Murder of Meredith Kercher


Murder of Meredith Kercher
Murder of Meredith Kercher
Meredith-Kercher.jpg
Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher,
known as Mez
Born 28 December 1985(1985-12-28)
Southwark, London, England
Died 1 November 2007(2007-11-01) (aged 21)
Via della Pergola 7, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Cause of death Knife wounds leading to blood loss and suffocation
Burial 14 December 2007
Mitcham Road Cemetery, Croydon, London
Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini
Arrested Amanda Knox
Raffaele Sollecito
Patrick Lumumba
Rudy Guede
Convicted of sexual assault, murder Guede
(29 October 2008)
Knox and Sollecito
(4 December 2009)
Convictions overturned Knox and Sollecito
(3 October 2011)

The murder of Meredith Kercher occurred in Perugia, Italy, on 1 November 2007. Kercher, aged 21 at the time of her death, was a British university exchange student from Coulsdon, south London. She was found dead on the floor of her bedroom with stab wounds to the throat. Some of her belongings were missing, including cash, two credit cards, two cell phones, and her house keys.[1]

Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native raised in Perugia, was convicted in October 2008 of having sexually assaulted and murdered Kercher, and was sentenced to 30 years, reduced on appeal to 16 years in December 2009. Also charged were Amanda Knox, an American exchange student and flatmate of Kercher, and Knox's then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian student. Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexual assault and murder in December 2009, and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. Their convictions were overturned on appeal in October 2011 by a panel of six lay jurors and two judges, after independent court-appointed forensic experts discredited DNA evidence that had been crucial to the prosecution's case.[2]

The murder and subsequent events, especially Knox's arrest and trial, received worldwide press coverage, often in the form of salacious tabloid reporting, particularly in Italy and England. Some observers criticized the media for not describing the case accurately and dispassionately, thus making wrongful convictions more likely to occur.[not verified in body][3]

Contents

Meredith Kercher

photograph
Kercher arrived in Perugia in August 2007.
External images
Via della Pergola 7, courtesy of the BBC.

Background

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, known to her friends as "Mez" (born 28 December 1985 in Southwark, South London) lived in Coulsdon, South London. She had two older brothers and an older sister. Her father is a freelance journalist, and her mother a housewife who was born in India. Kercher attended the Old Palace School in Croydon, a private school, then studied European Studies at the University of Leeds. At the time of her murder she had just begun a one-year course in modern history, political theories and history of cinema at the University of Perugia as part of the Erasmus student exchange program; her ambition was to work in journalism. Described as caring, intelligent and with a good sense of humor, she was popular with fellow students.[4] Her funeral was held on 14 December 2007 at Croydon Parish Church, with more than 300 people in attendance, followed by a private burial at Croydon's Mitcham Road Cemetery.[5] The degree that she would have received in 2009 was awarded posthumously by the University of Leeds.[6]

Via della Pergola 7

In Perugia, Kercher shared a four-bedroom ground-floor apartment in a house at Via della Pergola 7 (43°06′54″N 12°23′29″E / 43.114885°N 12.391402°E / 43.114885; 12.391402Coordinates: 43°06′54″N 12°23′29″E / 43.114885°N 12.391402°E / 43.114885; 12.391402) with two Italian women and 20-year-old Seattle exchange student Amanda Knox.[7] The Italian women had rented the apartment in August 2007, then looked for sub-tenants among the town's student population. Kercher and Knox saw their ads, and moved in on 10 and 20 September respectively, meeting each other for the first time.[8] The house was in an isolated spot on an open hillside below the city centre, near a motorway on a less salubrious edge of the town; Candace Dempsey writes that locals called it a bad neighbourhood. The women's apartment had a problem with the front door, which did not close unless it was locked shut with a key.[9] There was a second apartment in the walk-out basement, which was being rented by four young Italian men, one of whom Kercher had recently started dating.[10]

Murder

The house was empty on the night of the murder. Kercher's Italian flatmates were visiting family because it was a public holiday, and Knox said she spent the evening and night at the apartment of her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, the son of a wealthy urologist. She had met Sollecito seven days before Kercher was murdered, when Knox and Kercher had gone to a classical music concert together.[11] The downstairs flat was also empty because the occupants were out of town.[12]

At about 6:00 that evening, Kercher had dinner with three other English women at one of their homes, and watched a DVD of The Notebook. According to the friends, just before 9 pm, she said she felt tired and wanted to retire early; she borrowed a history book, saying she would return it by 10 am the next morning, and left to walk home with one of her friends. The two parted company on Via del Lupo at around 8:55 pm, about 500 yards (460 m) from Via della Pergola 7.[13] At 8:56 pm, someone tried to call Kercher's mother from her cell phone, but the call was cut off.[14] At 10 pm, someone again used her cell phone to call her bank in London, but the call did not go through.[13] The coroner's report estimated that Kercher died in her bedroom at 11 pm at the earliest, with a time frame of between 10 pm and midnight.[15] The time of death could not be established with any precision because the police prevented the coroner from checking her temperature until midnight on the night after her death.[16] Sollecito's lawyers argued on appeal that, because the autopsy showed no stomach contents had passed into the duodenum, the time of death could not have been after 10 pm.[17]

Witnesses

Several people later came forward to say they had heard or seen something significant that night. An Italian couple returning from the city centre said they saw a black man running down Via della Pergola at 10:30 pm, who nearly ran into them. A woman who lived opposite Kercher's house told Italian television that she had heard a loud scream around 11:30 pm, then the sound of people running in opposite directions.[18] She did not check the time or call the police; she said her double-glazed windows were closed at the time.[19] A homeless man said he saw Knox and Sollecito near Piazza Grimana in the city centre on the night of the murder, though his first statement to police said other people had been wearing Halloween masks, so the defence argued that he had confused his dates.[20]

Alarm raised

Knox had started a part-time job at a local bar called Le Chic, owned by a Congolese man, Patrick Lumumba. She had expected to work that night, but at 8:18 pm Lumumba sent her a text message saying she was not required because business was slow. She responded by text at 8:35 pm, telling him in Italian, "Ci vediamo più tardi. Buona serata" ("We'll see you a little later. Good evening");[21] the prosecution later interpreted this to mean she had intended to meet up with Lumumba. Knox said she spent that evening and night with Sollecito at his apartment; she said they smoked marijuana, watched the film Amélie, which they had downloaded on Sollecito's computer, had sex, and slept. When a friend of Sollecitos's went there briefly around 8:40 pm, Knox was there and opened the door. Sollecito's computer records show the film ended at 9:10 pm.[22] Police computer analysts later testified there was no trace of human interaction on his computer between then and 5:32 am.[23]

Knox returned to Via della Pergola 7 to shower on the morning of 2 November, and said she became alarmed after finding the front door unlocked and drops of blood in the bathroom she shared with Kercher. After showering, she found faeces in the unflushed toilet in the second bathroom, which she said was unusual. She said she returned to Sollecito's home at around 11:30 am, cleaned up his kitchen, which had a leaking pipe, and had breakfast.[24] She then called one of Kercher's two cell phones (one she had brought over from the UK) at 12:07 pm, letting it ring for 16 seconds. Knox testified that Kercher always carried that phone with her, because her mother was ill at the time. One minute later, Knox called Filomena, her Italian flatmate, to report her concerns. Knox then tried to call Kercher's second phone, and called the first phone again. Knox said she and Sollecito walked back to Via della Pergola 7, and saw that the window was broken in Filomena's bedroom, suggesting a break-in, and found Kercher's bedroom door locked. Filomena called Knox back three times. Knox answered the final call, which began at 12:34 pm, and told her about the broken window, and that her bedroom was in a mess.[25]

At 12:47 pm, Knox called her mother in Seattle, who told her to contact the police. Sollecito telephoned his sister, a police officer, for advice, then made two calls to the emergency number 112, at 12:51 and 12:54 pm. He reported a break-in, blood, a locked door, and a missing person.[25] Before the carabinieri arrived in response to these calls, two officers from the Polizia Postale (Post and Communications Police) drove up to the house. They were investigating a report from a local woman who had found two cell phones in her garden, later believed to have been discarded there by the killer, which the police had traced to Via della Pergola 7.[26]

Discovery of the body

diagram
The upstairs (ground floor) flat at Via della Pergola 7

Knox and Sollecito were standing outside the house when the two police officers arrived; they told the officers they were waiting for the carabinieri, that a window had been broken, and that there were spots of blood in the bathroom.[27] While Knox was showing the police around, three of Filomena's friends arrived at the latter's request. She herself arrived shortly after them, entering her own room to inspect the broken window and clothes strewn around the room; and found nothing missing; Dempsey writes that she rummaged around, looking for anything that might be missing, thereby inadvertently destroying part of the crime scene.[28]

This became an issue later, because the prosecution would argue that Knox and Sollecito had staged the break-in, breaking the window themselves from inside the room; they reasoned that a burglar would not have chosen to enter through that particular window, just under twelve feet from the ground.[29] However, Nina Burleigh writes that there was a window grate below that could have offered footholds for a burglar who was a trained athlete.[30] The prosecution supported its view with Filomena's testimony that she had seen glass from the window lying on top of her clothes on the floor, suggesting the clothes had been moved around before the window was smashed. One of the Polizia Postale also said he saw glass lying on top of the clothes, as did the head of Perugia's murder squad, Monica Napoleoni, though none of the crime-scene photographs showed this.[31] An 4.5kilo[32] (9.9 lb) stone that appeared to have been used to smash the window lay on the floor of the room.[33] The Polizia Postale were reluctant to break down the locked door of Kercher's bedroom, because they were not carabinieri, so at around 1:15 pm one of Filomena's friends kicked it open. Kercher was found inside, lying on the floor with a pillow underneath her hips, and covered by a duvet soaked in blood; she was naked except for a shirt pulled up over her chest, with stab wounds to her throat.[28] The prosecutor would later point to the covering of the body with the duvet as an instance of pietà (compassion or pity), citing it as evidence that a woman had committed the crime. According to Burleigh, American criminologists say that covering the victim has nothing to do with gender, but might suggest the killer was inexperienced.[34]

Kercher's handbag sat on top of her bed, but had apparently been searched through. In addition to her cell phones, police discovered that two credit cards, 300 euros in cash, and her house keys were missing; the cash, credit cards and keys were never found. Dempsey writes that there was a bloody outline of the knife on the bed, where the killer appeared to have laid it down, a bloody handprint on the pillow underneath her, and streaks of blood on the wall as if someone had tried to wipe the blood off their hand. Two towels were lying under her body, drenched in blood, and a third was on the bed, also with some blood on it.[35] There were some bloody shoe prints on the tile floor, made by Nike shoes with concentric circles on the soles, three of them next to Kercher, and others creating a trail down the hallway toward the front door. There was also a bare bloody footprint on a bath mat in the bathroom Kercher shared with Knox.[35]

The Polizia Postale ordered all present to leave, and an officer used some tape to seal off the house, though Filomena was able to enter it after this, removing her handbag and laptop.[36] The carabinieri arrived around 1:30 pm, and the prosecutor, Public Minister Giuliano Mignini, shortly before 3 pm. He entered the house with the coroner, Luca Lalli; the forensic police did not allow the coroner to take Kercher's temperature at that point, which meant there were problems later in establishing the time of death.[35] The coroner found three knife wounds on Kercher's neck; the main one was on the left side, 8 cm in length. There was also some bruising, as well as injuries that may have suggested non-consensual intercourse, though the findings were not conclusive. Lalli determined that the cause of death was combined blood loss and suffocation.[37]

Prosecutions

Italian criminal procedure

photograph
The city of Perugia, where Kercher, Knox and Solliceto were students.

According to the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure, individuals accused of a crime such as murder are considered innocent until proven guilty. After the trial of the first grade (primo grado), if convicted the individual is referred to as defendant or accused (imputato), and is not considered guilty until convicted at the trial of the second grade (secondo grado).[38][39] During this time, the defendant is either allowed to go free pending the final verdict, or is held in cautionary detention.[39] An appeal to the second grade, which is similar to a trial de novo where all evidence and witnesses can be re-examined, is essentially guaranteed.[40] With conviction at the second grade, it is possible to appeal to the Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) only on technical grounds or on issues of the interpretation of law.[39] Written briefs are prepared and reviewed in camera (i.e. there is no more testimony or verbal presentations) and either accepted, meaning the case is sent back to the appeals court for retrial, or rejected, in which case the verdict is final and the individual receives a sentence, with credit for time served while in cautionary detention.[39][40]

Article 185 of the Italian Penal Code requires that individuals convicted of a crime pay restitution or damages to their victim. Once criminal proceedings have been commenced by the magistrate, the victim has the right to join as a party to the trial to represent his or her own interests in regards to receiving restitution or damages.[41] This is not an uncommon aspect of criminal procedure in civilian legal systems; for example, it is also permitted in France, Germany and Spain.[42]

Amanda Knox

Background

Amanda Marie Knox (born 9 July 1987 in Seattle, Washington) was raised with her two younger sisters. Her mother, Edda Mellas, a teacher, and her father, Curt Knox—a vice-president of finance at Macy's—divorced when Knox was a few years old. She graduated in 2005 from the Seattle Preparatory School, a private Jesuit-run school, and began to study linguistics at the University of Washington. She made the university's dean's list in the spring of 2007.[43]

In September 2007, Knox became one of Kercher's three flatmates in Perugia, where she had arrived to attend the town's University for Foreigners for a year, studying Italian, German and creative writing. According to Candace Dempsey, Knox's friends saw her as energetic, athletic, and kind, a pacifist hippie who loved making cakes and jam, doing yoga, playing soccer and guitar, rock climbing and cycling.[44] Burleigh writes that, while Knox appeared to be a confident young woman, she was known by friends and family to be averse to any kind of conflict, and believed in the importance of positive thinking. She had grown in recent years into an attractive woman, and had become a compulsive diarist. All these traits, Burleigh writes—including her bubbly personality and tendency to practice yoga stretches at inappropriate times—contributed to her downfall in Perugia, making her more reticent flatmates critical of her, and the police suspicious.[45]

Police focus on Knox

video still
A still from Italian television, in which Sollecito comforts Knox outside the house on the day of the murder. This frame, in which they briefly kiss, became what the BBC called "one of the most incongruous images" of the case.[46]

Edgardo Giobbi, who belonged to an elite police unit, SCO (Servizio Centrale Operativo), was called in from Rome to lead the Kercher investigation; the SCO has a record of success against some of Italy's most notorious criminals. Giobbi said he suspected within hours of the murder being reported that Knox was involved. The first incident that made him suspicious was when Giobbi told Knox at the crime scene that he was going to ask neighbours whether they had seen anything suspicious, and Knox broke down in tears, which Giobbi interpreted as a guilty conscience.[47] The second incident was the way she had swivelled her hips in a hula-hoop motion, and apparently said "hoopla" when putting on a pair of protective shoe covers he gave her at the crime scene. Dempsey writes that Giobbi saw the swivel as similar to "la mossa", a seductive movement made by women in Italian musical comedies, and regarded it as unusual behaviour in the circumstances.[48] He later said of the police interviews with Knox: "We were able to establish guilt by closely observing the suspect's psychological and behavioural reaction during the interrogation. We don't need to rely on other kinds of investigation."[49]

Knox was interviewed for 50 hours over the four days following the murder, without access to a lawyer, and with no audio or video recording of the interviews.[50] On several occasions, she behaved in a way that either the police or Kercher's British friends found emotionally inappropriate. She was filmed by journalists outside the house on day of the murder, briefly kissing Sollecito. The kiss lasted only seconds, but this was the frame the media reproduced; Burleigh writes that Italian television played the video for months.[51]

Later that day, in the police station waiting room, as Knox and several other women waited to be interviewed, she apparently sat on Sollecito's lap, nuzzling him, and seemed to speak too loudly about her role in finding the body, which did not endear her to Kercher's friends.[52] The next day, unable to return to the house to pick up fresh underwear, she was filmed by a security camera buying some in a store for teenagers that sold thongs. That she kissed Sollecito while doing this was seen as more evidence of inappropriate affect.[53]

On 5 November, Sollecito was called to the police station, arriving there around 10:15 pm, accompanied by Knox.[54] The police had been listening to Knox and Sollecito's telephone conversations, and knew her mother was due to arrive from Seattle on 6 November; Burleigh writes that 5 November might have been the last night police could question Knox without a lawyer, parent, or the American Embassy being involved.[55] While Sollecito was being interviewed, also without a lawyer, Knox remained in a waiting room, doing yoga stretches as was her habit. Shortly after 10:30 pm, according to Knox, a male police officer asked how she had become so flexible and for her to demonstrate some moves. She performed a cartwheel, just as Rita Ficarra, one of the officers who had been interviewing Knox for days, was entering the police station. Ficarra was shocked, seeing the behaviour as suspicious.[56]

Interrogation and arrest

At 11 pm, Ficarra and another officer, Lorena Zugarini, began questioning Knox. They were later joined by a third officer, Ivano Raffo, and, at 12:30 am, by Anna Donnino who acted as interpreter, though she was not qualified to fulfill this role in an interview.[57][58] The interview, which was not recorded, focused on the text message Knox had sent Patrick Lumumba, the local Congolese bar owner for whom she worked part-time at Le Chic. She had texted him "see you later, good evening" on the night of Kercher's death, after he sent her a message saying she did not need to come into work.[59] The officers saw this as evidence that she planned to meet Lumumba later that evening, though in North America the expression "see you later" simply means goodbye.[60] They told her that Sollecito, in another interview room, was no longer saying Knox had been with him all night, but was now maintaining she had left him at 9 pm to go to Le Chic, and had not returned to his apartment until 1 am.[59] Giobbi, watching the interview from a control room, later said he heard Knox scream.[61]

Knox later made several complaints about police conduct during the interview, saying she had requested a lawyer but was told it would make things worse for her, was told she would go to jail for 30 years, and was not allowed access to food, water, or the bathroom until the interview had ended.[62] She also alleged that she had been hit by police and called a "stupid liar".[63] The police denied this, saying Knox had been interviewed "firmly but politely". She was later charged with slander for having made these claims.[64]

According to Dempsey, Knox said the police shouted at her: "Give us a name. You know the name. Give it to us."[61] At 1:45 am, Knox signed a statement naming Patrick Lumumba as the killer. She spoke in English, which the interpreter translated, and which Ficarra wrote down.[65] The statement said she had replied to Lumumba's text message: "I replied to the message telling him that we'd see each other right away", which Dempsey says completely changed the meaning of "see you later, good evening." The statement said she had met Lumumba at the basketball court at 8:30 pm, before going with him to Via della Pergola 7. Of the murder, it said: "I have a hard time remembering those moments but Patrick had sex with Meredith, with whom he was infatuated, but I cannot remember clearly whether he threatened Meredith first. I remember confusedly that he killed her."[66]

At that point the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, arrived from home, after being alerted that Knox had made a statement. Another four hours of unrecorded interrogation took place, and at 5:45 am Knox signed another statement, mostly affirming the first one, but with some details changed; for example, she now said she had met Lumumba at 9 pm, not 8:30. She also added that she had heard Kercher scream, though later in the same statement said she could not remember whether she had heard this. After signing the statement, she was taken to the cafeteria for espresso and food, then placed under arrest.[67]

Knox's withdrawal of her statements

Timeline
2007

Late Aug: Meredith Kercher arrives in Perugia.

10 Sep: Kercher moves into Via della Pergola 7,
renting a room from two Italian flatmates.

20 Sep: Amanda Knox rents the fourth bedroom.

Mid Oct: Rudy Guede meets Kercher and Knox.

25 Oct: Knox starts dating Raffaele Sollecito.

1 Nov: Kercher murdered in her bedroom.

2-6 Nov. Knox and Sollecito questioned by police
without lawyers.

6 Nov: Knox names Patrick Lumumba, bar owner,
as murderer. Knox, Sollecito, Lumumba arrested.

19 Nov: Fingerprints at crime scene identified
as Guede's; DNA later identified as his.

20 Nov: Guede arrested in Germany; Lumumba
released.


2008

1 Apr: Supreme Court of Italy upholds detention
of Knox, Sollecito, Guede.

29 Oct: Guede sentenced to 30 years. Knox and
Sollecito charged with murder, sexual assault.


2009

16 Jan: Trial of Knox and Sollecito begins.

18 Nov: Guede's appeal begins.

21 Nov: Prosecution requests life for Knox, Sollecito,
and nine years' solitary confinement for Knox.

4 Dec: Knox sentenced to 26 years, Sollecito 25.

22 Dec: Guede's sentence reduced to 16 years on appeal.


2010

May: Guede files second appeal.

24 Nov: Knox, Sollecito appeal opens.

16 Dec: Italy's Court of Cassation upholds Guede's conviction.


2011

29 Jun: Independent experts say forensic evidence
against Knox, Sollecito is flawed.

3 Oct: Knox, Sollecito murder/sexual assault
convictions overturned.


Sources

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Knox withdrew the statements within hours, and reiterated her original account of events, namely that she had been at her boyfriend's flat and had no knowledge of the killing. She said at her trial that it was the police who had suggested Lumumba, and the interpreter who suggested that she was suffering from traumatic memory loss. She said, "In my confusion I started to imagine I was traumatized as they said."[68]

She wrote a four-page note to the police the day after the interrogation. In it, she wrote: "This is very strange, I know, but really what happened is as confusing to me as it is to everyone else. I have been told there is hard evidence saying that I was at the place of the murder of my friend when it happened. This, I want to confirm, is something that to me, if asked a few days ago, would be impossible." She wrote that memories and "flashes of blurred images" had begun mingling in her mind: "In regards to this 'confession' that I made last night, I want to make clear that I'm very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn't remember a fact correctly. I understand that the police are under a lot of stress, so I understand the treatment I received."[68] She later said the police had asked her to compose an imaginary scenario, asking her what might have happened if had she been there.[69] It was in response to that question, she said, that she told them she had a "vision" of Lumumba at the crime scene.[70]

The Italian Court of Cassation later found that Knox's human rights had been violated, because the police had not told her of her legal rights, appointed her a lawyer, or provided her an official interpreter; therefore, her statement to police was ruled inadmissible for Knox's and Sollecito's criminal trial.[71] However, the court allowed the statement to be used in the concurrent civil case for defamation brought against Knox by Lamumba for having named him to police as the killer. Both trials occurred concurrently with the same jury.[72]

Alleged Knox motive

Lumumba was arrested on 6 November and held in custody for two weeks, but he produced a solid alibi for his whereabouts that night; a Swiss professor had spent the evening at Le Chic talking to him.[72] The police then matched fingerprints found in Kercher's bedroom to Rudy Guede (see below), a local man from the Ivory Coast who had lived in or near Perugia since arriving with his father from Italy when he was five years old. Because he was an immigrant, his fingerprints were on file, and on 20 November he was arrested in Germany, where he had fled immediately after the murder. His DNA was later found at the crime scene, on and inside Kercher's body.[73]

With Lumumba in the clear, the prosecution charged Guede for the murder, but retained the allegations against Knox and Sollecito. The prosecutors proposed a number of possible motives for the murder, for which they produced no evidence, including that Kercher and Knox had fallen out over issues such as the cleaning roster in their home; that the murder was part of a Satanic ritual; that it was a sex game gone wrong; or that Kercher had refused to take part in an orgy. Knox was also accused of having stolen Kercher's money to pay Guede for drugs, and of having killed Kercher in a drug-fuelled rage after smoking marijuana.[74]

The prosecution said Knox had tortured Kercher with a knife before cutting her throat, while Guede and Sollecito had held Kercher down and Guede had sexually assaulted her. They said Knox and Sollecito had then staged the break-in.[75] They also said Kercher's DNA was on a kitchen knife police had found in Knox's boyfriend's kitchen, though Kercher had never visited his home. Therefore, they argued, that knife must be the murder weapon. No trace of blood was found on it, and the DNA evidence was later discredited by independent forensic experts Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from Rome's Sapienza University, who were appointed by the appellate court.[76]

Prosecution

Knox was charged with murder and sexual assault, along with Sollecito, and with slander for alleging that police had hit her during the interrogation. They pleaded not guilty. They were denied bail on 30 November 2007, a decision that was unsuccessfully appealed all the way to the Court of Cassation, meaning they remained in custody throughout the trial and appeals.[77]

They were indicted in October 2008 by Judge Micheli and charged with murder, sexual assault, simulating a crime (burglary), carrying a knife, and theft of 300 euros, two credit cards and two mobile phones.[78] They opted for a full trial, which began on 16 January 2009 before Judge Giancarlo Massei, Deputy Judge Beatrice Cristiani, and six lay judges at the Corte d'Assise of Perugia.[79]

The prosecution's witnesses included Filomena, the flatmate who had received a phone call from Knox telling her that something strange had happened at the house. Filomena's testimony was damaging to the defence; she professed to find Knox's behaviour on the morning after the murder inexplicable, and her assertion that Kercher always left her bedroom door unlocked contradicted Knox, who said that Kercher sometimes locked it. Filomena said that, though her own room was in a mess, with clothes strewn everywhere and the window broken, none of her property was missing; her laptop was still there, for example, as was her jewellery. She repeated her belief that she had seen glass from the broken window on top of the clothes on the floor, which the prosecution used to bolster its allegation that Knox or Sollecito had broken the window after the room had been messed up. She also testified that a police officer had entered Kercher's bedroom after the door was broken down, which helped the defence's case that footprints the prosecution said belonged to Sollecito might have been made by the police officer.[80]

Knox, by then 22, was convicted and sentenced to 26 years imprisonment for slander, sexual violence and murder.[81] The prosecutor had requested life imprisonment (30 years), with nine months of solitary confinement.[82]

Under Italian law two appeals are permitted to defendants, during which there is a presumption of innocence until a final verdict is entered.[83] Their first appeal began in November 2010. The court ordered an independent review of the contested DNA evidence by independent forensic DNA experts Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti from Rome's Sapienza University. They submitted a 145-page report that noted numerous basic errors in the gathering and analysis of the evidence, further asserting that a police forensic scientist had given evidence in court that was not supported by her laboratory work.[84] In testimony to the second appeal, Professor Conti said that a police video showed that, when the most important piece of evidence was gathered, it was handled with a glove that was visibly dirty.[85] On 3 October 2011, the court overturned Knox's and Sollecito's convictions for murder and sexual assault. It upheld the calunnia conviction against Knox for having falsely accused Lumumba of the murder.[86]

Raffaele Sollecito

Background

photograph
Knox and Sollecito were held in Capanne prison, Perugia.[87]

Raffaele Sollecito (born 26 March 1984, Giovinazzo, Bari) was 23 years old at the time of the murder, and nearing the completion of a degree in computer engineering at the University of Perugia, which he finished while imprisoned. His father, Dr Francesco Sollecito, is a successful urologist, who had set his son up in Perugia with an apartment and an expensive black Audi. Sollecito had met Knox just seven days before the murder, when Knox and Kercher attended a classical music concert.[88]

Interrogation

Sollecito was interviewed several times by police between 2 and 5 November 2007, but was called in again around 10 pm on 5 November, accompanied by Knox, for the crucial, final interrogation. He at first told them he and Knox had spent the evening and night of the murder together in his apartment. He was interviewed by four officers, without audio or videotaping, while Knox sat in the waiting room. He said the police told him he had been lying about being with Knox that evening, and had lied about the time he telephoned the police on the morning after the murder, alleging that he first called them after he saw the Polizia Postale arrive at the house, to cover himself. He said he asked for a lawyer, and was told that was not necessary; he said he also asked to speak to his father, and this was declined too. The police found a small pocket knife on him, something he had carried around for some time, and thought this might be the murder weapon.[89]

He later alleged that the officers treated him "with violence and coercion" during the interview.[90] At some point he signed a statement saying that he and Knox had been out on the evening of the murder and had parted company at 9 pm, and that she had not shown up at his apartment until 1 am. This left both of them without an alibi for the evening. That Sollecito had changed his story was conveyed to Knox, who by then was being interviewed in another room. Shortly thereafter, she signed a statement implicating Lumumba.[89]

Prosecution

Sollecito was arrested along with Knox after the interview and held in custody without bail. At trial, looking drawn and nervous, he stated that it had never crossed his mind to harm another person and appealed for the court to "examine everything that will be said with extreme care to establish what is in fact the truth." [91] Sollecito astounded Manuela Comodi, the junior prosecutor who was handling the forensic part of the case, when he helped her overcome a technical difficulty in showing a DVD of key evidence against him on the court's giant screen. Sollecito offered to help, discovered that her laptop lacked the necessary program and lent her his own laptop to play the DVD, thus solving the problem.[92] Giulia Bongiorno, Italy's top female lawyer,[93] led Sollecito's defence and was widely thought to have shown in cross examination that the evidence of prosecution witnesses who had testified to seeing Guede, Sollecito and Knox together was untrustworthy.[94] However a court trip to the cottage requested by the defence went badly for them with a juror heard commenting that climbing to the upper rear window was hardly possible.[95] The prosecution produced what they said was evidence of Sollecito's DNA on Kercher's bra clasp, apparently cut from her body by her attacker. This was the only piece of evidence allegedly linking Sollecito to the crime scene. The clasp was visible in crime-scene video taken on 2 November, lying under the pillow that had been positioned underneath Kercher's body, but the police did not retrieve it until 47 days later, by which time they had inadvertently moved it four feet across the room, where it was found under a rug in a pile of other items they had collected.[96] Bongiorno was able to wrongfoot police forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni by screening film showing that Stefanoni had touched the hooks of the bra clasp with her glove, contrary to what she had said at pre trial hearings.[97] However the DNA evidence remained the central plank of the prosecution case against Sollecito. He was convicted in December 2009 of murder, sexual assault, and staging a break-in, and sentenced to 25 years in jail.[88]

Independent forensic experts appointed by the court for Sollecito's appeal (secondo grado) said the DNA evidence was faulty, possibly because of contamination, and that the "international procedures for inspection, protocol and collection of evidence were not followed" by the police or forensic team.[98] His conviction was overturned on 3 October 2011.[88]

Rudy Guede

Background

Rudy Hermann Guede (born 26 December 1986, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire) was 20 years old at the time of the murder.[99] He had arrived in Perugia at the age of five with his father, Roger, who found work there as a stonemason; Guede told friends he had not met his father before going to live with him in Italy. He saw his mother, Agnes, just once more, when he returned to Côte d'Ivoire for a visit in 1997.[100] In Italy, Guede was raised with the help of his school teachers, a local priest and others, who would take it in turns to buy him food and clothes. One of the teachers told Nina Burleigh that Guede would sometimes sleep in the street after his father locked him out of the house at night as a punishment.[101]

Guede's father returned to Côte d'Ivoire in 2004, leaving the 16-year-old boy to be looked after by his common-law wife, but there was friction between the two.[100] One of his former teachers arranged for him to be adopted by a wealthy Perugia family, who agreed to look after him until he was eighteen. Burleigh writes that Guede was given his own flat in a gated villa, spent summer with the family in Sardinia and winter in the Dolomites, was sent to a good school.[102] He also played basketball for the Perugia youth team in the 2004–2005 season.[103] In his second year with the family, the relationship began to break down. He stopped attending school, failed his exams, and when the family insisted that he work instead, he repeatedly turned up late for a job they gave him as a gardener. In late 2006 or early 2007, they asked him to leave their home.[102]

He went to stay with an aunt in Lecco, near Milan, for a short time in the winter and spring of 2007, where he worked in a cafe, before returning to Perugia.[104] In September 2007 a bartender in Perugia alleged that Guede had broken into his home, entering through a window, and tried to rob him at knife point. On 13–14 October, he allegedly broke into a lawyer's office in Perugia, entering through a second-story window.[105] On 27 October, days before Kercher's murder, he was arrested in Milan after breaking into a nursery school to sleep there; when police found him he was reportedly holding an 11-inch knife he had taken from the nursery's kitchen.[106]

Guede said he briefly met Kercher and Knox when he became friendly with the young men who lived in the downstairs flat at Via della Pergola 7, where Kercher, Knox and the two Italian women shared the upstairs flat. According to Burleigh, the men were unable to recall how Guede had met them, but did recall how, after his first visit to their home, they had found him later in the bathroom, sitting asleep on the unflushed toilet, which was full of faeces. He would sometimes pretend to be an American by the name of Kevin Wade, or a South African known as Body Roga or "the Baron".[107]

Extradition

Guede left Perugia by train a few days after the murder, and fled to Germany.[108] After his fingerprints were found at the crime scene, Interpol traced a computer he had used in Germany to access Facebook and reply to a message from a Daily Telegraph journalist. In his message, Guede had said he knew he was a suspect and wanted to clear his name. On 20 November 2007, the Bundespolizei arrested him on a train near Mainz for travelling without a ticket. When questioned, he said he was returning to Italy to give himself up.[109] He was extradited to Italy on 6 December 2007.[110]

Prosecution

Guede opted for a fast-track trial, held in closed session with no reporters present. The court heard that his handprint was found on a pillow in Kercher's room, and his DNA on and inside her body, as well as on her sweatshirt and bra. Although the faeces Knox had found in the unflushed toilet the morning after the murder could not be identified, Guede's DNA was found on the toilet paper.[73]

He told the court he had visited the house on the day of the murder for a date with Kercher, arranged the previous day, though witnesses who had been with Kercher that night had not seen them talk.[111] He said he arrived at the cottage just after 8:30 pm, and that Kercher arrived and let him in around 9 p.m.[112] She went to her bedroom, he said, and told him that a significant amount of money was missing from an open drawer.[113] He said that he and Kercher had kissed and touched, but did not have sex. He then developed stomach pains and crossed to the large bathroom on the other side of the apartment. Guede said he heard Kercher scream while he was in the bathroom, but had not heard the killer enter the apartment because he was wearing iPod headphones. He said that, emerging from the bathroom, he had found a shadowy figure, holding a knife, standing over Kercher, who lay bleeding on the floor. Guede said that he and the man struggled.[111] Guede was cut on the hand, and fell to the floor, but picked up a chair.[113] He described the man as an Italian with light-brown hair, without glasses,[112] and shorter than him. The man fled while saying in perfect Italian, "Trovato negro, trovato colpevole; andiamo" ("Found black, found guilty; let's go").[114]

The court found that his version of events did not match the forensic evidence, and that he could not explain why one of his palm prints, stained with Kercher's blood, had been found on the pillow of the single bed, under the disrobed body.[113][115] Guede said he had left Kercher fully dressed.[116] He was found guilty in October 2008 of murder and sexual assault, Judge Paolo Micheli sentencing him to 30 years' imprisonment.[117] Micheli acquitted Guede of theft, suggesting that there had been no break in.[118] Sollecito's lawyers had insisted that a glass fragment found embedded in a footprint of one of Guede's shoes at the scene of the crime was proof that he had broken in.[119]

He appealed in November 2009, and had his conviction upheld on 22 December. His sentence was reduced to 24 years to match the sentences given to Knox and Sollecito, with a further one-third (eight-year) reduction—standard in the Italian appeal system—giving him a sentence of 16 years.[120] He continued to protest his innocence.[121] During the appeal, he alleged for the first time that Knox had been in the apartment at the time of the murder. He said he had heard her arguing with Kercher, then glancing out of a window had seen her silhouette leave the house, though he had previously said Knox had not been there.[122] In March 2010, the court explained it had reduced Guede's sentence by 14 years because he was the only one of the three defendants to apologize to the Kercher family for his failure to come to her rescue.[123] He filed his second and final appeal, in May 2010, to the Court of Cassation. The hearing was held on 16 December 2010; the court upheld the verdict and sentence.[124]

Summary of prosecution and defence arguments

photograph
Kercher's bedroom (Kercher located on the floor under the duvet), as labelled and photographed by Italian police, 2 or 3 November 2007

Guede's criminal history and DNA

The defence argued that Guede was the lone killer, because the break-in appeared to fit recent criminal activity of his, and because his DNA was found on and inside Kercher's body, and on her shirt, bra, and handbag. A bloody handprint found on a pillow placed under her back was also matched to him.[73]

A school director testified that Guede had broken into a nursery school in Milan on 27 October 2007, days before the killing, and had been found there by police with a stolen 16-inch (410 mm) knife. He was also found in possession of a laptop and cell phone he had previously stolen from a Perugia lawyer's office, which he had broken into by throwing a rock through a window. He said he had bought both the laptop and phone at a railway station in Milan. The school director testified that a small amount of money was also missing.[125]

Fingerprints

There was no forensic evidence indicating that Knox had been in the bedroom in which Kercher was murdered. Knox's fingerprints were not found there or in her own bedroom.[63]

Footprints

Luminol revealed footprints in the apartment that the prosecution argued were compatible with the feet of Knox and Sollecito. A consultant for Knox's defence testified that work status reports showed, "in contradiction to what was presented in the technical report deposited by the Scientific Police, and also to what was said in Court, that not only was the Luminol test performed on these traces, but also the generic diagnosis for the presence of blood, using tetramethylbenzidine ... and this test ... gave a negative result on all the items of evidence from which it was possible to obtain a genetic profile." The judge did not accept this view, and concluded that the traces revealed with Luminol in Knox's bedroom, the corridor and Filomena's room had originated from Knox's bloody feet.[126]

DNA samples on bra clasp and knife

The prosecution argued that a severed clasp of Kercher's bra revealed traces of both her DNA and that of Sollecito.[127] Knox's lawyers argued that the sample had been contaminated during the investigation at the crime scene, and when the investigators accidentally moved the clasp across the room, during the 47-day delay in retrieving some of the samples.[128]

Knox's DNA was matched to the handle of a kitchen knife recovered from a kitchen drawer in Sollecito's apartment, where Knox said she had used it to cook. Patrizia Stefanoni, a forensic scientist in Rome, said that a DNA sample from the blade was "compatible" with Kercher's profile, though there was no blood on the blade. The sample was a low copy number (LCN) sample, which should have been run several times for confirmation, as the chance of contamination is higher. The prosecution did not tell the defence that it was a low copy number sample.[129]

There was also a problem with the chain of evidence. One officer acknowledged that he had passed the knife to another officer, Stefano Gubbiotti, who had taken it with him to the apartment at Via della Pergola 7, where Kercher's DNA was in plentiful supply. Dempsey writes that Gubbiotti then stored the knife in a Renato Balestra calendar box, repacked it, left it for some time in a closet, and failed to make clear how he had transported it to the laboratory in Rome. This series of events broke the chain of evidence. According to Dempsey, the knife was also problematic because it did not match the outline of the knife print left on Kercher's bed, where the killer appeared to have laid it down, and it was too small to have made the two smaller cuts on Kercher's neck.[129] Prosecution witnesses said the knife could have made the larger wound, though this was also contested.[130] Carlo Torre, a professor of criminal science based in Turin, hired by Knox, testified that all three wounds originated from a knife that had a blade one quarter the size of the one recovered from Sollecito's flat.[131]

In 2009, a group of American forensic specialists wrote an open letter expressing concern that procedures used by most laboratories in the United States to ensure accurate results had not been followed in this case. They stated that a chemical test for blood had returned a negative result for the knife, that the amounts of other DNA were sufficient only for a low-level, partial DNA profile, and that it was unlikely that all traces of blood could have been removed from the knife while retaining the DNA that was discovered.[132]

In December 2010, the judge presiding over Knox and Sollecito's appeal ordered a re-examination of the DNA evidence pertaining to the knife and the bra clasp. The June 2011 report from independent experts appointed by the court said the evidence was "unreliable because not supported by scientifically valid analytical procedures." They concluded that the tests on the blade of the knife were not reliable, because the international protocol for tests on low copy number DNA analysis had not been followed. The police investigation had also not adhered to international standards for the collection of DNA samples. The scientists said the the previous test results could have been the result of contamination.[76] The report concluded that the police either mishandled evidence or failed to follow proper forensic procedure 54 times.[133]

Time of death

Autopsy of the victim demonstrated that no stomach contents had passed into the duodenum at the time of death, which Sollecito's attorneys used to argue in the appeal that the time of death could not have been past 10 pm, unlike the prosecutor's time of death of 11:30 pm from the first trial.[17]

Alleged motive

Prosecutors Giuliano Mignini and Manuela Comodi first proposed that the murder involved a Satanic ritualistic orgy.[134] The allegation was similar to the charges of belonging to a Satanic sect that Mignini had unsuccessfully leveled at 20 others in the Monster of Florence case.[135] The prosecution also speculated that it might have been a "cult sacrifice".[136] Mignini later denied ever saying this.[137]

The prosecution then alleged that Kercher's murder had involved a sex game gone wrong, or that the victim had refused to participate in an orgy.[138] They also alleged that Knox had been motivated by jealousy.[136] The prosecution further suggested that Guede had gone to the cottage to meet Knox, that Knox had stolen money from Kercher to pay Guede for drugs, and that Kercher had walked in at the wrong time and was sexually assaulted and murdered.[139] At trial, the prosecution alleged, without evidence, that Knox was easily given to disliking people with whom she disagreed, and that the time had come to take revenge on Kercher.[140] On another occasion they speculated that Knox had fallen victim to "a rage caused by smoking marijuana".[136] Rolling Stone quoted a prosecutor who said "[w]e live in an age of violence with no motive."[134]

The defence argued that, despite having put forward several different theories, the prosecution had produced no convincing evidence of a motive for murder. Knox testified that she regarded Kercher as her friend and had no reason to kill her.[141]

Break-in

The prosecution sought in the Knox and Sollecito trial to show that the break-in had been staged, arguing that nothing in the room with the broken glass was reported missing, and that the perpetrator had wanted to divert suspicion from the people who had keys to the apartment.[75] An officer testified that shards of glass from the broken window had been found on clothes strewn around the room, suggesting that the window had been broken after the room had been ransacked.[142] A police official testified for the defence that the break-in was not staged, and that the window of Kercher's flat had been broken from the outside. He presented a video to the court to reconstruct how the stone was thrown.[143]

Alibis

Police evidence was presented showing that Knox and Sollecito did not have alibis for the time of the murder. Sollecito maintained that he was at his flat, using his computer. Police computer analysts testified that his computer had been used until 9:10 on the evening of the murder, then again at 5:32 the next morning.[144] Knox maintained she was with Sollecito at the time, but during police questioning after 10 pm on 5 November 2007, Sollecito said that he could not be certain she was with him when he was asleep.[145] Their version of events was contradicted by a witness, who testified that he had seen Knox and Sollecito chatting animatedly on a basketball court around five times between 9.30 and midnight on the night of the murder.[146] At the appeals trial, the witness, a homeless heroin addict who has appeared as a witness in a number of murder trials, offered contradictory testimony concerning the date he said he saw Knox and Sollecito, and other crucial details.[147] A Perugia shopkeeper testified that Knox had gone to his supermarket at 7:45 on the morning after the murder, at a time when she was, according to her account, still at Sollecito's.[148] The shopkeeper first informed police of his recollection months after the crime occurred at the prompting of a reporter who was his friend.[149] A worker in the shop testified that she had not seen Knox.[150]

Related proceedings

In Knox and Sollecito's first trial, the two were ordered to pay a sum of €1,000,000 to each of Kercher's parents and €800,000 to each of her three siblings.[151]

Knox was also ordered to pay Patrick Lumumba, the man she accused of murdering Kercher, €10,000 in damages as a result of her conviction for calunnia, and €40,000 compensation for his legal expenses.[151][152] The decision was upheld by the appeals court in October 2011, which sentenced Knox to three years' imprisonment, already served, and ordered her to pay a further €22,000.[153] Lumumba also pursued compensation from the Italian authorities for unjust imprisonment and loss of business; in December 2009 a court awarded him €8,000 in damages.[154] In February 2010 he announced that he would be taking his claim for compensation from the Italian authorities to the European Court of Human Rights.[155]

In March 2010, Knox won a civil case against Fiorenza Sarzanini, author of a book about the Kercher case, Amanda e gli altri (Amanda and the Others), and her publisher for violation of her privacy and illegal publication of court documents. The book contained long excerpts from Knox's diary, as well as from witness interviews that were not in the public domain, and intimate details professing to be about Knox's sex life. Knox was awarded €40,000 in damages.[156]

Following an investigation into Knox's statements that she was slapped by police during questioning about the murder, another case for calunnia was opened against her on June 1, 2010 for falsely implicating police. Knox has claimed she was hit and put under pressure by police when she was questioned in the aftermath of Kercher's November 1, 2007, slaying. She said police repeatedly called her a "stupid liar". Police denied misconduct and filed charges saying Knox's comments were slanderous. [157] The trial was adjourned until November 15, 2011. According Italian Penal Code, for this crime she can be imprisoned from two to six years.

In February 2011, Knox's parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, were indicted on charges of criminal slander as a result of an interview published by The Sunday Times in 2009, in which they said their daughter "had not been given an interpreter, had not received food and water, and had been physically and verbally abused" by police officers after her arrest. They sought to have the charges dismissed on the grounds that there was no intent. On 4 July 2011, Judge Paolo Micheli resigned from the case, citing his involvement in the trial of Knox and Sollecito. Her parents' trial was adjourned until 24 January 2012.[158]

Reaction

Media coverage

The murder and associated trials resulted in worldwide media coverage, especially in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Several journalists argued that the pre-trial publicity and tabloid-style coverage tainted the public perception of Knox and may have prejudiced the trial.[159][160] The professional and lay judges who decide the verdicts in Italian court cases are not sequestered, and are allowed to read news articles about the case.[161][162]

The news coverage by Italian and British tabloid newspapers, in particular, was criticized as constituting character assassination and demonisation, especially of Knox.[163] For example, soon after she was sent to prison to await trial, prison officials falsely told her that she had tested positive for HIV, and pressed her to disclose her romantic history. She provided a list of the men she had had sex with, and which birth control method they had used. The list was leaked to Italian and British tabloids in June 2008, which published it, along with a note she wrote about how she did not want to die. Her creation of the list helped the prosecution to sexualize her, and to focus on a sexual motive for the murder.[164] The sexual attention of the media helped to trigger harassment in prison; one guard started asking her whether she dreamed about sex, and whether she was good at it. He was eventually moved after a complaint from her family.[165]

Several commentators criticized the Italian legal process, including Donald Trump, New York Times columnist Timothy Egan, and journalist Judy Bachrach.[166] British writer and media lawyer Alex Wade wrote in The Times in December 2009: "If by some cruel miracle a British judge had found himself presiding over 12 good men and true ... it is inconceivable that he would not have made strong, telling directions to acquit."[167]

Author Candace Dempsey, in her book Murder in Italy (2010), lists a number of examples of what she calls falsehoods and distortions in the press reports about the case. Knox's family engaged the services of David Marriott of Gogerty Stark Marriott, a Seattle-based public relations firm, to address what they felt was misinformation about Knox in the media.[168] Libby Purves, writing in The Times in December 2009, said "both evidence and reconstruction look pretty convincing" and described the American campaign for Knox as "almost libellously critical of the Italian court".[169]

Family reaction

Kercher's father said in December 2009 that he had no reason to doubt the Italian justice system, and in December 2010 criticized Knox's growing celebrity status.[170] After the appeals court cleared Knox and Sollecito in October 2011, the family held a press conference in which they said they accepted the court's decision, though her brother, Lyle, said it felt as though they were back at square one.[171]

In an open letter published in the London Times and the Daily Mirror on November 2, 2011, Stephanie Kercher announced her intent to create a trust fund to help with the case and "eventually support anyone else who may tragically find themselves in our position".[172]

Knox's family maintained the innocence of both Knox and Sollecito throughout the proceedings. They gave several media interviews and appeared on television talk shows, including the Oprah Winfrey Show on 23 February 2010. Both sides of her family—including her mother and father's second spouses—incurred significant debts from legal fees and travel related to the hearings and prison visits.[173]

Support for Knox and Sollecito

In late 2008, a number of Seattle-area residents, including lawyer Anne Bremner and King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey, founded the "Friends of Amanda", a support group to raise money and awareness.[174] Heavey was later admonished by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for violating Washington state's Code of Judicial Conduct for lending the prestige of his judicial office by writing letters on official court stationary to members of the Italian judiciary on behalf of Knox.[175][176]

Maria Cantwell, United States Senator for Washington, issued a statement on 4 December 2009 that the evidence against Knox was inadequate, that she had been subjected to harsh treatment after her arrest, and that there had been negligence in the handling of the evidence.[177] The Idaho Innocence Project, a non-profit investigative organization dedicated to proving the innocence of wrongly convicted people through the use of DNA testing, volunteered to work for the Knox defence. On 23 May 2011, Dr Gregory Hampikian, director of the project, announced that, based on its independent investigation and review, DNA samples taken at the crime scene all pointed to Guede, and excluded Knox and Sollecito.[178]

On 10 May 2011, "Perugia Shock", a blog about the case written by Italian blogger Frank Sfarzo, who was highly critical of prosecutor Mignini's conduct in the Kercher case, was shut down by court order. The order was granted by a Florence court to Mignini on the grounds of alleged calunnia.[179] The Committee to Protect Journalists wrote to the Italian government protesting the action.[180] The blog's content was later restored on a new host.[181]

On 26 May 2011, 11 members of the Italian parliament, led by Rocco Girlanda and all members of The People of Freedom Party founded by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, issued a document as an act of parliament addressed to Justice Minister Angelino Alfano. The document criticized the evidence that resulted in the Knox/Sollecito guilty verdicts, and the extended detention to which they were subject.[182] Girlanda also addressed a letter to President Giorgio Napolitano, in Girlanda's capacity as president of the Italy-USA Foundation, in which he wrote, "These distortions, not without reason, are fuelling accusations against the administration of justice in our country."[183]

Notes

  1. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 70.
  2. ^ Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox freed: tears of joy as four-year nightmare is over", The Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2011: "A jury decided that Amanda Knox, who has spent almost four years in jail, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice following a chaotic Italian police investigation."
  3. ^ Greenslade, Roy. "Murder most foul, but have Italian newspapers already convicted a suspect?", The Guardian, April 2008.
  4. ^ "Profile: Meredith Kercher". BBC News. 4 December 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7693702.stm. 
  5. ^ Gemma Wheatley (14 December 2007). "Meredith laid to rest". Croydon Guardian. http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/1904729.Update__Meredith_laid_to_rest/. 
  6. ^ Barry, Colleen. "Family of victim in Knox case remembers slain daughter", Associated Press, 30 September 2011.
  7. ^ That the downstairs apartment was a basement apartment, see Massei 2010, p. 24.
  8. ^ Murphy, Dennis. "Deadly exchange", NBC News, 21 December 2007.
  9. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 12–13.
  10. ^ Wise, Ann. "'They Had No Reason Not to Get Along'", ABC News, 7 February 2009.
  11. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 3.
  12. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 41.
  13. ^ a b Dempsey 2010, pp. 48-49.
  14. ^ Burleigh 2011, pp. 141.
  15. ^ "Meredith Kercher murder: Judge's report", The Daily Telegraph, 9 November 2007.
  16. ^ Kington, Tim. "Meredith Kercher murder: break-in and handprint clues at isolated cottage", The Guardian, 3 October 2011.
  17. ^ a b "Meredith: Legale Sollecito, ora morte scagiona Raffaele", umbriajournal.com, 27 September 2011.
  18. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 263.
  19. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 49, 248–249.
  20. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 263.
  21. ^ Nadeau 2010, p. 36.
  22. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 47.
  23. ^ Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox trial: police cast doubt on computer alibi", The Daily Telegraph, 14 March 2009.
  24. ^ Burleigh 2011, pp. 172–174.
  25. ^ a b Dempsey 2010, pp. 57—61.
  26. ^ Massei 2010, pp. 26–27.
  27. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 61–62.
  28. ^ a b Dempsey 2010, pp. 63–64.
  29. ^ Murder in Perugia, Follain (2011) p. 75
  30. ^ Burleigh 2011, p. 151-152.
  31. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 62, 76–77; for Napoleoni, see Burleigh 2011, p. 165.
  32. ^ Follain P.282
  33. ^ Follain P.80
  34. ^ Burleigh 2011, pp. 152, 274–275.
  35. ^ a b c Dempsey 2010, pp. 70–71.
  36. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 67–68, 76.
  37. ^ Massei 2010, pp. 109–117.
  38. ^ Vogt, Andrea: "The debate continues over Knox's guilt," SeattlePI.com, December 14, 2009, accessed October 17, 2011.
  39. ^ a b c d Pisani, Mario; et al.; Manuale di procedura penale. Bologna, Monduzzi Editore, 2006. ISBN 88-323-6109-4
  40. ^ a b Povoledo, Elisabetta: "Amanda Knox Freed After Appeal in Italian Court", The New York Times, October 3, 2011.
  41. ^ Cappelletti 1967, p. 113.
  42. ^ Cappelletti 1967, p. 113.
    • This can be contrasted against criminal procedure in common law legal systems (such as the United States or United Kingdom) where victims are not permitted to join as parties to criminal proceedings, but victim impact statements are normally considered during sentencing and judges are able to order restitution or compensation payments. For example, see Sentencing - Ancillary Orders, Crown Prosecution service, accessed 26 October 2011, for information on restitution payments in the United Kingdom.
  43. ^ Oloffson, Kirsti. "Amanda Knox, Convicted of Murder in Italy", Time magazine, 4 December 2009.
  44. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 4.
  45. ^ Burleigh, Nina. "The scapegoating of Amanda Knox", Los Angeles Times, 4 October 2011.
  46. ^ Joyce, Julian. "The college lovers on trial for murder", BBC News, 16 January 2009.
  47. ^ "Amanda Knox Italian Police Bombshell: We Knew She Was Guilty of Murder Without Physical Evidence", CBS News, 18 March 2010.
  48. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 172—173.
  49. ^ Leslie, Ian. "Amanda Knox: What's in a face?", The Guardian, 8 October 2011.
  50. ^ "48 Hours reveals Amanda Knox's untold story", CBS News, 8 October 2011.
  51. ^ Burleigh 2011, p. 36.
  52. ^ Burleigh 2011, pp. 174–175.
  53. ^ Burleigh 2011, p. 181.
  54. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 138.
  55. ^ Burleigh 2011, p. 189.
  56. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 139–140.
  57. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 141–142.
  58. ^ Donadio, Rachel. "Details Only Add to Puzzle in Umbrian Murder Case", The New York Times, 29 September 2008.
  59. ^ a b Dempsey 2010, p. 143.
  60. ^ Kington, Tom and Walker, Peter. "Amanda Knox tells court police hit her during interrogation", The Guardian, 12 June 2009.
  61. ^ a b Dempsey 2010, p. 145.
  62. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 147–148.
  63. ^ a b Hooper, John. "Was there a plot to kill Meredith?", The Guardian, 5 February 2009.
    • Dempsey 2010, pp. 147–148.
  64. ^ Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox 'hit in the head' during Meredith Kercher murder interrogation", The Daily Telegraph, 28 February 2009.
    • For slander, see Dempsey 2010, p. 265.
  65. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 148–149.
  66. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 146–147.
  67. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 149–150.
  68. ^ a b Moore, Malcolm. "Transcript of Amanda Knox's note", The Daily Telegraph, 22 November 2007.
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  70. ^ Natanson, Phoebe and Battiste, Nikki. "Amanda Knox's Grueling Day: Called 'She Devil,' Shown Roommate's Wounds", ABC News, 26 September 2011.
  71. ^ Donadio, Rachel. "Details Only Add to Puzzle in Umbrian Murder Case", The New York Times, 29 September 2008.
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  74. ^ Kington, Tom. "Knox accused of stabbing Meredith", The Guardian, 19 October 2008.
  75. ^ a b Falconi, Marta. "Prosecutors: Knox staged break-in after murder", Associated Press, November 20, 2009.
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  79. ^ Massei, G. "Sentenza, Knox Amanda Marie, Solliceto Raffaele" (Italian), 4 March 2010, p. 1.
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  81. ^ "Amanda Knox guilty of Meredith Kercher murder", BBC News, 5 December 2009.
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  83. ^ Kalmthout, A.M. "Italy", Pre-trial Detention in the European Union. Wolf Legal Publishers. ISBN 9789058505248|.
  84. ^ Kington, Tom. "Amanda Knox DNA appeal sparks legal battle by forensic experts", The Observer, 24 July 2011.
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  86. ^ Polvoledo, Elisabetta."Amanda Knox Freed After Appeal in Italian Court", The New York Times, 3 October 2011.
  87. ^ Kington, Tom. "Cold comfort in jail as Amanda Knox begins 26-year sentence", The Guardian, 6 December 2009.
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    • For the make of Sollecito's car, see Dempsey 2010, p. 19.
  89. ^ a b Dempsey 2010, p. 136ff, 144.
  90. ^ Day, Michael. "Sollecito accuses Italian police of violence", The Independent, 6 October 2011.
  91. ^ Follain, P.269
  92. ^ Follain, P.302
  93. ^ The Observer, Sunday 21 November 2010, Amanda Knox's appeal hopes rest on Italy's top female lawyer. link
  94. ^ Follain, p.289-294
  95. ^ Follain, P. 297-299
  96. ^ Dempsey 2010, pp. 69, 243.
  97. ^ Follain , P306-307
  98. ^ "Amanda Knox: 'Doubts raised' over DNA evidence", BBC News, 29 June 2011.
  99. ^ "Rudy, il barone con la passione del basket" (in italian). Quotidiano.net. 20 November 2007. http://quotidianonet.ilsole24ore.com/2007/11/20/48156-rudy_barone_passione_basket.shtml. 
  100. ^ a b Burleigh 2011, pp. 90–91.
  101. ^ Burleigh 2011, pp. 92–93.
  102. ^ a b Burleigh 2011, pp. 95–96.
  103. ^ Owen, Richard. "Rudy Guede: engaging drifter who boasted ‘I will drink your blood’", The Times, 28 October 2008.
  104. ^ Burleigh 2011, p. 97.
  105. ^ Dempsey, pp. 299, 327.
  106. ^ Squires, Nick. "Meredith Kercher murder: Rudy Guede profile", The Daily Telegraph, 29 October 2008.
  107. ^ Burleigh 2011, pp. 84–85.
  108. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 219.
  109. ^ Moore, Malcolm (20 November 2007). "Fourth Meredith suspect arrested in Germany". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1569968/Fourth-Meredith-suspect-arrested-in-Germany.html. 
  110. ^ Pisa, Nick (6 December 2007). "Meredith Kercher suspect extradited to Italy". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1571739/Meredith-Kercher-suspect-extradited-to-Italy.html. 
  111. ^ a b Owen, Richard. "Rudy Guede guilty of Meredith Kercher murder, Amanda Knox faces trial", The Times, 29 October 2008.
  112. ^ a b Moore, Malcolm. "Meredith whispered killer's name, suspect says", The Daily Telegraph, 24 November 2007.
  113. ^ a b c Judgment, Trial of Rudy Hermann Guede, Dr Paolo Micheli, Court of Perugia, judgement of 28 October 2008–26 January 2009, accessed 19 October 2011 (Google translation, Italian to English).
  114. ^ "Rudy: Meredith l'ha uccisa Raffaele", La Stampa (Italian), 27 March 2008.
  115. ^ Diritto, procedura, e pratica penale Tribunale di Perugia: Ufficio del G.I.P.: Dott. Paolo Micheli: Sentenza del 28 October 2008 – 26 January 2009 (Italian): "Ribadiva poi di aver toccato più o meno dappertutto nella stanza, anche con le mani sporche di sangue, senza tuttavia spiegare come mai una sua impronta si trovasse proprio sul cuscino sotto il cadavere, quando egli ricordava il cuscino regolarmente sopra il letto, dove si trovavano anche la giacca e la borsa che la ragazza aveva posato rientrando in casa. Il letto era, secondo la sua descrizione, coperto con un piumone rosso o beige (ma insisteva molto di più sul primo colore): il cuscino era fuori dalla trapunta." (English): Guede "confirmed then to have touched more or less everywhere in the room, even with his hands stained with blood, without however explaining why one of his [palm-]prints were found on the pillow under the corpse, when he remembered the regular pillow on the bed, where they also found the jacket and purse/handbag that the girl [Kercher] had put down on re-entering the house. The bed was, according to his description, covered with a red or beige duvet (but he had insisted far more on the former colour): the pillow was outside of the quilt." Earlier in his judgement, the judge noted that (Italian): "Soltanto in seguito, attraverso la comparazione in Banca Dati di un'impronta palmare impressa nel sangue e rinvenuta sulla federa del cuscino che si trovava sotto il corpo della vittima, si accertava invece la presenza sul luogo del delitto del 21enne G. R. H., nativo della Costa d'Avorio ..." (English): "Only later, through the comparison in the database of a palm-print imprinted in the blood of the victim and found on the pillowcase of the pillow where the body of the victim was found, it confirmed instead the presence at the scene of the crime of the 21-year-old G[uede] R.H., native of the Ivory Coast, ..."
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  117. ^ Burleigh 2011, pp. xxvi–xxvii.
  118. ^ Follain P.397
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  123. ^ "Meredith Kercher killer's apology won sentence cut", Press Association, 23 March 2010.
  124. ^ "Caso Meredith, la Cassazione conferma: "16 anni per Guede", Libero News (Italian), 16 December 2010.
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  133. ^ Glynn, Casey. "Forensic experts in Amanda Knox appeal reject key DNA evidence", CBS News, 25 July 2011.
  134. ^ a b Rich, Nathaniel. "The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox", Rolling Stone, 27 June 2011. For allegations about demonic influence, and "We live in an age of violence with no motive," see p. 2. For Mignini and satanic allegations, p. 3.
  135. ^ "Monster of Florence: Amanda Knox Prosecutor's Satanic Theories Rejected by Judge". CBSe. 23 April 2010. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20003238-504083.html. 
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  145. ^ Rich, Nathaniel (27 June 2011). "The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-neverending-nightmare-of-amanda-knox-20110627?page=5. 
  146. ^ Pisa, Nick (28 March 2009). "Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito 'seen chatting' on night Meredith Kercher murdered". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/5066282/Amanda-Knox-and-Raffaele-Sollecito-seen-chatting-on-night-Meredith-Kercher-murdered.html. 
  147. ^ "Testimony a game-changer in Amanda Knox's favor?". CBSNews. 28 March 2011. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/28/earlyshow/main20047813.shtml. 
  148. ^ "Shopkeeper Says He Saw Knox After Murder: On Stand in Italy, Store Owner Recalls Murder Suspect's 'Remarkable Blue Eyes'". ABC News. 21 March 2009. http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=7140361&page=1. 
  149. ^ "Fact and Fiction in Amanda Knox Movie". ABC News. 22 February 2011. http://abcnews.go.com/US/faction-fiction-amanda-knox-lifetime-movie/story?id=12969134. 
  150. ^ Dempsey 2010, p. 286.
  151. ^ a b "Amanda Knox guilty of Meredith Kercher murder". BBC News. 5 December 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8394750.stm. 
  152. ^ Massei 2010, pp. 394, 395.
  153. ^ Iovane, Giorgia (October 3, 2011). "Amanda Knox e Raffaele Sollecito assolti per il delitto di Meredith: il video della sentenza". Televisionando. http://www.televisionando.it/articolo/amanda-knox-e-raffaele-sollecito-assolti-per-il-delitto-di-meredith-il-video-della-sentenza/57531/. 
  154. ^ "Damages For Barman Framed By Amanda Knox". Sky News. 16 March 2009. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Meredith-Kercher-Murder-Patrick-Lumuba-Awarded-Damages-Over-Amanda-Knox-Framing/Article/200903315242321?f=rss. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  155. ^ "Amanda Knox Victim Fights for Cash". Daily Express. 7 February 2010. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/156667. 
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  177. ^ "Press Release of Senator Cantwell". http://cantwell.senate.gov/news/record.cfm?id=320475. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
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References

Books
  • Burleigh, Nina. The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox. Broadway, 2011.
  • Cappelletti, Mauro; Merryman, John Henry; and Perillo, Joseph M. The Italian Legal System: An Introduction. Stanford University Press, 1967.
  • Dempsey, Candace. Murder in Italy. Berkley Books, 2010.
  • Follain, John. Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case from her Murder to the Acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Hodder & Stoughton, 2011
Judicial reports

Further reading and external links

Media related to Murder of Meredith Kercher at Wikimedia Commons

Books

  • Burleigh, Nina (2 August 2011). The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox. Broadway Books. ISBN 9780307588586. OCLC 699763845. 
  • Dempsey, Candace (27 April 2010). Murder in Italy: the Shocking Slaying of a British Student, the Accused American Girl, and an International Scandal. Berkley Books. ISBN 9780425230831. 
  • Follain, John (25 October 2011). Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case from her Murder to the Acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 9781444706550. 
  • Girlanda, Rocco (19 October 2010) (in Italian). Io vengo con te. Colloqui in carcere con Amanda Knox [Take me with you – Talks with Amanda Knox in prison]. Edizioni Piemme. ISBN 9788856615623. 
  • King, Gary C. (4 January 2010). The Murder of Meredith Kercher. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1844549023. 
  • Latza Nadeau, Barbie (15 May 2010). Angel Face: the True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox. Beast Books. ISBN 9780984295135. 
  • Russell, Paul; Graham Johnson, Luciano Garofano (7 January 2010). Darkness Descending – the Murder of Meredith Kercher. Pocket Books. ISBN 9781847398628. 
  • Sarzanini, Fiorenza (26 November 2008) (in Italian). Amanda e gli altri. Vite perdute intorno al delitto di Perugia. Bompiani. ISBN 9788845262180. 
Audiobook
  • Pezzan, Jacopa and Brunoro Giacomo (4 March 2011). Amanda Knox e il delitto di Perugia: misteri italiani. La Case. ASIN B004QXZYYE. English translation: Amanda Knox and the Perugia Murder: Italian Crimes (1 March 2011). ASIN B004QXYED6

Television

  • American Girl, Italian Nightmare: CBS 48 Hours documentary, United States, April 2009.
  • A Long Way From Home: CBS 48 Hours documentary, United States, April 2008.
  • Beyond the Headlines: Amanda Knox: Lifetime documentary, United States, 21 February 2011.
  • Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story: CNN Presents documentary, United States, 8 May 2011.
  • Sex, Lies and the Murder of Meredith Kercher: Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary, United Kingdom, 17 April 2008.
  • The Trial of Amanda Knox: NBC Dateline NBC documentary, United States, 4 December 2009.
  • The Trial of Amanda Knox: Cold Blood documentary, Investigation Discovery, United States, 20 April 2011.
  • The Trials of Amanda Knox: The Learning Channel documentary, United States, 24 March 2010.
  • Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy, Lifetime fictional work, United States, 21 February 2011.

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