.
The appeals are requesting that they be sent to be evaluated by their respected manufacturers to try and retrieve the lost data. Raffaele’s could show computer activity during the time of the murder. Amanda's computer would show photographs/emails of her and Meredith which would reveal a friendly relationship contrary to that depicted by the press and prosecution.
Shop owner Marco Quintavalle's testimony on seeing Amanda at his store the morning of Nov 2nd is contradicted by the testimony of Inspector Orestes Volturno. Inspector Volturno's service records show that on Nov 19, 2007 he and another officer showed photos of Amanda and Raffaele to Marco Quintavalle and two employees and explicitly asked if they had been in to buy bleach at a date close to the murder.
Quintavalle said they had been to his store a few times but not on November 2nd. He only came forward almost a year later with a different story. Store employee Ana Marina Chiriboga's testimony backed up that of officer Volturno. No bleach receipts or sales records were ever produced to confirm Quintavalle’s story.
Since his testimony has been directly contradicted any reasonable appellate judge will dismiss his testimony as unreliable.
Between 10:30 p.m.-11:35/40 p.m. there were three witnesses whose car had broken down right across the street from the cottage who saw that the gate was already open, no one came or went to the cottage during that time and no lights were observed on.
They testified that they did not hear a scream. Yet the judge believes Nara Capezzali, who alleged hearing a scream at 11:30 p.m., even though she made several other provably inaccurate claims.
The defense is also requesting audio tests to determine if it’s possible for a scream to be heard through all the walls.
Antonio Curatolo, the park bench witness, is a professional witness who testified in two other trials. Curatolo testified nine times that he saw Amanda and Raffaele until near midnight. He testified only once that he saw Amanda and Raffaele until 11:00 p.m. The court ignored the nine other statements and chooses to believe the one. Curatolo also stated he left the piazza after the Disco buses stopped for the night when no buses operated that night due to the holiday.
Both Amanda & Raffaele argue strongly that there is no proof of their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a standard of proof that is very high and difficult to meet based upon Italian law and Italian Supreme Court cases.
For more clarity of the issues raised in the appeal please log on to: Injustice in Perugia
Press release: http://injusticeinperugia.org/
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