We now have almost the complete case file. They are being translated by our team of volunteers and vetted to ensure that no sensitive images of Meredith Kercher are ever released.
Rudy Guede was convicted for his part in the murder in October 2008 (confirmed by the Supreme Court of Cassation in December 2010). This decision also committed Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito to trial. They were found guilty in December 2009 by the 1st instance court of Judge Massei. A subsequent appeal resulted in their convictions being (provisionally) overturned for the most part, in October 2011, by Appeals Court Judge Hellmann. This court upheld Amanda's conviction for calunnia, and increased her sentence to one commensurate with the time she had served so far.
This decision was appealed again by three sides: the prosecution and lawyers representing the Kercher family against the murder acquittal, and Amanda against her calunnia conviction. On March 26, 2013 the Supreme Court of Cassation finalized the calunnia conviction, nullified the acquittal, and ordered a new appeal. Their reasoning report was released on June 18, 2013.
Referring to the previous conviction of Rudy Guede, it directed the Court of Appeals in Florence to consider:
- that the crime was committed by multiple individuals who knew each other;
- a range of possible motives, including that it might have been the result of a (non consensual) 'sex game' which escalated out of control;
- that Meredith's time of death (TOD) must be set taking into account the time witnesses heard a piercing scream.
- accepted the trial court's reasoning that footprints made by Amanda Knox, containing her and Meredith Kercher's DNA, were made in blood.
- rejected the contamination hypotheses, and criticized Judge Hellmann for blindly accepting the defense arguments, when no credible explanation was provided for how this claimed contamination could have occurred.
- strongly suggested that Amanda Knox's false accusation of Patrick Lumumba, proof of the staged break-in, and memoriale mentioning a scream were indicative of her guilt.
While the appeals court was not bound by Cassation to accept any of these conclusions, they would have needed to provide accurate, sound and logical reasoning for rejecting them, which the appeals judge Hellmann had failed to do.
On January 30, 2014, the Appeals Court of Florence upheld the original convictions of Knox and Sollecito. It confirmed their prison sentences as 25 years for the murder and sexual assault charges, with Knox receiving an extra 3.5 years for the calunnia offence regarding her false accusation of Patrick Lumumba.
The appeal judges had 90 days in which to write their motivation report, explaining the reasoning behind their decision. This report was deposited with the court on April 29, 2014. Initial reports from Italian media indicate the court agreed a kitchen knife was the murder weapon, added a second knife making smaller stab wounds was wielded by Sollecito, confirmed his DNA on Meredith Kercher's bra clasp, and denied the defense argument the break in was not staged. Knox was the only one who could have let them in, and Sollecito not knowing Guede was immaterial, as Knox clearly knew them both. The motive is based on an argument escalating into violence, with Knox and Sollecito aiming to sexually abuse and humiliate Meredith Kercher, leading to her murder.
Their defense teams filed appeals to the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome, on June 16, 2014. Raffaele Sollecito tried to separate his defense from Amanda Knox by requesting his appeal be heard by a full court. This was declined, and a hearing for both of them was held before a five judge panel on March 25, 2015.
On March 27, 2015 the Supreme Court acquitted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. We will publish the reasoning report when the translation becomes available.
RIP, Meredith Kercher