The Kitchen Knife

“When Finzi came across a drawer full of kitchen knives, he called Chiacchiera over immediately. He pulled out the first knife that came to hand, a large chopping knife with an eight inch blade.
“Will this knife do?” Finzi asked Chiacchiera.
“Yes, yes, it’s great,” came the answer

Raffaele Sollecito, Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox


Raffaele Sollecito's Kitchen Knife
Exhibit 36 – The famous knife plucked from Sollecito’s kitchen drawer. Only starch and Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on it. The prosecution would claim they kept it after “cleaning & staging” the crime scene because the landlord might have noticed it missing.

The famous knife claimed by the prosecution to be the murder weapon is 31 cm long with a 17. 5 cm blade. The knife is at the heart of the prosecution’s case and the only piece of physical evidence linking Amanda Knox to the murder. It was the only knife selected from Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen drawer by Inspector Armando Finzi during a search of his apartment on the morning of November 6, 2007. Armando Finzi would testify “investigative intuition” lead him to select the knife because it matched the wounds he had not seen.[1] Finzi placed the knife in an envelope and delivered it to Superintendent Stefano Gubbiotti who packaged it in a calendar box he had in his office for transport to the Scientific Police.[2]

News about the kitchen knife was leaked to the media on November 15, the day before the police were about to be humiliated releasing Patrick Lumumba and were closing in on killer Rudy Guede, quite a coincidence and something the defense pointed out during closing arguments.[3] The Scientific Police claimed to have found Knox’s DNA on the handle and Kercher’s DNA on the blade (Sample 36B), making it the “double DNA knife”.


At the pre-trial in October 2008, the prosecution’s forensic expert, Patrizia Stefanoni, committed perjury testifying the Kercher DNA profile was “in the order of a few hundred picograms” and the analysis was quantified with Real Time PCR.[4] The “independent expert” appointed by Judge Paolo Micheli was none other than her own boss, Renato Biondi, who found her work “flawless”.[5]

Raffaele Sollecito kitchen knife
The knife didn’t match the wounds: “At 4 cm from the tip the knife blade is 2.2 cm wide, while the injury [i.e. the small wound] was 1.5 cm wide.” They then claimed there must have been a second knife.

See also:

Massei Trial

“The prosecutor must disclose evidence or information that would prove the innocence of the defendant or would enable the defense to more effectively impeach the credibility of government witnesses” ~ American Bar Association Standards on DNA Evidence

In what would be a Brady violation in the US, Stefanoni testified before the defense had discovery of her testing procedures and lab data. On May 23, 2009 Stefanoni now said couldn’t remember how much DNA was on the knife (see testimony below). On July 18, 2009 Judge Massei ordered the prosecution to turn over all of the lab work documentation with the prosecution objecting. On July 30, 2009 the prosecution produced the Stato Avanzamento Lavori (SAL) and Quantification Report giving the defense 7 weeks to prepare a response before the trial resumed.

On September 14, the lawyers and Sollecito defense consultant, Professor Tagliabracci, showed the Polizia Scientifica RTIGF Report had been falsified and/or marked incorrectly and large amounts of data was still missing including lab work relating to Rudy Guede. The documents were 300 pages of not numbered photocopies and revealed Sample B was approximately a few cells and it failed to register for quantification in the Qubit Fluorometer (‘too low’).[6] [7] On October 9, the defense filed a request for independent experts under the provisions of Article 507 of the Criminal Procedure Code which the court denied.[8] The trial concluded with a guilty verdict without Stefanoni having to answer a single question about what her lab work really showed.

Massei Motivation Report

Judge Massei reasons in his motivation report that it was “thus possible and in fact probable” Amanda Knox carried the knife around in her cloth bag for protection despite no witness ever see her carry a knife or hear her mention that she carried a knife and a large knife would likely tear a cloth bag. No traces of blood were found in Knox’s bag. Massei agreed with the prosecution that the knife was kept because the landlord might have noticed it missing.[9] No finding was made as to how the bloody knife was returned to Sollecito’s kitchen drawer without leaving traces. Furthermore, Massei theorized Amanda Knox pulled the knife on Meredith Kercher because Meredith rejected Rudy Guede’s sexual advances.[10]

Hellmann Appeal Trial

At the second grade trial, Judge Hellmann granted the defense request for independent experts and appointed Profs. Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti of the University of Rome — La Sapienza.[11]

The assignment given to the independent experts was:

Having examined the record and conducted such technical investigations as shall be necessary, the Expert Panel shall ascertain:

  • ”whether it is possible, by means of a new technical analysis, to identify the DNA present on items 165b (bra clasp) and 36 (knife), and to determine the reliability of any such identification“
  • “if it is not possible to carry out a new technical analysis, shall evaluate, on the basis of the record, the degree of reliability of the genetic analysis performed by the Scientific Police on the aforementioned items, including with respect to possible contamination.”

The examination of the evidence began on February 9, 2011 with a whole host of expert ‘spectators’. The following consultants are listed as being present while Conti and Vecchiotti performed their analysis:

Amanda Knox case: Stefanoni’s "technical report" recorded samples A-G as being assessed using real-time PCR protocol. The defense would discover half way through the trial A-B-C were not. Sample B was recorded as positive for DNA. It wasn't.
The Scientific Police RTIGF Report on page 77 shows samples A to G as being assessed using real-time PCR protocol. The defense discovered half way through the trial A-B-C were not. Sample B is recorded as positive for DNA…It wasn’t.

-Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, consultant for the Prosecutor’s Office [Procura Generale];
-Prof. Giuseppe Novelli, consultant for the Prosecutor’s Office;
-Dr. Emiliano Giardina, consultant for the Prosecutor’s Office;
-Prof. Francesca Torricelli, consultant for the civil plaintiff [i.e. the victim’s family];
-Prof. Adriano Tagliabracci, consultant for Raffaele Sollecito;
-Dr. Valerio Onofri, consultant for Raffaele Sollecito;
-Prof. Carlo Torre, consultant for Amanda M. Knox;
-Dr. Sarah Gino, consultant for Amanda M. Knox;
-Dr. Walter Patumi, consultant for Amanda M. Knox.

During the assignment they requested Judge Hellmann compel Patrizia Stefanoni to provide the raw data and negative controls which the defense still didn’t have access to after 3 years. After two requests and Judge Hellmann instructing her to, the files were NOT handed over.

See the correspondence between Judge Hellmann, Patrizia Stefanoni and the independent experts: The Prosecution’s Refusal to Disclose Investigation Materials

In June 2011, Conti and Vecchiotti delivered their report which was a damning indictment of the investigation conducted by Italy’s Scientific Police, and in particular of the methods employed by the prosecution’s main forensic scientist, Patrizia Stefanoni.

RTIGF page 78 original (81 PDF) - “the samples testing positive to quantification (samples A and B) were subjected to amplification and subsequent capillary electrophoresis…”.
The RTIGF Report on page 78 (81 PDF) falsely states – “the samples testing positive to quantification (samples A and B) were subjected to amplification and subsequent capillary electrophoresis…”.
  • The alleged profile of Meredith Kercher on the blade was not obtained through a scientifically acceptable procedure for Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA analysis, and particularly, due to lack of quantification and multiple amplifications;
  • The SAL shows Patrizia Stefanoni tested samples B-C-E-G for blood with tetramethylbenzidine which gave a negative result;
  • The “species-specific” test was performed on the aforementioned samples and also tested negative for human species;
  • Conti and Vecchiotti tested samples A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I for blood with tetramethylbenzidine which gave a negative result;
  • The technical report (RTIGF) from the Scientific Police recording samples A-B-C was either falsified or marked incorrectly due to gross incompetence;
  • Samples A-B-C were tested with a ‘Qubit Fluorometer’ with the ‘dsDNA HS Kit’ and not the real-time PCR technique Stefanoni testified using at the pre-trial;
  • Samples B-C failed to register for quantification;
  • According to Conti and Vecchiotti, the method she used was not specific for human DNA;
  • There were traces of starch on the blade, indicating that it was NOT “particularly clean”;
  • No laboratory tests were performed to detect biological material of a non-haematic nature on any of the samples analysed;
  • There was a failure to carry out cell identification tests;
  • Negative and positive controls for 36B were not produced despite repeated request;
  • International protocols for collecting, inspection and testing were not followed.

Italian Supreme Court

The Italian Supreme Court ruling of 2013 says that one of the reasons for quashing the acquittal is that a DNA trace, named 36I, on the blade was not tested. This trace has since been tested in October 2013 by the Scientific Investigations Division (Reparto Investigazioni Scientifiche, RIS) of the Carabinieri (Military Police) acting as court experts in the Florence trial and found NOT to belong to Meredith Kercher but to Amanda Knox, further demonstrating that it was used by Knox for cooking purposes.

The RIS expertise also reaffirmed the necessity of at least a double amplification for testing of very small quantities (Low Copy Number) of DNA to be considered valid results.[12]

The Lab Work

Amanda Knox case: Knife_Analysis
Raffaele Sollecito 2014 Appeal Document page 257

With regards to the few documents related to positive and negative controls submitted during the hearing of 5th September 2011 (controllo neg.doc, controllo pos.doc, I Sample Info REP.36-B.doc, II prova 36-B.doc, II Sample Info REP. 36-B.doc, Rep.165-B.doc), we note that:

1) from the file “I Sample InfoREP.36-B.doc” it can be deducted that the negative control (ID778) and the positive control (ID777) are quality controls relating to the analysis session of exhibit ID771 (trace B of exhibit 36, knife);
2) the electropherograms of these controls were not provided and so it is not possible to evaluate them;
3) Instead the electropherograms of a negative control (ID732) were provided and one positive [control] (ID731) for which, however, it is not possible to determine which session of work it refers, nor which proceedings (they could in reality be controls from another court case);
4) for exhibit 165B-clasp no controls are provided, neither positive nor negative: to date there is still no evidence that PCR quality controls exist relating to this exhibit;
5) however it is improbable that the controls 731 and 732 refer to the clasp, considering that, if the number of the exhibits is progressive as one would expect, they should be preceding the exhibit 36-B (771), and so before the 13th November 2007; the clasp was instead analyzed from 29th December 2007 onwards.

In conclusion, it can be established that the appealed sentence fell into a serious misrepresentation of a decisive piece of evidence, that, if properly evaluated, would have permitted to ascertain the occurrence of laboratory contamination.

See also:

Professor Carla Vecchiotti Testimony

Amanda Knox case: E-gram for Exhibit 36B
E-gram for Exhibit 36B

About The Profile On Sample 36B

Transcript p90

PM: She said there is a complete profile, did I not hear correctly?
President: … it’s futile that…
GB: That’s not what she said.
President: … that we speak of contamination of Meredith.
PM: Did I not hear correctly? Is there a complete profile?
Vecchiotti: There is an unreliable profile. Absolutely not interpretable.
PM: Is it complete or is it not complete? How many loci are there?
Vecchiotti: Well it’s a complete profile, not reliable and not repeated…
PM: Is it incompatible with Meredith’s profile?
Vecchiotti: Well, according to the standards that are followed, it is necessary to examine all of the alleles that are above 50 RFU, there is not one or maybe there are two that are above 50 RFU, and I can show you and there is a complete imbalance of the alleles. If we then evaluate also those that are of height 15 and not 50 well then we can make it all come out but it absolutely should not be evaluated this way. This is what was done.

About The Suppressed Data Files

Transcript p128

Amanda Knox case: "Too Low" logged by Patrizia Stefanoni. Samples 36 B & C failed to register for quantification.
Quantification Report page 45 – “Too Low” logged by Patrizia Stefanoni. The data dump half way through the trial revealed samples 36 B & C failed to register for quantification.

Prosecutor: So, do you think this is enough time to avoid the risk of contamination in the laboratory, the fact that for 12 days no sample had been analyzed, no sample containing Sollecito’s DNA had been analyzed?
Vecchiotti: It’s enough time
Prosecutor: Did you examine the negative controls relating to this sample?
Vecchiotti: They were not attached.
Prosecutor: To what?
Defense Ghirga: We continue to say, excuse me…
Vecchiotti: The negative controls were not attached.
Prosecutor: What were they not attached to?
Defense Ghirga: Your honour if you’ll let me speak…
Vecchiotti: To the electropherograms
Defense Ghirga: … if they are the negative controls from this morning, we still don’t find them eh.
Prosecutor: What do you mean from this morning?
Judge Hellmann: Yes we checked for them at the hearing on this matter…
Defense Ghirga: We didn’t find them there either your honour.
Judge Hellmann: Which was the 8th October if I’ve understood.
Vecchiotti: I have the electropherograms that were sent to me on the 8th October and they’re not there…
Prosecutor: In a moment let’s have a look at the delivery note. But even if you didn’t find them didn’t you feel the need to ask Stefanoni for them?
Vecchiotti: I asked Dr. Stefanoni twice for the electropherograms taking for granted that she would have included them.
Prosecutor: That she would have included the electropherograms for the negative controls?
Vecchiotti: No that she would have… that in the electropherograms there would be the samples, there would be the negative controls, because why shouldn’t they be there?
Prosecutor: Yes but when did you notice that they weren’t there…
Conti S: We asked for them again.
Prosecutor: Because then you’d have noticed that they weren’t there, right?
Vecchiotti: It’s obvious but it’s her responsibility to attach them, because why do they need to be asked for? It shouldn’t be necessary to ask for them.
Prosecutor: You’re the expert Doctor.
Vecchiotti: Look they don’t need to be requested in that case, they should be produced by the those who have them.
Prosecutor: Is this also an international rule, universally recognized?
Vecchiotti: That the negative controls are included, yes.
Prosecutor: Whatever, they should be included, and one time they forget to include them but they exist…
Conti S: They were requested twice.
Prosecutor: …it’s good practice for the expert to ask for them…
Conti S: In fact we asked for them twice.

Independent Experts Conclusions

Assessment of the Forensic Genetic Tests Conducted by the Scientific Police on Item 36 (Knife)

Amanda Knox case knife sample descriptions
C&V Report descriptions of each sample taken from the knife

From what has been set forth above, we hold that the documentation in the case file reveals inaccuracies and gaps about the analytical procedures performed on Exhibit 36.

In particular:

– regarding the nature of the material collected, there is no scientifically conclusive evidence to support the possible blood nature of sample B (knife blade) in that both the generic blood test and the human species test were negative.

The existence of presumed exfoliated cells on the samples taken from the knife handle is equally lacking in scientific basis.

Therefore we repeat that the theories formulated by the Technical Consultant about the nature of the material removed from Exhibit 36 are wholly arbitrary in that they are not supported by any objective confirmation.

– It should be stressed that the documentation in the case file relating to the traceability of the analytical operations performed is completely inadequate.

In particular:

a) regarding the DNA quantification tests, both in the Technical Report on the Forensic Genetic Tests (RTIGF) and in the GUP, the Technical Consultant repeatedly claimed to have performed quantification with Real Time PCR on all the samples taken from the knife, but this claim is contradicted by the documentation produced: in fact, the Qubit Fluorimeter was used for samples A-B-C.

Regarding sample A (knife handle) the results obtained (Qubit Fluorimeter) reveal that the DNA concentration in this sample was 0.08 ng/μl.

Taking into account that the “extract quantity” was 50 μl (c.f. SAL), multiplying 0.08 ng/μl x 50 μl, the total DNA [obtained] was 4ng: certainly a significant quantity, which allowed sample A to be considered positive to quantification.

The amount of DNA used for the subsequent amplification (0.8 ng) falls within the range suggested by the kit (0.5-1.25 ng/μl of template DNA) and provided an electrophoretic graph of good quality, in accordance with the amount of DNA used for the reaction.

On the other hand, it is not possible to comprehend the criteria adopted in the assessment of the positive quantification result of sample B and the negative result of sample C, given that the same result, “too low”, was obtained for both samples: that is, a value which must be considered not only below the sensitivity threshold of the Fluorimeter indicated by the manual (DNA concentrations of 0.2 ng/μl) but below 0.08 ng/μl, a value which the Fluorimeter detected for sample A.

Neither is it comprehensible, considering the negative results on sample B, what Dr. Stefanoni reported in the GUP questioning (page 178) where she stated that the DNA in sample B, quantified with Real Time PCR (it is recalled that such quantification as confirmed during the hearing was never carried out or, at least, no documentation was provided to support this claim), was “in the order of some hundreds of picograms”, a value which does not appear in any of the documents provided to us (SAL, Fluorimeter report, Real Time report, RTIGF).

b) regarding the extract obtained from sample B (knife blade), the Work Status Report (SAL) shows that this extract was 50 μl. In the GUP hearing, the Technical Consultant affirmed having concentrated sample B to “20, 22, 23 microliters”, of having quantified it with Real Time (GUP, page 178: “Quantification which you did with real time, I imagine?” A: “Eh, yes”) and of subsequently concentrating it again to “10 microliters”, but there is no trace of these operations in the documentation exhibited (c.f. SAL). Neither is it known what the amount of DNA was in the extract concentrated to “20, 22, 23 microliters” and/or the amount of DNA in the extract concentrated to 10 μl.

The quantification problem is of fundamental importance, since a DNA quantity of less than 200 pg/μl falls within the Low Copy Number (LCN) definition, for which the International Scientific Community recommends protocols aimed at obtaining scientifically reliable results.

Since the problems arising from the testing of sub-optimal quantities of DNA are numerous (peak imbalance, drop-in, drop-out) different authors have proposed largely interchangeable scientific approaches which can make the interpretation of the data obtained easier.

It should be emphasized that what all the protocols proposed have in common is an awareness that the main problem of LCN samples is contamination of the item: therefore the authors unanimously agree that suitable protocols in the inspection procedures must be applied in order to minimize environmental contamination at the crime scene, and strict protocols for the collection and sampling of items in order to minimize contamination from handling at the crime scene.

The procedures recommended by all to reduce laboratory contamination are equally rigorous (decontamination of the environment, suitable protection of the operatives, control of the reagents employed in procedures, etc.) as it is well-known that contaminant DNA at low levels may derive from reagents and other laboratory consumables, from the staff, and from cross-contamination from sample to sample.

It should also be noted that, according to the International Scientific Community, even if the protocols of a general character indicated above are scrupulously applied, the increased sensitivity of the PCR method (obtained by modifying the standard amplification protocols, increasing the [no. of] PCR cycles, doubling the annealing time, increasing injection time) nonetheless constitutes a higher potential for contamination; therefore, secondary transfer cannot be excluded as a possible explanation for the results obtained from LCN typing (Budowle et al., 2009).

In addition, the possibility is noted that the PCR product of LCN may show results which are due to amplified DNA contaminating an unamplified sample: this is because, as previously related, amplified DNA is much more concentrated than un-amplified template DNA, and so the first will be preferentially copied during the PCR.

For this reason, the samples being tested should usually be worked on in the laboratory before the reference samples, in order to avoid any possibility of evidence contamination with already amplified DNA.

In the case in question, it is recalled that Exhibit 36 was placed for testing into a context where a considerable number of samples belonging to the victim had already been examined; therefore, it cannot be excluded that contamination by the aforementioned methods may have occurred – all the more so because the negative controls, which should have been amplified contextually and which could have given an indication as to the absence of contamination, were not produced (Record of the Court of Assizes hearing on 23/05/09, pages 29-30:

Well, the knife was tested as one item in the course of 50 samples attributed to the victim, some were before the tests on the knife naturally, and others after, so of these 50…I don’t know the knife was placed, now I don’t know, at a fourth, a third of this series of tests, but in any case even if the knife was analyzed at the end of these 50, 60 samples, in any case this wouldn’t affect the validity of the results, because each sample is tested separately, it is absolutely impossible to mix one sample with another, also because the Kercher file is just one of many files we dealt with simultaneously in the laboratory, it’s not as if the Scientific Police Service stopped to deal with the Kercher file….

Another key aspect concerns the procedure to follow for a reliable interpretation of the results, and for the designation of an allele in an LCN sample. The procedure recognized as valid by the International Scientific Community comes from replicate analysis: that is, it requires the division of the sample into two or more aliquots, with only those peaks recurring in at least two replicates being considered alleles.

The advantage of this approach is that if contamination occurs in a random and infrequent way, observing an allele several times increases the likelihood that it actually derives from the sample being examined, assuming that contamination did not happen during the sampling phase.

Most scientists who work with LCN stress the need to perform 2-3 replications, and state that an allele must be observed at least twice to be denominated as such: to date, allele redundancy is the recognized and accepted methodology, and is the cornerstone of reliable LCN typing:

(GUP hearing on 04.10.08, pages 21-22), to the question “…the testing of a trace of this type should be repeated several times to be considered reliable?” the Technical Consultant responds: “In theory yes”. To the question: How many times did you do it?” she responds: In this case only once”. Q: “Only once, and therefore in theory why ought it be considered more reliable if one does it several times?” A: Because reproducibility of the result is, so to speak, a good standard in any scientific experiment quite apart from forensic genetics, obviously in order to be considered valid a result must be repeatable.

Therefore, taking into account that in this specific case:

it does not appear that inspection procedures were carried out according to international protocols in order to minimize environmental contamination;

international protocols of collection and sampling of the item were not applied in order to minimize contamination from handling;

it is not known whether rigorous decontamination procedures were applied in the laboratory to minimize laboratory contamination;

a reliable method for quantifying the DNA from samples A-B-C was not employed, and the quantification performed with the Qubit Fluorimeter gave the result “too low” for samples B-C, indicating a DNA amount below the sensitivity threshold of the Fluorimeter (>200 pg/μl), and therefore indicative of a probable LCN sample;

the electrophoretic graphs exhibited show that the sample indicated with the letter B (knife blade) should have been considered an LCN sample (peak imbalance, RFU below 50 for most of the alleles) and as an LCN sample, all the precautions indicated by the International Scientific Community should have been applied. Amongst these we recall:

a) rigorous respect for decontamination procedures for the instrumentation, the laboratory and the staff (as already mentioned, the procedures adopted to minimize contamination are not reported);

b) testing of the item in a laboratory where no items ascribable to the victim were tested, to avoid any possibility of evidence contamination with already amplified DNA. On the contrary, it was reported that the item was placed for testing into a context where a considerable number of samples belonging to the victim had already been examined (Record of the Court of Assizes hearing on 23.05.09, pages 29-30: the knife was tested as one item in the course of 50 samples attributed to the victim, some were before the tests on the knife naturally, and others after, so of these 50…I don’t know the knife was placed, now I don’t know, at a fourth, a third of this series of tests…”);

c) performing 2-3 replicate amplifications with the development of a consensus profile. In the case in question, the amplification was only performed once; therefore the lack of replicate amplification with the development of a consensus profile provides unreliable results (GUP hearing on 05.10.08, pages 21-22: to the question, “…the testing of a trace of this type should be repeated several times to be considered reliable?” The TC responds: “In theory yes”. To the question: “How many times did you do it?” she responds: “In this case only once”. Q: “Only once, and therefore in theory why ought it be considered more reliable if one does it several times?” A: Because reproducibility of the result is, so to speak, a good standard in any scientific experiment quite apart from forensic genetics, obviously in order to be considered valid a result must be repeatable”).

d) employment of negative controls in the amplification procedure to check for the presence of contamination. In the attached eletropherograms, neither negative nor positive controls are reported.

Thus premised, in this specific case the following conclusions can be drawn:

– in relation to sample A (knife handle: identification code 47329), taking into account the considerations previously stated about the electrophoretic graph which shows peaks which exceed the 50 RFU threshold and allele balance (Hb=φab >0.60) in accordance with the presumed quantity of DNA used for the reaction (0.8 ng), we agree with the conclusion reached by the Technical Consultant about the attribution of the genetic profile obtained from this sample to Amanda Marie Knox;

– in relation to sample B (knife blade: identification code 47330), based on the considerations previously stated about the electrophoretic graph which shows peaks below the 50 RFU threshold and allele imbalance (Hb=φab >0.60) indicative of a Low Copy Number sample (LCN), taking into account that in this specific case none of the recommendations from the International Scientific Community relating to the treatment of Low Copy Number samples were followed, we do not accept the conclusions about the certain attribution of the profile detected in Sample B to the victim Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher since the genetic profile, as obtained, is unreliable in that it is not supported by scientifically valid analytical procedures.

Neither, as previously explained, can it be excluded that the result obtained from this sample may derive from contamination phenomena occurring at any stage of the collection and/or handling and/or analytical procedures performed.


– The tests that we conducted to determine the presence of blood on item 36 (knife) and item 165B (bra clasps) yielded a negative result.

– The cytomorphological tests on the items did not reveal the presence of cellular material. Some samples of item 36 (knife), in particular sample “H”, present granules with a circular/hexagonal characteristic morphology with a cental radial structure. A more detailed microscopic study, together with the consultation of data in the literature, allowed us to ascertain that the structures in question are attributable to granules of starch, thus matter of a vegetable nature.

– The quantification of the extracts obtained from the samples obtained from item 36 (knife) and item 165B (bra clasps), conducted via Real Time PCR, did not reveal the presence of DNA.

– In view of the absence of DNA in the extracts that we obtained, with the agreement of the consultants for the parties, we did not proceed to the subsequent amplification step.

Having examined the record and the relevant documents, we are able to report the following conclusions regarding the laboratory analyses performed on Item 36 (knife) and Item 165B (bra clasps):

Relative to the genetic analysis performed on trace A (handle of the knife), we agree with the conclusion reached by the Technical Consultant regarding the attribution of the genetic profile obtained from these samples to Amanda Marie Knox.

Relative to trace B (blade of the knife) we find that the technical analyses performed are not reliable for the following reasons:

1. There does not exist evidence which scientifically confirms that trace B (blade of knife) is the product of blood.

2. The electrophoretic profiles exhibited reveal that the sample indicated by the letter B (blade of knife) was a Low Copy Number (LCN) sample, and, as such, all of the precautions indicated by the international scientific community should have been applied.

3. Taking into account that none of the recommendations of the international scientific community relative to the treatment of Low Copy Number (LCN) samples were followed, we do not accept the conclusions regarding the certain attribution of the profile found on trace B (blade of knife) to the victim Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, since the genetic profile, as obtained, appears unreliable insofar as it is not supported by scientifically validated analysis;

4. International protocols of inspection, collection, and sampling were not followed;

5. It cannot be ruled out that the result obtained from sample B (blade of knife) derives from contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling and/or analyses performed.

Testimony Excerpts

Testimony of Patrizia Stefanoni October 4, 2008 page 178 – Stefanoni perjury at the pre-trial saying the DNA on the knife (sample 36B) was in the order of a few hundred pictograms and quantified with Real Time PCR.

Question: After which you passed to the quantification phase?
Stefanoni: Yes.
Question: Quantification which you did with Real Time, I imagine?
Stefanoni: Indeed yes.
Question: But in your opinion was it in the order of a few nanograms or almost [at the level of] picograms?
Stefanoni: Yes, it was in the order of a few hundred picograms, yes, for the total quantity.

May 23, 2009 p 166 – Stefanoni testifies she can’t remember how much DNA is on the knife.

Ghirga: One last question precisely in relation to how much emerged, the DNA extraction on the knife, you I believe, had said that you don’t remember how much DNA you extracted from the blade, from the scratches.
Stefanoni: No.
Ghirga: Is it possible to check the extraction log?
Stefanoni: Yes, one can check.
Ghirga: Is it a number that can be acquired?
Stefanoni: Yes.
Ghirga: One can obtain the extraction in the extraction log as you say?
Stefanoni: Yes.
Ghirga: But you do not remember, correct, how much DNA you extracted…
Stefanoni: One can obtain the true extraction amount from that S.A.L., that one yes.
Ghirga: But you do not remember now?
Stefanoni: No, here, no..
Ghirga: Can one acquire this data?
Stefanoni: Yes, the data of the extraction, yes.
Ghirga: Will you confirm then how much was… how much was the elution and the collection of DNA to do…
Stefanoni: Yes, it was concentrated in the first sweep, then it was quantified, and then after that it was re-concentrated to 10 micro liters.
Ghirga: Now, being interested in the exact quantity of DNA extracted from the scratches we can obtain it, let’s say in the court files, is that so?
Stefanoni: Yes.
Ghirga: Thank you.

Testimony of Dr Sarah Gino – Knox Defense September 26, 2009 page 1

Ghirga: With reference to Dr. Gino’s testimony today, it covers the material…..

Her commentary on the material produced on July 30, 2009 in accordance with an Order of the Court regarding the laboratory operations carried out by the Scientific Police of Rome on many and almost all the exhibits [findings, reperti] set out by the genetic consultancy already in the records signed by Dr. Stefanoni, [on] the oral testimony by Dr. Stefanoni, then her comment on the supporting documents of which she has knowledge and about which I would like to begin her [Dr. Gino’s] presentation, reserving certain further questions until after the completion.Thank you, so you have consulted that…

Dr. Gino: And so, at the end of July the documents were handed over which contained status reports, the reports of quantification performed both with a Qubit fluorometer [Qbit in the transcript] and with a Real-Time PCR.

I would start by analyzing that which follows from reading the Status reports in which we have information which indicates to us which personnel performed the analysis, the file number, the bio code number; which tells us that this file was shared with the ballistics and the latent fingerprints; which tells us the number of exhibits [findings or artifacts] analyzed was 229.

However there exists in the first section [part] of these records… I think there is some information that is missing, or to put it better, information which is not easy to interpret and is indicated at the beginning of the [laboratory] operations. The starting date of the operations is stated as “start date: Nov. 12, 2007” but reading the records further, one notices that some samples were extracted before that date, Nov. 12, 2007, for example the first sample indicated as L1074701000 shows Nov. 5, 2007, as the extraction date. Then regarding another element that is not clear to me, I wasn’t able to understand what the words “committed to writing on Dec. 6, 2008” could be the end of the {64} transcription [writing down] of the whole but the way it is stated, one cannot know what it means.

Further, there is a section with an index of exhibits [findings], a code is assigned to each finding, the number of traces which were drawn from that finding, and a description of the finding. Now we move over to the list of traces: there is a code assigned to each trace, indicating what was the code of the sample when it was amplified, the type of the trace, a description of the sample. Then we move to the quantity of the extract which is always indicated as equal to 50 without a measurement unit however – but those in the profession know it so we can assume that this 50 indicates 50 microliters.

There is also a section [fase] indicating the outcome of a diagnostic of the [sample’s] nature, that is the outcome of that stage of laboratory investigation which tells me the provenance of the trace I have obtained, whether it is blood rather than saliva, rather than sperm. Once again, the outcome of the diagnostics of nature which, as we have said, tells us the type… the nature, the origin of the sample we are analyzing: for blood tests were performed, for example, such as tetramethylbenzidine or luminol; with regard to traces presumed to be of saliva, for example, whether amylase was run or not; for traces of semen, too, there is an indication [si valuta] if it was run … what kind of diagnostics for provenance was carried out.

Then we move to extraction, the extraction phase, and it is indicated – they are indicated: the date[s] of the first, second and third extractions for almost… for all the samples which are reported in the cards; we are talking about a single extraction so we have the date, the first date. Then the quantification is shown, also three dates are expected, however we note that in these index cards [schede] the indication of the date is missing – missing is the indication of the date of quantification.

[T]oday, at this moment, we can go back to when the quantification was carried out by analyzing {65} the reports that have been presented regarding both Real Time PCR and the Qubit fluorometer yet by reading the SAL cards, that does not show up; after which we pass to the amplification. As part of the information the dates of the first, second and third amplification should be included and the type of commercial kit used for the amplification of that trace.

Both these pieces of information are missing from the SAL cards. As far as the kit is concerned, we can determine it by studying the technical report deposited by Dr. Stefanoni but for the date… as regards the date, there is an omission in the documents we have today, even after the requests which have been made: we have no indications of when the samples were amplified – and why is that very important?

Because we do not know which samples, which traces were amplified together, we do not know if these traces were amplified repeatedly or there was only one amplification, and obviously this missing data is of certain importance because, for example, we have talked of problems of possible…

Massei: Let’s avoid comments which become rumors.
Dr. Gino: Of possible contamination among the samples, for without knowing the date of amplification we cannot know whether it could have occurred;

Also, regarding the amplification, everything related to the volume of the reagents, as well as to the amount of DNA for all samples under investigation, is missing.Then we turn to the stage of capillary electrophoresis, hence to the stage which is indicated here as a ran [sic – transcription error?] number [of] an instrument, then to the final stage where we obtain the raw data which is then analyzed with software and which gives us the genetic profile of the subject who left the biological trace also with regard to this type of investigation we do not have (inaudible) information relating {66} to the date and the tool that was used.

[A]s far as the dates are concerned, we can retrieve them from the electropherograms which were deposited; therefore, of all this information I have highlighted as missing, the pieces which are truly missing and which, hence, do not allow us to provide an assessment of these samples which were amplified together are [è] exactly the date of the amplification and the possibility that the amplification – the stage we call the apex of the laboratory investigation – might have been repeated. Why is it important to also know if it was repeated or not?

It is important above all regarding these traces that we have always defined as low copy number [LCN further on], namely those traces which contain a tiny amount of DNA and for which – as we have already discussed previously and I would not return to the subject – it was necessary according to the guidelines that they should be… in short, the guidelines followed by the international community are not to re-amplify so we do not know if the genetic profile eventually obtained was a true profile or rather a profile borne out of what?

Out of all those artifacts that can arise when one works in the presence of LCN DNA, therefore of DNA present in very low amounts, less than we said last time… I would say less than 100 picograms; I will note that even some articles, in fact, speak of low copy number under 200 picograms which is definitely more… a greater amount than the 100 picograms I have pointed out.

These are the considerations I have to make regarding the SAL index cards, and finally to add to this, some exhibits are not… for some samples the SAL cards have not been found at least in the documents which we have at our disposal but this, I believe, was already said before me by Prof. Tagliabracci, for example exhibit 29 regarding the oral tampons from {67} Lumumba; better still, exhibit 58 – so this is the first point I have considered in the analysis of these documents.

Ghirga: OK.
Dr. Gino: This is a summary of what I have said so far, therefore we have the lack of that information… [to] the lack of this information one should add however other omissions of some importance.

We have said that for the extraction, reported were the date, the final volume, and also – in the technical report which was deposited – the method employed. However it was often said in the recent hearings, as well as before the GUP, that there is a possibility some samples were concentrated; the SALs omit an indication of concentration for some samples [we have been told?], for example sample 36 B, the one drawn from the blade of the kitchen knife which concerns the Knox defense, for example; that the sample was concentrated both before the quantification and afterwards, during the quantification, – of that, there is not a trace in the SALs.

In addition, with regard to… in addition, note that the absence of the date of the amplification prevents us from understanding which samples went together; prevents us from excluding possible contamination; not stated in the report [reazione = misprint of relazione?] as we have said… are the numbers of cycles which were performed, thus if there were modifications to the protocol normally specified by the manufacturer or supplier of these amplification kits generally used in forensic genetic laboratories.

The second point, the quantification: reports for two different types of quantification were deposited.First, the Qubit fluorometer manufactured by Invitrogen used with a commercial DNA quantity (inaudible) kit sensitivity 0.2-100 nanograms which is {68} manufactured by Invitrogen; that kit is highly selective for double-stranded DNA but is not specific for human DNA.It is able to quantify DNA with a double spiral, and as we said in a range between 0.2-100 nanograms, 0.2 nanograms corresponding to 200 picograms which, as we said, is the threshold to be able to consider the quantity of DNA present in this sample low copy number.

The manufacturer however makes an effort to stress that these 0.2-200 nanograms correspond to an initial concentration of DNA in the sample equal to 10 picograms/microliter-100 nanograms/microliter.The second method used for quantification is Real Time PCR using as a commercial kit [inaudible] all produced by Play Bajo [?] System (or similar), which kit, unlike the previous one, which used with a fluorometer, is almost specific for the human – I say almost because it can produce false negatives, that is, they can give a major reaction with primates, therefore with monkeys, and its sensitivity is equal to 10 picograms per microliter. What remarks can we make about the documentation provided?

To begin with, in all these reports deposited and in the oral testimony in which Dr. Stefanoni was heard both before the GUP and before this Court it never emerged that a different method than Real Time PCR had been used for quantification; instead, analyzing the documents provided, one sees that on November 6, 16, 14 November some samples, among which the extractions A, B, and C from exhibit 36 – the knife which interests the Knox defense – were not… were not quantified, sorry, with the Qubit fluorometer and the results for the traces B and C, B being the trace which is said to have been present at the level of scratches on the blade of the knife, turned out to be “too low”.

What does that mean? “Too low” is that we can find in the card which was presented, “too low” could mean, signifies according to common sense that that value was probably [forse] {69} too low relative to the threshold of the kit and also it could not be… one cannot tell whether it was DNA or not and more probably – seeing that, as we have said, the manufacturer states that the threshold of the kid is equal to… is less than 10 picograms per microliter – means that this trace could be the quantity of DNA present in that trace; could also be equal to zero; alternatively it could be… we could be in the absence of DNA, human and not, because we remember this kit does not detect only DNA but also detects the DNA of other animals.

Those samples were nonetheless amplified, some even after concentration, and genetic profiles were obtained related to sample 36B and another sample, which produced “too low” [and] instead ended up in amplification, is sample 33A and another, switch blade knife, which was seized in Sollecito’s house. Now the question we are asking is whether the concentration of the DNA was below 10 picograms/microliter [so] we were surely in the presence of LCN DNA and still I repeat – without entering into the merits of the discussion which we had during the previous hearing — [that] you may not have followed the guidelines for the result obtained to be considered scientifically valid, for we remember that the sample was amplified once and amplifications for verification purposes [di prova] were not performed, which nonetheless was provided for by the guidelines.

Also [regarding] sample 36B in general, from the documents we have at our disposal, those that were made available on July 30, we can note certain inconsistencies as to what was said before the GUP or otherwise in the technical report.[F]irst of all, before the GUP and, to be precise, on page 178 of the transcript one reads that the quantification for that exhibit 36B was in the order of several hundred pictograms. We have seen that in these documents placed at our disposal, there is, first of all, no {70} quantification performed with Identifiler, contrary to what was claimed, and that above all this sample gave a reading of “too low”, therefore it is difficult to claim that there were several hundred picograms.

In addition, the technical report deposited, on page 78, also [sempre] speaks of traces which were extracted from the knife, the knife of interest exhibit 36; the traces positive at quantification, traces A and B, were subjected to amplification and subsequent capillary electrophoresis and the traces negative at quantification, C, D, E, F, G, were analyzed after concentration by using [name transcribed as “peed buck”] or similar tools etc. etc.

Hence two contradictions: first, the result obtained with the fluorometer for trace B and trace C are exactly the same, “too low”, however trace B was shown as positive at quantification and trace C, negative. Second, we must point out that in her testimony before the GUP Dr. Stefanoni affirmed that trace B had been concentrated before extraction and subsequent to the quantification in which she obtained a final volume of the extract equal to 10 microliters, which was all used for the amplification; it does not show in the technical report, which actually says that only traces C, D, E, F, G were concentrated.

Therefore my question in this: if trace B was not concentrated, why was not the amplification repeated? Further, the quantification of exhibit B, 36B, at this point is controversial because it is stated as positive in the report, negative as regards the outcome of the fluorometer, and also the method used in this quantification is not Real Time PCR but all three traces, A, B, and C were quantified using the fluorometer but the successive traces D, E, F, G, which were the traces extracted after December 17, if I am not mistaken, were actually quantified with {71} Real Time PCR and the result was given as equal to zero as DNA quantification.

This is as concerns the famous knife, which we have much discussed.

Del Grosso: If you please, Doctor, if we can summarize some… briefly some aspects which have emerged from your report at this moment, I would like to know one thing: just now we have acquired the data on the quantity of the DNA found in the various traces which was later amplified and…
Dr. Gino: Exactly, only at this moment…
Del Grosso: In the technical report, we did not have this data?
Dr. Gino: This data – we did not have it; we had at most a table telling us whether quantification was performed or no, however in this table, it is Real Time PCR that is always reported as the method and never the fluorometer.
Del Grosso: Exactly, then before these documents were produced in July 2009 what was the information in our possession, of the Defense and of you consultants, related to exhibit 36 B?
Dr. Gino: That which is written in the technical report and also that which I have reported, that the trace gave a positive result at the quantification, traces A and B were then subjected to amplification, to capillary electrophoresis but the other traces C, D, E, F, G were negative, and also what Dr. Stefanoni told us at a hearing – in particular, I recall what she said before the GUP at this moment so I know exactly…
Del Grosso: Let me look…I’m reading page 100… 178 of the oral testimony of Dr. Stefanoni October 4, 2008, before the judge of preliminary hearing, to the question, “But according to you, what was the quantity?” {72} “Yes, in the order of several hundred picograms” responded Dr. Stefanoni.Is that data, the order of several hundred picograms, compatible with the result which we have, “too low”, from the Qubit fluorometer?
Dr. Gino: No, it is not compatible.
Del Grosso: Why do we remember what is the quantity…
Dr. Gino: It is not compatible because if had been truly several hundred picograms, the fluorometer would have seen that and there would have been a number, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, however it was written “too low”.
Del Grosso: Before these documents were produced in July 2009, we knew, as you have said, that this DNA was quantified with an apparatus called Real Time PCR.
Dr. Gino: Yes, exactly.
Del Grosso: Now, however?
Dr. Gino: Now we know that the tool used was a different one because on these dates… let me look back at a slide so I don’t say something wrong: November 6, 13, 14 – the samples which were extracted on those days were quantified with the Qubit fluorometer.
Del Grosso: What is a different apparatus, if you can explain why and what respects?
Dr. Gino: It’s different, properly speaking…
Del Grosso: I’m asking you because…
Dr. Gino: The method used is of a different type.
Del Grosso: It is not specific for human DNA?
Dr. Gino: The kit which was used is not specific for human DNA, therefore some samples which may have tested positive but then did not produce genetic profiles — why?

Because instead of DNA, it was DNA of some other animal and the principle upon which it is based is different…Real Time PCR is nothing else but an amplification which {73} is being performed, and it is more precise because it gives us additional indications that can help us to build our successive amplification, which is what should lead us to obtaining a genetic profile in such a way that it is done under the best conditions possible, in the sense that Real Time PCR, for example – call it pi-ci-ar if you wish – also gives us indications, for example, whether inhibitors are present or not, which is very important for the forensic geneticist but is impossible with a fluorometer.

Del Grosso: Hence, according to you, we have discrepancies between what followed from the technical report and what was reported during the hearing before the GUP by Dr. Stefanoni and what emerges from the documents produced in July 2009?
Dr. Gino: Yes, certainly we do and I have listed them before.
Del Grosso: The last question then, which is a clarification for me, when you spoke of the concentration referred to by Dr. Stefanoni of trace 36, if you could explain that… you have identified a certain inconsistency between…
Dr. Gino: As regards that trace 36 B, let me say this track seems unfortunate because there is a whole series of inconsistencies.

First of all, it has been stated that it was quantified with Real Time but in reality it was quantified with Qubit; the result was put down as “too low” but was stated as positive in the report; whereas trace C, which resulted in “too low”, also with Qubit, was indicated as negative.Regarding trace 36, during a preliminary hearing it was stated that there was a trace that was concentrated before quantification and after the quantification. Of all this, there is not a trace in the technical report, because in the report… nor in the SALs because the technical report says that traces C, D, E, F and G were concentrated however trace 36 B is indicated in the report as… as equal to trace A, positive at quantification.

There is an inconsistency regarding these documents.

Knox Defense Consultant Professor Carlo Torre July 6, 2009 page 4

Prof Torre [….]

So here right away we see how stupid the reconstruction of facts was by the experts lets say of the U.A.C.V. of the Polizia Scientifica because in their reconstruction, these are images that I took from their dvd they propose directions of the pathways randomly [‘a capocchia’] it doesn’t make sense imagining this knife going towards… towards the right because the pathway goes… it goes to the left because the path goes toward the right, this is already a little bit more correct but holy cow it is straight precisely from the front toward the back, this just to say that the agent must not believe that making tridimensional reconstructions allows you to see better how things happened, it shows what he had in his head and what he had in his head was enormously incorrect.

Let’s come to our knife, this famous knife of which I have an identical one, by now Maglietti is getting rich with when taken to trial this is exactly the same as that one there. So we have this knife… We know that the blade is about 17.5 centimeters long now let’s not niche ourselves if it’s 17.6, 17.2 and so on, we have that length, we have a back that is about 1, 1.5 centimeters wide and we have a height, that is the widest point… (this is why I had before presented that general knife to say what the various widths of the knife are called) is 3 centimeters.Now if we consider our wound C we know that wound C is about 1 centimeter long apart from the little tail and we know that this blade, where it is one centimeter high, from that point, the distance between this point in height, is one centimeter and the point of the knife is 1.55 cm, wound C has a pathway 4 cm long.

I say it’s not that it’s difficult, it’s impossible that a knife like this obtains a flesh wound of the order of about one centimeter or even a centimeter and 2 and a pathway of four centimeters, there isn’t in that location any structure that can explain to me the reason that wound should be so short and instead a small knife like this because a small knife like this was utilized, that penetrates at 4 cm is about… excuse me where it is a centimeter tall it can easily make a pathway of four centimeters, but you ask yourself why didn’t it penetrate all the way? It didn’t penetrate all the way because it came up against the jawbone while rather this knife I’ll continue to repeat from the other side where the largest wound is it went with a coming and going movement mangling the deep tissue and made the wound that could have made, that is, made a wound of 8 centimeters.

If a knife like this had been used let’s return again… return to our knife, our knife if inserted with the indirectness with which it was produced, it wouldn’t have made a one centimeter wound and not even a centimeter and a half but of two centimeters and a half to be able to create a pathway of four centimeters. I’d say that this, I am not a friend of mathematics and of measurements but I’d say that it’s unequivocal data, I repeat again this is a head of natural size but if I stab this head with this knife and there is determination, that wound is an insisted thing, knives cut, there there is nothing resisting, if not an Hyoid bone which is insignificant and so if I cross this knife why does it have to stop here, why? There’s no reason above all in an insistent action it would have surely crossed that neck from part to part.

Yet another thing here that is bad is why I hate it when suggestions are made to people who are not in the field, news that could be misleading, Doctor Stefanoni when she was asked about the abrasions, it was important… she says “I found DNA in that… I took a sample in the scratches” now if one sees scratches they photograph it, she says: “it was small” we told her: “you needed to look at it under a microscope” and she: “but how… under the microscope it would be necessary to color it, make…” … now I would like that it be clear to whomever must evaluate that two types of microscopes exist, microscopes with transmitted light in which I put a small piece of glass, they are those pieces of glass that they use in histology to make diagnoses if one has a tumor or pneumonia or even if a cadaver appears to have red globules of aspirated blood in the lungs well then I have to take a very thin slice, I have to put it between two pieces of glass, then having appropriately colored it because if not I see nothing, why the color?

Because nuclei are colored with a colorant called hematoxylin, the cytoplasm with one called eosin, the elastic fiber with another called orcein and now I have a complete picture. Now saying that one must manipulate in some way an object to look at it under a microscope astounds because the microscope rather has a light and this is the microscope’s dimensionality. The other day I took a random knife, I put it underneath, I took a photo one can see other than scratches it is just the instrument without any manipulation, an operation absolutely repeatable permits me to take a photograph zooming in on any scratches and eventually also revealing on the inside of those scratches there is something organic, another voice is the basis of the identification of bullets [proietti – perhaps a typo “proiettili” is bullets “proietti is meaningless], the micro-streaks are made in this way using the stereo microscope.

Not to cause problems but just to clarify that Doctor Stefanoni could have easily looked at those micro scratches or macro scratches in order to document them and that it doesn’t correspond with the truth the fact that to see it she would have had to manipulate the knife. Other wounds, we said there were other wounds other than that of the cutting and pricking instrument, that we saw all in the same direction and it is my view that they are very compatible with a small knife, with a blade of about eight centimeters to a height of a centimeter, a centimeter and a half, absolutely incompatible that which I indicated as wound C with the large Marietti knife (Raffaele’s) in custody and incompatible for the method of action also with that indicated as wound A.


Sollecito defense consultant, Professor Francesco Vinci, clearly showed the kitchen knife was to large to make the imprint on the bed. Professor Vinci’s report is in the documents table below.


knifw 03





A knife like this is much more likely to be the “murder weapon”

The knife was chosen because it looked “clean”?

Trace Locations
The locations of DNA traces A to G


Description Document Description Document
Hellmann Report – Exhibit 36b English
Hellmann Report: Why it makes no sense to think that the knife seized from Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen was used in the commission of this crime English The Conti-Vecchiotti Report Italian – English
Testimony Jul 06, 2009: Professor Carlo Torre Italian – English Professor Vinci Knife Analysis Italian
Testimony Jul 06, 2009: Dr Sara Gino Italian Dr Sarah Gino Presentation Italian
Testimony Sep 14, 2009: Professor Adriano Tagliabracci Italian Berti-Barni Report about knife sample 36I Italian
Testimony Sep, 25 2009: Dr Walter Patumi Italian Patrizia Stefanoni DNA Presentation Forensics Presentation
Testimony Sep 26, 2009: Dr Sarah Gino Italian – English Knife e-grams / Test results Download
Testimony Jul 25, 2011: Profs Conti-Vecchiotti Italian Scientific Police knife images Download
Testimony Oct 04, 2013: Andrea Berti / Filippo Barni Italian Scientific Police knife e-grams Download


DNA and the law in Italy: the experience of “the Perugia case” by Profs Carla Vecchiotti and Silvia Zoppis. Reviewed by Profs David Balding and Joelle Vuille

The Italian supreme court’s dangerously erroneous views on forensic DNA contamination by Professor Chris Halkides

Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito: Problems with LCN DNA Testing by Mark Waterbury PhD

Bruce Budowle Letter Executive Director of the Institute of Investigative Genetics, Vice Chair and Professor in the Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth Texas.

DNA Case Study: Amanda Knox by Elizabeth A Johnson, PhD

Understanding the independent DNA experts’ report in the Amanda Knox case by MBA DNA Consulting


[1] Testimony of Armando Finzi p176 – 177

Question: What did you do?
Answer: Exactly, the first thing that I did, in that I had my back to the door, there was a kitchen drawer and I opened it, I opened the first kitchen drawer.
Question: You had the gloves on obviously, let’s just repeat that
Answer: We had on new clean gloves. So the first thing I saw was a large knife. I should state that it was very clean.
[text eliminated about verifying knife being referred to is the same as in photo, and about size of knife]
Question: Were there other knives?
Answer: There were other knives yes however I took this knife because in the briefing that had been given to us, using investigative intuition, I took it and I showed it immediately to Dr. Chiacchiera, I said: “Doctor I would take this” and Dr Chiacchiera …
Question: You mean it was a knife that could have been relevant?
Answer: It could have been relevant in that the blade could have been by my reckoning compatible with the injuries that I had never seen however I knew they were serious.

[2] Testimony of Stefano Gubbiotti p202

DOMANDA – Che cosa ha fatto quindi, ha aperto la busta?
RISPOSTA – Avevo a disposizione una scatolina, un porta agenda di cartone e…
PRESIDENTE – Scusi, scatolina e porta oggetti è la stessa cosa?
RISPOSTA – La scatola era un porta agenda, cioè praticamente era il contenitore di un’agenda di cartone fino, se non sbaglio Renato Balestra, di solito abbiamo, che facciamo i reperti, teniamo sempre delle scatole in ufficio in modo tale da poter repertare…
DOMANDA – Scatole nuove?
RISPOSTA – Sono praticamente scatole, tolgo l’agenda dalla scatola e la scatola la metto da una parte. E quindi ho iniziato la repertazione.
DOMANDA – Si ricorda che agenda era quella contenuta in questa scatola?
RISPOSTA – No, credo che sia stata un’agenda in pelle della banca, qualcosa del genere.
DOMANDA – Quindi lei ha preso questa scatola.
RISPOSTA – Ho preso il coltello e l’ho messo all’interno della…

[3] Knox Defense Closing Arguments p 43

The second coincidence in timing, take it in the best way, one is when they have to release Lumumba, there’s the biological result of the DNA trace on the knife, 16 – 17 November, 13 is the laboratory analysis, 16 they find Rudy Guede, 17 Valentini brings the DNA on the face of the knife.

[4] Conti-Vecchiotti Report p 62

Since from the Real Time quantification (never carried out!) she obtained a concentration of “a few hundred picograms of DNA” (GUP, page 178) she took steps to further concentrate the extract in order to obtain a final volume of 10 μl which she would have used for the PCR reaction.

Conti-Vecchiotti Report Quantification of DNA

October 4, 2008 Transcript page 178

[5] Perugia, una lunga scia di Dna contro Amanda, Rudy e RaffaeleLa s cientifica: «Quadro accusatorio inattaccabile». Cinquecento reper ti prelevati proverebbero la presenza dei tre nella casa di Mez

[6] Testimony of Professor Tagliabracci Sept 14, 2009

CONSULENTE – Di alcune diapositive che ho preparato in relazione ai requisiti che mi ha posto ora l’Avvocato Bongiorno. Dunque, abbiamo ricevuto come diceva stamattina circa 300 pagine non numerate di due tipologie di documenti uno si chiama “stato avanzamento lavori” che chiameremo s.a.l. d’ora in poi per non essere troppo lunghi e l’altro si chiama… sono dei report di quantificazione del DNA che sono stati… che sono di due tipi essenzialmente, una quantizzazione effettuata con una macchina e una tecnologica che si chiama Real Time PCR e l’altra Con fluorimetro. Quella che vedete qui è la scheda di stato avanzamento lavori, ne ho presa una ma sono… insomma è un prototipo sono più o meno tutte uguali in cui vengono riportati diverse voci, il funzionario la Dottoressa Stefanoni che ha eseguito l’indagine e poi l’elenco dei reperti, l’elenco delle tracce, il codice della traccia, infine in basso le ultime righe la data di estrazione che vedete qui è riportata, poi sono previste altre due o tre estrazioni seconda o terza estrazione quantificazione, amplificazione via dicendo. In realtà questo stato avanzamento lavori possiamo definirlo uno stato iniziale dei lavori perché viene riportato soltanto la prima estrazione, non abbiamo poi più menzione per quanto riguarda eventuali estrazioni successive, la quantificazione, l’amplificazione e quindi un kit commerciale che è stato usato e la corsa elettroforetica, quindi si tratta di uno stato di avanzamento lavori che comprende soltanto una parte del percorso direi quello iniziale che ha seguito la traccia.

[7] Transcript September 14, 2009 p 18

[8] October 9, 2009: Court of Perugia Assise Request Pursuant to Art.507 Code of Criminal Procedure – (Italian) – (English)

Massei Report p 20-21

[9] Massei Report p 375

The owner of this house, were this knife not to be found in the Corso Garibaldi house, would have been able to remember its presence and note the absence of this utensil, and this circumstance would have been able to constitute a trace, an investigative hypothesis upon which Raffaele Sollecito may have been called in to supply an explanation for.

[10] Massei Report p 376

Now, concerning how this knife could have found itself in the house at Via della Pergola when Meredith was killed, and in the custody of Amanda, the following must be observed: Amanda had with her a very large handbag, as Romanelli declared (page 51, hearing of 7 February 2009); in this handbag there could have been found a place for the knife in question. Amanda, in her various movements [about town], as for example to take herself to the le Chic pub situated in Via Alessi, could have found herself walking alone, even late into the night, on roads that could have seemed not very safe for a girl to be on at night time. It is thus possible and in fact probable, considering the relationship that Raffaele Sollecito had with knives (he never separated himself from his knife, as has been seen), that Amanda, advised and convinced by her boyfriend, that is Raffaele Sollecito, to take this knife with her, if not only to make her feel more secure, and that, if necessary, it could have served as a deterrent against possible ill-intentioned persons that, at night and on her own, she may have encountered. Furthermore, since it was a kitchen knife, Amanda, were she to be checked, would have been able to easily explain why she was carrying it.

The presence of this knife in the house at Via della Pergola when Meredith was killed, and its discovery in Raffaele Sollecito’s house, thus find plausible explanations. It is moreover quite plausible that Amanda, holding this knife in her own spacious handbag, when together with Raffaele they found themselves in the house at Via della Pergola in the late evening of the 1st [404] November, may have been able to take this knife at some point during Rudy’s advances, Meredith’s refusal and Rudy’s reaction, perhaps with the intention, initially, of mere threat.

[11] Conti-Vecchiotti Report p 3

[12] Berti-Barni Transcript October 4, 2013 p 23

ANDREA BERTI: Sì, sì, sì, è chiaro. Chiaramente la scelta… anche qui, le indicazioni di tutta la comunità scientifica in casi complessi riportano la dicitura, la possiamo citare direttamente, “almeno due ripetizioni”. Questa è l’indicazione. Chiaramente la nostra scelta di non farne tre o quattro è perché dovevamo trovare il giusto compromesso tra il mettere comunque una quantità consistente e ripetere l’analisi, quindi il giusto compromesso…


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