Italian Judge Nencini has released his 337-page guilty verdict reasoning document in the Amanda Knox case. The court found Amanda Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito guilty in the 2007 murder of Knox’s roommate, British student, Meredith Kercher. The judge cited that Kercher’s wounds indicated multiple weapons and thus multiple aggressors and that the two had previously fought over money. The court cited the third person convicted, in a separate trial, Rudy Guede, a transient and known burglar, as credible in his accusation that Knox and Kercher fought over rental money. The judge wrote that Guede did not act alone, saying that two knives were used to attack Kercher, 21, and that finger imprints on her body indicated she was restrained. The court noted evidence that Kercher and Knox did not get along and said Knox tried to downplay their differences.
“It is a matter of fact that at a certain point in the evening events accelerated; the English girl was attacked by Amanda Marie Knox, by Raffaele Sollecito, who was backing up his girlfriend, and by Rudy Hermann Guede, and constrained within her own room,” the document said.
The court reasoned that it was not necessary for all the assailants to have the same motive and that the murder was never a sex game gone awry (as the original prosecutors alleged and the reason why the case gained such international attention).
The release of the reasoning now allows Knox and Sollecito to appeal to the Court of Cassation. If it confirms the guilty verdicts, an extradition fight may ensue. Knox has been in the United States since 2011 when she was acquitted.
Kercher was found dead in a pool of blood in the apartment that her and Knox shared in Perugia, Italy, as both were exchange students in 2007. Her throat had been slashed and she had been sexually assaulted. Knox and Sollecito were arrested 4 days later and served 4 years before an appeals court acquitted them of all charges in 2011. Italy does not have double jeopardy protections, so the prosecutors appealed and Italy’s high court overturned their acquittals and ordered new trials. That new trial resulted in their second conviction. Knox and Sollecito currently face 28 1/2 and 25 years in prison respectively.
The courts have cast different versions of that night. Knox and Sollecito were convicted of rape and murder in the first trial based upon DNA evidence and Knox’s false accusation against a bar owner, for which she was also convicted of slander. Under interrogation, Knox accused the bar owner falsely. Knox has said she was coerced. The appeals court that acquitted the two criticized everything about the original case and deemed the forensic evidence unreliable and contaminated. The high court ordered new trials and said that the acquittal didn’t examine certain pieces of evidence.
Guede was convicted and sentenced to 16-years in prison, after his original 30-year sentence was reduced. Guede has alleged he did not act alone. He acknowledges that he was there at the time of the murder, but did not commit it.
Amanda Knox released a statement after the reasoning was released reiterating her innocence. On her personal website, she wrote:
“The prosecution’s case against Raffaele…and I fails to establish motive and is founded upon unreliable, refuted, and irrelevant forensic and circumstantial evidence. False confession; police perjury; inconsistent, questionable, exaggerated, and irrelevant testimony; and bad science…The presumed murder weapon was a large chef’s knife [the other “murder weapon” was never found, the judge cited it as a small knife]…did not have Meredith’s blood…on it, did not fit…[the] wounds, did not correspond with a bloody imprint of the murder weapon found on Meredith’s bed sheet and was not cleaned…all invisible footprints outside Meredith’s room revealed by luminol and…attribut[ed] to me tested negative for blood.”
“I have stated from the beginning of this long ordeal that Raffaele and I are innocent of the accusations against us. We were found innocent by the only court in Italy that retained independent forensic experts to review the case…Experts agreed that my DNA was not found anywhere in Meredith’s room, while the DNA of the actual murderer, Rudy Guede, was found throughout that room and on Meredith’s body. This forensic evidence directly refutes the multiple-assailant theory found in the new motivation document. This theory is not supported by any reliable forensic evidence…the recent motivation document does not – and cannot – identify any legitimate motive for our alleged involvement in this terrible crime. No fewer than three motives have been previously advanced by the prosecution and by the courts. Each of these theories was as unsupported as the purported motive found in the new motivation document, and each of these alleged motives was subsequently abandoned by the prosecution or the courts…I will now focus on pursuing an appeal before the Italian Supreme Court. I remain hopeful that the Italian courts will once again recognize Raffaele’s and my innocence. I want to thank once again, from the bottom of my heart, all of those—family, friends, and strangers—who have supported us and believe in our innocence.”
The court’s reasoning laid out a series of events the court concluded occurred. The court said that Knox delivered the “only” fatal blow to Kercher out of a desire “to overpower and humiliate” her because they had a bad relationship due to fights over housekeeping, male visitors, and rent money. Sollecito, according to the judge, backed up his girlfriend and held Kercher down. Guede sought to act on his attraction to Kercher and raped her. The judge concluded that Kercher “harbored reservations” about Knox. The night of the murder, according to the ruling, went like this: Knox let in Guede, a man she knew only in brief passing and someone who Kercher did not know. He proceeded to defecate in a toilet without flushing, which “annoy[ed] Meredith Kercher more than a little”. The student also was aware of “300 euros” missing. Guede blamed the stolen money on Knox. “The[se] two circumstances could have constituted effectively a valid motive for Meredith Kercher…to ask for explanations in a very pressing manner.”
The Kercher family believes that both Knox and Sollecito are guilty and believe that the court reasoning goes a long way to showing that their daughter was murdered by Knox, her boyfriend, and a drifter. The Kercher family said that they “hope we are near to the truth, to an end, so that we can start to remember Meredith for who she was.”