It’s astonishing just how off track Malcolm Gladwell’s precis is of the Amanda Knox saga. It’s as if someone [from the Knox camp naturally] provided him with an abstract, and Gladwell recycled it verbatim, and uncritically, from head to toe. Because it reads as Classic Apologia.
“But Rudy Guede was not the exclusive focus of the police investigation…”
On November 20th, the Telegraph reported on Guede arrested “on a train near Mainz”, the capital of the Rhineland-Pflaz region after an “international manhunt”.
The article adds:
He was allegedly on his way back to Italy to turn himself into police. An unnamed friend, known only as Alberto, worked with police to persuade Guede that the longer he remained abroad, the guiltier he would seem. Guede confirmed that he was aware he was the target of a manhunt and said he wanted to talk to police to clear his name.
He wrote: “I know that [I am a suspect]”. He added: “The reson [sic] I want to talk with police man, cause the news give at me a wrong profile.” During a three-hour conversation on Skype, the internet telephone service, Guede is alleged to have told his friend that he was sleeping on a barge on the Rhine, and that he had slept in empty train carriages while in Germany.
Guede was unaware that police were listening into the conversation. Five days before the murder of Miss Kercher, Guede was discovered to have broken into a nursery school in Milan, where he had spent the night. He was armed with an 11-inch kitchen knife. He told police he had to “protect” himself against thieves.
Miss Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, south London, was found in her house in Perugia with her throat cut on Friday November 2. Guede allegedly told his friend: “I was not there that night. If they found my fingerprints, it means I had left them there before. I had been in the house before, but not on the day of the killing. I knew Amanda and I knew Meredith, but I did not kill her.”
…he was stopped just after 7am on a suburban train near Mainz for not having a ticket. He told the police that he was wanted in Italy in connection with the killing of Miss Kercher. He will now appear before a judge and be extradited to Italy within the next week. He is wanted on suspicion of murder and sexual assault.
…a pair of Nike sports shoes were found which may be similar to a footprint inside Miss Kercher’s house. Guede’s arrest led to the release of Patrick Diya Lumumba, a 37-year-old Congolese bar owner, who has always maintained his innocence. Mr Lumumba spent 13 nights in Capanne prison after he was accused of the murder by Amanda Knox, Miss Kercher’s flatmate. Knox, 20, and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 23, are still in custody as suspects. While the police are certain they have a case against those now under arrest, the motive and circumstances of the killing are still unclear. More than 30 officers have worked non-stop on the case since Miss Kercher was discovered.
The way Gladwell frames it, Rudy Guede should have been the exclusive focus of the investigation. They should have pursued him, found him, arrested him and that should have been that. What Gladwell conveniently leaves out, and almost all the Knox Apologists invariably redact out of this case, is that Knox falsely implicated her boss in the crime. She claimed she had gone with her boss to the villa and heard him with Meredith in her room. Whatever anyone may say of these claims, or the circumstances in which they were made, Knox’s accusation led to the arrest of Lumumba, and what’s more, based on the merits of the accusation, it placed her at the scene of the murder based on her own version. And, as a result of this version, it contradicted Sollecito who had first said Knox was with him all night, then that he couldn’t be sure if she’d gone out after 23:00, and then that she’d never gone out.
Coming back to Gladwell’s narrative, he implies that it would be reasonable and fair for the police to focus on Guede only, and not on Lumumba, Knox, Sollecito or anyone else for that matter.
So were the police supposed to ignore Knox’s confession? Were the police supposed to ignore Guede’s assertion – during his long Skype chat – that Amanda had been present, as well as an Italian guy who insulted him, and assaulted him with a knife? Furthermore, Guede had admitted he’d been in the house previously and knew Amanda Knox. So why had she implicated her boss if not to purposefully misdirect the authorities away from someone who implicate her?
It should also be noted that the police didn’t arrest anyone immediately. It took around five days for the first arrests to be made, and this was after extensively questioning everyone who was known to have visited the villa, including a list of Knox’s boyfriends, and all of the roommates, upstairs and downstairs, as well as all of Meredith’s friends.
It was after this exhaustive approach that they noticed things weren’t adding up with Knox and Sollecito. As such Sollecito was brought back for a second interrogation and Knox decided to tag along. At the time Sollecito told the police he was having dinner and would come to the station when it suited them. It was during this interrogation that Sollecito was searched, and found to be carrying a knife, and also when he said he could no longer vouch for Knox’s whereabouts. Of course the moment he did that, he also lost his alibi.
Meanwhile, as Sollecito was being interrogated, Knox was behaving oddly in the hallway. According to her she was doing the splits. According to others she was doing cartwheels. The Italian authorities were appalled by her attitude, especially since Knox was supposed to be the person closest to Kercher, and ought to have been the most effected – the most traumatized by events. Instead, she seemed to be the least traumatized.
“[Guede] wasn’t more than an afterthought in the tsunami of media attention that followed the discovery of Kercher’s body…”
Again, Gladwell glosses over the relevant facts. Guede requested a fast-track trial. Because of this, and because no reporters were present, Guede was able to dodge a lot of the publicity surrounding the case.
By October 2008, less than a year after Kercher’s murder, Guede’s trial had concluded. He was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in jail, however this sentenced was lowered to 16 years on appeal. By contrast, Knox and Sollecito’s trial hadn’t even begun – theirs would only start three months later, in January 2009.
“The focus was instead on Kercher’s roommate. Her name was Amanda Knox.”
Gladwell apparently can’t understand why the focus was ever on Kercher’s roommate. But there are a few ridiculously obvious reasons why Knox became the focus of the investigation.
For starters, Sollecito provided five contradictory versions of where he was during the night of the incident.
1. In the first version he and Amanda went for a walk from her cottage before heading to his apartment for dinner. They watched a movie while making and eating dinner, spent the night on the computer and slept until about 10:30 a.m.
2. The next day Sollecito provided a similar account to the Sunday Mirror, but added a detail. He said that they went to a party before going back to his apartment.
3. Sollecito gave the cops a third account: “Amanda and I went into town at around 6 p.m….I don’t remember what we did. We stayed there until around 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. At 9 p.m. I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends.” In this version, Amanda returned to his apartment at 01:00.
4. In his prison diary Sollecito said he “presumed” Amanda had done some grocery shopping before returning to his home around 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., where they smoked more pot. He doesn’t remember what time he ate, but was certain he ate with Amanda. He remembered surfing the Internet, maybe watching a film, and that his father called him. He thinks Amanda went out to a pub where she often worked, but didn’t recall for how long. On the other hand, he said he remembered Amanda told him later that the pub was closed.
5. At the end of the 2011 appeal Sollecito again stated that Knox was at his apartment that night. While he repeatedly said he spoke to his father around 11 p.m., there is no phone record of that call and there was no indication of any activity on his home computer after 9:10 p.m., when a movie on the computer ended and it seems there was not even any interaction with the laptop at that time. Furthermore, at 5:32 a.m. experts testified that someone unsuccessfully attempted to play an MP3 file on his computer followed by two more failed additional attempts. The individual switched to iTunes and played an MP3 file. If true, both he and Amanda did not sleep until at least 10 as they both have claimed.
Source: ABC News.
Even during the Guede trial, the evidence at the scene didn’t match his version of events. According to Wikipedia’s generic version of this aspect:
The court found that [Guede’s] version of events did not match the forensic evidence, and that he could not explain why one of his palm prints, stained with Kercher’s blood, had been found on the pillow of the single bed, under the disrobed body. Guede said he had left Kercher fully dressed. He was found guilty in October 2008 of murder and sexual assault, and sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment. Judge Micheli acquitted Guede of theft, suggesting that there had been no break-in…
It’s fascinating that Guede was both implicated in a break-in and acquitted. Why? Because he was known to break in to other places, and perhaps someone who knew him, or knew this, knew how to frame him. In any event, the crime scene implied a break-in, and yet nothing of value was stolen. There were laptops in each of the four women’s rooms, and yet none of them were taken, not even Meredith’s.
And so, if there was no break-in, it meant the break-in was staged, and who would do that?
“She came home one morning and found blood in the bathroom…”
Gladwell describes the vital elements of the crime in the most vanilla detail imaginable. Knox didn’t come home “one morning”, she went to her home early, by herself [on a holiday], and then returned to Sollecito’s home carrying a mop. Knox was well-known for being slovenly and untidy in her own home, and this was the reason she sometimes argued with Meredith too, and yet on the night and morning surrounding Meredith’s murder, the washing machine is fully loaded, and Knox even wants to clean Sollecito’s apartment, and what’s more, early in the morning during a long weekend.
Gladwell also implies that – just as Knox did – the blood she encountered in the house was no big deal. According to Knox she saw blood, basically shrugged, had a shower, and then headed back to Sollecito with the mop.
In episode one of our analysis we saw that Guede’s shoeprints and other blood traces were pinkish instead of red, and in many cases transparent. One way to explain his near invisible shoeprints leading out of Meredith’s room to the front door could be that they were mopped up. Though Knox claimed Sollecito had had a plumbing catastrophe that night of all nights, it’s conceivable that the mop was stained with blood and needed to be disinfected or destroyed, and that’s why it was removed then from the villa to Sollecito’s flat. We also know when the police visited Sollecito’s apartment, it smelled strongly of bleach.
In Knox’s version of seeing the blood, she claims she thought Meredith was having her period, and also that her own blood – from a recent ear piercing – may have dripped onto the bathroom faucet [or tap], and thus mixed with hers. In this “suggestion” Knox admits the possibility that her own blood mixed with Meredith’s blood, and in her version, this is entirely plausible because they lived together.
In her email to friends of family Knox provided the following dubious account:
…it was after i stepped out of the shower and onto the mat that i noticed the blood in the bathroom. it was on the mat i was using to dry my feet and there were drops of blood in the sink. at first i thought the blood might have come from my ears which i had pierced extrensively not too long ago, but then immediately i know it wasnt mine becaus the stains on the mat were too big for just droplets form my ear, and when i touched the blood in the sink it was caked on already. there was also blood smeered on the faucet. again, however, i thought it was strange, because my roommates and i are very clean and we wouldnt leave blood int he bathroom, but i assumed that perhaps meredith was having menstral issues and hadnt cleaned up yet.
Despite her denial in the email, as it turned out, the blood on the bathroom faucet tested positive for Knox’s blood. It’s possible Knox had bled from a neck wounded inflicted by Meredith’s flailing fingernail.
Besides this trace, five traces of Knox’s DNA were found mixed with the victim’s at the crime scene. Including this one.
As you can see, even in this image the blood is dilute, transparent and barely visible. If someone cleaned it up, especially at night, they may have not realized it was still barely visible. This is the same view from further away.
It’s in this very specific area that Knox’s goofiness is recruited to explain behavior that makes no sense, and also made no sense when her Italian roommate Filomena Romanelli found out about it. Knox, arriving home and finding blood [blood she claimed didn’t belong to her], simply took it in her strike, had a shower and trotted off again without a care in the world.
At the time Knox was showering, Meredith was lying dead in her bedroom, just a single door away down the hall. All Knox needed to do was knock on the door and ask if Meredith was okay. But because Knox is “goofy” she didn’t react to the blood in the house like most people would. Instead, what she seemed to be doing, was cleaning. Was this part of that goofiness too?
We get a wonderfully descriptive account from Knox herself of this moment in Waiting to be Heard. It paints a vivid portrait, but fails to explain why knox didn’t simply knock on Meredith’s door to find out if she was okay, or call out to her, or call her on her phone.
In Sollecito’s book Honor Bound he admits they ate fish for dinner, but says nothing about cutting himself. He does write at some length about Knox being an idiot when she encountered the blood in the bathroom.
Where do we draw the line between goofiness and reasonable suspicion? How about the fact that Knox was bleeding to begin with? How about the fact that when Meredith was bleeding [on the night of her murder], so was Amanda Knox. That’s one heck of a coincidence.
Knox wrote [a] letter at 11pm on the day of her arrest, asking for sheets of blank paper and a pen while in custody…She said she had not asked her boyfriend, Sollecito, to provide her with an alibi, and instead said that at one point, she recalls him with “blood on his hands”. However, she said she thought it was blood from a fish they had cooked for dinner.
Source: The Telegraph, 22 November 2007
Interestingly, Sollecito claims he accidentally cut Meredith.
More: Tests on knife found near Meredith’s house
So now we have Rudy Guede and Amanda Knox who were both bleeding on the night of the murder. And Sollecito admits he cut Meredith with a knife [“accidentally”]. So why wouldn’t you have three suspects?
END OF PART 1
“She and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, called the police.”
Amanda Knox never called the police. Sollecito called his sister, who was a policewoman, and she advised him to call the police. When the first call was made, and the substance of the first call, and the second call should also be acknowledged.
First 112 Call:
SOLLECITO: Hello, good day, listen … someone has entered the house breaking the window and has made a big mess and there is a closed door…No, there’s no theft… they broke a window… there is a mess… there is also a closed door… a mess.
Second 112 Call:
SOLLECITO: Yes hello, I called two seconds ago.
POLICE: Someone has entered the house and broke the window?
SOLLECITO: Yes…They didn’t take anything, the problem is the closed door, there are bloodstains.
POLICE: There is a closed door. Which door’s closed?
SOLLECITO: [The door] of one of the flatmates who isn’t here and we don’t know where she is.
POLICE:And there are blood stains outside the door of this flatmate who’s not there?
SOLLECITO: The blood stains are in the bathroom.
“The police came…”
The postal police arrived first, investigating a report that cellphones had been stolen. The time that the carabinieri arrived is still a matter of some dispute. What’s not in dispute is the time of the calls. The first was made at 12:51:40. Even if Knox’s account is true, that she visited the villa at around 10:00, it means it took them more than three hours after seeing blood and the broken window to call the police. Someone else who found cell phones in their garden that morning took less time to call the police.
It has also been speculated that Sollecito made the first call either after the postal police arrived, or when he saw them approaching.
“Kercher dead in her bedroom…”
Kercher wasn’t just dead in her bedroom, she was found naked with her legs open in a starfish position, and with her buttocks propped on a pillow. Just as the burglary appeared to be staged, so did Kercher’s body.
“Within hours they added Knox and Sollecito to their list of suspects.”
This is not only misleading, it’s being very “economical” with the facts of this case. Knox and Sollecito were interviewed like everyone else, and only after several days, arrested. Their arrest was contingent on their own dodgy, dubious and doubtful statements, statements that ultimately implicated each other, themselves and others. If there was nothing to hide, an alibi ought to have been simple, just as it had been for everyone else.
Gladwell is incorrect to use the word “hours” – it took at least five days to arrest Knox and Sollecito, and if anything, they found Sollecito more suspicious than she was, which is why they summoned him to the police station on November 6th, and not her.
“The crime, the police believed, was a drug-and alcohol-fueled sex game gone awry…”
How on earth did the police get that crazy idea?
“[The game] featured Guede, Sollecito and Knox…”
A staged burglary, so why not a staged sexual assault? Guede had said he left Meredith with her clothing on, and yet she was found naked. Also, blood had spattered onto her bra, and yet her breasts had no blood on them. Did the rapist forget to undress Kercher, or did he undress Kercher only after she was dead?
Why would someone stage a sexual attack? Well, if the obvious suspect was a female housemate, what was the obvious way to exclude a female as a suspect?
“The three were arrested, charged, convicted, and sent away to prison…”
Well, four were arrested, one because of Knox’s slander. Knox and Sollecito were convicted not once, but twice, and when Knox was acquitted, she was unable to sue for compensation for an unjust sentence, because she had been convicted on the slander charge and on staging the crime scene charge [obstruction of justice].
“…every step [of the prosecution] was chronicled obsessively by the tabloid press…”
Is the Telegraph tabloid press?
Is the Daily Beast tabloid press?
Is the New York Times tabloid press?
END OF PART 2