Top Wrongful Convictions – #2 Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

XX_OG40A001S WEB.pdfThis is the second is a series of short posts, my personal “top” wrongful convictions.

The purpose is to explain that “you may be wrong”.

Remember that in every wrongful conviction, a jury is fooled into believing the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Every wrongful conviction has a cause, sometimes there are multiple causes.

I have chosen the case of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as #2. If you have never heard of this case, then I think you cannot read the newspapers much! This was the case that got me interested in the whole subject of wrongful convictions.

Amanda and Raffaele were (thankfully!) exonerated on March 27th, 2015.

My view of the causes:

  • Prosecutors often focus on a person or persons who discover the body or who are first at the scene. They can easily be a target for suspicion. Amanda especially, who was living with Meredith Kercher, was quite reasonably a suspect.
  • A coerced confession. In fact Amanda didn’t confess to a crime, but she was persuaded to sign a statement stating that she had been present at the cottage that evening, when in truth she was not. Her “confession” implicated an innocent man, Patrick Lumumba, a clear indication that it was coerced.
  • The police then fabricated DNA forensic evidence to confirm Amanda and Raffaele’s involvement, even though it was far more plausible that the murder was the work of Rudy Guede alone. Understanding why this DNA evidence is invalid is one of the most interesting aspects of the case.
  • The police also concocted a demonstrably false theory that Amanda and Raffaele had staged a break-in, by throwing a rock through a window from the inside. In reality, a careful study of the evidence conclusively shows that the rock was thrown from the outside, forcing the window shutter.

That’s a brief summary of the case. Another reliable consideration is that Amanda and Raffaele did not have the criminal background or motive to carry out such a brutal killing. Where there is no plausible motive, or evidence of past criminal activities, I find almost invariably there is a wrongful conviction. People should in fact be more sceptical, and consider that police may have twisted and fabricated evidence to make a case for guilt.

Further reading:

Jodi Arias – the pre-trial hearing on October 16

It seems to me there is reason to believe Jodi did forge the ten letters excluded from evidence.
The defense state they are not going to rely on the letters in any way, but Juan wanted to bring them in, and to have testimony that there was evidence of Jodi practising TA’s handwriting.
Kirk mentions “collateral estoppel”
Kirk also mentions Juan asking defense witnesses hypothetical questions about the letters in interviews.
If Jodi forged the letters, this could be one reason Kirk didn’t like Jodi 9 days out of 10!

Top Wrongful Convictions – #1 Debra Milke

Debra YoungThis is a new series of short posts, my personal “top” wrongful convictions.

The purpose is to explain that “you may be wrong”.

Remember that in every wrongful conviction, a jury is fooled into believing the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Every wrongful conviction has a cause, sometimes there are multiple causes.

I will start with a very recent exoneration, Debra Milke.

My view of the causes:

(1) Debra was implicated by hearsay. Statements by the true perpetrators of the crime.

(2) A crooked detective decided to “claim the glory” by claiming Debra confessed.

(3) The long record of misconduct by the detective was suppressed.

(4) The prosecution succeeded in turning Debra’s close relatives against her.

(5) The motive of the real killer was hard to comprehend.

For details on the case, see here or Entry at The National Registry of Exonerations.

Scott Peterson – Edward W. Edwards – IKLP Code Cracked

Summary: Edward Wayne Edwards, who later confessed to being a serial killer, constructed both the Zodiac code and the IKLP code.

The IKLP ( “I Killed Laci Peterson” ) Short Code is


Source :, Page 4 (Copy:The_IKLP_Investigation) See also IKLP posts updated 09-25-08
which is linked from

When will the games end?

Many of you may have been following the discussion on OPORD Analytical’s forum, based on the claims by its owner, Mr. Chris Farmer, to have cracked the IKLP code. For those of you who haven’t been, this is a brief background.

IKLP Code & Rhymes

From March 22, 2005 through August 6, 2006, a poster using the handle “I Killed Laci Peterson” posted 544 messages on the Fratpack forum. As is often the case, the handle was shortened to the acronym IKLP when addressed by other members. The 544 messages mostly consisted of rhymes about the Laci Peterson case, presented as “clues” to the identity of the murderer, and taunts and jabs directed at specific members of Fratpack.

IKLP outrightly claimed to be Laci’s abductor and murderer, not only by the handle but in the content of many of the rhymes.

So, take 28527-8240-791-94-7 and drop the 0 and every other digit ( the same as for the decoding of the Zodiac Short Code , which decodes to “I’M EDWARD E” ) and you have :

8 2 8 4 9 9 7

Take the letters of EDWARD E, remove duplicates : EDWAR

Assign the used digits from the short code, descending order
9 – E ( “e” is similar to mirror image of “9” )
8 – D ( “8” can be made with two D’s – see Zodiac code )
7 – W ( W can be made from two 7s )
4 – A ( “A” when tilted to the right becomes “4” )
2 – R ( “R” is slightly similar to “2” )

Apply cipher to string 8 2 8 4 9 9 7 => D R D A E E W

Unscramble ( Anagram ) D R D A E E W => E D W A R D  E.

Going the other way

To look at it the other way, suppose Edwards wants to sign himself “Edward E” using numbers, in a memorable way.

He needs digits for these letters “EDWAR”.
He thinks 987654321 – how shall I assign, to be memorable?
E = e reversed is 9.
D = 8 ( he used this before)
W = 7 7 ( if you rotate the sevens )
A = 4 ( if you tip the A over )
R = 2 ( not that similar, but slightly )

So he takes these codes and gets 9874289
Now change the order 8284997
Finally, mix in arbitrary alternate digits (2,5,7,2,7,1,4) and a “0” ( the same Steganography as used in the Zodiac short code  ) and you get ( note : this is the even digits, then zero, then the odd digits ).

28527-8240-791-94-7 : that is the code he used.


You might quite reasonably ask : how arbitrary is this decoding?

It might seem reasonable to be sceptical, until you realise Edwards used a similar scheme in his Zodiac short code. To some extent the coding is “mnenomic”, associations that could be remembered, mirroring, putting two symbols together, etc.

The conclusion: IKLP was Edward Wayne Edwards, and likely he was involved in Laci’s abduction and murder.

See also Notes on Edward Wayne Edwards and Killer of Laci Peterson identified?

Also published as a Facebook Note at Scott Peterson is Innocent

Notes on Edward Wayne Edwards

October 1972 

Prison interviews, Part 1: 

Part 2 : 

More | More | More

John Cameron talks about Edwards July 2014:

Some notes I made while listening to

A Zodiac cryptogram decodes to Edward Edwards name. “I’M EDWARD E”

In most cases, someone else was convicted of Edwards’ crime.

He was FBI informant from 1950, on his own murders.

His family moved, he would make friends with the police, using an assumed identity. He used “Wayne” as his first name when assuming an alias.

He used police uniforms, and sent setup letters.

Some setups executed, some still serving.

Jon Benet Ramsey is tied in by signature on letter. Victory SBTC.

The MO is kill on Christian holidays. Letters suggested look for a satanist.

In 2000s he was blogger. On murder sites.

1st killing 1946, Chicago. Young girl, lured to basement, dismembered. Taunted press. 13 years old. Started aged 11.

He put up websites on early killings. Black Dahlia. Put up 2002.

John Anthony Cameron has been working on it for 5 years.

Ideas from Satanism, carried out.

Deb Laveson The number of cases he didn’t put into the book, George, is an amazing number, not because Edwards didn’t do them, but because they never got the sensational news stories like Laci did and so researching them was much more difficult. It took him awhile to figure out how to get the media attention, but once he did, he did it EVERY TIME.

John had no idea where it was going to go, magnitude.

Died aged 77, natural causes, in 2011.

Sent him Candy in prison ( diabetic, may have contributed to death? )

Count in 1996 – 500 people murdered.

Deb Laveson “Highly unlikely. Edwards probably used the candy for favors in the prison hospital.”

Psychology is contempt for “system”.

After Edwards died, John thought he would just write a book.

Big years 1946 – 1996. Announced 500 people murdered.

BlackDahlia website has details of codes ( confirmed earlier racking ).

Started to make timeline of killings. Took 3 years. Still finding more murders.

Zodiac killer was always false leads, haha, smarter than you.

Edwards sent John Walsh letters, revealed in 2006.

Edwards would go to towns and create terror.

“Scorpion” letters.

Zodiac sign written in lipstick. bathtub murder, 2010. Last setup. False confession, setup plead guilty, due to death penalty.

Commonality – biggest, tied to book, “Metamorphis of a killer”, published 1972. Establishes where he was.

He was in every major city in the US.

He was informing FBI.

Sent letters to press or victim’s family.

Comments originally posted at

See also Killer of Laci Peterson identified? and Scott Peterson – Edward W. Edwards – IKLP Code Cracked ?

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Amanda Webb doesn’t know

Summary: Amanda Webb, who worked for Walmart folding clothes in 2008, doesn’t know if the records were complete, or whether they put new computers in the new store, when it relocated in 2010.

Rough transcript:


JM: Your name please?
AW: My name is Amanda Webb
JM: And who do you work for?
AW: I work for Walmart.
JM: And what do you do for Walmart?
AW: I’m an Asset Protection Manager, umm..I [some description of job omitted] I investigate thefts.
JM: How long have you been working for Walmart?
AW: It’s been 7 years now.
JM: Did you have occasion to deal with exhibit 237. Are you familiar with this?
AW: I am
JM: This is a Walmart receipt, correct?
AW: Yes.
JM: And the Walmart that’s involved, where is it located?
AW: It’s in Salinas, at this time it was on Davis, North Davis, it’s now moved to, it’s not Monterey Road, it’s Veronda now. It’s the same store, same information, different locations.
JM: And this particular.. do you live around Salinas?
AW: I do, about 45 minutes maybe from Salinas.
JM: And this particular receipt …at the bottom?
AW: So that’s a gas can. Our system tells us it’s a gas can, it doesn’t tell us too much more than that. [some omitted]
JM: What is it?
AW: It’s a gas can.
JM: Did you also have the chance to research whether this gas can purchased on this receipt was ever returned, or a refund given?
AW: I did.
JM: How did you go about researching, finding out whether this gas can purchased on this receipt was ever returned, or a refund given?
AW: So when you process anything the through registers at Walmart they have a journal on everything that’s under it, whether it’s been returned, purchased, gift receipt, any other information is going to show up on that journal, and what I did is I took the UPC, the universal price code that’s right there next to the description of it, and I put that in my system and I searched it. So, I was asked to search for a specific day, when I did that, I didn’t find anything other than this receipt. And then I searched the entire week and I did not find this item was returned or purchased other than that at that time.
JM: So you researched trhe entire week of June 3, 2008?
AW: I did.
JW: And you didn’t find any return of this gas can?
AW: I did not.
JW .. and you were the person that prepared exhibit 634?
AW: I am.
JW: Did you check every register that Walmart had back in June 2008?
AW: I did
JW: And you checked very single one of them to see if this exhibit had ever been refunded.
AW: I did
JW: Had it been refunded?
AW: It had not.
JW: I don’t have any other questions.
JSS: Cross examination
KN: Morning Maam.
AW: Good morning.
KN: Tell me, you mentioned you were an Asset Protection Manager for Walmart, correct.
AW: Correct.
KN: Do you work at a particular store, or region?
AW: I specifically work at this store ..[2458]
KN: And your store, now there’s not an address on here, but you said it was at a different location.
AW: It moved from one building to another.
KN: And the process of moving from one building to another, so.. let’s put it this way, when subsequent to when we see June 2008, what was the address of the Walmart in Salinas in June 3 2008?
AW: I do not know the address itself, I know it’s on Davis road, they opened up a new one
KN: Ok. [..] Walmart on Davis, that’s where this receipt came from?
AW: Yes.
KN: And you know that because that was where that store was located on 6/3/2008?
AW: I believe so, yes.
KN: You believe so, you’re not sure?
KN: You don’t know which building this came out of, right?
AW: I do not.
KN: … where’s the new location?
AW: .. Verondo Road.
KN: It’s the same store number?
AW: Yes it is.
KN: And were you employed with Walmart at this location at this point in time?
AW: No, I was not
KN: Ok, So you were employed at another Walmart?
AW: I was.
KN: And were you an Asset Protection Manager then?
AW: I was not.
KN: Ok, What were you doing?
AW: I believe at the time I was a sales associate folding clothes.
KN: Ok.
KN: So on June 3rd, 2008, you were a sales associate, folding clothes, and you were asked to come in her by the State, and tell us what this receipt means, correct?
AW: I was asked in 2013.
KN: Ok. And you were asked about that, I understand you were asked in 2013, you were asked by the State?
AW: Yes
KN: Ok Maam, and .. the two stores use different registers, correct?
AW: yes
KN: So, at some point in time, when this store location was moved from Davis to Verada, the new store did they use new registers?
AW: Yes
KN: And a new computer system, correct?
AW: Err.. I don’t know. I don’t know if the computer system switched. I know the data from that store was moved to the new store.
KN: And how do you know that? Do you know every piece of data.. how do you know every piece of data came from one store to the next? How do you know that?
AW: Because it’s in an electronic journal. So it’s on the computer. Some [..] we use that for our registers, it doesn’t get transferred from one store to the next, it doesn’t get reprogrammed.
KN: Are you a computer expert Maam?
AW: I’m not.
KN: You don’t know if every piece of data transferred over during this transition?
AW: I cannot say that, no.
KN: You cannot say that, right?
AW: Right.
KN: You don’t know if these records, 634, are complete or not, do you?
AW: To my belief it is.
KN: To your belief, but you don’t know, right?
AW: I cannot be 100%.
KN: So you don’t know? Correct?
AW: Sure.
KN: Thank you.
JSS: Redirect.



JM: Were these all the registers that were operational back in 2008 at the Walmart store 2458?

KN: Objection, lack of foundation.

JSS: Approach please.


KN: On June 3rd, 2008, you were working in another location, [indistinct] correct?

AW: Yes.

KN: So you weren’t working as an Asset Protection Manager on June 3rd, 2008, when this receipt was generated, correct?

AW: Correct.

KN: And you weren’t trained as an Asset Protection Manager when this receipt was generated on June 3rd, 2008, correct?

AW: Correct.


KN: And Maam, we talked about the store moving location [indistinct] right?

AW: Around that.

KN: So this ?Veronda Street location? you weren’t working at either location when this store moved, correct?

AW: Correct.


KN: So, you weren’t there, you, do you know whether the registers, the registers were hooked up to a computer system, right?

AW: Right.

KN: And the registers themselves are seperate in that computer system, correct?

KN: Do you have any knowledge of whether the new store, did they take the registers from the old store? Or did they put in new registers? Do you know?

AW: I do not know.

KN: And the computers that tabulate this information, computers that you have been trained to use, do you know whether they used those computers, excuse me, the same computers that tabulated the information, were those transferred to the new store, or did they put new computers in the new store?

AW: I believe they transferred it.

KN: You believe but you don’t know, right?

AW: I’m not a technician, so I don’t know if they moved it.

KN: You don’t know whether they moved or bought new computers,you didn’t work there, right?

AW: Correct.

KN: You don’t have an basis of knowledge, you are just guessing, right?

AW: I would say [indistinct]

[ small omission ]

KN: Did they, or did they not, put new computers in the new store? Do you know?

AW: I couldn’t tell you, I’m not a technician.

KN: Thank you.


JSS: Mr Martinez

[ Redirect Transcript supplied by others ]

JM: How is it that U went about putting this file together?
AW: I went into the COMPUTER SYSTEM, and I went register by register and printed every transaction that happened on the register.
KN: The registers are hooked up to a computer system, right?
AW: Correct.
KN: And each register is separate than that computer system, correct.

AW: Any register that process any transaction. And, there is information in there as well that shows the registers that were just not operated nothing on them, nothing purchased or returned through that register.
JM: Is this information r/t to the week of June 3rd, 2008
AW: It is
JM: And all that information r/t June 3rd, 2008, is it located outside of the register, in your office, where is it?
AW: The information? It is located ON ALL COMPUTERS IN THE STORE If you have access to it, you can get into it.
JM: And, you went to the computers in the store, right?
AW: Yes

JM: Did the INFORMATION from the computers change or alter in any way when the store moved from one location to the other?
AW: No.
JM: Ma’am, you indicated that the information is the same whether the store moves from one side of the street to the other, correct?
AW: Correct.
JM: How is it that you know that the information is the same. Have you worked with this information in the past?
AW: I have.
JM: And, as being part of an asset protection manager you’ve worked with this information on a daily basis even though years before you did something different
AW: Yes.
JM: And, having worked with this system, you have an opinion as to whether the information is the same now as it was back in 2008, right?
AW: I do
JW: And what is that opinion, is it that it is the same information as it was across the street in june 2008 that was available then, is it still available now?
AW: yeah, I would say it is. I don’t feel that Walmart would alter their information for any reason, so.

See also Jodi Arias – the gas cans revisited

Jodi Arias’ motive for murder, according to the penalty retrial jury

Jodi premeditating murder?

Jen Wood of Trial Diaries has published an interview with the jury foreman in the penalty retrial. This statement particularly caught my eye:

We once again discussed how Jodi made phone calls just hours after murdering Travis and even went to see Ryan Burns. Most of us felt Jodi had to get rid of Travis Alexander so she could move on. Juror 17 agreed with this theory as a motive.

Is this a realistic motive for murder?

Firstly, it is not the motive offered by the prosecution, which was apparently that Jodi was jealous that Travis was not taking her to Cancun for a Pre-Paid-Legal conference.

Instead, the idea seems to be more: “Travis made Jodi miserable, and abused her, so she murdered him.”

I can see why they would come up with this theory, there was evidence that Jodi was miserable, and evidence that Travis was abusive, but I don’t think it has any precedent in the history of crime. Of course, the prosecution would not like this motive as it would concede that Jodi was abused.

In a way it has some truth : Jodi killed her abuser. Abused women sometimes kill their abusers to escape from them (with their children), or in self-defense when attacked.

However Jodi HAD escaped already, sitting in Yreka in complete safety. So like all the other motives for premeditated murder, it really doesn’t fit with the idea of murder premeditated by a week.

If Jodi wanted to move on, all she needed to do was to go and see Ryan!

It is not the fault of the retrial jury that they settled on such a preposterous and implausible motive, the alternatives are equally implausible. They must surely have been very puzzled. Their job of course was not to assess guilt, but accept the original verdict.

Jodi escaped death row, but it was apparently a chance event, a juror who didn’t see death as appropriate in this case. The difficulty for any innocent defendant in a penalty phase is the impossibility of showing remorse, this was picked up by the jury as an important factor, even though Juan may have been precluded from arguing it.

And that’s the memo. On to the appeal process to Free Jodi!

Combining facts to eliminate reasonable doubt

A question that often occurs to me is this : can many different “suspicious” facts be combined to arrive at proof beyond a reasonable doubt?

My answer would be “Yes”, but it can be very dangerous, and can easily lead to wrongful convictions.

The reason I say yes, is that DNA evidence actually does just that. DNA is sampled at many different locations, each individual location is only weak evidence, when combined together, strong identification evidence is produced.

It’s impossible to be certain about almost anything. You will have wrongful convictions in any system of justice, because occasionally circumstantial evidence will lead you astray.

However, if you are going to convict on weak circumstantial evidence ( say coincidences that might be random), I would say it’s very important to check first whether there is evidence the OTHER way ( evidence inconsistent with the prosecution case ).

Some examples would be:

  • Lack of motive,
  • Facts that don’t fit,
  • Things that don’t make sense
  • Contradictions and Inconsistencies
  • Disagreements, battling experts.

These should all be red flags that create reasonable doubt in the mind of a juror.

Distressingly, jurors quite often fail to notice the red flags, resulting in a wrongful conviction.

See also Broken on the Wheel “Voltaire became steeped in the country’s rules of criminal procedure, a labyrinth he found appalling”

The evidence was mostly rubbish – but there was a lot of the rubbish, and in France at the time, even evidence deemed “half-complete” or “imperfect” could convict, by adding fractions of a proof to make a whole.

The insane trial of Jodi Arias is finally over

The last day didn’t disappoint, a single hold-out and a juror’s life possibly in danger.

Article on hold out juror

See here for case summary.