Investigation of Violent Crimes is My Life; Not a Hobby
by, Steve Moore
My name is Steve Moore; I retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2008 after 25 years as a Special Agent and Supervisory Special Agent. My entire investigative experience was in the investigation and prosecution of violent crime, from murder to mass-murder and terrorism. In my last such assignment, I was the Supervisor of the Al Qaeda Investigations squad, following which I ran the FBI’s Los Angeles-based “Extra-Territorial Squad”, which was tasked with responding to any acts of terrorism against the United States in Asia and Pakistan. I have investigated murders throughout the United States and the world.
I do not know Amanda Knox. I have never met or spoken with anybody in the Knox or Mellas families. In my 25 years in the FBI, I had come to believe that if you were arrested, you were probably guilty. I never had a person I took to trial who wasn’t convicted. I was especially tired of guilty persons claiming their innocence.
I had heard snippets about the Knox case from the news, and believed that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were certainly guilty. But then I began to hear statements from the press that contradicted known facts. Wanting to resolve the conflicts, I looked into the case out of curiosity. The more I looked, the more I was troubled by what I found. So I looked deeper, and I ended up examining every bit of information I could find (and there’s a lot of it). The more I investigated, the more I realized that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito could not have had anything to do with the murder of Meredith Kercher. Moreover, one reason that they were falsely convicted was that every rule of good investigation was violated.
I spent years of my life working on cases in the federal courts, from simple murder to mass shootings to weapons of mass destruction. In the U.S., the totality of the evidence and the hunches of the investigators in this matter would not have been sufficient to get a search warrant, much less take somebody to trial. The case is completely flawed in every way. The physical evidence against Amanda and Raffaele is wrong, contrived, misinterpreted, and (to put it kindly) misstated. The other “evidence” is made up of (embarrassingly naïve) hunches and bias. The “DNA” evidence is particularly inaccurate. The alleged motive and modus operandi of Knox/Sollecito is so tortured (and constantly-changing) that it defies belief.
“FACTS DETERMINE CONCLUSIONS”—The universal truism of investigation. The instant that one’s conclusions determine or change the facts, you have corrupted the judicial system.
I have been a young investigator, and I have supervised eager but inexperienced young investigators. Young or inexperienced investigators have a tendency to believe their own hunches. This is dangerous, because uneducated hunches are usually wrong. Hunches are not bad, they just need to be allowed to die a natural death when evidence proves them wrong. The sign of an investigation run amok is when an initial hunch is nurtured and kept on life support long after evidence should have killed it. This case is just such a situation. In the Knox case, the investigator openly states:
“We knew she was guilty of murder without physical evidence.” -- Edgardo Giobbi, Investigator.
Then, when physical evidence came in that did not support their story, they simply changed their story. And their suspects. And their murder weapons. And the motives. (If there was ever a ‘smoking gun’ in this case; that statement was it.)
I will only say of the interrogation, that if any FBI Agents I supervised had conducted that interrogation in the U.S., I would have had them indicted. I am not surprised that Amanda made incriminating and conflicting statements in such a horrible situation. I am more surprised that under that duress, she didn’t make more incriminating (but ultimately false) statements. Hypothetically, any trained investigator operating for many hours without rules, in a foreign language, slapping and threatening a naïve, frightened girl just out of her teens and in a foreign country, (denying her food, sleep and the right to an attorney and Consular advice) can get her to say just about anything. If this was the medical profession, one might deem such activities “intentional malpractice”.
The investigators in this matter appeared to have decided upon a conclusion, and repeatedly changed their story so that the evidence would suit their conclusions. After the evidence came back that Rudy Guede sexually assaulted Meredith, did it not occur to the investigators that they had a simple rape/murder? The simplest answer is usually the correct answer. Crimes are only this complicated in James Bond movies. Amanda would not even have been a suspect in any US investigation. A sex murder occurs and your prime suspect is the female roommate? Experienced, or simply competent investigators would have known that statistically, 90% of murders are committed by men. When women commit murder, only 16% use a knife, and close examination might show that the vast majority of those are gang-related. Any conclusion that involves a woman stabbing another woman is statistically so rare, that it should be looked at with great suspicion.
There is also a thing called “leakage”. Leakage is the tendency of homicidal or mentally ill people to ‘leak’ behavior that would indicate their true nature. If one is to believe that Amanda Knox was the drug-crazed, homicidal Svengali that she was made out to be, there is absolutely NO way that such sociopathic behavior would not be leaked in some significant way prior to this crime. No, instead we see a girl on the Dean’s list working several jobs to attend a university program in Italy. A girl who had not even had a scrape with law enforcement.
A good auto mechanic who lacks scruples, can take a car out of a junk yard, bolt on a couple of new fenders, drop in new carpets and slap on tires and a $100 coat of paint. Once he cleans up the interior and rolls back the odometer, he could sell it as a near new car to 99% of the population. It appears new, the mileage says it’s new, and only a trained mechanic would know the difference.
But bring in a trained mechanic, and he might notice that the brake pedal, for instance, is worn almost to the metal. That’s a sure sign of 100,000 miles of use or more. The hint of blue smoke out of the exhaust would be a dead give-away of a worn-out motor. He would warn you that all is not as pretty and new as it seems.
Take my word for this. Investigation of violent crimes is my life; not a hobby. The case the Italian prosecutors are trying to sell you is not the beautiful thing it appears to some to be. It’s a junker all cleaned-up and waiting to be purchased by naïve people. And the jury in Perugia bought it.