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Murder in Perugia The Break-In: Applying More Spin Can Water Go Upstream? Abridged version.

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Presentation on theme: "Murder in Perugia The Break-In: Applying More Spin Can Water Go Upstream? Abridged version."— Presentation transcript:

1 Murder in Perugia The Break-In: Applying More Spin Can Water Go Upstream? Abridged version

2 This presentation examines the disturbing break-in at the sealed cottage where Meredith Kercher was brutally murdered, and which was discovered by Italian police on Wednesday, 18 February 2009, when they entered the cottage with authorisation in order to fetch personal items of the Italian flatmates. Supporters of the two remaining suspects (Raffaele’s legal team and Amanda’s home town blog) were quick to use the detection of this break-in as representative of either the shoddy police custody of the cottage, or - more importantly for those who still believe in the “lone-wolf” theory - how the cottage actually may have been entered by a single murderous thief through Filomena’s window on the evening of 1 November This presentation shows that these suppositions, in particular the latter, are rubbish. The situations presented here are related to ideas or event relationships which have arisen from the in-depth multi-point-of-view, multi-timezone, and multi-cultural discussions and information found on the following excellent discussion boards: Any irony or sarcasm which may be encountered in the presentation or our discussions is not meant by any means to trivialise the pain and suffering, and butal senseless murder of Meredith, nor to reduce her memory. (Since she has no means to reply to any comments herein or scenarios described in other presentations, and the repeated use of her name in this context would only further hurt anyone close to her, in some circumstances I sometimes refer to Meredith simply as “the victim”.) As we go through the scenarios of what may have happened in the crime, the only moment which is truly important is the day when the evidence is presented in court, like in any other serious crime case. I can only hope that there will be one single ending, that justice is served to those responsible for each of the crimes which have been determined by the Italian judiciary. I am buoyed by the fact that the victim’s family has continued to express confidence in the Italian justice system. Special thanks to discussion board posters Catnip and Nicki for translation and language support. - Kermit (25 February 2009)

3 The News: La Nazione reports on the break-inLa Nazione reports on the break-in The Mystery of Via della Pergola - Forensic Police Detect Trespassing Clues - Postal Police Check YouTube Whoever got into the house may have betrayed themselves. There is at one least clue, left behind during their departure, that could give the Flying Squad an answer. It was an item, perhaps a leaflet or object found by the Rome scientific police which - according to the leading hypothesis - was dropped by one of the trespassers of the house, and related to Meredith Kercher, the English student murdered on 1 November 2007 and for which the trial against her “friend” Amanda Knox and boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is under way. Perugia, 20 February The “intruders” may have betrayed themselves. They left at least one clue, during their escape, that might help the flying squad track them down. It was an item, perhaps a leaflet found by the Rome scientific police that - according to the main hypothesis - was dropped by one of the trespassers of the house, and is related to Meredith Kercher, the English student murdered on 1 November 2007 and for which the trial against her “friend” Amanda Knox and boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is under way. The day after the discovery of the “raid” on the cottage at via della Pergola 7 - still under seal - investigators are already at work. The forensic police laboratories are analysing the three cigarette butts found in Laura Mezzetti’s room, the four knives “positioned” as if to convey a worrying message, the plastic envelope with the state police logo, and also the plastic flowerpot which was used to break the glass of the window at the rear of the villette. All to find one print or one genetic trace that could give a name and a face to the intruders. Even if the examining judges are inclined to exclude the trail of idiots and macabre fetish collectors, the postal police have started checking the Internet - and, in particular, YouTube - to see if a stupid filming of the breached crime scene took place. It is almost impossible to verify whether anything was taken away. The Flying Squad agents found the house ransacked. Even Meredith’s suitcase. Where the victim’s clothes and underwear were kept, even that had been rifled through. The same thing happened to the things which Amanda had under her bed: from there came at least two of the four knives spread through the cottage in a fine display. Those knives of the American were still in their original wrapping and for this reason had never been bagged for analysis. It is impossible that they could be the murder weapon. Meanwhile the Flying Squad has acquired - and is viewing - the pictures recorded by the San Antonio parking lot CCTV security camera, in front of the cottage. The same fine-toothed combing as after the murder. As for the motive, nothing obviously stands out, but to the examining judges it looks like yet another staging. - Erika Pontini

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5 The Reaction of the Suspects’ Entourages Supporters of both Raffaele and Amanda were quick to use the break-in to highlight supposed problems in the police investigation or management of evidence. Nick Pisa reported on the break-in: "Sollecito's lawyer, Marco Brusco, said: "This break-in just shows what we have always said - anyone could get into the house. It proves how easy it is to get into the house and tamper with the crime scene.... it proves what we have always said that a thief broke into the house and murdered poor Meredith Kercher."Sollecito's lawyer, Marco Brusco, said: "This break-in just shows what we have always said - anyone could get into the house. It proves how easy it is to get into the house and tamper with the crime scene.... it proves what we have always said that a thief broke into the house and murdered poor Meredith Kercher. (Marco Brusco, member of Raffaele’s legal team) If we lend some structure to his statement, he is concluding / stating as proof: 1)The intrusion proves that it is easy to get into the house and tamper with the crime scene 2)The intrusion proves that a thief broke into the house and carried out the murder Let’s look at how the break-in was carried out and what it “proves” …

6 About a hundred yards down Via Sant’Antonio, the road is at the same height as the hillside terrain. An intruder could start a discrete walk towards the lower level of the cottage from there. Meredith case: break-in at house, police view film footage (AGI) - Perugia, 19 Feb - The Perugia Flying Squad investigation continues after the break-in by unknown persons which was discovered yesterday morning in the cottage in via della Pergola where, during the night of November 2007, English student Meredith Kercher was killed. According to the investigators’ reconstruction, whoever entered into the murder house (on which there were still seals) did so by climbing onto the terrace looking over the rear of the property, then by breaking the glass of the kitchen window and thereby getting themselves inside. The iron bars of the boys’ outer security gate provide a handy ladder to climb up to the triangular eave in the corner of the old and new wings. The iron balcony handrail aids scrambling onto the balcony. From there an intruder can take his time to break into the kitchen.

7 The Reaction of the Suspects’ Entourages (cont’d) Marco Brusco is right about his first point: the cottage is easy for someone to break into… through the kitchen window. And if someone breaks into it, then it is easy to tamper with the crime scene. You don’t have to go to the Daisyhill Detective Academy to understand that. However, for me it’s a non sequitur to state that the intrusion proves that a (lone) thief broke into the house and carried out the murder. I wouldn’t even call that Spin. Just silly. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Seattle, on Amanda’s Home Town Blog, we saw the reaction of Ms. Dempsey, a Food Blogger converted to author of a true crime book about “the story behind the murder of Meredith Kercher, the case against Amanda Knox”. (I don’t want to ruin the book for you, but my bet is that it will conclude that Amanda was a peripheral figure in the events of the night of 1 November 2007 and the morning of 2 November 2007.) “So much for the theory that nobody would enter through a window visible to car) or that the neighbors would surely spot anybody coming in through a window” It’s surprising that Blogger Dempsey makes this erroneous statement, especially since she has travelled on more than one occasion to Perugia. Let’s all analyse together who can see what from where:

8 Sra. Nara’s flat Last flat of neighbours overlooking the cottage The angles of the old and new wings of the cottage block the view of anybody to the left of the blue line. Nobody on this side of the blue line can see the balcony or the kitchen window. Kitchen window Balcony High window of San Tommaso convent / science institute The location of the balcony and the kitchen on the other side of the house excludes any of the neighbours being able to see anything. The only nearby building with a window which may offer a view of the oblique angle where the cottage kitchen window is situated, is a science and technical institute at the west end of the San Tommaso convent. Let's assume the break-in was at night. No one in that building would have been looking out, across the brightly lit road, and into the contrasting darkness beyond. Perhaps if someone parked his/her car in the far right part of the parking lot, on the edge overlooking Via Sant'Antonio, they may have seen something. However, this parking lot wouldn't have any movement in the wee hours of the morning.

9 This high window of the convent / science and technical institute is possibly the only nearby building which has a view of the kitchen window. (The kitchen window itself is on the other side of the cottage. This image depicts the front door) West end of the San Tommaso convent / science and technical institute

10 Cottage hidden by these trees Beyond the convent / institute, there is just the long old city wall, and the empty space of the Bulagaio ravine.

11 What did Amanda’s Home Town Blog say? "So much for the theory that nobody would enter through a window visible to cars) or that the neighbors would surely spot anybody coming in through a window.” We see that the iron railing prevents a driver or a passenger in a car from seeing the kitchen window of the cottage through the blur. Also, in the case of a single person in a car, we can conclude that in the middle of the night, on the winding Via Sant'Antonio, a driver would be concentrating on driving and not having an accident. No. No one in a car would be capable of shouting out, "Hey, look! There's a burglary going on over in yonder cottage!" This is not a walking route, so you wouldn't find stargazers on a midnight stroll either. The neighbours live to the south of the cottage, unable to see the kitchen window The Bulagiao ravine falls sharply from the base of the cottage on the north side. No one would be viewing the kitchen window from here. The kitchen window is here, but it can not be seen from a car due to the blur caused by the iron guard rail. Well, we have seen that the second part of her comment is irrelevant, as there aren't any neighbours to see anything happening at the kitchen window, because it isn’t in view of the nearby flats. What about the first part of her comment... is the kitchen window very visible to cars? Let's take a drive along Via Sant’Antonio, approaching from the east (only the first 20 seconds of this video are relevant): Ms. Dempsey should speak for herself, but I understand that her argument is the following: -people say that one of the many reasons which makes Filomena’s window an unlikely entry point, is that it is in full view of many neighbours and passers-by -however, if the kitchen window was used for a break-in, and it is visible by neighbours, then Filomena’s window could also have been used for a break-in, in spite of being in view

12 The kitchen window is easy to break into for three reasons: 1)It is on the north side of the cottage away from the view of neighbours (or drivers on the Via Sant’Antonio) 2)It does not receive illumination at night 3)It is easy to climb up to. You don’t have to be Spiderman. From the balcony a burglar can pry open the kitchen window from a comfortable standing position So let’s forget about the kitchen window!!! What is important to Raffaele’s and Amanda’s and Rudy’s legal situation is an improbable break-in through Filomena’s window!!! 1)Filomena’s window is just a few metres from the roadway, under the view of many neighbours on the west side of the carpark 2)It receives night-time illumination from the carpark and streetlamps 3)It is not easily accessible for a thief. Call Spiderman or a gymnast … … OR … call Amanda’s hometown blogger! I admire Ms. Dempsey’s devotion to Amanda: a nearly 60 year old food blogger who enjoys pasta is ready to risk her bones for the cause!!

13 Now that we've dispatched The Entourage's perspective in Seattle, let’s return to Raffaele’s legal team. What did Marco Brusco say? "It proves how easy it is to get into the house and tamper with the crime scene... it proves what we have always said that a thief broke into the house and murdered poor Meredith Kercher.” We’ve seen that the first part is true. It is easy to get into the house... BUT NOT THROUGH FILOMENA's WINDOW!!! And tamper with the crime scene? Of course, someone could have taken a pneumatic jack hammer to the house too... but in both cases, the police would detect the intrusion. And in fact, on 18 February 2009, police found that seals on the kitchen window were broken and the window itself was broken …. I would ask the defence teams: is there any evidence in the days and weeks following 2 November 2007 that seals were broken on the doors or windows, and that doors or windows were broken when the main forensic work was being carried out? Raffaele's Team is not going to convince many persons if this is their demonstrative argument for DNA contamination. I don’t think I have to add that the recent intrusion in the cottage does not prove that Meredith died at the hands of a lone-wolf thief. In fact, everything points to more than one wolf. Defence teams: get back to work!!

14 Final Conclusions: The Impact of the Break-in at the Cottage I must admit that when news broke about the break-in at the cottage on 18 February 2009, I was angry and concerned that somehow it could impact in the trial (for example, by planting doubt about the Italian police’s protection of evidence, or by damaging evidence which could still lay in the cottage). However, upon examining how and where the intruders broke in, my concern about the impact in the trial has dissipated. We have seen that short of stationing armed guards there 24 x 7 x 365, there isn’t much more that the police can do. Indeed, it was the police who discovered the break-in, and who took immediate measures to analyse the new crime scene within a crime scene. We can assume that after over one year since Meredith’s brutal and senseless murder, and over six months since the end of the investigation, the principal forensic and reconstructive evidence has been gathered from the cottage. Why maintain the seals on the cottage, then? I believe that Prosecutor Mignini - in addition to the evidence which he gathered in the investigation - is still hoping for some sort of confession from Amanda, Raffaele or maybe even Rudy. That possibility is not too far-fetched: Raffaele has lately been conspicuously non-supportive of Amanda. If a confession were to occur, then it’s of great interest to apply the data from the confession to the crime scene, hence the desire to maintain it in its state from the time of the crime. One could speculate, perhaps, that one of the suspects’ teams arranged the break-in to ensure that a future “partial” confession would only bring minor and not major legal inconveniences. However, that’s just speculation. While my concern for the trial has dissipated, I am still angry about the desecration of the site. For the Kerchers and Meredith's friends, having some intruders walk over her blood, drip wax around, stir up her belongings, must be a like a punch in the stomach. The possible spoiling of the state of the cottage interior, however, doesn’t impact in the inexorable and unstoppable advance of the the trial as it is progressing today, nor on the quality of the evidence upon which this legal process is based. While I fully respect the right of the suspects to silence, and also their right to lie, I desperately hope they they invoke neither of these rights, but rather that they finally open up and reply honestly, completely and truthfully to all inquiries in the trial.


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