Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Knox Appeal: The Defense Counters (14th Hearing)

The Knox camp got a boost today, as things seemed to go entirely their way Wednesday. The fourteenth appeals hearing started with requests by Prosecutor Manuela Comodi for new testing on the knife and bra clasp and to introduce newly discovered records about the DNA-testing machine used in the case. Furthermore, Comodi had requested to recall Luciano Aviello to the stand, a witness who had originally testified that his brother killed Kercher, who has since publically retracted this statement when questioned by Comodi in prison in July (Read more on this HERE).

Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, however, rejected all three requests—all victories for Knox’s defense, who opposed the motions. Judge Hellman said the discussion regarding DNA evidence had been thorough enough for the court to form an opinion, and he said that new testing would be “superfluous.”

Other expert defense witnesses came forward as well today to counter expert prosecution testimony a day earlier. Much as he did in the original trial, Carlo Torre, one of Italy’s best-known forensics experts, presented a detailed technical argument about the DNA on the knife. Torre testified that the “smaller wound [on Kercher’s neck] is absolutely incompatible with the knife in question.” Torre is also a proponent of “one robust killer” as opposed to three attackers.

Dr. Torre’s assistant, Sarah Gino (who is a private coroner) also testified today. Reiterating some of what she said on the stand in the original trial, Gino added that Sollecito’s genetic material could have gotten onto the bloodied bra if it was on Knox’s clothes when they were washed with Kercher’s before the killing, a new theory now posed by Gino.

In her testimony earlier this week, Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni said that she stored biological evidence in the victim’s freezer on November 2 and 3 (2007), before bringing the samples to Rome. “This is a strange way of [collecting] evidence,” defense forensic expert Adriano Tagliabracci testified today, criticizing the methods used by Stefanoni. Taught methods of collection of biological evidence calls for them to be air-dried, because they are damp, thus should be packaged in a non-plastic contained to prevent mold or bacteria from creating a whole different kind of science experiment inside the containers.

It was certainly a good tactic by the defense to raise these concerns, although in retrospect, this procedure by Stefanoni didn’t affect her results, and the defense has a better chance of swaying the jury with the independent experts’ findings—because the plastic bag contamination (argument) would have a better chance ruining the possibility of receiving a DNA match rather than providing a match via contamination.

Kercher family lawyer, Francesco Maresca, told the media that the rulings were not a defeat, and that he understood why the judge rejected the requests.

Reminiscent of his enthusiasm and optimism during this time in the first trial, Amanda’s father, Curt Knox said (as reported by The Telegraph), “Amanda is happy and hopeful that she won't be spending too much more time in prison...”

Meanwhile, Nick Pisa, of The Telegraph and The Daily Mail, is reporting that a clearly frustrated Prosecutor Manuela Comodi said: "There is an ill wind blowing in this case. The judge and his assistant are clearly against us. I can see both Knox and Sollecito being freed which will be a shame as they are both involved."

However, it is ABC who has apparently interviewed Comodi and their take is very different than what Nick Pisa wrote. The Seattle Times is reporting that in ABC’s interview with her, Comodi said:

“We did our job. I am convinced by what I have said. I am fully convinced of their guilt and I would find it very serious if they were set free. Today’s decision could lead one to think that there is more of a possibility that they be set freed.”

Nick Pisa seems to have used his ill-will to twist the quote of Comodi in an effort to "sell papers" per say; and it seems to be working because today Sheppard Smith of FOX News used the quote verbatim and proceeded to slam Italian Justice and the case against Knox. Even I was fooled by it for a few hours.

A voice of reason in the most unlikely places also emerged today. After the session, Knox's lawyer Luciano Ghirga, warned that the court’s rejection of new DNA testing was not equal to a positive outcome of the whole appeals trial.

Judge Hellmann suspended the proceedings until 23 September 2011, at which time he announced that closing arguments will begin, with the prosecution going first, followed by civil plaintiffs, and then the defense.


  1. Excellent summary once again Will. I think the requests by the prosecution were long-shots, and they knew it. That doesn't necessarily mean Hellmann accepts all the independent experts' conclusions. I don't know why Comodi would say the judge and his assistant are clearly against the prosecution. Attacking the judge, at least in the U.S., is always a losing strategy. But as with many things in this trial we don't know the full story, nor how the jury will perceive it.

  2. Hey Brmull, thanks again! I was under the assumption that Comodi’s attempt to have the evidence examined further was just a gamble, but when I read her quote I see that she is frustrated with the judge here. I think it was unwise of her to speak out, and her public opinion at this stage can’t do anything to help the case…so why not just keep quiet? Again, I think she let her emotions get the best of her and spoke out rashly. The ebbs and flows of a trial are always up and down, one day it’s the prosecution that looks good, the next it’s the defense. If anything, these are the same witnesses that said the same thing in the original trial, and we saw what happened then. The only real new info is the indy experts and the fuzziness of Curatolo’s testimony, and we won’t know their affect on the jury until verdict.

  3. Brmull, good call on Pisa and what seems to be his ill-willed translation! FOX News also reported Comodi speaking out. Sheppard Smith put Comodi’s alleged quote on the screen and it read word-for-word what Pisa wrote. He then, along with two others, proceeded to slam Italian justice and the case against Knox with little facts and much ignorance. We must keep the meida in check!!!

  4. Good job exposing this, Savive! Pisa is a hack! Unethical journalists really burn my britches! The Knox supporters are gonna raise Holy-Hell when this is over. Particularly after the media has gassed so many people up that she is going to go free. I saw FOX News’s coverage of this yesterday and my jaw dropped!

    I remain in shock of how grossly reported this case has been. And the Knox family cannot be left out of this. In fact, they are the drivers of the “Knox PR Crazy Train.” Just look at their latest crazy rants to ABC: Knox’s father said that “prosecutors have no case left,” after an Italian judge rejected a request for new DNA testing of evidence yesterday.

    The Knox clan cried “bias judge” after the first trial conviction. What will Knox’s father cry this time after the guilty verdict is upheld? In the article he has already praised Hellmann for the job he is doing. "It really appears to me that they want to find the truth," Curt Knox said of Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman's decision yesterday. They are gloating again right before the end of the trial. Dejavoo all over again! lol