Guest Post: “Jamie was not present during [Nut Gate]”

A friend of the Watts family has reached out to CrimeRocket to publish the following  Guest Post. The statement below has not been edited or redacted in any way.

It has come to the attention of the Watts family that portions of early materials and sketches from a book Kathleen McKenna Hewtson is working on with them have been passed around in social media platforms before the first word of the eventual book has even been laid down.

 The Watts family is shocked and appalled that this has happened.

 This has been made possible because it is Mrs. Hewtson’s practice to write on a continuum with her subjects, who are encouraged to take part in molding her finished product. She has to capture their voices accurately and to try to say what they would say. To Mrs. Hewtson, what she is writing isn’t a “story” at all; what she wants to reflect, as best she can, is the reality of her subjects’ lives.

 Luckily, her materials and sketches themselves haven’t been leaked, only a skewed version of what she is trying to achieve, based on assumptions she has played no part in informing.

 This leak came as a surprise to the Watts family, as what was released in some parts of social media – and subsequently to Reddit – was in no way a reflection of the book itself, or of the Watts’ intentions for it.

 Reddit is an extremely large and well-informed network, so the fact that this portion has been leaked on a platform that big comes not without its interest. But it has certainly taken the Watts family by surprise, as sometimes media interest runs ahead of the family’s wishes, and of its best interests. And so the Watts are still trying to digest and embrace the impact that a release of this magnitude can have.

 We all love a good crime story, but at the end of the day we must remember that it’s not a “crime story” to those who suffer from the crime; it’s their daily reality. So we should never forget the victims, who find themselves repeatedly effaced by those who seek to rewrite the truth they are living in agonizing detail hour by hour. They are not participating in a tacky made-for-TV reality show; they are living their actual lives, and having to come to terms – slowly and painfully – with the sledgehammer that hit them the day the crime went down.

There have been so many misconceptions about the events leading up to the murders. For instance, Jamie was not present during the visit on the afternoon of July 8th 2018 where it has been said that she was placing a bowl of nuts in reach of Cece and Bella that very afternoon. On the contrary, Jamie dropped off her children at her parents home with Cindy, Shanann, and the girls that morning between 10am and 11am in order to tend to a work emergency. She then left immediately to get to her patient. She never returned to the Watts residence that day. This is just one of many misapprehensions out there on social media continuously bringing hatred and shame upon anyone other than Chris Watts himself. 

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Debunking Gladwell’s Analysis of Amanda Knox: #3 “The Amanda Knox case is completely inexplicable.” No, actually it’s not.

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“…British journalist Nick Pisa says in the documentary Amanda Knox…”


When it first alerted on my radar that Gladwell had referenced Amanda Knox in a chapter in his book, I was surprised and even happy. I was looking forward to a decent airing of her narrative by a professional writer and researcher, and a well-respected writer.

The pleasant surprise then took a turn to cautious disbelief as the media recycled Gladwell’s apparent belief that the current mainstream narrative – regarding Knox – is beyond reproach. The current narrative, it has to be said, is a manufactured narrative, that is to say, a contrived and false narrative.

So for Gladwell to be mainlining it and endorsing it was disappointing, to say the least. Had he thin-sliced the narrative in error? It’s hard for me, a full-time true crime author to believe that Gladwell wasn’t aware of other dimensions to the media narrative. But if there was a clear indication of how deep Gladwell had ventured into the Classic Apologia, which is to say a manufactured contrivance, it was in Gladwell jumping on “Hate Nick Pisa” bandwagon.

I understand why this aspect to the narrative exists, and I also understand why even attempting to counter this aspect of the narrative plays into the hands of the Apologists. As soon as we shift the narrative to the villainous tabloid journalist, what do we do? We’re distracted from looking at the real villains in this story, the actual murder suspects and liars in this story.

What I want you, the listener to do, is write on a mental post it the word DISTRACTION. Everything we’re about to deal with is exactly that, but since we’re aware of it, we’re also aware that we’re going to come out the other side having debunked and dismissed these distractions as a kind of PR sleight of hand.

Worth playing for?

First, let’s begin by acknowledging Nick Pisa’s role in the Amanda Knox story.

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Is all this press coverage random, does the straw and chaff fall where it does innocently, with no predetermined pattern, or is the media narrative designed, and orchestrated?

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End of Part 1 [Scroll to the bottom to watch Part 2]


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What’s troubling about this is the intensity of the deceit. It’s one thing to drum up support by having friends and family talk about the ‘real’ Knox; it’s quite another to knowingly hawk appalling untruths and propagate them through the media. In the face of recent and important case developments, much of the U.S. media remains curiously silent.

In July, Knox’s connection to a Perugian cocaine ring was made public. According to police reports from 2008, Knox had a sexual relationship with a cocaine dealer and contacted him in the days before and after Kercher’s murder. In a case where sex and drug use are so contentious, one might imagine this was noteworthy, but the mainstream media in the U.S. were silent.

Considerable time, effort and money has gone into portraying Knox as a wholesome girl-next-door and Sollecito, a shy, well-behaved doctor’s son. Stories that threaten to shatter these carefully constructed PR images are just brushed under the carpet.

In a case that hinges on a staged burglary, how many U.S. publications reported on Knox’s own damning admission this year that she faked a break-in in Seattle months before leaving for Perugia? How many reported on her previous encounter with police — or Sollecito’s for that matter? How many dared to mention Sollecito’s obsession with knivesalleged encounters with bestiality porn or admiration for a serial killer? Members of Sollecito’s family recently stated on Italian TV that they think Knox may be guilty — key information that again was stifled in the U.S.

Source: HuffingtonPost UK


Is there any psychological mirroring between the PR following the murder, and PR of the crime scene? Staging in the media, covering up in the media is reflected in the staging of the crime scene, and the covering up of the crime scene.

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“Other signature cases are just as enthralling…but the Amanda Knox case is not…”


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“It is completely inexplicable in hindsight…”


No, it’s not completely inexplicable.

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“There was never any physical evidence linking either Knox or her boyfriend to the crime…”


Holy hell, I think I just threw up in my mouth. Did I read that right? So what were all the years of trials and media coverage if there was zero linking not just Knox but her boyfriend to the crime scene? Why wasn’t the case simply dismissed in the first week of the first trial?

Let’s have a look at physical evidence ALLEGEDLY linking Knox and Sollecito to the crime.

  1. The Bra Clasp
  2. The Murder Weapon
  3. The bloody footprint
  4. The Nike shoeprints
  5. The second lamp on the floor
  6. Mixed DNA traces

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Why are there two bedside reading lamps in Meredith’s bedroom, and not one in Knox’s bedroom?

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What about digital traces? Browser history, cellphone data and computer activity.

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 “Nor was there ever a plausible explanation why Knox would be interested in engaging in a murderous sex game with a drifter whom she hardly knew…”


It wasn’t murderous to begin with. Something went awry.

Where did Rudy Guede live?

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Gladwell describes Knox as immature, middle-class, sheltered, and “a girl from Seattle”…

Was this relevant to the murder of a mature, middle-class, urbane, sophisticated 22-year-old from London?

Guest Post: “The Watts family are not on board with the release of this book”

A friend of the Watts family has reached out to CrimeRocket to publish the following  Guest Post. The statement below has not been edited or redacted in any way.

“Cherlyn Cadle wrote to Christoper Watts three times before he responded. At some point she must’ve caught on to the fact that he was reading the Bible because the third letter that she wrote to him was in regards to his new found Christianity. The context of her letters had changed from the first two at that point, so he responded and third times a charm I guess. So she essentially heckled a murderer into writing her back.

She gained his trust by discussing scripture, and over time she began visiting him. Even visiting him once before his parents ever even learned of her existence. He has been discussing details of the murders with her because he trusted her and believed she was using discretion. He was solely interested in writing about his testimony with Mrs. Cadle. According to Chris Watts he had no interest in writing about his crimes in a book for the world to see. 

Once the book release was announced it was news to the Watts that the book was about anything other than spiritual growth and marketed as such. The Watts family are not on board with the release of this book or the way it has been promoted. Cindy Watts declined to read the book prior to release until she found out it was about Christoper Watts crimes.

Once this was discovered she requested a copy and was denied. Mrs. Cadle touted “This book has the ability to help Chris appeal and get a reduced sentence” in one message to Cindy Watts. She continues “did all of you think the book wouldn’t be marketed” in that same exchange.

At this point the Watts family are painfully unaware of the contents of this book and any admissions made by Watts that have been included in it. At this point they are reduced to snippets of the book that are being released by Mrs. Cadle’s promoters. Excerpts of a murderers letters are being dropped like bread crumbs as if they aren’t a part of someone’s own personal nightmare. Reaching out to Mrs. Cadle has proven to be pointless. “It’s too bad Christopher has to deal with this crap while sitting in prison” in another message where Cindy Watts attempted to reach out in regards to the context of this book. It’s a sad situation all the way around.”

Debunking Gladwell’s Analysis of Amanda Knox: #2 Almost every line, practically each sentence is misleading

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.

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“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”.

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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?

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“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.Fullscreen capture 20190926 205018 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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?

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END OF PART 2

“Chris Watts is a Narcissist” – No, actually he isn’t

The experts are unanimous. Chris Watts is a narcissist. Dr. Phil has said it. Other educated psychologists have said the same. But they’re wrong.

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If Watts is a psychopath, and he didn’t get nervous during the lie detector test, then why did he fail it?

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This is the TCRS take on the Narcissism Myth:

Getting back up to speed with Amanda Knox – September 1st to September 24th #12yearsagotodayMK

What Car did Nickole Atkinson Drive? And Does it really Matter?

“What Car did Nickole Atkinson Drive?” This was one of the unexpected questions I was confronted with when trying to visualize the final moments of Shan’ann’s life, when Nickole drove her home from Denver International airport in the early hours of August 13th, 2018.

It was an agonizingly difficult to answer in early September, when I was writing THE MAN UNDERNEATH CHRISTOPHER WATTS.  I knew how I wanted to open the narrative – which became a series of 9 books – and I needed Nickole’s car to do that. What car did she drive? At that stage there was no bodycam footage. It wasn’t even certain what color or what type of vehicle Niockole’s car was.

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It took a thorough search of Nickole’s Facebook timeline to come across a small handful of references to her car. Like this one.

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And this.45491553_10210933259042030_2880445844564213760_n

In the screengrab of a video [below] it’s almost possible to see the brand of the vehicle on the steering column.

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When I posted an audio excerpt of the book onto YouTube recently, some listeners were quick to point out [obviously with the benefit of the bodycam footage] that Nickole’s car isn’t a “battered Mitsubishi”.

Some said it was a Chevy Malibu, which isn’t a bad stab at it except the rear lights don’t line up and the logo is very prominent.cc_2019chc110006_02_640_gaz

It does look like it could be a Mitsubishi [see below], but it’s not. When I reviewed the data I wondered what made me think it was a Mitsubishi to begin with?

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Well, it was this image.

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The first time I saw this image, I looked closely and saw the Mitsubishi name and logo, and GT on the right hand side. But I should have looked even closer. Above Mitsubishi was the word DART although the font made it hard to make out. Was the D an O or a 0? Was it 0art? The letter “E” was also peeking out beside Nicolas’ star-spangled shirt. That ought to have been a clue too.

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As one YouTube commenter rightly pointed out, Nickole’s car is a DODGE DART, a vehicle that was discontinued in 2016. The image below is missing the GT but the one below it has the GT on the right, just as Nickole’s car does.

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Although there are a couple of permutations of the Dodge logo, and often in either red or black, the Mitsubishi logo is still pretty distinct.

This [below] was the original post.

In the scheme of things, the make and color of Nickole Atkinson’s vehicle wasn’t relevant to the facts of the Watts case, but it’s still important that True Crime Rocket Science gets the details [even the unimportant ones] right.

Debunking Gladwell’s Analysis of Amanda Knox: #1 “Rudy Guede [the black guy] did it”

The chapter in Malcolm Gladwell’s book TALKING TO STRANGERS dealing with Amanda Knox is Chapter 7 of 12 chapters, in Part 4 of 5 parts. As the chapter itself admits, it’s a “short” explanation of the Amanda Knox case. And that’s the problem. In a case spanning four years and four separate hearings [between November 2007 and October 2011], five pages hardly does the Amanda Knox case justice.

I’ve written six books on the case, with two to go. That’s two trilogies. This blog post on it’s own [and it will be one of several on the same subject] is likely as long if not longer than Gladwell’s chapter on Knox. It’s impossible to give this case a fair airing in a single “short” chapter. Even in that chapter Gladwell provides other cases, including Bernie Madoff and someone he refers to as “Nervous Nelly”.

And Gladwell* admits at one point:

I could give you a point-by-point analysis of what was wrong with the investigation of Kercher’s murder. It could easily be the length of this book…But instead, let me give you the simplest and shortest of all possible Amanda Knox theories. Her case is about transparency.

Gladwell is an expert at thin-slicing, and arguably a craftsman at keeping things short, sweet and succinct. For my part I’ve bought, read and enjoyed several of Gladwell’s books.

The problem here, dealing with this particular subject matter, is that brevity becomes reductionist. Short becomes not only simplistic, but grossly oversimplified.  What Gladwell’s done here is basically taken the veneer of the mainstream media version of Knox’s story, the generic Wikipedia version, and adopted it seemingly at face value. He may have Googled a few other sources, and did some background reading, but then figured, he’s figured it out, let’s stick to the basics and not confuse the audience.

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True Crime sets a high bar for truth-telling, and though Gladwell means well, it’s questionable whether he succeeds in clarifying the Knox case or contaminating it even more than it already is.

Bear in mind, his book isn’t a book on the Amanda Knox case, it’s a book about something else, and the Amanda Knox case is just one short chapter on the way to making his points about effective discourse with strangers.

In this series True Crime Rocket Science will evaluate Gladwell’s assertions on Knox. In itself, Gladwell’s “thin-slicing” of the Knox case is fortuitous – it’s an excellent summary of the mainstream narrative and what’s wrong with it. It also shows how in our haste to make our “expert” opinions known, we are tempted to cherry pick the low hanging fruit that suits our own confirmation bias. True crime can’t be rushed, and complex criminal cases shouldn’t be treated like a convenience store for civil intertextuality.

You get intertextuality within crimes, and that’s one thing, but there be dragons when you start to assume murder suspects are innocent and they are then recruited as part of a PR effort to promote some sort of cerebral agenda.  It would be like conflating Stephen Avery with the plight of the poor – just don’t do it. Leave true crime out of it. It’s a separate discipline.

If Gladwell is a cognitive specialist, the Amanda Knox case is the epitome of a case, and a character, that is anything but cerebral.

From Vocabulary.com:

Cerebral people use their brains instead of their hearts. 

I don’t mean that the case itself isn’t challenging, I mean the personality and the character of Amanda Knox, as it relates to the Murder of Meredith Kercher, is anything but cerebral. Knox’s book Waiting to be Heard is exhibit A in confirming someone who was trying to live it up, as most students do.

Chocolate festivals, sex, Halloween parties [and not being invited to them], boyfriends [and being passed over by someone you fancy living downstairs in favor of her housemate], smoking marijuana and then stepping the recreational drugs up a gear.

The most cerebral aspect of Knox’s existence in 2007 was Harry Potter. She read it in English, German and at the time of the murder, was trying to read The Deathly Hallows in Italian. Even in her choice of boyfriend, Knox selected Raffaele Sollecito because he resembled her hero Harry Potter.

Instead of carrying a wand and being interested in magic, Sollecito was a knife freak, who was into violent manga and cocaine. In today’s parlance we’d think of the young Italian as an incel. He was closer to an Elliot Rodger than Harry Potter, and Knox herself – loud, boisterous and promiscuous – was no Hermione.

This is what I mean by “the personality and the character of Amanda Knox, as it relates to the Murder of Meredith Kercher, is anything but cerebral.”

But let’s deal with the cool intelligence of Gladwell as he writes about the case. We’ll assume, as a thought leader, he became a scholar of the case, and we’ll test his application of his research through the prism of True Crime Rocket Science.

Worth playing for? 

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1. Someone was caught = case closed?

It seems ridiculously obvious doesn’t it? The black guy did it, so what’s the fuss about Amanda Knox anyway?

This is what’s known as being reductionist in true crime. Similar arguments have been made against the West Memphis Three, the three youths accused of brutalizing, torturing and murdering three eight-year-old boys. Why did three youths have to be guilty? Why couldn’t it be just one, or for that matter, anyone? Curiously, one of those youths found guilty and then acquitted in the West Memphis  Three case appeared on the same stage to proclaim his innocence as Amanda Knox.

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Interestingly, in the West Memphis Three case, one of the main challenges to the prosecution’s case is also a black person as a “possible alternate suspect”.

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It should be noted, in the trials of Amanda Knox, as well as those of the West Memphis Three, Knox and Damien Echols both were charged with two sidekicks, and both received the harshest sentences. Both were implicated as ringleaders within a trio of suspects.

So Gladwell’s very first sentence in his chapter implies that because some person was caught and charged, Knox is off the hook. In theory, he could have stopped at that sentence and gone on to the next chapter.

There are many cases involving accessories to murder, one of the most famous – but never proved, nor tested in a court of law – was JonBenet Ramsey. JonBenet’s parents were found by the Grand Jury to be accessories after the fact to the a third party.

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So even that case involves a potential trio – of accessories and a perpetrator. I could go on, but let’s get back to Gladwell. Nowhere that I can see, does Gladwell provide the most obvious thin-slicing. What’s the first thing one does when establishing the possible involvement of a potential suspect? What’s the first and best way to exclude a potential suspect of a crime? You find out whether they have an alibi. It’s not rocket science. And so you need two pieces of information. When did the victim die, and where was the suspect at this estimated time of death?

2. True Crime 101: Be Precise About Time of Death

I love the way Gladwell uses the most indirect language to the skirt around this issue. He doesn’t write: “At 22:11 Rudy Guede murdered Meredith Kercher. At that time, Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito to were – WHERE EXACTLY?”

Instead Gladwell uses pretty clumsy English – for him.

“On the night of…Meredith Kercher was murdered by…”

Murdered by? I’m not sure when last I’ve heard those words. X murdered Y. It’s never a case of X was murdered BY Y.

By being this vague about the timing, Gladwell’s also vague about the date. November 1 was a holiday in Italy. It meant, on that day, most of the students in Perugia where Knox was attending college were away, visiting their parents over a long weekend. This meant it was only Knox and Kercher in the house, no one else. They were the only expats. And what do university students – especially expats – tend to do over long weekends?

In his next sentence, Gladwell juxtaposes mountains of speculation [what’s argumentation?] and controversy with the certainty of Guede’s guilt. Yes, Guede’s guilt is certain. He left his feces in the toilet bowel, and a bloody handprint on the wall above Meredith Kercher’s bed. He also left a series of shoeprints when he bolted from Meredith’s room down the hall and out the front door.

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And this is where the rubber of True Crime Rocket Science hits the road. Look at the image of Guede’s shoe trail. What do you see? You don’t see anything. If you’d entered the house, as Knox claimed she did, at face value you wouldn’t see any blood. That’s a problem.

3. Where’s the blood, and why is so much of it a washed-out pink?

The original crime scene in Meredith’s bedroom was a bloodbath. Meredith throat was gashed deeply in two places, and she was also cut or stabbed seven times and had sixteen bruises on her body.

As Knox herself said: “She fucking bled to death…” When that happens, there’s a lot of blood. And there was. Arterial blood sprayed everywhere, and yet the crime scene had a weird combination of thick pools of blood, and pinkish transparent streams of diluted blood.

There was also a weird combination of the grotesqueness of the crime itself, and the fact that Meredith’s murderer had thoughtfully placed a duvet over her body, then closed the door behind him [or her], and locked it.

Somewhere in Gladwell’s “mountains of controversy” there are a few good reasons. Thin-slicing the evidence around Guede, we see if he was the only murderer, and if he beat a hasty retreat, then why did he fail to leave clear shoeprints in Meredith’s blood? He’d left a finger smear on the wall, and clearly more blood had to have sprayed onto his trousers and pooled onto the floor, so it was more likely he’d leave a trail of shoeprints. So why aren’t they there? Why, instead, are there various other footprints and shoeprints laid into the blue bathroom mat and in a shoe Guede didn’t even own?

So we have a situation here where it appears someone spent time cleaning up the crime scene – not only inside Kercher’s room, but in the hallway. Guede’s shoeprints left in Meredith’s blood were mostly wiped away, but not completely. Why weren’t they clearly visible, bright, and solid? After all, blood in a situation like this, where someone’s neck is cut open, is thick and scarlet. Think about Nicole Brown. So much blood flowed out of her it traveled down the garden path and dripped onto the sidewalk.

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We won’t go into detail here about the blood evidence, or the mixed DNA traces, but it’s extensive. There’s an orgy of evidence.

4. “I wasn’t there” vs “Of course my DNA was there, I lived there”

Knox often refers to this aspect dismissively, saying there’s no evidence of her in the crime scene. She seems to be referring to Meredith’s room when she says that. As if the crime scene begins and ends inside Meredith’s room.

From EW.com:

Knox’s lack of DNA in Kercher’s room was no fault of her own. According to Knox, cleaning DNA is not one of her specialties. “That’s impossible. It’s impossible to see DNA, much less identify whose DNA it is.”

It’s not impossible to see DNA. If blood is lying on the ground, DNA is in that blood lying on the ground. If you clean up the blood, you clean up the DNA.

<> on September 29, 2011 in Perugia, Italy.

When asked about her DNA in Meredith’s blood elsewhere in the house, Knox is equally dismissive.

“Of course my DNA was there. I lived there! We lived together for months…”

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5. Shady Character/s

Now let’s deal with Guede. Gladwell accuses Guede of being a “shady character” but doesn’t explain why. He mentions Guede having a “criminal history”, but doesn’t say what for.

So let’s answer that. Guede was drug dealer. He was said to be involved in several break-ins, but these were so petty, even when he was caught, the police didn’t press charges. More pertinently, Guede was a fairly frequent visitor to the house where Meredith, Knox, and the Italian boys downstairs lived. He played basketball with the guys, and sometimes smokes joints with the girls. On at least one occasion Guede got so high he fell asleep in the bathroom of the villa.

Gladwell is right to observe that Guede had been hanging around the house, but he should be more explicit that he also hung around inside it. On one occasion he went out clubbing with them. In this scenario, where Guede is a fairly frequent companion to the residents of the villa, it suddenly becomes less preposterous that there might be a crime involving more than one person.amandaKnox_2142321a

We’ve also got to link Guede to Knox’s Italian boyfriend. How do we do that? Actually, it’s pretty simple. How did one link Guede to any university student?

Guede was drug dealer.

In July 2014 the Telegraph reported on a cocaine dealer who Knox met on a train and had sex with, while her younger sister was traveling with her through Italy [and just prior to her commencing her studies in Perugia]. Guess what? This cocaine dealer wasn’t Rudy Guede, it was someone else.

Amanda Knox was reportedly having sexual relations with a cocaine dealer…Reports of Ms Knox’s drug dealing connections were not mentioned at her murder trials in Italy, but the Italian crime magazine Giallo has reported that in January 2008, police investigators wrote that she had had a relationship of a “supposedly sexual nature” with a man they refer to as ‘F’, who had sold drugs to the US student.

Giallo wrote that ‘F’ was a psychology student from Rome who met Ms Knox on a train from Milan to Florence and shared a joint with her. His number was later found on Ms Knox’s cell phone and Giallo said he had been in contact with her frequently, before and after the slaying of Ms Kercher.

Source: The Telegraph.

What we have here is a precedent for Knox and Sollecito to require the drug peddling services of Guede. And if he was a shady character, and they were actively using his services, what does that say about their characters?

When Gladwell refers to Guede hanging around the house Knox stayed in, why was he hanging around? Well, what about to do his trade with them, as he was doing with the student population in general?

Gladwell portrays Guede as a stranger to Knox, but that’s a mistake. It’s even possible Knox was either sleeping with Guede, or infatuated with him.

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Source: The Education of Amanda Knox, from thestranger.com

Meredith Kercher Murder Trial Resumes

6. Fleeing the crime scene

Gladwell finishes off his opening gambit linking the discovery of Kercher’s body to Guede fleeing to Germany [where, as it happens, Knox’s aunt also lived].

Now, to be clear, all of Meredith’s British friends fled Perugia. They cut short their studies and decamped back to Britain. But Knox wanted to stay. Everyone in the villa had to move out following Meredith’s murder, but Knox wanted to continue staying there. In fact, Knox was bummed out that she’d just paid the rent and now wasn’t going to get anything for it. Knox wanted her life to go on business as usual, even though someone in the room next door to her had been brutally murdered.

Gladwell might dismiss this as simply quirky, but most right-thinking people would realize something more was amiss. This isn’t just goofy behavior, although the goofy behavior is relevant. It’s more goofy than everyone else, why is that? And what might this goofiness have to do with her street cred, and her attitude to…say…alcohol use [as a 21-year-old American] and her proclivity to recreational drug use, and sex?

When Guede went to Germany, a friend of his got hold of him on Skype and had a conversation. This is an extract of that conversation.

GUEDE: I’m afraid. But I don’t want to stay in Germany, I’m black and if the police catch me I don’t know what they might do to me. I prefer Italian jails. In the newspaper they’re writing that I was drunk and slept on the toilet. That’s crap. In that house we were smoking joints, we smoked and so did those girls, everyone did. After that I said to the guys, who are men of their word, “Listen, guys, I’m tired, I can’t walk now, can I sleep over here?” So I slept on their sofa. I was only ever at their place twice. After that, after that I met Amanda, but I didn’t talk to her any more, I just saw her one other time, at that pub, at Lumamba’s pub, whatever his name is.

GIACOMO: Right, Lumumba.

Slipping ahead.

GUEDE: Listen to this [Guede is reading from a newspaper], “Meredith’s clothes were put in the washing machine. When the police came to the house it was still full, the girl’s clothes were wet”, so if that really did happen, Amanda or Raffaele did it. Do you understand? That must have been them, if it really happened.

GIACOMO: Why would they have done that?

GUEDE: Because when I left she was dressed, see?

GIACOMO: Meredith? The girl who died?

GUEDE: But Meredith was dressed.

GIACOMO: So they killed her dressed?

GUEDE: Yes, but it says here that they were washed in the washing machine, but it’s not true, she was dressed, she had a pair of jeans on and a white shirt and a woolen thing. She was dressed.

GIACOMO: All right, and that…

GUEDE: This means that they washed them, Giacomo. I left [the house], and that guy [quello] must have left that house and…

GIACOMO: But what the hell did Amanda go wash the clothes for?

GUEDE: How the hell do I know?

Read the rest of the transcript here.

There’s also something else that’s interesting. When Knox was arrested, she implicated another black man as being at her apartment. Her boss. According to that confession she was with this black man while he was in the room with Kercher. What are the chances Knox would know that Meredith’s killer was black person before anyone, before the rest of the world did?

And further, if Guede was at the villa, and Knox knew about him, why wouldn’t she tell the police about him, rather than her boss, was a married father who had never been to her home to begin with?

In Episode #2 TCRS will deal with Gladwell’s version of the police investigation into Knox and Sollecito, including his version of the forensic evidence. 

*Malcolm Gladwell. Talking to Strangers (Kindle Locations 1975-1983). Little, Brown and Company.

Nichol Kessinger vs Shan’ann Watts – Who Was the more Attractive?

To understand the Watts case, and to further understand why, we have to understand the Emotional Narrative surrounding this case. Not our emotions – theirs. Although this is an important conversation, it’s also important to have this conversation in an intelligent and reasonable way.

Whether we admit it or not, everyone interested in the Watts case is extremely interested in Nichol Kessinger. If there are those who hate Chris Watts, there seem to be legions more who despise the mistress, many putting all the blame on her for what happened.

On CrimeRocket, the stats speak for themselves. Stories or analysis featuring Kessinger are far more popular than the other stories, and those simply featuring footage or photos of Chris’ mistress are the most popular of all. Why? People want to see what she looks like. People want to get to know her, and try to understand what Watts saw in her.

Many have looked scornfully at the footage, comparing Shan’ann favorably to Kessinger, or Kessinger unfavorably to Shan’ann. In this episode, we want to provide some intelligent analysis to a debate that I believe is important, but it’s important we conduct it intelligently, which is to say, using objective facts, using logic, using intuition and sensitivity – in sum True Crime Rocket Science.

Now please understand this. We still do need to be mindful that Shan’ann is no longer with us. And we do want to be mindful that no matter what the problems were in her marriage, no one deserves to be murdered for whatever reason. That’s not what we’re talking about here. So when we’re having this conversation, we’re not even thinking about that. We’re thinking about the relationship dynamics when Shan’ann was still alive, going back several years into their marriage. What made Chris Watts fall out of love? What attracted Watts to Kessinger, and Kessinger to him? And who, ultimately was the more attractive partner?

In the video posted recently about motive, we looked at the short, thin-slicing answer to this question. And then we looked at the longer version. We’re going to do the same here, but in a lot less detail on both counts. Let’s start with the longer, more general version of why couples break up and marriages don’t last, examine the stressors on the Watts family and then move on to Kessinger versus Shan’ann.

1. American Couples – Blumstein and Schwartz

Money, work and sex. This the trifecta that couples need to get right in order to have a longer marriage. In the Watts case, speaking in general terms, both seemed to have screwed up their money situation, and neither had stellar careers. If they had, the money situation wouldn’t have been as bad as it was. They’d gone bankrupt in 2015, but somehow they hadn’t learned the lesson from that catastrophe.

There are seven references to bankruptcy in the discovery documents. Most of them come from Nichol Kessinger.

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In the CBI Report the word bankruptcy comes up twice.

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At 5:45 Chris Watts quotes Blumstein and Schwartz:

“When a relationship breaks up, it’s normally the more attractive one that leaves…”

Watts then shrugs, saying he’s not sure whether that’s true. What do you think?

This also raises another prickly question – between Shan’ann and Watts, who was the more attractive part of the couple?


The three ”sexiest” areas when it comes to couples: money, work and sex.

Money

Source: New York Times

the couples who are happiest are those most equal in power, in the freedom to initiate sex, in decision-making…

”Husbands and wives who do not believe that marriage should be forever are less willing to pool (their money).” ”Married couples who disagree about the wife’s right to work have less stable relationships.” ”When heterosexual women are attractive, they have more varied sex lives.” ”For all types of couples, possessiveness escalates when one partner fears the other might have a meaningful affair.” ”A fixation on beauty makes it difficult to create a stable relationship.”

Work

Source: New York Times

Women, lesbian or straight, do not like to dominate, to be the more powerful partner, to feel superior; they want a balance, they want equality.

Sex

Source: New York Times

(So important is a balance of power to lesbians that they are the group whose members are most likely to have split up, to resent being put in a more powerful role. Indeed, they are the group that has sex least often, since a common lament among them was dislike for being the one to ”always initiate sex.”) Men, homosexual or straight, want to preserve their power and dominance; they care about the partner’s looks; they are still less ”relationship-centered” than women.


Philip Blumstein and Dr. Pepper Schwartz were sociologists at the University of Washington in the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. Blumstein and Schwartz had begun studying sexual behavior in 1972. Eleven years later the researchers collaborated on a book simply titled American Couples.

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On October 23rd, the New York Times published the following review of the book.

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A little more about Philip Blumstein:

[Blumstein was a] social psychologist skilled at analyzing everyday encounters, friendships, and business relationships, Philip was hired as a sociology professor at the University of Washington in 1969 and became renowned for his research in human sexuality and relationships. He had a reputation for fastidious methodology and a talent for interpreting data.

A little more about Dr. Pepper Schwartz via Wikipedia:

Dr. Pepper Schwartz is an American sociologist and sexologist teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is the author or co-author of numerous books, magazines, website columns, and a television personality on the subject of sexuality. Schwartz is notable for her work in the 1970s and early 1980s that culminated in the book, with Philip Blumstein, American Couples: Money-Work-Sex which surveyed lesbian couples, gay male couples and heterosexual couples. Schwartz also… writes the column The Naked Truth.

“When a relationship breaks up, it’s normally the more attractive one that leaves…”

Is that what happened in the Chris Watts case? Was Chris Watts becoming “the more attractive one”…?

chris-watts

Work/Money/Sex

2. Nichol Kessinger versus Shan’ann Watts

 

“So damn sexy…”

Work/Money/Sex

Who, ultimately was the more attractive partner?