Monday, April 26, 2010

Amanda Knox: The Mountain of Missing Evidence

The Mountain of Missing Evidence

By, Steve Moore (Retired FBI Investigator)
Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Absence
The Amanda Knox/Raffaele Sollecito case isn’t really about (the alleged) evidence, it is about lack of evidence—evidence that would have to be there if Knox and Sollecito participated. A shooting victim has an entry wound. That is evidence. If you tell me you have a shooting victim, but there’s no entry wound, the lack of evidence shows your theory to be impossible. No entry wound→ no evidence→ no shooting. A complete case consists of not just what’s at the crime scene, but what’s not at the crime scene. This is simply basic investigation: Investigation 101. The prosecutors and investigators in this case simply ignored the implications of what they could not find.

In the Amanda Knox/Raffaele Sollecito case, we have a conflict between an implausibly small amount of highly suspect “evidence” that is alleged to be at the scene vs. a vast amount of missing evidence that would have HAD to be at the scene if Amanda and Raffaele had participated at all, and even more so if they had participated in the way the prosecutors allege. While the prosecution’s evidence is scant, contrived and likely non-existent; the mountain of missing evidence is absolutely overwhelming and compelling. And they both can’t be right because they are mutually exclusive.

If Amanda and Raffaele had actually killed Meredith in company with Rudy Guede, the following evidence WOULD have been there:

1. Meredith’s room would have been filled with the bloody footprints, handprints and smears of THREE PEOPLE, not one.

In the world of homicide (and other) investigations, law enforcement officials and prosecutors use the word “transfer”. Transfer is what it sounds like; the transfer of physical evidence from one person to another. Transfer is especially prevalent in murders (especially by stabbing) and rape. The nature of this case indicates that it would have the MOST transfer of any type of case.

2/3 of the required evidence missing, means 2/3 of the people were not there.

If the prosecution’s story is true, we are missing all credible evidence of the participation of, or even presence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the cottage at the time of the murder.

With three alleged assailants, that would mean that 2/3 of the evidence is simply missing. Evidence of Rudy Guede’s presence and participation are everywhere; bloody footprints, DNA, fingerprints, palm prints, bodily fluids, hair and even fecal matter. Nobody; not even Rudy Guede disputes this evidence. How then can the total absence of evidence of any other person be explained? The prosecution cannot provide an answer.

The sheer volume of forensic evidence of Guede’s presence is overwhelming. Evidence of any other person’s presence or involvement could not be erased without wiping out that of Guede’s. Therefore, the room could not have been cleaned, and was not cleaned. This means that the missing evidence was not removed—it was never there.

Amanda Knox is alleged to be the person who stabbed Meredith Kercher. She would therefore have been in VERY close proximity to Meredith—well within an arm length. Blood spatter evidence at the scene is consistent with ‘projected’, or ‘medium velocity impact spatter (MVIS) blood stains which travel at between 1.5 meters per second (mps) and 7.5 mps. (That is an arm-length in ½ second). Blood was spattered several feet away from Meredith’s wounds. It is inconceivable that the person stabbing Meredith was not contaminated by blood spatter. Guede was.

Anybody holding Meredith (such as was alleged by the prosecution) would be within the spatter zone. Again; blood on clothes and skin. This would mean that both Raffaele and Guede would have had substantial amounts of Meredith’s blood on them as they were alleged to have held Meredith.

The volume of blood in a woman the size of Meredith is between 4 and 5 liters. Approximately 2 liters of blood loss results in death. That would indicate that at least two liters (a little over half a gallon) of blood was spilled on the hard-surfaced floor.

Nobody disputes that Meredith was fighting bravely for her life to her last breath. There were 46 wounds on her body consistent with such a struggle. With three persons wrestling and stabbing, it is impossible that contact blood transfer did not occur; on the feet, on the clothing and on the hands of any alleged perpetrator. Especially when fighting in the small confines of Meredith’s bedroom. And the footprints would occasionally overlap.

Guede stepped in the blood, Guede put his hand in the blood, Guede touched surfaces all around the room. Yet neither Amanda Knox, nor Raffaele Sollecito came in contact with any blood? This is difficult to conceive, as even if they avoided the large blood pools and spatters, it would be impossible to avoid stepping on the bloody (but sometimes latent) footprints left by Guede.

It is all the more impressive that examiners found latent (but non-blood) footprints claimed to be of Amanda all through the house….but NONE in Meredith’s room. This is an impossible result if Amanda had been involved in the murder. Against all of this missing evidence is a bra clasp that sat for six weeks in a pile of dust with a questionable DNA marking related to Sollecito, and a bloody footprint of Guede that the prosecution asserted to have belonged to Raffaele.

2. There would be blood-stained clothes, underwear and/or shoes of the attackers.

There is a simple answer to why Guede’s clothes were not found to have blood on them. They were never found. Guede left the country, and disposed of his clothes and shoes. Those items can never be tested. But Amanda and Raffaele stayed in town. Their clothes would have been with them. Maybe even ON them. The blood would likely not have even been dry. Even after laundering, it is easy to detect latent blood on fabric and certainly leather. Any blood on Amanda or Raffaele’s clothes or shoes would have been found.

No blood was ever found on any of their clothes or shoes.

The prosecution might argue that the two disposed of the clothes they allegedly wore at the murder. But then one would have to believe that they cleverly and secretly disposed of their shoes, they disposed of their clothes, they disposed of one murder knife……but they kept a second murder knife, and returned it to their silverware drawer. This makes absolutely no sense. I remember as a kid that if you started telling a tall tale, the tales you had to tell to back the first one up became all the more ridiculous. This reminds me of that type of situation.

3. There would have been bruises, cuts and other injuries to Amanda and Raffaele.
It is a rare occurrence when a frenzied fight involving a knife does not involve injuries to both parties, even when one is assumed to be larger and stronger than the other.

When I was on an FBI SWAT Team, we had an exercise designed to teach us the dangers of trying to fight off a knife attack. A red magic-marker played the part of a knife, and an “assailant” would attempt to attack another member of the SWAT Team with it. We did this in white t-shirts and open sleeves so we could see the wounds. Within seconds, the assailant had usually dispatched the victim with stabs and slashing attacks to the neck and torso, as the victim fought back desperately. Without exception though, the attacker was “cut”. Always. And almost every time on the hands or fingers. This is because the victim, in attempting to fight off a knife, reaches for the hands, which deflects the knife into fingers or other parts of the hands. In addition to the “cuts”, there were bruises and lacerations simply from elbows and arms flying.

Also, folding knives have no ‘hilt’, a perpendicular piece between the knife handle and blade to keep your hand from sliding forward when using the knife for stabbing. When this happens, the attacker usually receives slash injuries to his finger just below (or in the vicinity of) the second knuckle. Amanda could not have known that. She had no such cuts. Rudy Guede, when arrested had such cuts across three of his fingers. One piece of evidence used against O.J. Simpson in his stabbing/slashing murder trial was that he had a severe cut on his finger, likely inflicted during a stabbing motion when his hand slid over the blade.

In the FBI, I have been involved in several physical altercations, including a couple of attempts to take a knife away from a person. Each of those events ended in all parties having bruises and/or cuts. And these people weren’t fighting for their life; they were just fighting to keep from being arrested. Meredith had 46 wounds consistent with a fight for her life. Rudy had just such cuts on his hand. If Meredith had been attacked by three people, is it plausible that in all of Meredith’s fighting that she was unable to inflict a single scratch or a bruise on either of her other two attackers? Not really.

Neither Raffaele nor Amanda had a bruise on their body, not a cut, not a scratch. Amanda had a small mark on her neck that was proven to be nothing. There was not a single hair of theirs in the room. Raffaele’s glasses were not broken or bent. They were NOT involved in any struggle with Meredith.

4. There would be significant blood residue

They had to change and clean up. They didn’t change their clothes outside. They would have to have changed either at Amanda’s or Raffaele’s, and if the clothes came in contact with ANY object or substance, there would have been further transfer. At the O.J. Simpson crime scene, significant amounts of the victims’ blood were found on the carpet in Simpson’s house.

There is NO place where they could have changed their clothes which would not have been contaminated by contact transfer.

Not a speck of blood was found in Amanda’s room or Raffaele’s apartment. (According to the Italian authorities themselves, not even the knife taken from Raffaele’s apartment had blood on it.)

5. There would likely have been some type of escape attempt
Guede fled to Germany shortly after the murder. Amanda had time to get a flight out of the country and to the safety of America. Raffaele had friends in Rome. Instead, Amanda was at her cottage when Raffaele called the police.

6. Much (flawed) amateur psychology has been bandied about by the press and the police in this matter. It is true, however, that a person’s behavior can be an indicator of future violence.

The prosecution alleged ridiculous theories in this case such as satanic rituals, etc., which were soundly rejected even in the Motivation Document. However, the Motivation Document alleges that Amanda came upon her roommate fighting off a rapist, and instead of assisting her roommate; she sided with the rapist. Not only that, but for some unknown reason, Amanda abandoned her attempts to assist Guede rape her friend, and simply slashed her throat. The Motivation Document could not provide any motive for this attack. This is anti-social behavior in the extreme. This is sociopathy. This behavior is so extreme that it could not be hidden from the world prior to this event.

As part of my duties in the FBI, I was responsible for evaluating the dangerousness of individuals who were involved in violent groups, or were threatening violence. I worked closely with FBI profilers on these matters, and even assisted in the creation of an FBI text on lone attackers. We put dangerous people in prison and I believe we saved lives.

The Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP), whose conferences I attend, has several behavioral checklists to assess potential violence. The following are a selection of questions which are industry standards used to assist in the assessment of behavior that indicates future violence. They rate the potential violence by how many of these predictors are present in a person’s life. The higher the score, the higher the potential threat. Let’s check how Amanda Knox would score on this test.

But first, we should discuss the word “credible”. Something is credible when it can be backed up with substantial facts. An unsupported accusation (such as those we have seen in the press) is simply non-credible. In determining if anybody was dangerous, we always discounted any information that we could not verify. Doing otherwise would endanger lives. An example of information which would be discounted here is, for instance, an accusation that Amanda Knox was involved in the occult, and committed murder as part of a satanic ritual. No unbiased person believes that, and it has never been established with a single scintilla of evidence.

A. A MOTIVE for violence:
No motive has ever been established for Amanda allegedly murdering Meredith, though the prosecution came up with a new one almost every week during the trial. None.

B. Homicidal fantasies or preoccupation:
No credible allegation has ever been made that Amanda Knox harbored homicidal fantasies or preoccupation. This would have surfaced by the time Amanda was 21. Stories would abound; she would likely be a feared person. Much like Rudy Guede was in Perugia.

C. Violent intentions and expressed threats
Not once can a single person provide any account that Amanda threatened anybody in her entire life. Not one person can state that she ever displayed violence of any kind. Ever.

D. Weapons skills and access
Amanda Knox has no knowledge of guns or knives as weapons. (If you consider cooking knives a weapon, then there is not a person in America or Italy over the age of 8 who does not have access to a weapon, rendering this part of the question null).

Putting a knife in Amanda’s hand is like putting a trumpet in my hand. It doesn’t mean that I know what to do with it. I am a firearms instructor. I can tell you that a knife or firearm in an inexperienced person’s hands is more dangerous to them than others. The thought that you could put a knife in Amanda’s hands, and the very first time, have her inflict fatal wounds (especially without injuring herself in the process) is ludicrous.

E. Pre-Attack planning
The Italian court stated that there was no pre-planning for this crime.

F. Stalking
No allegation was made, even by Mignini, that Amanda ever stalked Meredith or any other person. Amanda has never been accused of stalking or ANY similar behavior in the US.

G. Job Problems
Amanda held several jobs working toward going to Italy to study. She has never been fired from a job. She had no reason to believe that she was having any problems at Le Chic. (After an angry Patrick Lumumba was released from prison, he told the “Daily Mail” tabloid that he had fired Amanda prior to the crime. This was shown to be a lie in trial.)

H. Loss, Personal Stressors
Amanda was having the time of her life in Perugia. She had just met Raffaele, and was in a new romance. Amanda was extremely happy.

I. Lack of conscience
Much has been made of a perceived lack of concern for Meredith in the days following the murder. I believe most of these to be highly inaccurate and sensationalized, to sell media. However, the lack of conscience issue is not a photograph of one or two days in a person’s life. It is a movie of their entire life. Amanda’s care and concern for others in her hometown is legendary. Only those who prefer to get their information from tabloids believe otherwise.

J. Anger problems
Anger problems do not mean that a person is never angry. A complete lack of anger over a lifetime is a danger sign, not a reason to relax. Absent discredited tabloid reports, there are no indications that Amanda Knox dealt with anger any differently than any other normal person. There have never been any accusations by schools, teachers, and friends or family that Amanda had “a temper” or any such thing.

K. Depression and suicidality
I refer you to the answer to question 9: Amanda was having the time of her life in Perugia. She had just met Raffaele, and was in a new romance. Amanda was extremely happy.

L. Paranoia and other psychotic symptoms
Not a single speck credible evidence exists that in her entire life, Amanda Knox ever suffered from any mental illness, or neurosis.

M. Isolation
Before Amanda left America, she had hundreds of friends. She now has thousands. Amanda is a “people person”, who at the time of Meredith’s murder, had a boyfriend and lived with three other girls.

N. History of violence

O. History of criminality:
Amanda Knox has NO history of criminality. None. In his latest appeal Prosecutor Mignini points out that Amanda was fined for a loud party. A loud party? Really? This is not criminality. Period. This is no more criminality than is a speeding ticket. Are all college students who host or go to loud parties now threats to become violent murderers? The argument is simply absurd and beneath the dignity of Mignini’s office, though clearly not below his personal dignity. This is a panic reaction to an upcoming appeal. Are we to believe that there is a person in a civilized country who believes that the throwing of a loud college party is grounds for raising a sentence from 26 years to life? Where are the statutes that say a loud party is worth a prison sentence enhancement? This is simply desperation and petty posturing. It should shame an otherwise honorable and reasonable Italian Judiciary.

Mignini alleges that rocks were thrown at the party. But he does not allege that Amanda had any part in it. She didn’t. How do I know? If Mignini had any proof that she threw a single rock, he would have put it in the appeal.

These are examples of a history of criminality that professionals recognize: Robbery, threats, assault, cruelty to animals….All things in which Rudy Guede has dabbled.

Amanda had been in Perugia for three months and was virtually unknown to the police. Rudy Guede, however, had been arrested several times in the previous 30 days.

P. Domestic partner violence

Amanda scores a zero on the potential violence threat test. No threat. Not a small threat, not a manageable threat, not a moderate threat….no threat whatsoever.

1. There is absolutely no evidence of Amanda Knox in the room at the time of the murder, nor is there evidence that she participated in any way.
a. No blood
b. No hairs
c. No fingerprints
d. No footprints
e. No saliva
f. No DNA
2. There are absolutely no items of Amanda’s which have any blood on them
a. No clothes
b. No shoes
c. No socks
d. No underwear
3. Amanda had not a scratch on her the morning after the attack
a. No cuts
b. No bruises
c. No lacerations
4. There was absolutely no blood found in Raffaele’s apartment or Amanda’s room.
a. Nothing on the floors
b. Nothing on knives
c. Nothing on carpets
d. Nothing on walls
e. Nothing on clothes
f. Nothing on utensils
g. Nothing on doorknobs
5. There was no escape attempt by Amanda or Raffaele
a. Rudy escaped to Germany shortly after the attack
b. Amanda did not attempt to flee
c. Raffaele did not attempt to flee
6. There were NO psychological indicators of potential violence in Amanda
a. No motive
b. No homicidal fantasies or preoccupation
c. No violent intentions or expressed threats
d. No weapons skills
e. No pre-attack planning
f. No stalking
g. No job problems
h. No loss or personal stressors
i. No lack of conscience
j. No anger problems
k. No depression or suicidality
l. No paranoia or other symptoms
m. No isolation
n. No history of violence
o. No history of criminality
p. No domestic partner violence.

Based on the preceding, AMANDA’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE MURDER IS NOT JUST UNLIKELY, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. The prosecution is missing all evidence needed to convict Amanda Knox, and hasn’t provided any plausible reason for it's absence.