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The Murder of Meredith Kercher
Were Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede responsible for the death of Meredith Kercher? This site was created to inform the public about the case, by providing translations of original documents and evidence presented at trial.
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 well have been the result of a sex game gone wrong;
- 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 facts, they would have needed to provide accurate, sound and logical reasoning for rejecting them, which 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 charge, 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 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 has been declined, and a hearing for both of them will be held before a five judge panel on March 25, 2015. Given the history of this case at the Supreme Court, it is likely that their convictions will be confirmed.
RIP, Meredith Kercher
The Case Against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito
|An Introduction||A brief introduction for individuals unaware of the history and current status of the case.|
|The Evidence||A synopsis of all the evidence against Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox with links to a more detailed discussion of individual items of evidence.|
|Myths Debunked||Numerous myths exist about this case. In this section we set the record straight.|
|The Massei Trial||A day by day / witness by witness summary of the testimony at the original trial.|
|Primary Sources||All the court decisions and as many of the transcripts we currently have access to. The most important material is available in English, but some is only available in Italian.|
The evidence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito's involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher
- More than one person attacked Meredith Kercher. From the time of Rudy Guede's final sentencing, the Court has accepted that more than one person attacked Meredith Kercher, with an unusually strong report that pointed towards Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as the other attackers. Meredith was dressed, awake, and standing for the attack, yet did not defend herself. Unusually, she had no defensive wounds but for three tiny (0.24 inch or 6 mm) cuts on her hand, indicating an inability to express normal reflexes, flinch from the small cuts to her neck, or attempt to block the incoming blows with her hands or forearms. Indeed, in addition to wounds which fit two different knife profiles, she suffered numerous compression or restraint bruises to her elbows, wrists, and face. At the trial, consultants for Knox and Sollecito each proposed a single-attacker scenario but could not agree whether this lone wolf had attacked from the front (Torre, Amanda's consultant) or from behind (Introna, Raffaele's consultant). At the appeal, under Judge Hellmann, Sollecito's defense team introduced two witnesses to testify first, that Guede had acted with two people other than Knox and Sollecito, and second, that two people excluding Guede had carried out the attack after mistakenly entering the home. The Supreme Court faulted Judge Hellmann for ignoring their sentence of Guede and supporting the single-wolf theory, which they found unsupported by the facts. They direct the new Appeals Court in Florence to see what evidence ties Rudy Guede together with Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the cottage at the same time.
- Someone returned to move Meredith. As is detailed by Judge Micheli (who convicted Guede for his part and committed Knox and Sollecito to trial to answer for the evidence of theirs) Meredith's body was discovered in a position and location different from that in which she died, judging by the lividity reported by the medical examiner and an indentation in her shoulder of a bra strap (with a corresponding impression on the floor). She had died and rested on her shoulder to the right of the room, wearing her bra, and was moved to center of the room and her bra discarded at her feet, soaked through but nowhere near any blood. He notes that the blood droplets on the cups show she was wearing the bra while still breathing, but her chest, which the bra had been covering, remained clean, indicating no breaths were being drawn when or after the bra was removed.
- The bra clasp, cut or torn off from the bra the victim was wearing and originally hidden under the victim, had Raffaele's DNA on the hooks. No plausible argument for contamination was successfully made. Stefano Conti, the independent reviewer who testified to this point, could only suppose that "anything is possible." The Supreme Court strongly rejected that finding, and Judge Hellmann's acceptance of it, stating that the contamination must be proven likely, and not merely presented as a hypothetical possibility.
- The knife recovered at Sollecito's apartment showed DNA traces from the victim and Amanda Knox. In her court testimony Carla Vecchiotti, one of the pair of independent experts who reviewed the DNA evidence at the first appeal, as well as forensic scientists from the Scientific Police, ruled out contamination in the laboratory with respect to the knife, owing to the six-day interval since testing items related to the Kercher case. When confronted with the knife DNA result in 2007, Raffaele responded with a fabricated story about accidentally pricking Meredith's hand while they were cooking together. Meredith had never been to his flat, and they had never cooked together. The Supreme Court ruled the Scientific Police's findings must stand, absent any new proof. Another trace containing human DNA was found on the blade of the knife  by the independent reviewers, Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, who argued the trace was too minute too test, even though renowned forensic expert Professor Novelli argued that newer, more sensitive tests would be quite able to successfully test the sample. This test was performed in October 2013 and found to be Knox's DNA.
- A bare footprint made in the victim's blood was discovered on the mat in the bathroom. Rudy's bloody shoe prints lead from Meredith's room directly down the hall and out the front door. The bathroom print, which could not have been made by Rudy Guede, is highly compatible with Raffaele Sollecito's right foot. His defense presented a footprint diagram in the Massei court, in an attempt to prove it couldn't be his client's. However, the judge ruled it was more compatible with Raffaele, and completely ruled out that it could have been Rudy's.
- Knox's DNA was found mixed with the victim's blood in the room where the burglary was staged, and in the bathroom they shared; some of this blood was Amanda's. Amanda testified that the bathroom was clean the day before the murder.
- Footprints compatible with Knox and Sollecito's, and made in the victim's blood, were discovered when the forensic investigators tested the crime scene with luminol.
- The burglary was staged, and there is no reason for this to have been done, other than to throw suspicion onto others. Broken glass had fallen on top of the scattered objects, meaning the window was broken after the ransacking, and Luminol revealed the presence of two traces of the victim's blood on the floor, showing conclusively that whomever had tracked it in had done so after the girl was dead. Raffaele knew nothing had been stolen in the course of this supposed burglary, assuring the 112 (911) operator of this fact well before the occupant of the room had come home and verified it for herself.
- Amanda Knox misled police by suggesting that Meredith’s locked door was not suspicious. In her email home Amanda relates a scene of rising panic as she and Raffaele shout for Meredith, and climb the balcony to try to see in her window, Raffaele attempts to force the door open, but only splinters the frame. She says it was then they decided to call the police. Despite all this concern, they did not mention the door, or their worries about Meredith, to the communications police, who arrived unexpectedly to return Meredith's discarded cellphones. Filomena and her friends arrived shortly thereafter, and it was Filomena who said that it was not Meredith's habit to lock her door. Amanda falsely offered that this was not true: Meredith had locked it before, even to take a shower. The Supreme Court rules this is in itself proof of an attempt to prevent the discovery of the body, with all the implications that has for her guilt.
- Knox and Sollecito's alibis are contradicted by each other, by physical evidence and by witness testimony. While this does not directly implicate them in the murder, they have clearly lied about what they did on the night of the murder and the following morning. It is inconceivable that they would risk lying about their activities if they were not involved in Meredith's murder. It is one thing to claim they cannot remember due to the influence of drugs. It is another to knowingly lie. The recent ruling confirms that they lied repeatedly.
- Raffaele withdrew support for Knox's alibi, claiming that he lied at her request. He elected to not testify, and he refused to confirm that Knox was with him the night of the murder, for the entire trial. Confronted with the news that Raffaele had ceased to support her alibi, Knox quickly changed her story, placing herself at the cottage and falsely accusing an innocent man of committing the deed.
- Amanda Knox's false accusation of her boss Patrick Lumumba. The appeals court has been directed by the Supreme Court to seriously consider this as yet more evidence of her guilt.
- See The Giordano Sentencing Report
- "one on the palm of her right hand of a length of 0.24 inch or 0.6 cm showing a tiny amount of blood; another on the ulnar surface of the first phalange of the second finger of the left hand, also of length 0.6 cm; another on the fingertip of the first finger with a superficial wound" (Massei pp 370, 371)
- "He ruled out that the knife (Exhibit 36) could have caused the wound on the opposite side (still inflicted on the neck but on the right side) because of the size of the wound (1 cm and a half with a depth of 4 cm) and the fact that at 4 cm from the tip the width of the blade of the knife is about 3 cm and therefore much larger than the width of the wound (as indicated, 1.5cm)." (Massei p 121)
- "As for the dynamic of the crime, (Prof Torre) held a stabbing from the front to be more likely than a stabbing from behind as Professor Introna hypothesised" (Massei pp 145)
- Pisa, Nick. Meredith murder suspect tells 'secret prison diary' her DNA was on his knife because he 'pricked her ' while cooking Daily Mail 09 Dec 2007
- "A certainly odd presence, if one has in mind the ordinary use of the utensil, and overall significant – even of itself, and to leave aside the attribution – and useful to compare with what was found by Forensics on the same blade" Galati p 27
- Call Recording
- See also |Raffaele Sollecito's 112 calls.