We recently spoke with Journalist Frank Sfarzo in Italy about the upcoming Italian Supreme Court ruling that is expected this month on the Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito case. He was kind to offer his observations.
Written by Frank Sfarzo
When a judicial case drags on for too long, and in Italy it’s quite possible, it becomes only paper, only words. A risky situation, since words can be interpreted as one wants. As we remember, plenty of indications of guilt were brought against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and the appeal had completely swept away all of them. Then the guilty verdict was reinstated.
At the pre-trial, the main pieces of evidence against Knox and Sollecito were the pushers Kokomani and Curatolo (as we will see, indeed, that night Knox and Sollecito were “visible” only to pushers, tramps and criminals…), the witnesses without whom the defendants couldn’t be convicted, since the knife and the other stuff weren’t enough. Kokomani was heard, so he wasn’t only a piece of paper. Indeed, he was thrown out. Curatolo instead wasn’t heard, they just read a statement signed by him, so he was only a piece of paper. Indeed, he wasn’t thrown out. He was then cross-examined in the real trial, and then he was thrown out. And Knox and Sollecito were acquitted. Then the prosecution appealed, and in the following stages the case became only paper. Curatolo wasn’t heard in the Cassation trial and he wasn’t heard in the Florence trial. And we have learned that it’s easy to believe a testimony you read only in court documents.
Had I just read court documents I wouldn’t know anything of the Meredith Kercher case. Instead I was there, before and during the case, in an environment that I knew. And as I was receiving the results of the investigation, I knew what value to give to them.
I believe in what is legal, what is public, what is verifiable. I certainly don’t believe police reports, or “spontaneous statements” without a lawyer, or unverifiable tests, or conjectures, or hypotheses, or illegal exhibits, or unexamined witnesses! Parole, parole, parole… No thanks, only verifiable, public and legal facts.
WHY SHOULD KNOX HAVE ACCUSED LUMUMBA? INDEED SHE DIDN’T
They said, for instance, that Knox accused Lumumba. In private! Indeed, no one has ever heard Amanda Knox accuse Patrick Lumumba. When she was heard by the judge of the arrest, that was the moment to accuse Lumumba, if she really had just done it behind closed doors of the police station. But, in the open of the hearing, in the public of the hearing, in the verifiable time of the hearing, in the legal time of the hearing, she did not accuse Lumumba.
I follow the law, and for the law, statements without a lawyer don’t exist. They can be used for the investigation, not for a judgment. Cassation also follows the law, and Cassation deemed those statements unusable in the trial. So, I’m in good company: for me and for Cassation, Knox never accused Lumumba. But, as we know, in the trial they used those statements anyway and, since I follow the law, I think that their use was illegal. Yes, by the way, you read right, the court used statements deemed unusable by the Supreme Court of Cassation; it’s unbelievable, but it happened for real (and another time I can explain how that could happen). It’s only one of the unbelievable things happened in this unbelievable case. And if nobody contests such things, the case remains in the error.
THE FABLE OF THE DNA ON THE KNIFE
I certainly don’t believe the fable of DNA on a knife that disappeared after a first, mysterious test.
I follow the science, and for the science, a test that is not confirmed doesn’t exist. Scientists also follow the science. Two groups of scientists tested that knife, and didn’t find any of Kercher’s DNA on it. So, I am again in good company.
I follow the logic, and logic says that Kercher’s DNA couldn’t be on the knife before it was taken by the cops. Meredith, indeed, never went to Sollecito’s house. And the knife never exited Sollecito’s house, except for the hypothesis made by the prosecution. But a hypothesis, by definition, is not a proof, and considering it a proof is a petitio principii, a circular reasoning (which is prohibited by logic. And the law recognizes logic). You can’t assume that Knox and Sollecito took the knife out because there’s maybe some DNA on it, and that there’s really some DNA on it because Knox and Sollecito took the knife out — you have to demonstrate both claims, independently. So, there’s no proof that Knox and Sollecito took the knife out, while there is proof that the cops took the knife out. Therefore, assuming that Kercher’s DNA was on the knife, there’s no proof that it got on it before the cops took it, while there’s no proof that it didn’t get on it after the cops took it. Which suggests that, if there was, it got on it with an extremely common, usual and probable contamination (for instance, you wear the gloves, you take something belonged to the victim, you put it in an envelope. Then you take the knife and you put it in an envelope. In this way you will have left not your DNA on the knife, but a low template DNA of the victim. Then you forget the double movement, and that LTDNA on the knife becomes “unexplainable”, or explainable only with a prosecution hypothesis…).
However, the substance on the knife, if there is, is not blood. So, there’s proof that the knife is not the murder weapon. At the best, then, they could try maintain that Knox and Sollecito took the knife out and that they put it, for instance, on Meredith’s face. But they have to demonstrate such hypothesis, and they failed to do it.
The subsequent claims –that it was the murder weapon and that it was washed after the crime– cannot even be hypothesized. However, they did hypothesize them, and they did it in the same circular and illicit way. And in this case, too, they of course failed to prove both claims, which remain two undemonstrated hypotheses. So, Sollecito’s knife is a concentrate of illogical claims, double triple, quadruple…
I follow the law, and the law says that the belongings of the suspect have to be legally seized in the presence of all parties. The reader of court documents may perceive that Sollecito’s knife was seized by the scientific police in the presence of the lawyers, and tested right after. But it’s not like that; it was just taken by the cops, then it went private, then it reappeared in public for the test. And we certainly don’t know what happened to it in between… I know that even the lawyers forgot about that, but I was there, so I’m not the one who has forgotten such “details.”
I was there when “Kercher’s DNA on Sollecito’s knife” came out. So I know, because I passed that stage, that when you read in court documents, or just in the news, that according to a test, “there is the victim’s DNA on the knife,” you think that that’s a huge indication of guilt. That’s what I thought that day, and in the next days and weeks. I needed a couple of months to discover everything about the knife and understand that, instead, it wasn’t an indication of guilt at all. But the reader of court documents wasn’t there, he doesn’t have a couple of months, he doesn’t know the story and the people, he doesn’t know the facts behind everything, he doesn’t know that the knife was never legally seized but was just taken, and that it then disappeared for six days… He may not know, or may forget, basic scientific principles such as “every test can be wrong”, or logic principles as the one seen above. Yet he has to decide whether the DNA is proof or a mistake, so he may easily make the wrong decision. Just like I made at the time.
I was there and I stopped arguing about the DNA more than 6 years ago, because for me the knife was never legally seized, it was just taken, and it went out of sight. So it’s useless asking if there’s really DNA on it (even after the test was repeated twice and no DNA was found). For the one who follows the law, then, just as the statements signed in private without a lawyer don’t exist, the knife too, taken in private, without lawyers, and then hidden from public control, technically doesn’t exist.
The reader of court documents, instead, cannot know what is behind everything. By reading court documents he can perceive that the knife was seized in the presence of the parties and immediately tested, and believe the fable of the DNA on the knife that appeared for the test, then disappeared. And then he can convict. And in my view that is, of course, illegal.
THE CHRONOLOGY PROVES THE ACCUSATION THEORY WRONG
The prosecutor and the police had affirmed that the murderer of Meredith Kercher was Patrick Lumumba, and they were wrong. So, they make interpretative mistakes, it’s proven. Then they said that the murderer was not Patrick Lumumba anymore, but was Amanda Knox with Raffaele Sollecito. When the name of Guede came out they said that the murderer was still Knox, now with Sollecito and Guede, and that they had killed Meredith between 9 pm and 11 pm. On the way, indeed, the prosecution found a witness, the tramp Antonio Curatolo, who signed at the police station that he had seen Knox and Sollecito in the square. But signed statements don’t have any legal value in a legal trial; witnesses have to be cross-examined in court. And Curatolo, when finally heard in court, added that Knox and Sollecito were in the square since 9:27/9:28 pm up to almost midnight, exonerating the two (because the crime happened exactly in that period of time). Thus, the prosecution was obligated to change versions again, and said that they killed Meredith at 11:30 pm (assuming that that could be included in the “almost midnight” period of time, which I couldn’t assume).
The final version of Knox with Sollecito and Guede killing Meredith at 11:30, is the one received by the last court. The last court, having not examined the witness, missing the history of the versions, the chronology of the case, the characters and details, just evaluated the latest version, and believed it true. But the chronology is everything, since it shows how the prosecution theory had to be continually adapted to the results that were confuting it, showing that it’s wrong. We have seen in the Florence trial that the judge was stopping lawyers who were trying to show chronology and details. He didn’t want to know, he just wanted to evaluate the latest version. So lawyers weren’t able to explain why the chronology was proving the latest version false. Not only that, the lawyers did argue about DNA, as if the knife had been seized in the regular way. And that’s why that jury could get the case wrong.
KERCHER’S DNA WASN’T FOUND ON SOLLECITO’S KNIFE
However, one last real fact occurred in the Florence trial: the knife was re-analyzed. And, for the second time, no Meredith Kercher DNA was found on it. So, the defense had the match-ball in their hands. But they didn’t draw it. Sollecito’s defense thought that the knife, having only Knox’s DNA on the handle, wasn’t their business, and they could accept that it was the murder weapon (they forgot that the knife is “Sollecito’s knife,” so it’s not really separable from him….). After having spent four years demonstrating, together with Knox’s defense, that Sollecito’s knife wasn’t the murder weapon, in the end Sollecito’s defense said that Sollecito’s knife could be the murder weapon! Can they complain that Sollecito was convicted?
WHY THE COURT COULDN’T GET THAT THE MAIN WITNESS AGAINST KNOX AND SOLLECITO LIED
By reading, for instance, the testimony of Antonio “Toto” Curatolo (which, incredibly, is the main piece of evidence for the conviction), you can tell that it’s false, since he says that there were masked people in the square (so it was the previous day – Halloween).
But Toto, besides saying that it was Halloween, also said that the next morning there were the scientific police in white suits. The reader of court documents wasn’t there on November 2, and doesn’t know that the white suits arrived in the evening, so he doesn’t understand that this is a mistake, too, in Curatolo’s testimony. And a testimony with two huge mistakes, one the opposite of the other, certainly can’t be considered true. This pusher and drug addict at the last stage, this completely crazy person, was caught lying. Of course, he did again the only thing he had been doing along his whole wasted life: he lied.
Let’s then remember that if Knox and Sollecito were there, they necessarily had to have Sollecito’s knife with them. But Curatolo didn’t say to have seen it. So, if there was one person who could have provided a “proof” that the knife had gone out, that person failed to do it….
The reader of court documents doesn’t know the whereabouts and doesn’t perceive that Curatolo is disproven not only by himself, not only by the same prosecution theory that relies on him, but even by the other witnesses.
The reader of court documents, for instance, may have read that Alessandra Formica and her fiancé saw a dark-skinned boy who was running away from the cottage, and that’s it. But there’s more in their testimony that the reader of court documents can’t perceive: the two walked at 10 pm just where Knox and Sollecito, according to Curatolo, should have been. But Formica and her boyfriend didn’t see Knox and Sollecito (on the other hand, guess who was that dark-skinned boy who was walking away without showing his face…).
The reader of court documents may have read that the Dramis sisters, while in bed, heard some steps in the street, and that’s it. But there’s more in their testimony that the reader of court documents couldn’t have noticed:
(1) the Dramis sister came back home at 10:30 pm, and walked just where, according to Curatolo, Knox and Sollecito should have been. But the Dramis sisters didn’t see Knox and Sollecito;
(2) they then entered their house, from which they heard people’s steps in the street, but not the scream heard by Nara Capezzali. The reader of court documents can’t know that the Dramis house is at the same distance, even closer to the cottage than Capezzali’s house; and he didn’t meet the Dramis sisters, so he doesn’t know that they are young, smart and reliable, and with hearing so sharp that they can even hear steps outside! The Dramis sister heard steps outside, but they didn’t hear the scream. The Dramis sisters, then, prove that the scream happened before 10:30 pm (meaning that the crime happened before 10:30 pm). The Dramis sisters, then, disprove Curatolo and prove Knox and Sollecito innocent. In other words, thanks to the Dramis sisters, we can place the crime before 10:30, which means that if Curatolo’s testimony was true, Knox and Sollecito were in the square when Meredith screamed (that is, during the crime), and therefore, Knox and Sollecito are innocent. If Curatolo’s testimony isn’t true, then no one saw Knox and Sollecito outside; therefore their alibi is not disproven, and they can’t be convicted.
For the reader of court documents, the Dramis sisters are not important witnesses. But I am not a reader of court documents; I was there, and I clearly see how the testimony of the Dramis sisters, combined with the one of Curatolo and of the ones who heard the scream, prove Knox and Sollecito innocent. It is useless then, making smear campaigns and producing defamatory reports. Who cares what Knox and Sollecito are like? They could be the worst people on earth, but if the scream happened before 10:30, they are mathematically innocent. On the other hand, we can’t spot any element that exonerates Guede.
It’s very easy to make mistakes when you didn’t live the case. Not only the prosecution, but the defense, too, can make mistakes. In Sollecito’s appeal document, for instance, you can read that the Dramis sister heard the scream! It’s a mistake.
And the other witnesses?
Nara Capezzali heard a scream; she looked down, but didn’t see Knox and Sollecito.
Antonella Monacchia came back home, heard a scream, but didn’t see Knox and Sollecito.
A family from Rome got stuck with their car right outside the cottage. But no one in that family saw Knox and Sollecito.
A mechanic came to tow their car; he had to make a long manoeuvre right outside the cottage, but he didn’t see Knox and Sollecito.
So, nobody except Curatolo said to have seen Knox and Sollecito, and nobody in absolute said to have seen Sollecito’s knife.
THE INVISIBLE MAN (AND WOMAN)
Two fiancés, two sisters, one lady, one young lady, a family of four people, one mechanic. It’s a lot of people! And none of them saw Knox and Sollecito. From some mysterious sorcery, then, that night Knox and Sollecito were visible only to pushers and tramps, but they were invisible to other people…
Of those pushers and tramps only one remained, Curatolo. Those who never examined him believed his words to be true. And the only way to get an acquittal is to prove their reasoning about him fallacious.
So, we have seen that there are violations in the law, in the logic, and in the science. There are errors and oversights, in the prosecution, in the judgment, and in the defense. But what we say in the media is just for us. The only effective things are those said in the trial. If those violations, omissions, and fallacies will be said in court, Knox and Sollecito will be acquitted, otherwise they will be convicted.