Re: what information investigators had- and how much they had- before the false confession (whether Cope's guilty or not, the confession itself is false), from the trial transcript, starting on page 571, the ME testified that after the autopsy- which was performed on the same day as the death), he discussed the findings with the forensic team, Pathology, coroner, and the investigators, and the following is what he reported as his findings and they're written as they appear in the transcript:
"Amanda was assaulted vaginally, anally, and over her entire body with numerous bruises, injuries, hemorrhages that occurred. The assaults were of extreme vicious nature to cause the amount of rectal bleeding that we saw in the rectum hemorrhages. That I described that this was done with a foreign object rather than most likely than not a penis, but a foreign object with sufficient force to cause the deep internal hemorrhages that occurred."
The point is that that's the premise under which the confession was obtained... and while I haven't yet listened to the confession, the confession apparently reflects what the ME told investigators re: his findings.
(Of course, I realize that if Cope was an accomplice, then he would have been of that same knowledge, regardless.)
It's apparent that investigators relied heavily on the opinion of the ME during their interrogation of Cope, primarily that the injuries to Amanda were caused by a foreign object which was an opinion that the "confession" supported.
However, testimony in defense cross-examination revealed what I consider the 'bottom line' opinions from the ME:
On pg. 590
"A penis can perforate or actually tear a vaginal wall, yes, sir.
Pg. 598, in reference to possible causes of the inflammation in the vagina:
"A number of things (could cause inflammation) ...dousing... to use of tampons... to inserting foreign objects to.., you know, possibly reaction to continual bleeding if she was having abnormal periods."
Starting on pg. 591 of trial testimony
Q Now you can not say with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that Amanda Cope had ever been sexually abused prior to this horrible thing that happened to her?
A Not to a reasonable degree, no, sir.
Q So you can't say today to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that this inflamed cell, the patch of flamed cells you found in her anus was caused by penetration of sexual abuse?
A No, sir. I can not.*
*I don't know the page of transcript, but I must add here that the ME also testified that repeated use of enemas could cause such inflammation. I find that interesting because he'd also stated that he found it unusual that the relative area was clear. (My wording.)
Q So you can't tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury today to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the reason that Amanda Cope didn't have a hymen was the result of sexual abuse or sexual activity?
A No, sir. I can not.
So far, I've not found any evidence against Cope apart from the confession, and the state admitted that they had no evidence that Cope and Sanders had ever had any association with one another.
Correction in above post, line re: page 601, should say "caused by penetration OR sexual abuse."
I think I should explain my line of thinking in that post because it's actually two-fold.
On page 564, the ME testified that "there was no evidence of any infections or parasites to cause irritation", but as illustrated above, in further testimony, the ME stated that there are other possibilities that could account it, so until all other possibilities are excluded, it's my opinion that the notion that Amanda was chronically abused, or that sexual abuse had occurred before shouldn't be accepted.
Even then- if all other possibilities could be excluded- it still wouldn't tell us where the abuse came from.
I'm only a third of the way through the trial transcript and there's a lot more information to review, so what I'm posting are my opinions on what I've reviewed so far.
What the cops didn't want to admit they screwed up.
...and neither would the prosecutors.
The results of the DNA should have been a big-time game changer in the investigation because at that point, it was shown that the confession they got isn't what happened...everything they believed about the crime- including Cope's involvement- should have been called into question, and I don't see that it was.
What I'm seeing is that the state had no evidence of Cope's involvement, nor could the state even offer a theory of Cope's involvement.
This case was appealed to the Supreme Court back in November. Does anyone know the outcome of that appeal, if one has been reached?
I haven't located any report of a decision, but someone please tell me the following didn't actually happen:
"In 2009, the S.C. Court of Appeals did an unusual flip-flop, issuing two contradictory opinions on Cope's guilt.
In the first opinion, issued in April 2009, the court overturned a key jury finding of conspiracy between Cope and Sanders for lack of evidence but let stand a murder and criminal sexual conduct conviction against Cope.
Then, realizing the murder and sex charges against Cope could not stand without a finding that Cope conspired with Sanders, the Court of Appeals reversed itself and in October 2009 issued a new opinion, reinstating the conspiracy conviction."