Nencini Appeal

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This summary of events was put together from live reports from the Florence courtroom. These are principally from:

The judges' summary of the outcome of the appeal has been issued and an English language translation is available as the Nencini Sentencing Report.

Public examinations of the evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito heard at each level


30 September, 2013

The rehearing of Knox and Sollecito's appeal opened in Florence, Italy, today at 9.45 am Italian time (UTC+2). The Presiding Judge is Alessandro Nencini, aged 58, who is the President of the Second Chamber of Appeal of the Court of Florence. He is assisted by Judge Luciana Cicerchia, who is President of the Court of Assizes. The bench comprises these two professional judges, plus 6 lay judges and 2 alternate lay judges: six women (including 1 pro judge) and four men.

Amanda Knox's legal team is present, but neither she nor any of her family are in court. Raffaele Sollecito was last seen sunning himself on a beach in the Dominican Republic and was absent from court, but Francesco Sollecito, Raffaele's father, was present and was taking copious notes of the proceedings.[1]

Patrick Lumumba, who was arrested as a result of Knox's false accusations, has requested that he be present and represented as a civil party in the appeal. The Court has accepted his request.[2] He is still waiting for Knox to pay the civil damages awarded by the court as a result of her accusations.[1]

Stephanie Kercher's letter
The Kercher family are not present: both John and Arline Kercher have chronic health problems that make travel difficult. They are represented by their lawyer who asked to submit a letter from family (see translation of Stephanie Kercher's Letter to the Nencini Appeal). Sollecito's lawyer has objected to it being read in court. Nevertheless, the Judges have allowed the letter to be read out.[1] The Kerchers' letter explains why they cannot attend the court, owing to their fragile health, and includes an emotional appeal for the court to uncover the truth.

Judge Nencini spent about 50 minutes summarising the case and the existing judgements against Knox and Sollecito. The lay judges were concentrating very hard as he covered a lot of ground, speaking very quickly.[3]

Sollecito's legal team have made some opening statements. They first asked for time to make requests: Judge Nencini said that "This is not a Taliban court, there is time for every request." Giulia Bongiorno, for Sollecito's defense, stated that the reliable evidence points to Rudy Guede, not Knox and Sollecito: "The assassin always leaves a trace."[2] She went on to say that the crime scene conditions prohibited proper evidence gathering, and so the bra clasp, which tested positive for Sollecito's DNA, should be thrown out.[2] She also requested new tests on Meredith's cellphones, which she believes can establish a more accurate time of death.

Luca Maori, also from Sollecito's defense team alluded to the sexual assault of Meredith and claimed there was a lack of evidence.[3] He also mentioned a stain on Meredith's pillow that has never been tested: he believes this to be a semen stain.[3] He has asked for new forensic tests to be performed on the pillow and also the rock used to break the window in Filomena Romanelli's bedroom.[2]

Next, he brought up the subject of computers belonging to Knox and Meredith, which he says were destroyed and could have provided valuable evidence.

Amanda Knox's defense team next presented their appeal case with Carlo Dalla Vedova opening their proceedings. He characterized this as a never ending case and seemed, by implication, to be complaining about Italian judicial system.[3] He asked the Court for a timely decision and not to drag the proceedings out too long.[3] Also Luciano Ghirga has requested a new examination of the knife found in RS flat— "The Double DNA Knife" which was found to have Knox's DNA on the handle and Meredith's on the blade.

Following a break, Prosecutor Crini opened the case for the prosecution. He seems to support the original crime theory of a sexual assault that escalated into murder (not a satanic ritual, which is a myth propagated by the media) but he has very different style from Mignini, who is no longer involved in the case.[3] Crini cautioned the court against re-hearing evidence just because there are controversial interpretations of trial facts. He was scornful of the independent review carried out in the last (annulled) appeal, and implied that the experts were not independent.[3] He went on to say that Cassation annulled the appeal not because elements were missing, but because improper logic was used to interpret existing evidence.[2] His view is that further reviews of the evidence just generate another set of opinions.[3] He challenged the idea that the DNA (eg on the bra clasp) somehow became contaminated in the 6 weeks that elapsed before its collection: he pointed out that DNA lasts for years.[3] Nevertheless, he requested a further DNA test of the Double DNA Knife using newer, more sensitive instrumentation. This would be a test of the additional DNA sample discovered, but not tested, during the previous appeal.[2] Crini also requested a new examination of witness Luciano Aviello who gave evidence at the annulled appeal but later claimed that he had lied in court after being offered money by the defense.

Francesco Maresca, who represents the Kercher family next made an opening statement. He essentially supports the prosecution and dismissed the defense position as a "remix" of old arguments.[2] Referring to Nara Capezzali, who heard a scream on the night of the murder, he described her as a 'marvellous' witness.

Carlo Pacelli, Patrick Lumumba's lawyer made a brief address and took the opportunity to remind the court that it was Knox who first spoke about Meredith's scream when she was killed.[3]

The judges retired for about two hours to consider the various requests for examining further evidence.[3] These had not all necessarily been introduced, in detail, in the opening statements to the court, but had been, in some cases, itemized in the defense's written submission to the court. On reconvening the court, they announced their decisions:[4]

  • The Carabinieri to conduct a new examination of the Double DNA Knife.[2] This is effectively unfinished business from the Hellmann court which was criticised by the Supreme Court for asking experts to retest the knife and then allowing them not to retest the new sample ("Sample 36-I") that they found.
  • To re-hear Aviello (on Friday October 4th).[2] This is more unfinished business specifically noted by the Supreme Court. Aviello testified in Hellmann's court then stated that he'd been bribed by the defense to give evidence, but was never recalled to court to account for his behavior.
  • To re-examine a photograph of Sollecito's fingernails, after arrest, to determine if he could have removed the bra clasp.[3]
  • Not to test the unknown stain on the pillowcase.
  • Not to re-hear Rudy Guede as a witness.
  • Not to rehear other witnesses whom the defense claimed were unreliable.
  • Not to allow a new defense expert to re-examine the selective cleaning of the crime scene.
  • Not to hear new experts regarding the time of death.
  • Not to hear new scientific experts for the defense.
  • Not to re-examine the mobile phones.

In summary, it seems that, in cases where defense and prosecution had ample opportunity to examine evidence and produce experts during the original (2009) trial, this court is not going to give them a second opportunity.

The Court was adjourned until Friday October 4th. At that session, the court will examine the witness Aviello and will also formally appoint the experts to test "Sample 36-I" from the Double DNA Knife.

October 4th, 2013

The Court was reconvened and the first item of business was the new test relating to the Double DNA Knife.[1] Major Andrea Berti and Captain Filippo Barni, two experts from the Carabinieri RIS (Reparto Investigazioni Scientifiche), have been appointed to test sample 36-I.[1] The results will be presented to the Court on November 6th.[2]

The court next had to wait for the arrival of Luciano Aviello,[5] the prison informer who had previously declared Sollecito innocent, then had claimed that the Sollecito family bribed him for his testimony, in order to fund a sex change operation.[6] There was some discussion about Aviello's status under article 197bis of the Criminal Procedure Code.[5] This relates to the status of "pentiti" -- criminals collaborating with justice. Aviello appeared in women's clothes and is known to be in the process of a sex change.[7] He testified that Knox and Sollecito were innocent and reiterated the testimony he gave at the Hellmann appeal, that the murder was committed by his (Aviello's) brother.[7] If this were true, it would exonerate not only Knox and Sollecito, but also Rudy Guede, currently in prison for the murder. Aviello denied receiving any money from the Sollecito family.[7] His testimony (in a manner described by the La Nazione reporter as "surreal") also talked about a spiritualist seance and the commissioned theft of a painting.[7] Judge Nencini seemed dismissive and mentioned Aviello's "three versions" of his story: Knox's lawyer, Dalla Vedova, objected on the grounds that there have only been two versions. Nencini smiled and said: "Don't forget the next!"[5]

Giulia Bongiorno, Sollecito's lawyer, announced that Raffaele would like to make a spontaneous declaration to court. She said that he will appear, but not when. She hopes that the results on the knife will be such as to "make Sollecito's innocence even more evident."[8]

The Kercher family's lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: "The Court is in possession of elements which will permit it to make a judgement serenely."[8]

Court sittings have been cancelled for October 23 and 24, and November 7. This leaves planned dates of November 6, 25 and 26.[1]

October 30, 2013

The reported prepared by Rome RIS on the testing of Sample 36i found on the knife was filed with the court. The report can be read here The DNA Report For Sample 36i. The conclusions of the Rome RIS is that sample 36i is match to Amanda Knox. The court will convene on November 6 to have the report entered into evidence.

Reporting on the leaked results of the 36i sample have misstated the Rome RIS findings. The news media reported that the knife was tested and that the victim's DNA has not discovered. This is incorrect, as the knife was not tested. The tests undertaken by Rome RIS was limited to Sample 36i discovered by Conti and Vecchiotti but not tested as per Hellmann's decision. This graphic illustrates where the nine samples taken from the knife were located. (Samples G-C-F-H on the other side yielded no profile)

Knife With DNA Locations.png

Each of these samples are independent and so the results of 36i have no significance toward the results of 36b. As such, the knife still has Meredith Kercher’s DNA and media reports that it does not are inaccurate.

Amanda Knox’s DNA was previously discovered on the handle of the knife in Sample 36a so having 36i return a match to Amanda Knox’s DNA is not significant. If 36i had contained the victim’s DNA it would have served as a confirmation of the results from 36b but sample 36i not containing the victim’s DNA does not negative the fact that sample 36b. The one significant result of Rome RIS successfully extracting a profile from 36i is that it contradicts Conti and Vecchiotti’s statement that there was insufficient genetic material for amplification. It also brings into question why Judge Hellmann refused to allow testing of Sample 36i during the 2011 appeal.

November 06, 2013

Rome forensic experts handed in their report on trace 36-I, located in the join of the blade and knife, to complete testing that had not been done by Conti and Vecchiotti. Knox profile is the only DNA found in that location.[7] Court will determine relative importance of all three reports: Stefanoni (2007-2008), Conti-Vecchiotti (2011) and Berti-Barni (Rome RIS, 2013).

Attempts by Knox defense attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova to cast doubt on original DNA report by Patrizia Stefanoni were rejected by Judge Nencini.[5] Judge asked if experts could formulate opinion 'without reference to American standards' to which captain Barni replied in the affirmative.[5] Judge also established difference between forensic standards and equipment available in 2007/2008 and 2011.[9] Judges will now consider weight to be given to all three DNA traces found on the knife: Meredith Kercher's DNA on the blade (trace 36B), and Amanda Knox's DNA on the handle (trace 36A) and on the join between handle and blade (trace 36I).[9]

Raffaele Sollecito gave a dramatic statement proclaiming his innocence.[7] [10] [11]A short excerpt with subtitles is here.

Judge declared the evidence phase closed.[5]

The court decided to send Luciano Aviello's court testimony to the Attorney General's Office (Procura generale della Repubblica),[7] which is the office of the public prosecutor at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Italy.

Next court dates are November 25 for the prosecution arguments, November 26 for the civil parties: Kercher family and Patrick Lumumba, December 16 for the Sollecito defense, December 17 for the Knox defense, and rebuttals and deliberations will be held on January 9 and 10, 2014,[3][9] expecting a decision to be reached on January 10, 2014.[12]

November 25, 2013

The full transcript:Florence Appeal - Transcript of Proceedings November 25, 2013 The text is in Italian but if you use Chrome as your browser it will generate a machine translation (although given the size of the document this sometimes hangs)

Court was resumed for the prosecution summing-up. Raffaele Sollecito was present in court.[5] The prosecution was led by Alessandro Crini, supported by veteran Florentine prosecutor Tindari Baglione.[2] Prosecutor Crini opened by stating that this appeal is unusual, not because of the case but for the course followed. Usually appeals are narrow in focus, but this one is not, because the Supreme Court annulment of the previous appeal was total. Hellmann's court's reasoning did not just have a few errors, but was "razed to the ground" by the Supreme Court.[5] Nencini went on to address, in a methodical way, many of the points of evidence:

  • The problems with Knox and Sollecito's alibis. Crini made the point that, if an alibi is false, that in itself, is evidence. He pointed out that Sollecito's alibi of using his computer at the time of the murder was worded in the singular—that is, it didn't support Knox's alibi.[5] Furthermore, the report of D'Ambrosio, the forensic computer expert, shows no interaction by Sollecito with his computer at the time of the murder and until 5am the following morning. Reports from Fastweb, Sollecito's ISP, likewise confirm no internet activity during this period.[5] According to Crini, this failure of computer alibi is not just a lack of confirmation of Sollecito's story, but is evidence against him.
  • The evidence of Antonio Curatolo. Crini stated that the Hellmann court had assessed Curatolo, a priori, based on him as a person and his lifestyle. Crini stated that many trials could not exist if drug addicted testimonies were dismissed.[5] He contrasted Curatolo with Aviello, who, he said, reached such a peak of unreliability that the Supreme Court concluded that calunnia charges should be considered.[5] Curatolo did not confuse the night of the murder with Halloween, because he was aware that, on Halloween, there was a big party in piazza and it did not rain. Curatolo was clear that it was the next evening that he saw Knox and Sollecito, and this memory was very specific.[5] He was a habitual presence in Piazza Grimana and was clear that the night he saw the couple talking was November 1.[1] According to Crini, Curatolo is no 'super-witness', but can contribute in helping the court to explain the sequence of events on the night of the murder.[5] He urged the court not to repeat the error of the Hellmann appeal: they should consider the evidence as a whole, including Curatolo.[2]
  • The timing of events on the night of the murder. Crini made the point that it is very difficult to assign exact times to most events, other than the arrival and departure of the tow truck outside the cottage.[5] He cannot say for sure whether the time of death was after 23.15 or before 22.30, but is more inclined to accept the earlier time.[5]
  • The evidence of Quintavalle (who had testified that he saw Knox in his shop in the early morning, after the murder). In particular, Crini dealt with the issue that Marco Quintavalle only came forward long after the murder, and only when urged to do so by an acquaintance. Crini pointed out that it is incorrect to dismiss a witness, a priori, just because they come forward late: sometimes late can be a symptom of reliability.[5] Crini rates Quintavalle as a highly reliable witness, noting that details of his testimony, such as the description of Amanda Knox and her clothing, are exceptional indicators of accuracy.[5]
  • The post-factum actions and behaviors of defendants. Crini drew the court's attention to the suspects' statements, including Amanda Knox's e-mail to her family and friends; her interrogation; and the memoriale that she wrote for the police on the day of her arrest.[5] He noted that it is still for the court to determine if Knox's calunnia was 'occasional', due to the pressure she was under, or 'aggravated'.[5]
  • The staging of the murder scene. Crini noted that the perpetrators organized a rather complex plan to clean up the crime scene and attempt to misdirect investigators.[5] He said that the suspects are the only people with a motive to undertake such a staging of the murder scene and the 'logistic' capability to carry it out.[5]
  • The bloody footprints. Crini mentioned the isolated bloody footprint on the bathmat and asked why this print was alone, with no others leading to it, or way from it.[5] Elements such as the lone footprint indicate that a clean-up happened, and this would be inconsistent with a lone-perpetrator scenario: it would make no sense for Guede to have left the evidence of a (putative) theft, but to have cleaned up some of the footprints.[5] Guede's sentencing was not 'well calibrated', but a Guede lone-wolf scenario is not tenable.[5] He addressed the bloody footprints in the hallway, revealed by Luminol: Crini sounded outraged at the defense claims that these might be some other substance than blood, describing such claims as vague unsubstantiated conjecture.[5] He said that the most significant stain may be the one in Romanelli's room, which includes the mixed DNA of Knox and Meredith.[5]
  • The staged burglary. Nencini spoke of the evidence that the apparent burglary had been staged.
  • Sollecito's statements. This includes his call to his sister, before calling 112. Crini discussed the 112 calls, themselves, including his view that they were made very late, even if the court concludes that they were made before the Postal Police arrived at the cottage.[5]
  • Knox's statements. Crini pointed out the timings of her various statements and concluded that too much is repeated in the later statements to support the earlier ones having been coerced. He noted that Knox's statements were inconsistent and omissive even before her interrogation.[5] For example, Knox apparently thought a locked door was normal for Meredith (though others testified to the contrary); Knox did not flush the toilet when she found feces in it; did not notice blood in the bathroom, before having a shower; and thought that blood in the bathroom was OK.[5] He further pointed out the inconsistency in Knox and Sollecito's accounts of events, with Sollecito saying that Romanelli's door was wide open, but Knox failing to notice the burglary.[5] According to Crini, both defendents' statements included elements that should not have been known to them at the time: Knox spoke about a scream and sexual violence before anyone knew; Sollecito said nothing was stolen before the burglary had been investigated.[5] Crini interpreted Knox's false accusation of Patrick Lumumba as a calculated strategy, in which she added pieces of truth (such as the sexual violence and scream) to make it more believable, as well as dreamlike components, such as the mention of fish blood.[5] Crini said that Knox's set of statements and false accusation comprise a calunnia strategy which should be seen as a 'primary' piece of evidence.[5]
  • DNA evidence. Crini began by stating that there was already enough evidence for a conviction, even without any DNA evidence.[5]

At this point, Judge Nencini suggested adjourning the court and continuing the prosecution case the following day. This necessitated some rescheduling of the planned court dates.[5]

Reporter Andrea Vogt now suggests the verdict will be issued mid-January, 2014.

November 26, 2013

The full transcript:Florence Appeal - Transcript of Proceedings November 26, 2013 The text is in Italian but if you use Chrome as your browser it will generate a machine translation (although given the size of the document this sometimes hangs)

The court reconvened and Alessandro Crini continued his summing-up, beginning with an introduction about circumstantial evidence.[5] He then continued from the previous day's list of evidence points.

  • DNA evidence—the knife. Crini gave an introduction, specific to DNA. He moved on to the evidence of the the Double DNA Knife, noting that the new RIS finding is 'important' because it adds new information: the presence of human DNA in a scratch on the blade of a knife is, itself, unusual.[5] He addressed the point that Stefanoni had only been able to conduct a single amplification of the sample of Meredith's DNA on the knife blade, whereas the guidelines specified that at least two amplifications should be performed. He stated that guidelines were just for guidance and this did not necessarily mean that we should discard a piece of evidence, no matter how important and clear, whenever a test is not repeatable.[5] The reason for the guidelines on multiple amplifications is that, in cases where there is a poor quality, 'dirty', DNA sample, such as Knox's profile on the knife, the interpretation of a single test can be difficult or ambiguous. However, in the case of the original sample from the knife blade, Meredith's profile came out absolutely clearly on the single test: there was no doubt that the profile belonged to Meredith.[5] Crini spoke highly of Novelli (as well as Stefanoni) as an expert, and cited Novelli as saying that the profile of Meredith on the knife blade was certain.[5] Crini took the opportunity to criticise the previous appeal's independent DNA experts, saying that someone who keeps a refrigerator like the one Vecchiotti has [ie the one where the DNA samples have been stored], should be less critical about laboratory practice.[5] He also noted Vecchiotti's refusal to test "Trace 36I"—the then newly-discovered DNA trace on the knife blade—saying that this approach was 'ideological', 'weak' and 'insufficient'.[5] In reviewing the DNA evidence, Vecchiotti should (according to Crini) have also referenced the conclusions reached by the other DNA experts who have been involved in the case, but failed to do so.[5] Crini emphasised that, contrary to some reports, Vecchiotti had said she obtained all the cooperation she required from Stefanoni. Raw data could be accessed by accessing the machine itself as Stefanoni offered. Crini confirmed that the negative controls (suggested by some to be missing) were deposited with the other records of the DNA testing, and he pointed out where the court could find the documentation of their deposit.[5] Crini stated that this kitchen knife was compatible with the knife print on Meredith's bed sheet.[5]
  • The bra clasp. Regarding the DNA trace on the bra clasp, Crini acknowledged that it was a mixed trace, which makes interpretation more difficult. However, the police experts were in no doubt that it contained Sollecito's DNA.[5] The Y-haplotype was a very good match for Sollecito, although it could theoretically match other close male family members. However, Crini pointed out that Guede was identified from a Y-haplotype match in a mixed DNA sample.[5] Crini cited Gill and Balding [13] in support of the DNA match.[5] Addressing the possibility of contamination, Crini said that it would need to be be deduced from the context of the finding and collection of the bra clasp: if contamination is to be considered, there must be a practical way for Sollecito's DNA to have been transferred to the clasp.[5] He pointed out that there was no instance of transfer of Sollecito's DNA anywhere at the crime scene.
  • Events of the crime. Crini set out the facts of the crime itself and his interpretation of them. He noted that the location of the murder, between the bed and the wardrobe, is an unusual position.[5] He described the blood spatter pattern and the conclusions about the position of Meredith at the time of the fatal wound, also noting that the body was later moved.[5] At the time of the fatal blow, she was still wearing her blue sweater, but this was removed subsequently.[5] He described the bruises and abrasions around Meredith's mouth, indicating the use of extreme force to stop her screaming, as well as evidence that the rest of her body was immobilized.[5] There were almost no defence wounds, indicating that the bruises were from restraint, not fighting.[5] Crini believes the evidence points to two knives being used in the attack, one large, one small. He criticises Torre's theory that the large wound could have been made with a small knife, pointing out that the wound has clear margins.[5] He finds it ridiculous to imagine that Guede, alone, could have subdued Meredith to this extent.[5] He believes that Meredith was immobilised by multiple attackers and that Guede was using both hands to restrain Meredith, so could not have stabbed her.[5] He believes that the assailants dealt the fatal blow to stop Meredith screaming.[5] He believes that Sollecito subsequently held the bra clasp while cutting the bra with a small, very sharp knife.[5] Crini does not know why Sollecito's kitchen knife was carried to the cottage, but does not think an explanation is necessary.[5]
  • The shoe print on the pillow in Meredith's room. Crini said that he accepts the police analysis that this was from a female shoe.[5]
  • The drop of Knox's blood on the tap in the small bathroom. Knox has never explained this other than by conjecture. Crini believes that Knox must have been aware that she was bleeding in the bathroom at some point and should be able to explain it.[5]
  • Motive. Crini stated that it is the prosecution's duty to conjecture a motive.[5] However, he said that nothing points to the three suspects having had an agreed plan, which then ran out of control. He believes that the first cause was an aggression, a clash, the impetus of rage. He argued that the motive is not futile, but is an intent to cause terror, as a consequence of the aggressive action in which the perpetrators were involved.[5] He pointed out that Meredith Kercher was sober and fully awake: by contrast, the others were under the influence of drugs.[5] Rudy Guede was not sober, quite high, a bit annoying, and was acting the same disgusting way he behaved downstairs days before, leaving unflushed feces in the toilet.[5] He cites Laura Mezzetti about the previous annoyance caused by Knox on house cleaning issues. The picture he paints is of the sober and tired Meredith getting very annoyed about Knox bringing the two men into the house, with all three of them under the influence of drugs, and this "impolite invasion" triggering Meredith to start an argument.[5] Crini gives no credibility to Guede as a witness, but said that the statements of unreliable perpetrators sometimes do contain revelations about the truth. Guede's story about Meredith and Knox arguing might be true—he had no particular reason to make it up.[5]

Crini argued that, because of the staging of the crime scene and the continued denials by the defendants, they should not be given generic mitigation for murder. He also requested to increase Knox's penalty for calunnia from 3 years to 4 years. This would mean a total request of 30 years for Knox and 26 years for Sollecito.[5]

December 16, 2013

This court session was reserved for the closing statements of the lawyers representing the Kercher family. Stephanie Kercher was represented by Serena Perna and the rest of the family by Francesco Maresco, assisted by Vieri Fabiani.

First to speak at this session was Vieri Fabiani, who appealed to the panel of judges to "judge not with your hearts, but with your head, using logic."[2] He urged the court to take account of the fact that Rudy Guede had been convicted of the murder, "along with others".[14] He also reminded the judges of the Supreme Court's criticism of the now-annulled Hellmann appeal for not making a link between the murder itself and Knox's false accusation of Patrick Lumumba.[14] Fabiani acknowledged the lack of a clear motive for the crime but said that this is irrelevant, as the voluntary homicide is proven, and that any number of things might have led to the fatal escalation of violence.[2] He summarised some of the evidence, saying that the there is no evidence that the bra clasp was contaminated and mentioning the fact that Knox apparently knew details of the murder that were not public.[7] He spoke of the DNA profile of Meredith on the knife found at Sollecito's house and said that there is less than a one in a billion probability that it does not belong to Meredith.[14]

Perna, speaking next, reminded the court that Meredith suffered many different wounds, almost none of which were defensive, and this means she was assaulted by multiple attackers and that "it is not sustainable that Rudy Guede is the only murderer".[2][7] She also said that the wounds were consistent with the use of two different knives.[7]

Next to speak was Maresca, who urged the judges to ignore debate that has gone on outside the courtroom, such as the media circus and media appearances by Knox and Sollecito.[2] However, he took the opportunity to remind the court that "while we're here in the trial, Sollecito is in Santo Domingo and Knox is in the USA taking online donations."[2] Maresca said he is in no doubt that Amanda & Raffaele are guilty as charged.[1] He addressed the possibility of contamination of the DNA evidence, describing it as a leitmotif of this trial, but saying that the Supreme Court had shut the door on this argument—contamination must be identified.[14] He spoke of Knox and Sollecito's lack of an alibi for the entire time of the murder.[7] He said there were two "fulcrums" in the case against Knox and Sollecito: Knox's false accusation against Patrick Lumumba and the staged burglary, both of which Maresca said were aimed at sidetracking the investigation.[15]

Maresca dismissed the US media representation of Knox as a girl thrown into a situation she didn't understand and he questioned why Knox was the only one stressed out by the behavior of the police, when all Meredith's British Friends were also questioned at length by police.[14] He further pointed out that Knox's statement that she wrote to the police on November 6, 2007, came at a time she had slept and was not under any duress.[14]

He listed some of the evidence:

  • The evidence of clean-up after the murder—on which point he said that the Supreme Court were "crystal clear".[14]
  • The lack of a motive for stealing Meredith's mobile phones, unless it was to delay the discovery of the body.[14]
  • The match of Sollecito’s foot to the print on the bathmat.[7]
  • Sollecito's DNA on Meredith's bra clasp.[7]
  • The mixed traces of Knox's DNA and Meredith's blood in the small bathroom.[14]
  • The mixed traces of Knox's DNA and Meredith's blood in Filomena Romanelli's bedroom, suggesting that the break-in was staged after the murder.[14]
  • Knox’s bedside lamp was found near the bed in Meredith's bedroom.[14]
  • Why did Knox call her mother in the middle of the night in Seattle before the body had been discovered?[14]

He dismissed the work of the independent DNA experts, Vecchiotti and Conti, describing it as incomplete and incompetent.[14] He cited problems with their evidence in other Italian trials, including Via Poma and the Consenza court (where Vecchiotti had overlooked DNA evidence).[14] He described the Hellmann appeal as being out of line with the forty other judges (at various hearings) who previously found Knox and Sollecito to be guilty and noted that Hellmann was inexperienced in criminal matters.[7] He also announced that the Kercher family is expected to arrived in Florence for the verdict, in January 2014.[1]

December 17, 2013

This court session was reserved for the defense's summing-up. Amanda Knox's lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, opened proceedings by seeking permission to read out an email from Knox, written in Italian.[7] Nencini accepted the email but noted it was highly unusual, given Knox's absence, and saying that it does not have the same status as a spontaneous statement made by someone who is present:[16] he said, "If you want to talk, come to court."[17] Knox has posted her own English language version of the email whose main points are:

  • She is not in court because she is afraid that the prosecution’s vehemence will lead to a wrongful conviction.
  • No physical evidence places Knox in Meredith's bedroom, because she was not there and didn't take part in the crime.
  • Knox's interrogation was illegal and produced a false "confession", Her subsequent memoriali recanted the confession.
  • In the brief time that she and Meredith were roommates, they never fought.
  • She did not carry around Raffaele's kitchen knife.
  • She had no contact with Rudy Guede.
  • She is not a psychopath.
  • The prosecution and civil parties are committing injustices because they cannot admit that they've made a terrible mistake.

Beginning his summing-up, Ghirga dismissed the kitchen knife that the prosecution have characterised as the murder weapon. He held up a large knife for the jury and said that "starch was on the knife. It was not cleaned. It was in domestic use."[2] Citing the C&V report, he said that there was no blood and no reliable trace of Meredith on the knife.[7]

Next he addressed the matter of a motive, saying that the motive, as presented by the prosecution is "constantly changing".[7]

Moving on to the prosecution witnesses, Ghirga said that the testimony of Antonio Curatolo was unreliable.[7]

Next to speak was Carlo dalla Vedova, also from Knox's defense team. He expressed his certainty that Knox is innocent, saying that "as time passes we're even more tranquil—there are many more doubts [about the evidence] than certainties."[2] He dismissed the prosecution's "imaginative" reconstruction of events and said it was absurd to suggest that the knife used for the murder was brought home afterwards.[7] He said that without connections between clues, the value of evidence is zero, and told the judges that "if there is no murder motive, you must acquit".[2]

He told the court that the statements made by Knox on 5-6 November, 2007, were not admissible as evidence.[7]

He described Knox's anguish when she had an AIDS test, in prison, and was told it was positive, although it later turned out to be a false positive result. Judge Nencini asked if there are any records of this AIDS test and was informed that there are not.[7]

Following a break for lunch, dalla Vedova said that Amanda Knox has never changed her story and her alibi is of the same type as all the other flatmates.[7]

He denied that Knox had named Lumumba in order to derail the police investigation.[7]

Dalla Vedova dismissed a number of the prosecution's points of evidence:

  • Regarding the prosecution witnesses, he said that neither Quintavalle nor Curatolo is reliable.[7]
  • He disputed the finding that the break-in at the cottage was staged. He said that the broken window in Filomena Romanelli's room was the easiest to enter the house.[7]
  • In a simile curiously based on English medieval history, he likened the disputes between expert witnesses as like "the Wars of the Roses, where everyone hates each other."[7]
  • He said that the alleged footprint of a female shoe on Meredith's pillow, is, in reality, a fold of the pillowcase.[7]
  • He stated that the bra clasp of Meredith is not genuine evidence: it was white on November 2, but, 40 days later, it was gray.[7]
  • He believes Meredith's bedroom was too small for more than one attacker.[7]

In summary, dalla Vedova said that there is no evidence, and so the court must acquit Amanda Knox.[7]

The court was adjourned until 9 January 2014, when Sollecito's defense will sum up their case.

January 9, 2014

This court session was for the summing up by the defense team of Raffaele Sollecito, who was present in court.[5] Bongiorno began by speaking of the persecution of the defendants, quoting from a book by the Italian author, Satta, and likening Sollecito's ordeal to that of people during the French revolution, pursued by hordes of sans-culottes and armed citizens.[5] She said that there was an "early bias" against the accused,[5] and that the Perugia police declared "case closed", four days after finding the body, despite having identified neither a murder weapon, nor a motive.[2] She proposed that the Perugian authorities wanted to calm public fears and had to chose between a "tranquilizing" student motive and the "worrying" scenario of a dangerous serial killer.[5] According to Bongiorno, they settled on a "sex party gone awry" theory, and thought that Knox fitted a role in that scenario.[5] She further suggested that women such as Knox are suspected because of today's women's empowerment movements.[5] Knox, she said, was also suspected because she had the keys to the apartment.[5] She said that Sollecito thinks he was put in jail because of a mistaken identification of a footprint—but not true: it's because he was Amanda's boyfriend.[5]

Bogiorno moved on to discuss the footprint evidence, showing pictures of Vinci's analysis of the prints on Meredith's pillowcase (see Prof. Francesco Vinci Powerpoint Presentation).[5] Speaking of the Bathmat Footprint, she said this was "attributed in advance" to Sollecito, because he was the boyfriend of Amanda: she supported this by referring to an "admission" by Rinaldi-Boemis.[5]

Bongiorno said she is tired of seeing Raffaele "reduced by a half": portrayed as a half character seen as a reflection of Knox.[5]Pursuing the "half character" theme, she spoke of the half match of a shoeprint; his knife only being compatible with the wounds if you consider half the blade; only half the house was investigated as a murder scene.[5]

Bongiorno turned to the topic of Knox's false accusation of Patrick Lumumba, saying that the fact that she committed calunnia during an interrogation is not evidence that she committed murder.[5] Judge Nencini interrupted to point out that he cannot examine some of the interrogation transcripts because they were declared inadmissible by the Supreme Court: Bongiorno responded that the court should at least read Knox's memoriale.[5] She described how the Perugian police had pressured and insulted Knox, leading to the false accusation.[5] She criticized the interpreter, Anna Donnino, who, according to Bongiorno, acted more as an intermediary or a "medium" than a translator, such that Knox was "induced into raving" by "psychic" Donnino.[5] She defended Knox's "confession", whilst also distancing Sollecito from it, saying, "If you believe this is a confession, where's Raffaele? He is never mentioned."[2]

Bongiorno described how Sollecito's family have been persecuted, saying that his aunts were wiretapped as if they were the most dangerous murderers.[5] She read out a transcript of a wiretapped conversation by Perugia police officers Napoleoni and Zugarini, in which they make insulting comments about Sollecito's family.[2]

She spent some time portraying Rudy Guede as a burglar who used knives.[5] She spoke of an "Aladdin's lamp" approach by the prosecution in which they make evidence materialize like a genie from a lamp. For instance, when investigators had desperate need to prove Sollecito and Guede knew each other, Mr. Kokomani "materialized".[5] She claimed that Kokomani was offered 10,000 euros for his testimony.[5]

Returning to the question of the motive, Bongiorno said that the prosecutors almost considered the need for one as optional: they changed the motive because they had no choice.[5] She spoke of the sex party motive, which she described as "surreal", then characterized a "second motive" as "improper use of toilet".[5] She said that the prosecutor had taken testimony of problems with Knox's cleaning habits as meaning that there were problems for the young women living together, but, in any case, this is only half a motive, because Sollecito had nothing to do with it.[5] She said that Sollecito would not have intervened in a row to help Guede, whom he didn't know, and not even to protect Knox whom he had known for only nine days.[5]

Bongiorno described the Supreme Court's role [presumably when they considered Guede's appeal] as having a "reverse funnel" effect, where they were unaware of some of the more recent evidence and findings: for instance, they did not assess the DNA report of the experts appointed by Judge Hellmann and did not have sight of some of the defense testimonies and reports.[5] She said that Guede's trials got many facts wrong because they ignored subsequent developments: for example, they made a mistake about the shoe print attribution.[5] She gave a presentation showing the video of the alleged police arrival recorded by the car park CCTV and claimed that this shows that the CCTV clock was slow, not fast, hence proving that Sollecito called the 112 emergency number before the police arrived. She said that this "proof" was not available to the Supreme Court.[5]

Turning to the DNA evidence, Bongiorno said that Cassazione had not read the C&V report carefully, and that not all DNA is usable because of "stutter" peaks that should be excluded from analysis.[5] Says the collection of DNA is fundamental. She referred to the collection of DNA evidence as the "mother of all mistakes" in this case: the collection must be early; disposable gloves must be used, new ones for each item; and items should be touched only once. She quoted Intini as saying it is impossible to avoid contamination of a crime scene.[5] She addressed the bra clasp, emphasizing that it has become the pivotal piece of evidence against Sollecito. She said it "materialized" on the night of November 3 but was not collected because the police forgot to place a tag letter. She produced pictures to show that objects had been moved around in Meredith's room, and stated that the clasp was originally under the pillow, but had moved under a mat by the time it was collected. She said that the fabric was touched 14 times with one glove, then touched by other gloves, describing these touchings as being "within a contaminated environment". She showed a magnified photograph showing the dirt on a police glove and mentioned the presence of other DNA contributors on the bra clasp.[5]

Next, Bongiorno turned to the Double DNA Knife. She questioned whether Sollecito would have killed someone, using a knife from his own kitchen, and then put the knife back in the drawer again.[5] She alleged that there were "many mysteries" about Stefanoni's report: for instance, the amount of DNA on the knife is not quantified.[5] She further argued that the knife was incompatible with the fatal wound: the knife blade is 17 cm long, while the wound was only 8 cm deep. She dismissed the possibility (as argued by Dr. Umani Ronchi) that the knife was stopped by Meredith's hyoid bone, saying that when there is a will to kill, the blade penetrates entirely.[5] Bongiorno showed the court a picture of the kind of knife she thought had been used: a pocket knife which was also compatible with the print on the bed sheet.[5]

Returning to the bloody footprint on the bathmat, Bongiorno stated that Sollecito's big toe does not balance on the dystal phalanx, and so this could not be his footprint.[5]

Bongiorno ended by stating her "personal belief" in Sollecito's innocence. She asked the judges to acquit both defendants, but to judge Raffaele Sollecito for who he is, not for half-truths against him.[5]

The court schedule has been updated, with January 20 provided for the rebuttals and January 30 for the council chamber meeting and judgment.[18]

January 20, 2014

This court session was for closing arguments by Raffaele Sollecito’s Perugian lawyer, Luca Maori, and for prosecution and civil party rebuttals.[9] Raffaele Sollecito was present in court in the morning whereas Patrick Lumumba and Giuliana Bongiorno were not.[3] The hearing began at 9.30 am.[7] Luca Maori started by discussing the evidence against Sollecito. He claimed that The Double DNA Knife was not the murder weapon because the wounds were not compatible with it.[7]He also claimed that the wounds were incompatible with the boxcutter that Sollecito always carried with him. [19] He further stated that Meredith was killed at 9 pm and that the bloody footprint on the bathmat was not Sollecito's.[7] According to Maori, the break-in was not staged and the shutters of the broken window had not been closed.[7] The window was broken by a stone thrown from outside, and there was no glass outside, all of it fell inside.[7] He kept on referring to Rudy Guede as "the sole assassin".[3][19]

Maori went on to discuss the computer evidence. He mentioned how computers belonging to Sollecito, Knox and Meredith Kercher were all "accidentally" destroyed.[3] He claimed that analysis of Sollecito's computer shows that his alibi is true, that access was human, not automated. [3][7] At 9.10 pm there was interaction by Sollecito with his computer when he put the film Amélie into a folder of films, and at 9.26 pm Sollecito started the Naruto file.[7] Judge Nencini asked for clarification on hard to follow technical evidence.[3]

Next Maori went on to discuss the witnesses. According to him most witnesses were characters created by the mass media. Curatolo was unreliable, he mixed dates and he reported things that were false, and Quintavalle first came forward thirteen months after the fact.[7]When Quintavalle was questioned by police a few days after the murder, he did not mention anything about seeing Amanda Knox buying cleaning supplies early in the morning on the 2nd of November.[7] The witnesses who claimed Raffaelle and Rudy knew each other and that they had seen Raffaele, Amanda, Meredith and Rudy together were saying untrue things.[3] [7]

Bongiorno arrived in court at 11.30 am with three male assistants.[3]

Maori then went on to state that during the previous processes the prosecutors had kept on continuously changing the motive, the time, and the murder weapon and that various judges had interpreted the facts differently over the years thereby proving that there's reasonable doubt.[2] [7] Maori told the court that the only things that were certain were the death of Meredith Kercher and the presence of Rudy Guede in the house that night. He finished his 2,5 hour session of final arguments by concluding that the only possible verdict for Sollecito could be acquittal.[2] [3] [7]

Outside the court, Raffaele Sollecito stated to a group of reporters that he was not sure if he would come to the court for the verdict.[3] [7] Kercher lawyer said that her brother and sister were planning to come for the verdict.[3]

After a short break, prosecutor Crini started his rebuttal.[2]He said he would only briefly talk about a few selected points without repeating himself and without discussing old arguments again.[5] Theoretically all points could be replied to, that is, Knox's calunnia, Sollecito's statements to police, the staged break-in, the bathmat footprint, and the DNA evidence.[5] Crini said that calunnia of Lumumba in itself was an important element indicative of Knox's guilt but that Knox's calunnia also contained further incriminating details, some of which had external corroboration and which she could not have deduced from a simple break-in scenario.[2][5][7] Knox's two statements, "Patrick had sex with Meredith" and "there was a loud scream" were new elements in the investigation, unrelated to known facts and they were facts, which she didn't retract later. Furthermore, Knox maintained her calunnia against Patrick over a period of several days. Crini also pointed out the logicality of the Supreme Court arguments.[5]

Next Crini discussed Sollecito's attempts at sidetracking the investigation and his statements to the postal police. He noted that the 12.35 pm arrival time that Battistelli, one of the two postal police officers first on the crime scene, had recalled, was consistent with the CCTV times. Battistelli arrived on foot to the house about 10 minutes before the postal police car. According to Crini Sollecito's phone calls first to his sister and after that to Carabinieri at 12.51 pm and 12.54 pm were made too late regardless of Battistelli's testimony because the previous phone call before those calls had been the one to Filomena Romanelli at 12.38 pm. Crini made an attempt to "strain" the timing of police arrival to favor the defense, to see if their scenario fitted, and considered possible CCTV time error. He was unable to see any corroboration to the alleged CCTV clock error, the claim that it had been 7 minutes slow. The 1.29 pm call from Carabinieri headquarters didn't change anything. Crini stated that police report timings, CCTV video camera records, and phone call records were all consistent with each other.[5]

Then Crini discussed Bongiorno's criticism of the staged break-in, the scenario of Guede already having been inside the apartment. Crini said that alleged small wounds on Guede's hand were inconsistent with the fact that Guede's blood was not found on the crime scene. Because Guede knew the house and both apartments, he would have chosen logical entry points into the house and would have behaved logically if he had broken into the house. Crini called the theory of Guede breaking into the house not credible at all. Of the bathmat print Crini stated that compatibility assessments could be done on what was measurable and that defense arguments with regard to the bathmat print were just conjectures. Crini stated that Rinaldi, who had assessed the bathmat print compatibility, was the same person who had correctly attributed the murder room shoeprint, which was first considered to be Sollecito's, to Guede.[5]

Crini discussed briefly Maori's 'alibi theory' as he called it. According to him, Maori failed to quote pieces of Curatolo's testimony that refuted Sollecito's alibi. Crini cited arguments about computer expert reports from hearings of 14th March, 2009 and December 2010 saying that further investigations were unnecessary because had there been Internet surfing or writing activities, this would have resulted in service provider reports detailing the said activities.[5]

While Crini was carrying out his rebuttal, Florentine senior prosecutor Tindari Baglione had also entered the court room. Crini continued his discussion on the validity of evidence and stated that there was no contamination of the crime scene.[7] Crini also declared he was pleased that the defense did not even attempt to allege laboratory contamination with regard to DNA evidence. He talked about findings by Novelli, who ruled out laboratory contamination and tertiary transfer in situ, i.e. in the murder room. Crini disproved Bongiorno's allegation that the clasp would have been stepped over. Moreover, he called it embarrassing that Bongiorno had alleged the police having been wrong in attributing some stains to cat blood. Objections referred to LCN DNA were obsolete, and also partly undermined by the RIS report. He noted that in 2008 Tagliabracci had objected to quotes of professor Gill calling them "too recent". Crini went on to look at the Conti-Vecchiotti report, to see what it says, if one could subscribe to its findings. Crini pointed out a passage where Vecchiotti's report misquoted police findings inserting the word "only" thus building a strawman argument. Crini called Vecchiotti's reasoning on bra clasp "a priori", i.e. that Vecchiotti called the findings unreliable and subject to contamination on grounds that were “a priori”, vague and abstract, without looking at facts. They also failed to combine the Y haplotype and X information together. These same experts did not object to the attribution of Y haplotype of Guede found in the victim's vagina. Vecchiotti admitted there was a scratch on the blade. While human DNA is not normally found on knife blades, in this case all alleles of the victim were found in a scratch on the knife blade.[5]

Crini then went on to discuss the dynamic of the crime. Maori had attributed all traces only to Rudy Guede. The defenses had also thoroughly dealt with the use of the knife, the wounds, and the blade size. Bongiorno called the murder scene "flooded" with Guede's DNA. Crini noted that Guede's traces in the room indicated that he had had free hands, that is, had had no weapon. Knox defense had said that when Guede left the palm print on the pillowcase, he had left his signature. Crini said that Massei court did not decide about attribution of pillowcase shoeprints. Crini further stated that he objected to Vinci's findings, he thought the prints were too small to be Guede's shoeprints. There were no defense wounds, no fight bruises, and nothing was found under victim's fingernails. Bruises indicated forced restraint of the victim and that she had been immobilized. The theory of two knives having been used was based on the small size of the right side wound, experts had noted that likely a much smaller knife with thin blade had also been used. Crini stated that thinking one could preemptively deduce the size of the blade from a bed sheet stain was unrealistic. The blade hypothesized by the defense from the bed sheet stain was larger; in any case these were just conjectures. The fact was there was compatibility between the bathmat print and Sollecito's foot and also between the bed sheet knife stain and Sollecito's kitchen knife. Crini said that it was difficult to produce an 8x8 cm large wound with a small 8 cm long knife, it would produce at best a wound with irregular margins. Crini asked the court if they could imagine a surgical operation with a small knife producing a wound with clear margins on a live and struggling victim. According to him it made no sense to say the large kitchen knife was incompatible with the large wound.[5]

Crini said that Bongiorno had called all English girls unreliable because they were English and possibly had been coached by the lawyers. Crini went on to discuss the motive stating that if you needed to prove a crime, it was opportune to detect a motive, but a motive is only a plausible conjecture not basis for deduction. Motive cannot be assessed preliminarily as if it was a piece of evidence to be discussed.[5]He told the court that a lack of motive does not equal proof of innocence.[2][7] He said that motive in a murder case is never simple and clear, like murder itself it is complex.[3]

He further stated that there were tensions in the house for reasons of hygiene.[7] Massive rejection of the English girls' testimonies by the defense was weak because the tensions, contrasts and dislikes in the house were recorded in court documents. Argument about cleaning was also reported by Meredith to her father John Kercher. Crini noted that the crime and motive originated from a group dynamic stating that excessive and too quick reaction to a situation of rising argument is typical of a group reaction. Crini noted that Bongiorno had pointed out that in any case Sollecito should be accounted only for what he had done, implicitly stating that thus not for what Knox had done.[5]

Crini said that his conclusions were unchanged. He finished by urging the court to convict Knox and Sollecito of Meredith Kercher's murder and to take to precautionary measures (in case of conviction) to ensure that they would serve their sentences. For Sollecito these could include the confiscation of his passport, house arrest or immediate arrest.[2][7]Judge Nencini asked the court clerk to formally write down the exact terms of the prosecution request to issue these precautionary measures.[5]

Next up for rebuttal was Patrick Lumumba's attorney Luca Pacelli who once again delivered a vitriolic rebuttal on Amanda Knox mixing his unbridled contempt with her own statements.[2] According to Pacelli the defense of Amanda Knox was rancorous and unfounded. Amanda slandered Lumumba so as not to be discovered, and she continuously lied. There was no idyllic relationship between Amanda and Meredith, they could not stand each other.[3][7] Pacelli said Amanda Knox substituted Patrick for Rudy Guede. He kept on referring to Amanda Knox as "the American", saying that she had a penchant for drugs, alcohol and sex.[3] Judge Nencini cut Pacelli's monologue short saying he was going off track discussing the murder while he should only discuss the calunnia aspect of the case, and Pacelli promised to finish in five minutes. Pacelli said that his client so far had not received any of the €22,000 he is owed by Amanda Knox even though the calunnia conviction was final. Pacelli concluded by urging the judges to convict "liar Amanda Knox, the diabolical slanderer".[2] [3][7]

After Pacelli, the attorneys for Kercher family delivered their rebuttals. They all reaffirmed their belief in the guilt of the two defendants inferring that it was clear from the case documents. Vieri Fabiani, an attorney for Meredith's brother, urged the court to look beyond motive. Serena Perna, attorney for her sister, Stephanie Kercher, stated that one person alone did not kill Meredith and that the wounds on her body were compatible with the knife found at Sollecito's house.[2][7][19] Maresca stressed the validity of genetic evidence that indicates the presence of traces of Meredith Kercher's DNA on the knife found at Sollecito's house.[7][19] Maresca said that Perugians had reacted angrily to the acquittal of Amanda Knox because it was scandalous: the acquittal had been decided in advance. He further stated that whatever the court would decide, the Kercher family would believe justice had been done and that all elements of the case would had been considered in depth. He declared that they would serenely accept the court's decision.[2]

Next it was time for rebuttals by Sollecito defense. His defense stated that Sollecito never tried to mislead the police by giving any false statements as it was in fact Rudy Guede who had entered through the window after breaking the glass.[7] Sollecito's sub lawyer argued that no DNA from Meredith Kercher was on the bra clasp with Sollecito's DNA, failing to mention she was wearing the bra.[3] With regard to the bra clasp, Sollecito defense also stated that the condition of the room and conduct of the forensic police told them there was contamination.[2]At one point Judge Nencini interrupted Sollecito's lawyer with a booming "No!" saying wiretapped conversations of Sollecito family were not to be discussed during this trial. Judge also reprimanded Sollecito lawyer for introducing new arguments when they were only supposed to be refuting.[2][3]

The court adjourned at 6 pm. Amanda Knox defense lawyers will give their rebuttals on January 30th, 2014 before the two professional judges and 6 lay judges start deliberations.[2][3]

January 30, 2014

This was the last scheduled court session, with a short time set aside for final defense rebuttals, and then for the judges to retire to consider their verdict. Raffaele Sollecito was present in court with his father.[3] Carlo Dalla Vedovo, representing Amanda Knox, told the court that Knox's rights were violated by the Perugian police and that she was in shock when she accused Patrick Lumumba.[3] He told the judges, "You cannot convict for murder in the name of Italy when evidence is only 'probably' attributed to a defendant" and "you can't put two innocent people in jail to cover up mistakes of the judicial system."[3] He emphasized that each single piece of evidence should be assessed each in an 'atomized' way before considering the whole.[5] He closed by saying that Rudy Guede is the only murderer and asked the judges for an acquittal verdict.[7]

Next to speak was Luciano Ghirga, also representing Knox. His major theme was 'reasonable doubt'.[1] He asked the court to look at all the evidence to reach their verdict, and not to value pieces here and there.[3] He focused on a few specific pieces of evidence: with regard to The Double DNA Knife, he said that the DNA on the knife attributed to Meredith Kercher cannot be verified, and therefore should not be considered in the evidence.[3] He said that the bruise at the back of Meredith's head was compatible with frontal attack by a single aggressor (although he accepted that this contradicted Sollecito's defense).[5] He asked the Court that, in the event of a conviction, they should reject the prosecutor's request of no generic mitigation and reject the prosecution request for restrictive measures.[20] He closed by saying, "We wait anxiously and seriously for justice for Meredith. But doing justice means doing it also for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.[2]

The judges retired to consider their verdict, announcing that a decision was not expected until after 5pm, Italian time.[2] In fact, the deliberations took almost 12 hours, but the court's decision was to uphold the conviction of Knox and Sollecito. Knox was sentenced to 28 years and six months, including the calunnia charge, and Sollecito to 25 years. The court ordered Sollecito's passport to be confiscated, pending a final decision by the Supreme Court.[2]

April 29, 2014

The Nencini Motivations Report was filed with the court. Their conclusion:

  • Meredith was struck by 2 knives with Amanda striking the mortal wound.
  • There was a fight, the motive was not sex.
  • Struck by two blows to the neck:

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede attacked Meredith together. Guede was animated by "sexual instinct", Amanda and Sollecito from the "will to abuse and humiliate Meredith,". "the weapon that produced the wound on the right side of the neck was wielded by Raffaele Sollecito and the other blade - the one that produced the wound on the left side of the neck [...] and that resulted in the death of Meredith Kercher was held by Amanda Marie Knox. This is the knife seized from the house of Raffaele Sollecito.

  • The forensic evidence establishes the presence of all three in the cottage at the same time. Guede, Knox, and Sollecito all left evidence of their presence made in the victim's blood; the DNA traces found on the bra clasp was left by Sollecito manipulating it on the night of the murder.
  • The motive:

On the evening of the murder of Meredith there was a quarrel between Amanda and English student with a "progressive aggression" in which you can place the sexual assault of Meredith by Guede, there (also) was a progression of aggression, which can be placed in the conduct of sexual violence for the satisfaction of their own sexual instinct by Amanda Marie Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, in a desire to abuse and humiliate the English girl.

  • Conviction:

Confirmation of the sentence of 28 years and six months for Amanda Knox and 25 years for Raffaele Sollecito. [21]


Additional reports, pending the release of the full translation of Nencini's Motivations, indicate the judges were scathing in their review of the independent DNA consultants Professors Conti and Vecchiotti's report presented to the Hellmann Court Of Appeals.

Subsequent to the announcement of the verdict, Judge Nencini, in impromptu remarks made to reporters in the hallway, indicated he might have entertained a request to sever Sollecito's appeal if he had been willing to speak up in his defense. This led to a complaint by the defense to the Judicial Council of the Supreme Court. In a subsequent ruling, the Court stated that the remarks, while ill advised, were so minor they would not result in a mistrial; the complaint was noticed but otherwise dismissed.

Note: (After the Hellmann acquittal, the judge made similar remarks musing about the case before the release of his written report, but no complaint was filed then)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Kathleen Gadalof tweeting from the courtroom.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 Andrea Vogt tweeting from the courtroom.
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  4. Umbria24: October 1, 2013
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  6. amanda-knox-retrial-transgender-mafioso-meredith-kercher
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 7.25 7.26 7.27 7.28 7.29 7.30 7.31 7.32 7.33 7.34 7.35 7.36 7.37 7.38 7.39 7.40 7.41 7.42 7.43 7.44 7.45 7.46 7.47 7.48 7.49 7.50 7.51 7.52 7.53 La Nazione (‏@qn_lanazione) tweeting from the courtroom
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  11. sollecito-show-lacrime-in-aula-io-perseguitato.html?ref=search
  12. Il Messaggero: November 6, 2013
  13. Balding:Evaluation of mixed-source, low-template DNA profiles in forensic science. PNAS 2013 110 (30) 12157-12158
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  15. Amanda-Knox-sollecito-kercher-236013461.html
  16. EU--Italy-Knox-Trial
  17. Barbie Nadeau, quoting an ANSA news report
  18. 434662.shtml
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 La Nazione: January 20, 2014
  20. PMF contributor 'Popper' summarising news from the live TV feed
  21. Corriere Della Serra April 29, 2014