Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, after having a conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher, Amanda’s flat mate, overturned in an appeals court, continue to wend their way through the convoluted Italian judicial system six years later. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower courts after an appeal by the prosecution, who reverted to a guilty verdict. Much has been made of her “changing her story,” which I will address later in a post on coerced and false confessions in the light of police misconduct. What she might or might not have said in the 53 hours of interrogation in a foreign language, however, aren’t really germane, since it was in fact physically impossible for her to have committed the crime.
The best evidence for this is the time of death. In the Massei_Report, which outlines the reasoning by the judge on the logic of the first conviction, this important detail is not sufficiently addressed. It is known that it takes 2-3 hours for a meal to pass from the stomach into the duodenum, and the median time (i.e., average time) it takes for the meal to FIRST ARRIVE in the duodenum is 82 minutes (25%-75% of the time the range is 65-102 minutes). In the case of Meredith, there was nothing in the duodenum. All three of the girls she had dinner with said that they ate at a pizza meal at about 6:00 pm (Massei, p. 35-37), or 6:30 at the latest, since AFTER eating they watched a 123 minute long movie. They left at about 8:50 pm, which one of the friends is sure of since she wanted to get home to watch a TV show at 9:00 pm, and she ended up arriving before the show started. It was a ten minute walk to Meredith’s house, and along the way, at 8:56 pm, she made a call to her mother on her cell phone, which was cut off, probably due to a loss of reception walking through the narrow streets. She was seen on CCTV near the house at 8:51 pm according to the time stamp (the clock was found later to be about 10 minutes slow, so she probably arrived at about 9:01-9:03 pm).
9:01 pm was at least 150 minutes after the start of her meal, so it is medically impossible for her to have died much later than this.
Here is where the conviction breaks down. The prosecution has the homeless drug addict Antonio Curatolo (since deceased following a subsequent stint in jail) placing Amanda and Raffaele in the piazza near the house at 9-11 pm. There was a stalled car near the house at 10:30 pm for about another hour, and he never heard a scream. Then there was Nara Capezzali, who claims she heard a scream that was placed at 11:30 pm. The conviction put the time of death at 11:30 pm in order to string together these somewhat dubious “facts”. Massei did some hand waving about factors that could affect digestion and made the claim that it could take up to 7 hours for the meal to pass from the stomach. But this is plain wrong, no doctor would agree with this statement being applied to a normal person. The time of death is flat out wrong.
Add to this the problems with the witnesses, like Nara claiming she heard people running from the scene of the crime, which has been proven impossible, Curatolo’s mix up on the dates (he claims to have seen buses in the piazza, but that occurred on Halloween night, not the night of the murder, November 1), the DNA ruled out by experts appointed by the courts as not providing evidence of the presence of Amanda and Raffaele at the murder scene or of knife plucked randomly from a drawer in Raffaele’s apartment as not being the murder weapon, and you are ending up with… nada.