OK, now this case in Italy is starting to get under my skin, God help me. One reason it intrigues me so much is the existence of so many themes in common with the Ramsey case. In both we find a crime scene with "no sign of forced breakin." Nevertheless, in both we have a broken window to account for, a window through which no one apparently could have passed, strongly suggesting the staging of an intruder breakin. We have, in both cases, a huge debate over the meaning of DNA evidence. Both cases are characterized by a violent sexual attack. We also have reports of a scream.
And in both cases we have two people, a closely bonded male-female pair, who have become the focus of attention, either as co-conspirators or innocent victims. Finally, from looking over some of the websites devoted to the Kercher case, we find, as with the Ramsey case, a striking division into two diametrically opposed camps, one insisting the suspect couple is completely innocent, the other absolutely positively convinced of their guilt, each camp treating the other with total contempt.
Oh and one more thing. Once again, as in the Ramsey case, we have a plethora of highly contested "evidence," a morass fully worthy of the Ramsey morass -- so complicated that it would literally be impossible to explain to everyone's or even anyone's satisfaction every single detail and what it might mean. A very interesting summary of the case has been presented by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation which ruled, last year, that Knox and Sollecito must be retried. I recommend this extremely thorough review, as it covers so much of the evidence so completely, and from the perspective of both sides. The only problem: it is simply indigestible. Perhaps a genius such as Magnus Carlsen, capable of keeping in mind the chess positions of several opponents at once, blindfolded, might be able to make some sense out of it, but I doubt he'll ever be called upon by either side to do so. The prosecution has insisted that, in order to be understood, all the evidence needs to be coordinated into a single "big picture," but it's very hard to see how anyone could possibly do that -- there are simply too many puzzle pieces, and in each and every instance, there are serious points of contention that must be sorted out and resolved.
Is it possible to apply the basic principle I've applied in the Ramsey case? I.e., to simply ignore, at first, all the apparently inconclusive elements, and focus only on the known and uncontested facts -- waiting to fill in the blanks only in the light of a careful analysis of what is absolutely known to be the case? Actually I think the same principle can in fact be applied to the Kercher case, which, as it seems to me, is much easier to solve than the Ramsey case.
The key fact, as I see it, is in the realm of what could be called "negative evidence." Because it looks very much to me as though in this case absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence. It is an uncontested fact that unmistakeable signs of Rudy Guede's presence are all over the room in which Meredith Kerchner was, literally, slaughtered. The investigators found his bloody fingerprints, his bloody footprints, and several samples of his DNA in Kercher's room along with the body of the victim. While there has been some dispute over whether or not parts of the room had been cleaned, it is simply inconceivable that a second or third party actively assisting in the murder would not also have left equally abundant evidence of his or her presence all over the scene. The prosecution has even contended that Amanda Knox attacked Kercher with a knife while Guede and Sollecito held her arms behind her back, yet no trace of Knox's presence has been found in that room, no fingerprints, footprints or DNA, nothing. Nor has any trace of any bloody clothing belonging to Knox ever been found.
The best the prosecution was able to come up with, as far as that room is concerned, was some traces of Sollecito's DNA on clasps from Kercher's bra. I'll deal with that evidence presently. But for now I have to insist that it is inconceivable to think that anyone participating in such a violent, bloody attack, would leave NO trace of her presence anywhere in the room where the attack took place. And it is equally impossible to assume that every single trace of her presence could have been cleaned up without also cleaning up every trace of Guede's presence as well, which was certainly not the case. When we add that DNA is a molecule, visible only through a microscope, it is once again inconceivable that Knox could have removed her DNA from such a scene to the point that none was found.
As far as Sollecito's DNA is concerned, if he too had been an active participant in this bloody slaughter, evidence of his presence would also, as with Guede, been all over the place. So it is very suspicious indeed when all the prosecution has come up with are some traces of his DNA on that bra clasp. Suspicious as far as the prosecution is concerned, not as far as Sollecito is concerned, because clearly he too, like Knox, could not have been involved. In fact there are many very childish contentions on the part of the prosecution that give them away as hopelessly biased against Knox and Sollecito and unwilling to simply face the facts.
In any case, the bra clasp in question had been lying in the room for about 40 days before it was examined for DNA, time enough for contamination to have taken place. And even if there had been no contamination, we are after all talking about trace DNA, of the sort we've already encountered in the Ramsey case. As has already been explained both on this blog and in James Kolar's book, DNA can easily be transferred in a completely innocent manner, from one person to another or from a person to an object. And secondary transfer is also perfectly possible. A little discussed fact is that Knox and Kercher shared the same bathroom -- meaning that there would have been countless opportunities for DNA from either of them or from people with whom they had been in intimate contact, to be transferred in either direction. Obviously DNA from Sollecito would have been all over Knox, so indirect transfer from her to Kercher would certainly have been possible. Since Kercher obviously handled her bra clasp, the traces of Sollecito's DNA could have gotten there from the hands of the victim herself, just as the trace DNA found on JonBenet could have been innocently transferred to her longjohns and crotch area by JonBenet herself. Since Kercher's bra straps had been cut rather than unfastened by her attacker, it's also possible that the last person to handle the clasps was not the attacker but Kercher herself.
I could stop right here, because on the basis of the above FACTS there is no case to be made against either Knox or Sollecito, regardless of anything else the prosecution may have found or thought they found. But hey, I'm on a roll, so why stop now? :-)
Every other piece of so-called "evidence" has to be considered on the basis of the facts presented above. Yes, footprints in which Kercher's blood was mingled with Knox's DNA were found elsewhere in the building. However, according to Knox's account, she noticed some blood on the floor when entering the building the morning after the murder, but took a shower anyhow, assuming it to be menstrual blood. It stands to reason that she might well have stepped into some of that blood in her bare feet before or after showering. It stands to reason also that traces of her DNA might have gotten mingled with traces of Kercher's, and vice versa, through innocent transfer, since, as stated above, she and Meredith shared the same bathroom.
This could in fact explain the alleged traces of Kercher's DNA apparently found on Sollecito's kitchen knife, absurdly identified by the prosecution as the murder weapon. This is yet another example of the lengths the prosecution went to in their effort to fabricate evidence out of thin air. Significantly, no blood was found on the knife, only "DNA" -- obviously only a minute trace. Since as stated above, Knox and Kercher shared the same bathroom, the latter's DNA could have gotten onto the knife when handled by Knox -- or even by Sollecito. The absence of blood means that this DNA is of no consequence and can't be linked to the crime. It is, moreover, very difficult to believe that a murderer would take the trouble of returning his murder weapon to his own home rather than simply discarding it.
One of the most interesting aspects of this case, as with the Ramsey case, is the suspiciously broken window in the room of one of the other women living in the house (who happened to be away on vacation at the time). According to the prosecution, this window is evidence of a staged breakin, and in this instance they are probably right. Glass from the window was found on top of many items strewn on the floor by the intruder, which strongly suggests it was broken only after those items reached the floor. Moreover, this particular window is located fully 12 feet from ground level, with no sign of anything nearby that could have been used to assist any intruder wanting to climb up and into it. Also, no glass from the window was found on the ground below it, suggesting it was broken from the inside while the shutters were still closed. Clearly, as in the Ramsey case, no one could have entered via that window.
The prosecution contends that Knox and only Knox would have had a motive to stage an intruder breakin, since she was the only one other than the victim currently living in that house. However, it is also possible to argue that Knox, as someone familiar with the house, would have known very well about the 12 foot drop and would thus have realized how absurd it would be to stage a breakin at that point -- while someone such as Guede, unfamiliar with the house, and unable to look out to see the 12 foot drop thanks to the closed shutter, would be far more likely to choose that window as a staged entry point, recognizing his error only after he had opened the shutter.
The prosecution has naively contended that Guede would have had no reason to stage such a breakin. However, his story has always been that he was in the bathroom, after having had consensual relations with Kercher, when he heard her scream and then observed an intruder running from the scene. Since as should now be clear, Guede was the one, and the only one, who attacked Kercher, and in such a sloppy manner as to leave evidence of his presence all over the room, he may well have realized that he'd sooner or later be identified. So, to make his "intruder" alibi more convincing it would certainly have been in his interest to stage such a breakin, especially since Kercher voluntarily admitting him to the house was part of his story. In any case, given the complete absence of any trace of Knox's presence at the murder scene, the insistence that she and only she would have had reason to stage a breakin seems pointless and unreasonable. And if she had wanted to stage such a breakin she certainly would not have done it at a window she knew to be so high over ground level as to be virtually inaccessible by an intruder.
Other instances where unwarranted assumptions have been made by the prosecution:
The assumption that Kercher must have been attacked by more than one person since there was no sign of any defensive wounds on her hands and arms. Since there were no signs of anyone other than Kercher and Guede found in that room this in itself is enough reason to rule out multiple attackers, so some other reason for the lack of defense wounds must exist. Kercher could have been unconscious or only semi-conscious, and held up by her attacker when knifed, or her hands could have been bound, or Guede could have attacked her while holding her hands together. To insist on multiple attackers simply because there were no defensive wounds is just one more example of over-reach on the part of the prosecution, especially in view of the complete lack of any viable evidence consistent with a third or fourth party.
It's been contended that Knox must have stolen Kercher's key and locked her door, because Guede's footprints show no sign of him turning around to lock the door as he left Kercher's room. We must ask, first, what Knox would have had to gain by locking that door. This reminds me of the argument that the Ramseys hid the body before calling 911 to delay its discovery by the police long enough to somehow convince them of their innocence. Knox would have known very well that sooner or later that room would be opened, so what possible motive would she have had to delay the discovery of the crime? Guede, on the other hand, would certainly have wanted that discovery to be delayed as long as possible, to give him as much time as possible to get as far away as possible from that house and ultimately out of the country. So I'm sorry if careful examination of Guede's footprints told certain forensic "experts" that he could not have paused to lock that door. In fact if anything can be said about this case, it is that it's been obscured by an over reliance on dubious forensics to the detriment of simple logic and common sense.
Newcomers to this blog are advised to begin with the first two posts, Just the Facts, Ma'am and Case Solved, which explain in very general terms why I believe I've solved this case. Some important questions are answered in the following post, Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, Misdirections. After that feel free to browse whatever topics might interest you (see blog archive).
NB: If anyone has trouble posting a comment, email it to doktorgosh (at) live.com, and I'll post it for you.
NB: If anyone has trouble posting a comment, email it to doktorgosh (at) live.com, and I'll post it for you.
Notice to readers of my Kindle book: I recently noticed that, on certain devices (though not all), the Table of Contents begins with Chapter One and omits the Introduction and Preface. Since the Introduction is especially important, I urge everyone to make sure to begin reading at the very beginning of the book, not the first chapter in the Table of Contents. Thank you.