“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” – John F. Kennedy
Part Three – Myths 21 to 40
Myth 21 – Amanda Knox is sex crazed and owned a sex toy
A novelty vibrator was a joke going away present. Knox indicated in court that it was about one inch long and her friend Madison Paxton confirmed this. John Follain, the journalist who was close to Mignini, suggests in his book that it was four inches long. Why was this brought up at all? The only purpose of putting this irrelevant detail in the pubic domain was to shock more censorious jury members, titillate a prurient media and decrease the possibility of a fair trial. There is no evidence that women who own sex toys are more likely to murder than anyone else.
Myth 22 – The mountain of evidence
Believers in guilt still cling to the myth that a mountain of evidence proves that Knox and Sollecito were involved. The defence teams compiled a dossier that disproved the prosecution case in detail. This was handed to Judge Hellmann at the start of the second trial. From this, he ascertained that the only evidential items that required further detailed examination were the knife, the bra clasp and the credibility of certain witnesses. These formed the focus of the second trial. No other evidence was produced by the prosecution. If there had been – and if it was compelling, it would have been used.
Myth 23 – Amanda Knox is a witch who organised a satanic orgy
This was the prosecution’s first attempt to invent a motive that included Knox. A theory involving witchcraft was also part of prosecutor Mignini’s crime scenario for the Monster of Florence serial killer case which he also investigated. The witchcraft theme was embraced and widely repeated, especially in the tabloid media. It was used in court in the early hearings but was dropped as the case proceeded. By then the damage had been done. For a full exposition of the impact of witchcraft theory and practice on the case, go to:
Myth 24 – Amanda Knox never apologised to Patrick Lumumba
This myth is still being repeated by trolls. What is the truth? Amanda Knox was held in solitary confinement from the time of her initial arrest until she was brought before Judge Matteini so she was in no position to do anything. She had initially named Lumumba after being told that by the police during the overnight interrogation that they had evidence that he had murdered Meredith and they asked Knox to imagine how this might have occurred. She presented the police with a ‘confused vision’ which was interpreted as an accusation and used as a pretext to arrest Lumumba. Knox retracted this later the same day but by then it was too late. She had been used as a device to create a reason for the police to go after Lumumba.
The recording of the interrogation has never been released. The prosecution claims that it does not exist. The Italian Supreme Court ruled that the signed interrogation statement could not be used in the subsequent murder trial. The responsibility for naming and arresting Lumumba rests with the police who had convinced themselves that he was involved and tricked Knox into signing a statement implicating him.
Has she apologised? Candace Dempsey, who was frequently in court said, “She has apologised to him in court on more than one occasion.”
Myth 25 – Knox spoke to Guede on the phone before the murder
John Follain made this claim in the Sunday Times on the 13th January 2008 in a lengthy summary of the prosecution’s view of the case at the time. He wrote:
“Perplexingly, according to a police source, Knox never spoke of Guede at all, “as if he didn’t exist”, yet they called each other on their mobile phones both before and after the murder.”
Guede had no mobile phone at the time. No evidence has ever appeared that substantiates the false allegation that Knox and Guede ever spoke on the phone. The story was a fabrication that Follain and the Sunday Times wittingly or unwittingly rebroadcast.
Myth 26 – CCTV footage showed Knox walking to the villa on the night of the murder
On 11th November 2007 a story appeared in the London Evening Standard and was repeated elsewhere:
“Murder suspect Amanda Knox was caught on camera entering the apartment where a British student was murdered the same night, it emerged today. The CCTV footage contradicts Knox’s claim that she was at the house of her 24-year-old boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.”
The image was too blurred to allow easy identification but the clothing worn did not match Knox’s. It did not show anyone entering the apartment – no cameras covered that area. The footage was shot by a security camera at a nearby car park. No reliable witnesses or film footage have ever placed either Knox or Sollecito at or anywhere near the villa on the evening of November 1st 2007.
A news story in 2014 repeated the same discredited myth. Footage showing a different woman at the car park emerged.
Myth 27 – Knox’s bloody shoeprint was found under Meredith’s body
Serial troll Harry Rag regularly repeats this using the following phrase:
“According to two imprint experts, the woman’s bloody shoeprint on the pillow under Meredith’s body matched Knox’s foot size. The bloody shoeprint was incompatible with Meredith’s shoe size.”
The shoeprint belonged to Rudy Guede. Even Judge Massei didn’t believe it was Knox’s. The website Injustice in Perugia includes a detailed refutation of the footprint ‘evidence’ that was claimed to incriminate Knox and Sollecito. Page four refers to the alleged Knox footprint in Meredith’s room. You can read it here:
Myth 28 – Bloody footprints were detected in the hallway
The hallway footprints revealed by luminol are bloodless footprints which played no part in the assault/murder—follow-up TMB tests were negative for blood. The detail is here:
The prosecution attempted to imply that the hall footprints were made in blood. Forensics technician Patrizia Stefanoni was forced to retract a statement to this effect. She initially failed to admit that the follow-up TMB tests ruled out the presence of blood.
Myth 29 – Knox carried a knife (the alleged murder weapon) from Sollecito’s flat to her apartment and back again in her bag
The London Times reported on 19th November 2007:
“Police have also seized a handbag belonging to Ms Knox, which they believe may have been used to carry the kitchen knife from Mr Sollecito’s flat and back again. They say that this proves “premeditated murder”.
The prosecution had to explain how and why their alleged murder weapon, a knife from Sollecito’s kitchen, could have been used at Knox’s flat. They alleged that she had transported it there with the intention of using it in a premeditated murder. As an alternative, they suggested that she might have carried it around with her at all times, for personal protection. Both of these ridiculous ideas were firmly dismissed by Judge Hellmann in the Motivation Report, published after the 2011 ‘not guilty’ verdict:
“The presence of said knife at the house on Via Della Pergola is explained by the possibility that Amanda Knox usually carried with her a knife of such dimensions inside her capacious bag for personal safety reasons, since she had to go out even late at night to go to work. Of such habit, however, no evidence has been given, and it seems truly odd that a young woman, after having crossed the ocean and traveled to Germany and Italy, and certainly even being used to going out alone at night for a few years, had to arrive in Perugia and to meet Raffaele Sollecito (whom she knew for about a week) in order to begin being afraid of going out alone to work after dinner in a provincial town and to decide to accept Sollecito’s invitation to carry in her bag, for personal safety reasons, a knife of such dimensions, with the risk – a very real one – of being arrested and charged for carrying a concealed knife [porto abusivo di coltello].”
Myth 30 –Reverse racism – Knox is getting away with murder because she is white
Reverse racism is a constant theme in many online comments such as this one:
“To all you Amanda Knox defenders: Would you be defending her if she were a black man and not a ‘nice white girl from a good family’?”
The straight answer – “Yes because she is innocent”, is deemed inadequate in some way. Deborah Orr wrote in The Guardian:
“It would appear to me that skin colour is among the less relevant of circumstantial defences. In fact, it would seem to me that any prejudice in this case has been directed against privileged white flesh. It is wrong to think ill of people simply because they are black and poor, of course. But deciding to turn the tables and think ill of people simply because they are rich and white is hardly a sound, sensible, or helpful remedy. That self-consciously topsy-turvy mindset, exploited by the media, has played a large part in this terrible saga.”
Myth 31 – The Harry Potter book smear
The Potter book smear is an interesting one and was deliberately promoted by the prosecution when they must have known it was untrue. The London Times reported that Knox told authorities that she read a German language Potter novel at Sollecito’s flat on the night of the murder. The police said the book was instead found at the crime scene – her own cottage. Knox owned two different German language Harry Potter books and there was one in each place. Police photographs show a Potter book at Sollecito’s as well as one at Knox’s.
Myth 32 – Sollecito phoned the police after they had already arrived
This myth is still regularly repeated by trolls. The police lied on the stand. Bruce Fischer explains this myth in detail on the Injustice in Perugia website:
“The Postal Police were the first police to arrive at the cottage on November 2, 2007. They arrived to investigate two cell phones that were found in a nearby garden. The Postal Police handle this type of incident. The Carabinieri (Italian Police) arrived shortly after the Postal Police. The prosecution claimed that Amanda and Raffaele were surprised by the arrival of the Postal Police. Raffaele stated that he had already phoned his sister and the Carabinieri before the Postal Police arrived. Raffaele’s sister was a police officer at the time. Amanda and Raffaele were not surprised at all. They actually assumed the Postal Police were the Carabinieri responding to Raffaele’s call. The prosecution claimed that Raffaele went and hid in Amanda’s room and called the Carabinieri after the Postal Police arrived. The prosecution was attempting to catch Raffaele in a lie. This was simply not the case. The video taken from a camera located in the parking garage across the street from the cottage supports Raffaele’s claim.
The clock on the garage camera was ten to twelve minutes slow, not fast. The prosecution has totally misled and confused the public on this point. The prosecution repeatedly stated the camera timer was fast. The prosecution was wrong.
The reason we know the clock is slow is because the camera shows a picture of a Carabinieri (Italian Police) car, and a Carabinieri officer with the distinctive stripe running down his trouser leg, in a clip time-stamped 1:22 pm on the day Meredith’s body was discovered. However, at 1:22 pm, the Carabinieri were driving around, unable to find the place. They called Amanda’s cell phone at 1:29 pm to ask for directions. Amanda handed the phone to Raffaele who handed it to one of the Postal Police, who explained how to get there. That call lasted four minutes and fifty seven seconds, meaning it did not end until 1:34 pm. Therefore, even if one assumes the call did not end until after the car appeared in the video, the clock had to have been at least ten to twelve minutes slow.
This is significant, because it means the camera footage shows the Postal Police arriving after Raffaele called the emergency number. The claim that he went and hid in Amanda’s room, called his sister, and then called the emergency number twice, a series of calls that took about five minutes, is nonsense.
Raffaele was being completely honest with the Postal Police when they arrived. This is just another example of how the prosecution released completely misleading information to the media.”
Myth 33 – Sollecito withdrew Knox’s alibi
During the all-night interrogation of November 5/6 2007, Sollecito was persuaded that he could not be 100% certain that Knox was with him all night because he was asleep for part of the time. This fake retraction of his alibi was used against Knox who was told that Sollecito was no longer standing by her. This is a well known interrogation trick. Sollecito later explained in his book that Knox could not have left because he would have to have woken up to unlock the door to let her out and to let her back in. The door could not be opened without a key.
Myth 34 – Sollecito’s kitchen knife was the murder weapon
Sollecito’s kitchen knife is supposed to be the prosecution’s key item of evidence against Knox. Yet it was picked at random from Sollecito’s kitchen; it was too big to have fitted Meredith’s wounds and it did not match the imprint of a knife that had been left on a sheet.
American pro-guilt commentator Wendy Murphy wrote:
“Pro-Amanda forces forget to note that the knife was found hidden in a shoebox, far back inside a closet at Sollecito’s apartment – and that the knife had been scrubbed clean with bleach and an abrasive substance – like a Brillo Pad. The defense claimed the sample of Knox’s DNA was too small to matter, but ANY DNA is damning evidence – especially on a knife that’s been intentionally cleaned and hidden away deceptively in a shoe box, tucked deep inside the closet of a suspect’s home.”
In fact the knife was plucked from Sollecito’s kitchen drawer, as an officer testified. The facts about the knife are here:
Chris Halkides in his View from Wilmington blog corrects Wendy (and all the other internet trolls):
“There was no blood on the blade, and this is one of the main reasons to doubt that DNA signals arising from when the knife was swabbed did not really originate with the blade at all. The knife was found in a kitchen drawer with other knives. The police stored it in a shoebox. Ms. Murphy does not explain how she divined that Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito used bleach to clean the knife, nor does she bother to tell us that bleach is so effective at destroying DNA that it is routinely used in DNA labs for that very reason. If bleach and a brillo pad were used to clean the knife, it is very difficult to see how any DNA could remain. Finally, the amount of DNA observed was so small that to say it matched Ms. Kercher’s profile is a stretch; calling it a partial match is a better description, and it is quite possible that it originated from Ms. Kercher’s DNA in the laboratory itself.”
Judge Hellmann the judge who acquitted in 2011 concurred:
“Also making it wholly unbelievable, according to a criterion of normality, that the knife was the murder weapon, is the way in which it was discovered: it was in its drawer in the kitchen at Raffaele Sollecito’s home, together with the other knives and the rest of the flatware (cutlery).
Is it really plausible that two young people, certainly affected by what had happened, being in any case two normal — one would even have to say “good” – young people (committed to studies and helpful to others, to use the words of the first-level Corte di Assise, very young and nevertheless ready to accept the burden of the working life), after having taken part in such a barbaric murder, had not only such cold and diabolical minds as to not throw away the knife, instead putting it back together with the rest of the flatware in the kitchen from where it had been taken, but also the hardness of heart (and of stomach) to continue using that flatware, maybe even that same knife, to prepare meals in the days following the murder?”
The most generous interpretation of what was done to the knife (that was not the murder weapon) was that it was contaminated in the forensic laboratory where many of Meredith’s effects were tested using the same equipment. Less charitable observers might suggest that deliberate deception occurred. For further information on this go to:
Myth 35 – Knox and Sollecito moved Meredith’s body after she was dead
This myth first appeared in John Follain’s first Sunday Times article on the murder, on November 4th 2007:
“Detectives believe the scene of the crime may have been “staged” and the killer might have cleaned himself or herself up as they left Kercher’s home.”
This was amplified in Judge Micheli’s report which was published before the first trial. Micheli accepted the group attack scenario and theorised that after the murder the participants fled the scene, departing in different directions. He then suggested that Knox and Sollecito returned and moved Meredith’s body in order to make the attack appear to have been sexually motivated. Exactly what difference this is supposed to have made when the murder, or at least its aftermath already had a clear sexual dimension – Guede’s DNA was found in Meredith’s vagina – is not explained. Also unexplained is how this manipulation of the crime scene could have occurred without any of Knox or Sollecito’s DNA being deposited in the room or on Meredith’s body.
Defence experts contended that the body was not moved after the time that Meredith was dead or dying and this was accepted by Judge Hellmann in 2011.
Myth 36 – Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp
Leaving aside the question of how Sollecito could have got his DNA onto Meredith’s severed bra-clasp, but not on the rest of the bra – and on nothing else in Meredith’s room, this planted or contaminated ‘evidence’ is explained in a CBS news report:
“In July 2011, the two independent forensic experts testified that the bra clasp DNA was unreliable. The experts pointed out two critical problems with the evidence. One, the bra clasp was left at the murder scene for six weeks before police collected it. Two, when it was finally retrieved, photos revealed police used dirty gloves to handle the clasp.
As a result, the independent forensic experts testified that any DNA evidence on the bra clasp was unreliable; it could have come from contamination or mishandling.
But there was a third, probably even bigger, problem with the DNA sample.
Under cross-examination, one of the court-appointed independent forensic experts, Carla Vecchiotti, told the court that had she done the original DNA analysis, she would not have been able to match Sollecito to any of the DNA on the bra clasp.
In Vecchiotti’s opinion, none of the DNA profiles on the bra clasp matched Sollecito’s. Somehow, that part of Vecchiotti’s testimony failed to make it into the media coverage of the trial.”
Myth 37 – Meredith’s body was covered – this means that the murderer must have been female
Criminal profiler John Douglas dismissed this canard:
“That’s absurd. There are different reasons why someone will cover a body. There’s a certain sense of wanting to undo the crime. Guede didn’t leave after the crime, but he doesn’t want to look at her. It’s not that he didn’t feel good about what he has done; I can see that because of the way he killed her and sexually assaulted her. He’s a sadistic individual with a violent past. He put the blanket over her because he was wandering around the apartment and didn’t want to see her.”
Myth 38 – Knox and Sollecito were seen outside on the night of the murder
The prosecution produced around ten witnesses who claimed to have seen Knox and Sollecito near the murder scene on the evening of November 1st. Most of them never made it to court. Those who did, failed to impress on the stand, most notably the sad tramp/drug addict Antonio Curatolo who was a serial witness for the police in several trials. His testimony showed that he could not distinguish between Halloween and November 1st. He placed Knox and Sollecito near the crime scene at a time when disco buses were picking up revellers. The disco buses did not run on November 1st because the discos were closed that night..
Myth 39 – Sollecito left a visible bloody footprint on the blue bathroom mat
The print was Rudy Guede’s. Bob Magnetti comments:
“Rinaldi’s assignment of the bathmat footprint to Raffaele as opposed to Guede defies explanation. Any lay person comparing Raffaele’s footprint and Guede’s footprint to the reference print on the bathmat would declare that Guede left the footprint, not Raffaele. What more needs to be said about this diversion foisted on the court proceedings by Lorenzo Rinaldi?”
Details of the bathmat analysis can be found here:
Myth 40 – Knox was short of money and she stole from Meredith
This was one of the motive myths. Knox’s best friend Madison Paxton wrote an article for the Seattle Stranger:
“Mignini’s theory of Amanda’s motive has changed five times, the last change being made during his closing arguments. First it was the marijuana that made her crazy. Then he decided Amanda stole Meredith’s missing money. When it was pointed out that Amanda worked three jobs to get to Italy, had a job in Italy, and had family members who would help her if she ran out of money (which she was not close to doing), the motive switched to Amanda simply hated Meredith. When kind texts between the two of them were shown and it was made known that a few days before Meredith’s murder they had gone to a chocolate festival together and even that Meredith had drawn a fake tattoo on Amanda a few days before her murder (not something girls who hate each other usually do), the motive changed yet again. Amanda just happens to be a natural-born killer, a naturally violent person. But nothing in her past supports this, and so finally, the prosecutor stated during closing arguments: There is no motive. The prosecution argued that because the evidence was so solid, Amanda and Raffaele should still be convicted without a known motive.”
Forty myths, no evidence and no motive
There we have it – forty myths and no motive. “A fog of nonsense”, as Raffaele Sollecito has said, but a very expensive fog in terms of heartache for three families and in stolen liberty.
Deborah Orr wrote in The Guardian after the 2011 verdict:
“There are many deeply troubling facets to this case. But an important one, surely, is the degree to which it exposes so many humans as only too happy to believe lurid and destructive slurs served up by a tabloid media culture that they all know – or should know – exists to make money from peddling damaging sensation, the more outrageous the better.”
The final word about prosecutor Mignini and his tactics should go to John Douglas:
“He’s got to win, no matter what; even if the truth doesn’t fit and will break the law to win. . . There was no evidence, there is no evidence.”