Inconsistencies in and Refutations of Amanda Knox’s Account
[Incongruenze e smentite nel racconto di Amanda Knox, pp. 67-78]
Inconsistencies in and Refutations of Amanda Knox’s Account
Amanda Knox’s explanation of the period between the afternoon of November 1 and the morning of November 2 has been subject to some variation [presenta alcune variazioni].
One thing that has remained consistent, however, is her denial of any involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher: she claims to have left the house at Via Della Pergola 7 in the afternoon on November 1, and to have returned only the following morning, around 10:30 am; she claims furthermore to have spent the evening and the night with Raffaele Sollecito, who, when she awakened on the morning of November 2 around 10:00 am, was still sleeping, in his house on Corso Garibaldi.
We find that the assertions regarding Amanda Knox’s presence outside the house at Via Della Pergola 7 correspond to what actually happened only with regard to the afternoon and evening of November 1 until around 9:15 pm. These assertions [concerning the times indicated], indeed, are not contradicted by other evidence, and are corroborated by the statements of Jovana Popovic and Francesco Sollecito (according to the discussion above which mentioned the phone call of 8:42 pm and the two visits of Popovic to the house on Corso Garibaldi) and by the location of the cell towers used [celle agganciate] in the text messages exchanged with Patrick Diya Lumumba, which place Amanda Knox in a location different from that “served” by the cell tower corresponding to Via Della Pergola 7; and, further still, by Raffaele Sollecito’s computer, which indicates 9:10:32 pm as the time of the last interaction, and that computer was certainly not in the house on Via Della Pergola.
In the sequel, we will have occasion to return to the aspects relating to the identification of the cell towers used and the interactions with the computer. With respect however to the period of time following 9:15 pm and extending approximately until shortly after midnight on that 1st of November, no evidence confirms the presence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the house on Corso Garibaldi; nor does any evidence confirm that the two slept until 10:00 am on November 2 in the house on Corso Garibaldi — to the contrary, various pieces of evidence refute this.
We have already remarked upon the fact that all interaction with Raffaele Sollecito’s computer ceases at around 9:15 pm; and both Amanda and Raffaele found themselves without any other existing previous commitments: neither Lumumba nor Popovic needed either of them anymore. Amanda Knox maintains that at this point, lacking commitments that would have summoned them outside, they stayed together inside the house on Corso Garibaldi. Indeed, Amanda specifies that she was so happy about the message sent to her by Patrick Lumumba that she turned off her cell phone so as not to run the risk of being called back. Additionally, she claims that after 9:15, she and Raffaele ate dinner in the house on Corso Garibaldi. In the course of her testimony [esame], she indicates the time of dinner at around 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and then she puts it back further, to around 11:00 pm. This, however, is contradicted by the statements of Francesco Sollecito. The latter, it will be recalled, has stated that he placed a call at 8:42 pm (a circumstance verified by the records) and spoke with Raffaele, who told him that he “was with Amanda” (p. 16, hearing of 6-19-09), so that around midnight on that 1st of November, “knowing that he was of course with this girl of his…” he limited himself to sending him a message (p. 19, hearing cited above). Francesco Sollecito has furthermore explained that in the call of 8:42 pm, his son told him “that while he was washing the dishes, he realized that water was leaking” (p.45). This circumstance, which is also mentioned by Amanda Knox (who attributes to it the necessity of taking the mop to dry the floor) is relevant, since it serves to place the time of dinner at around 8:30 pm, or at any rate before the telephone call of 8:42 pm in which Raffaele reports to his father that a leak from the sink had occurred while he was washing the dishes.
Hence the statements of Amanda Knox in which the time of dinner is pushed back to 10:00 pm and then all the way to 11:00 pm constitute an attempt to, as much as possible, reduce the time devoid of activities documentable in some way on that 1st of November, so as to create an alibi that would serve to place her and Raffaele outside of the house on Via Della Pergola, where, right at that very time, the murder of Meredith Kercher was being committed.
But it is not only the time of dinner as indicated by Amanda Knox which is refuted by the investigative evidence. The circumstance of their both having remained together in the house on Corso Garibaldi until 10:00 am on the following day, when Amanda awakened first and went to the house on Via Della Pergola, is likewise contradicted.
Witness Antonio Curatolo, examined at the hearing of 3-28-2009, has reported that on the evening of November 1, 2007, after 9:30 pm, he saw Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the area of Piazza Grimana, on the small square [piazzetta] in front of the University for Foreigners where the basketball court is located, and where there were other young people.
Curatolo has stated that he lives on the street, in the area of Piazza Grimana and Corso Garibaldi: a lifestyle different from the usual, but his testimony cannot be held unreliable on account of this, because his way of conducting his life does not impact his ability to perceive events and report them. Rather, it will be observed that Curatolo’s frequentation of places such as Piazza Grimana and Corso Garibaldi gives credibility to his identification of persons relative to the places that are usual for him and constitute his habitat. As a resident of the environs of the University for Foreigners and of Corso Garibaldi, he is indeed a qualified observer of the persons that he reports having noticed and recognized.
Antonio Curatolo has thus stated that on the evening of November 1 (the specification of this date appears certain, as it was the evening immediately before the day on which, as Curatolo has always reported, police and Carabinieri began to crowd the area due to the murder of Meredith), around 9:30 or 10:00, he was on a bench in Piazza Grimana, reading articles that interested him in the weekly magazine L’Espresso. Now and then he would smoke a cigarette, and interrupt his magazine-reading to watch the people in Piazza Grimana or the surrounding area. Thus, he noticed the presence at the end of the basketball court of “two youths: they seemed to be a couple, who were having a slightly animated discussion…now and then one of them would get up and go to where the railing [ringhiera] is to look below” (p. 5, hearing of 3-28-2009). He explained that he had not seen them arrive, and when he looked at the end of the basketball court, they were already there (p.19). He also remembered that other people were present. He reported having seen these youths until [shortly?] before midnight. He recognized them as the defendants and identified them in the courtroom, specifying that he knew them already from having seen them (albeit separately [da soli] rather than together) (p. 18, hearing of 3-28-2009). He added that when he left Piazza Grimana, which happened shortly before midnight, the two youths were no longer there.
He went to sleep in the park and returned to the same bench in Piazza Grimana the next day. Carabinieri arrived at around 1:30 or 2:00 pm to ask whether he had seen or heard anything; at that point, having come out from under [affaciatosi di sotto], he noticed police coming and going: “people dressed in white; police, Carabinieri: a whole bunch of people were down there…they were near a house, near the entrance to a house”. This was the house in which the crime had been committed. An ambulance was also present.
In response to questions from the defense, he explained that he had not seen the defendants on the afternoon of November 1. When he saw them, they were standing on the wall [sul muricciolo] near the basketball court, and he was on the bench. In response to further questions from the Public Minister, he explained that he noticed the two youths around 9:30 – 10:00 pm. He explained that he had not been constantly looking at them [non stava sempre a guardare i ragazzi], as he was reading; he saw them when he interrupted his reading of the magazine he had with him. The last time he saw them was “before 11:00, 11:30″ (p. 18, hearing of 3-28-2009). He explained that the bench where he was sitting was the one near the newsstand. He added that the area was lit, and that he remained seated on the bench that evening until he saw the buses that take the young people to discothèques.
It does not seem questionable that it was the evening of November 1 when Curatolo (according to what he stated) saw the defendants in the vicinity of the Piazza Grimana basketball court: as has been seen, he based this specification on the presence of Carabinieri, persons dressed in white, an ambulance, and may people that he noticed the following day, at the house where the murder had been committed.
Thus it follows from the statements recorded above that at 9:30/10:00 pm, when Curatolo arrived at “his” bench in Piazza Grimana, located next to the newsstand, Amanda and Raffaele were already there, together; and he specified that he had not seen them on the afternoon of that day. This information is not contradicted by any other evidence: Amanda and Raffaele could not have been talking in Piazza Grimana on the afternoon of November 1, and indeed Curatolo stated that he did not see them; as for the evening around 9:30 or 10:00 pm, it will be recalled that the call Raffaele received from his father while he was at home came at 8:42 pm, and the last interaction with the computer occurred at around 9:15 pm as has already been noted (and has we will have occasion to more thoroughly document in the sequel, when we specifically discuss the computer used by Raffaele Sollecito), and there are no telephone calls which, by means of the cell towers used, might lead one to conclude that the defendants could have been anywhere other than the area of Piazza Grimana where Curatolo claimed to have seen them; Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment on Corso Garibaldi is in any case very near to Piazza Grimana and very few minutes are enough to cover the distance. That evening, Amanda and Raffaele were together, as verified by Popovic de visu [from sight] and by Raffaele’s father by telephone; it is thus wholly plausible that they left Raffaele’s apartment together, all the more so given that they had found themselves unexpectedly [imporvvisamente] without the commitments that would [otherwise] have brought them out of the house.
Regarding the question of until what time Curatolo saw Amanda and Raffaele that evening, the following will be observed:
In the course of his testimony, with respect specifically to this matter, he stated that he had seen them until before midnight. He also asserted that when he left Piazza Grimana, which happened before midnight, the two youths were no longer there. We thus have the same expression, “before midnight”, repeated twice, with meanings that necessarily do not match but which can be reconstructed on the basis of the same testimony of Curatolo. If, indeed, Curatolo did not see the two youths before he left (which happened before midnight), the last time that he saw them — indicated with the same expression, “before midnight” — was at a yet earlier time, which therefore could have been around 11:00 or 11:30 pm. In any event, Curatolo himself furnishes this information in the course of the same testimony: it was “before 11:00, 11:30, the last time I saw them.” It is further possible to restrict this “range” on the basis of other evidence. Curatolo has stated that he remained on the bench until he saw the bus that takes young people to discothèques, and witness Maurizio Rosignoli (see p. 131, hearing of 6-19-2009) has reported that the buses to the discothèques leave from Piazza Grimana, and around 11:00 or 11:30 pm they are already there.
Based on this evidence, it is therefore to be held that Curatolo left the bench on Piazza Grimana between 11:00 and 11:30 pm (when he would have been able to see the buses to the discothèques, according to the timeline indicated by Rosignoli), and when he left that bench, the youths were no longer there. On the other hand, at around 11:00 pm (give or take a few minutes [minuto prima minuto dopo]), Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were no longer in Piazza Grimana, where Curatolo had seen them several times starting from 9:30 or 10:00 pm on that 1st of November.
The testimony of Maurizio Rosignoli just mentioned assumes relevance from another point of view as well. Rosignoli, operator of the Piazza Grimana newsstand, has indeed stated that Antonio Curatolo frequented the area during that period. A similar statement has been made by Alessia Ceccarelli, herself also involved in the operation of the newsstand. Alessia Ceccarelli has reported knowing Curatolo and has specified that he was on the bench next to the newsstand during that period. She has furthermore added that when she opened the newsstand on November 2, 2007, Curatolo was there (statement of Alessia Ceccarelli, hearing of 6-23-2009, pp. 122 and 126).
The statements of Rosignoli and Ceccarelli, then, prove that during that period, Curatolo frequented the area indicated by Curatolo himself; and the statement of Ceccarelli also confirms Curatolo’s presence in the area of Piazza Grimana on the very day of November 2, 2007, as reported by Curatolo — which assumes importance because it serves to confirm that the evening on which he saw the defendants was in fact that of November 1.
But the version offered by Amanda Knox, according to which she would have remained with Raffaele in the house on Corso Garibaldi from the evening of November 1 to 10:00 am the following morning, is contradicted not only by Curatolo’s statements but also by other evidence:
Raffaele Sollecito’s computer turned out to have been activated to listen to music at 5:32 am on November 2, for a duration of about half an hour (as will be seen in more detail in the section devoted to this question), after which [Sollecito] turned his cellular phone back on and was able to receive, at 6:02 am, the text message sent to him by his father at 11:14 pm on November 1 (this, too, will be returned to, in the section devoted to the telephone traffic of Raffaele Sollecito’s cellular phone): these circumstances, it seems, while they indicate the peculiarity of that night which must be attributed to something absolutely unusual having occurred then, cannot be escaped [sfuggite] by Amanda Knox, who makes no mention of them whatsoever and maintains that her awakening occurred at 10:00 am in the arms of Raffaele, as will be recalled. This activation of the computer and turning-on of the cellular phone, which happened between 5:00 and 6:00 am on that 2nd of November, were followed by the 9:30 am phone call made to Raffaele Sollecito by his father, who, knowing that his son had planned a trip to Gubbio with Amanda on November 2, had called him to find out if they had left; from the way his son answered, he inferred that he was still in bed. Well [sic: Ebbene], Amanda has uttered not a word about either this call or Raffaele’s answering it, limiting herself to speaking of a long slumber lasting from the evening of November 1 until 10:00 – 10:30 am on November 2, when, leaving the house on Corso Garibaldi, she headed to her own apartment on Via Della Pergola. Yet, such a circumstance as the phone call of 9:30 am originating from Raffaele’s father could have been reported without its assuming any suspicious significance (unlike the usage of the computer at 5:32 am and the turning-on of the cell phone shortly thereafter, behaviors symptomatic of difficult-to-explain circumstances [particolarità difficilmente spiegabili]). If, therefore, Amanda Knox was silent about that call, it is because at that hour she was already out of the house on Corso Garibaldi, and had no knowledge of it.
The circumstance [circostanza] just mentioned also permits us to remark upon the statements made by witness Marco Quintavalle at the hearing of 3-21-2009. He reported that on the morning of November 2, 2007, he had gone to his own store — a “Margherita Conad” grocery store located at Corso Garibaldi no. 6-8 — like every morning. At 7:45 am, he had opened the automatic gate [saracinesca] of the inside of the store; he specified that the switch which activates the gate is located between the wall and the side of a refrigerator. While pressing the button he saw the “outline of a girl who was waiting for me to open” (p. 71, hearing of 3-21-2009). This girl did indeed enter, and he was able to look at her from a distance of one meter or maybe less. Shortly afterward, maybe a minute later, he saw the girl again, outside the the shop, on the street, heading downward [nella direzione della discesa], “towards Piazza Grimana” (p. 118). The girl remained in his memory on account of her bright blue eyes. She was wearing jeans, a gray coat, a scarf, and a hat. He did not remember if it was a hat (“I say a hat, I don’t remember if it was a bonnet [cuffia] or something else; but she had something covering her head, anyway” p. 73); she would have been 1.65-1.67 meters tall. She had a very light face and would have been around 20-21 years old. She had gone to the section of the store where groceries, as well as detergents and toilet paper, were sold. He did not know whether she had purchased anything (p.85, hearing of 3-21-2009). He further recalled that a few days later, his sales-clerk told him she had learned of the arrest of Raffaele Sollecito, well known to Quintavalle because he was in his store almost every day. Quintavalle then asked her to go buy any newspaper, and when he saw the photos, he said to himself: “but this is the girl from the other morning”, referring to the photo of Amanda Knox published by the newspaper (p.76, hearing of 3-21-2009). Moreover, he recognized that girl as the defendant present in the courtroom (p. 80).
In the course of the hearing of 3-21-2009, many questions were asked of witness Quintavalle in order to acquire information useful for determining his reliability, especially on account of the fact that his encounter with Amanda at 7:45 am on November 2 was only reported in November 2008; he had not spoken of it previously, even when Inspector Volturno interviewed him only a few days after the murder of Meredith.
This Court finds that Quintavalle’s testimony is reliable: it turns out that Inspector Volturno did not ask Quintavalle whether he had seen Amanda Knox in his store on the morning of November 2. He asked him — as Quintavalle has recalled — about purchases made by Raffaele Sollecito. Quintavalle did not say that he had seen Amanda Knox on the morning of November 2 because he was not asked, or because — as asserted by Quintavalle himself — he did not find that circumstance significant.
He later spoke about having seen Amanda because a young man he knew who lived above his store, Antioco Fois, had graduated and had become a contributor to the daily newspaper Il Giornale dell’Umbria; he would often come by and ask him “but you know nothing? Did you see anything? Did you hear anything?”, and it was thus one day that he reported having seen Amanda Knox on the morning of November 2, and so he decided to go to the prosecutor, as Fois convinced him that the circumstance could be important.
Consequently, the fact that he did not tell Inspector Volturno that he had seen Amanda on the morning of November 2, and the fact that he only spoke about it subsequently after being convinced by Antioco Fois of the relevance that this circumstance might have, cannot detract from the credibility of the witness, since it does not bear on the accuracy [genuinità] of his recollection.
Rather, it will be observed that the witness has furnished a precise description of what he noticed on the morning of November 2, and moreover such somatic characteristics of the girl as blue eyes and a very light face, together with the unusual hour, could indeed have fixed in one’s memory what Quintavalle claims to have seen. To that may be added that he had previously noticed this same girl (since she was at the store with a well-known person, Raffaele Sollecito) one evening shortly after 8:00, when the store was closed. Let it also be added that witness Ana Maria Chiriboga, a sales-clerk in Quintavalle’s store at the time, has reported that Quintavalle asked her if she had seen Amanda Knox that morning, and Chiriboga answered in the negative (p. 74, hearing of 6-26-2009). This questions necessarily presupposes that Quintavalle had seen Amanda Knox, and not knowing whether she had purchased anything (see statement of Quintavalle cited above, from the hearing of 3-21-2009), was asking his sales-clerk in order to find out.
These pieces of evidence contradict Amanda’s account of a calm night and continuous and prolonged sleep that she and Raffaele would have experienced [trascorso] together; this evidence furthermore suggests that Amanda and Raffaele found themselves in an unusual situation [condizione particolare]: at 5:32 am, Raffaele Sollecito went to the computer and listened to music for around half an hour and turned on his cellular phone; at 7:45 am, Amanda was already outside the house and was going into Quintavalle’s store, displaying a particular urgency to purchase [something] and do something; the trip to Gubbio was by this point forgotten and when Francesco Sollecito phoned his son at around 9:30 am to find out about this trip, his son was still in bed.
But Amanda Knox’s account also presents significant [internal] inconsistencies.
First of all, the reason indicated by Amanda Knox for her return to the house at Via Della Pergola 7 on the morning of November 2 does not appear credible. She asserts that she had gone to her apartment to change, shower, and get a mop to dry the floor.
Knowing that she and Raffaele were to go to Gubbio on November 2, she could [perfectly] well have planned to bring the clothing required for the next day, and there has been no indication of unforeseen circumstances having arisen that could have given rise to such a necessity [of returning to Via Della Pergola 7]: on the evening of November 1, she had already taken a shower and washed her hair at Raffaele’s house, and therefore the need to repeat these operations appears hardly credible. One also cannot understand why she would have had to repeat all of this elsewhere, rather than where she had already showered and washed her hair – especially since the planned trip would have rendered it wise to save time.
Getting the mop to dry the floor also seems to be a scarcely credible scenario: someone came to do the cleaning in Raffaele Sollecito’s house, and it must therefore be held that whatever was necessary to dry up a little water was around; neither was there likely to be much water anyway on the morning of the 2nd, as indeed reported by Amanda Knox herself.
The awakening at 10:00-10:30 am also appears rather implausible when one considers that, as reported by Laura Mezzetti, Amanda was an early riser, and should perhaps have been all the more such on that 2nd of November, with the planned trip to Gubbio; and the phone call of 9:30 am from Raffaele’s father appears significant in this regard, as it indicates his father’s familiarity with his son’s habits, the latter being such that his son should already have been awake, even if he was with a girl — this was known to Raffaele’s father, as revealed by his own statements cited above. If, however, he was still in bed, something different, something which would have altered the normal course of events and the predictability of the latter, must therefore have happened.