Who left the footprint on the bathmat?

At the trial, on May 9, Lorenzo Rinaldi, director of the print identity department of the Italian Police, delivered an elaborate presentation intended to show that a bloody footprint found at the crime scene matches Raffaele Sollecito’s foot. It was great material for a news story, and the media largely accepted it at face value. There’s just one problem: it is obviously not true. What follows is our common sense take on this piece of evidence. We think it is a good yardstick for measuring the overall quality of the case against Amanda and Raffaele.

A partial footprint was found on a mat in the bathroom shared by Meredith and Amanda. In this picture, it is in the lower left corner of the mat.

It is not certain how the footprint was made, but evidence suggests the killer cleaned up in the bathroom, and several blood-soaked towels were found at the crime scene. Very likely the killer laid a bloodied towel on the bathroom floor so that it covered or overlapped the mat. He removed his shoe to rinse the blood from it. While his shoe was off, he stepped on the towel, transferring an imprint to the bathmat.

The outline of the foot is incomplete. The heel extends off the edge of the mat, and parts appear to be missing in the upper right and lower left quadrants. Under the scenario described above, these missing elements can be explained as areas where the towel was dry or where the foot extended beyond the edge of the towel.

Below is a comparison of footprints, with Raffaele Sollecito’s on the left, and Rudy Guede’s on the right.

Footprints can be hard to identify for forensic purposes, because people often twist or slide their foot when they take a step. The print on the mat, however, shows the basic characteristics of the foot that made it. The toe is completely different from Raffaele’s, and the instep is shaped differently than Raffaele’s. But is it compatible with Rudy’s foot? Run your cursor over the image below and decide for yourself.