The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is extensive. As such we will first offer a summary of the evidence. For most of the evidence this summary will provide links to a more detailed discussion of the evidence. The summary of the evidence will be accurate but since often this requires condensing a lot of material into a consumable quantity some subjective assessments will be involved. By contrast the detailed examination of the evidence will layout everything in detail. This will allow readers who are interested to determine the accuracy of the summaries. We feel this is an excellent method since it allows readers to quickly gain an overview of the entire body of evidence quickly while simultaneously offering readers that are interested the opportunity to dive deeper into parts of the case that interest them. This is a work in progress so if a piece of evidence does not have a detailed section please check back later.
The story that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito told police is that they were at Sollecito's apartment on the computer. They had dinner, smoked some weed, maybe had sex and then went to bed and slept until 10am the following morning. This alibi is contradicted on several fronts. First, an examination of Raffaele's computer and internet traffic shows no activity at all for the night of the murder. Second, two different witnesses claim to have seen them in the vicinity of the murder.
The claim that they slept until 10am is also contradicted. At 5:32am there is definitive human interaction with Raffaele's computer. The computer was used to listen to an MP3 file for roughly 30 minutes. Both Amanda and Raffaele turned off their mobile phones the night of the murder but at 6:02am Raffaele's phone was turned on. As such it is clear that someone was awake and active early on November 2. The motivation for lying about sleeping in to 10am is likely explained by a further contradiction to their alibi. At 7:45am a shop owner claims he saw Amanda Knox waiting for his store to open and that she headed directly to the cleaning supplies section when he opened the store.
Raffaele's Rejection of the Alibi
On November 5th the police requested that Raffaele come to the police station to address some inconsistencies in his story. He agreed to come after dinner and arrived at the police station shortly after 10pm. Confronted with phone records that showed he had called the police emergency number after the police had already arrived Raffaele changed his story and told the police that everything he had previously said was a lie and that he had lied at Amanda Knox's request. That the truth was the he was home alone and Amanda had gone out and not returned until 1am. He then added that she needed to borrow plastic bags in the morning when she left to do laundry. Sollecito would refuse to state that Knox was with him for the entirety of the Massei trial, the time between Massei and Hellmann, and only finally made a statement confirming her alibi late in the Hellmann trial when it was clear the outcome was going to be positive.
Amanda Knox's Interrogation
On November 5th the police had requested that Sollecito come to the police station to answer some questions. Amanda Knox was not requested but she decided to come with Sollecito. As such Amanda was in the police waiting room when Raffaele withdrew support for her alibi. The police approached Knox and asked if she would be willing to answer some questions. During this interrogation Knox is confronted with the fact that Raffaele had withdrawn support for her alibi and was now claiming that she was not at his apartment. Confronted with this new situation Amanda Knox changed her story claiming that she was at the cottage when the murder happened and that the murderer was her former employer Patrick Lumumba. Patrick Lumumba was arrested and spent two weeks in jail before his alibi was confirmed.
Much has been said about this interrogation in the media. All of it is wrong. It is often quoted as being lengthy with some stories assigning a specific number or either 13 or 18 hours. That is simply a lie. The interrogation did not exceed 2½ hours. There is also the claim that Amanda was interrogated without an interpreter. Again this is a complete lie. Knox had an interpreter named Anna Donnino and this is well known since she testified at the trial. There have also been claims that Amanda was denied food and water for the interrogation. The truth is that she was offered tea and since the interrogation took place from about 11pm to 1:45am it is unclear why offering food would be appropriate. Lastly, there are claims that Knox was abused and hit. Knox is unable to even vaguely identify who hit her. Testimony from all present deny that there was any mistreatment.
The original interrogation that led to Knox putting herself at the scene of the murder and implicating an innocent man was not allowed as evidence. After Raffaele had told the police that he had lied at Amanda's request the police should not have requested that Amanda answer questions without informing her that she should have a lawyer present. As such the content from the original statements is inadmissible. Knox though without being questioned decided to write an additional declaration that contained much of the same content although in a considerably less clear form. This declaration was admissible as evidence.
Knox Lying to the Police About Meredith's Door
The Postal Police had come to the cottage looking for the owner of a mobile phone that had been discovered dumped in a backyard. They found Knox and Sollecito at the door of the cottage. They explain that the phone belongs to her roommate Meredith and that there was a burglary. They show the Postal Police around the cottage. In the meantime the boyfriend of a third roommate and his friend arrive in response to concerns about the burglary. While everyone is present the Postal Police discover that there is a locked door. Amanda explains that it is Meredith's door and that there is no reason to be concerned because she locks the door all the time even to take a shower. Based on these assurances the Postal Police ignore the door. In the meantime another roommate arrives. Upon hearing that Meredith's door is locked she has a very different reaction than Knox. She instantly goes into a panic explaining that Meredith never locks her door and demanding that the door be forced open.
Amanda Knox lying about Meredith's door locking habits is by itself very damning evidence that she knew what was behind that door. The issue though is made even worse when taken in context with the e-mail Amanda would write later. In that e-mail Knox details what happened the day Meredith's body was discovered. This e-mail contains details that if accepted as truthful makes Knox's attempts to delay the opening of Meredith's door even more absurd. According to Knox's e-mail Sollecito had attempted and failed to force open Meredith's door. According to the e-mail Knox herself had run to the downstairs neighbours who were out of town to seek assistance and then attempted to lean over the veranda in an effort to peer into Meredith's window. Unable to gain access to Meredith's room Knox and Sollecito then decided to call the police emergency number. This is quite an adrenaline rising account Knox composes for her e-mail and it is impossible to reconcile this account with Knox intentionally dissuading the police from opening the locked door. The fact that the police have appeared with the mobile phone of the missing roommate that Knox was so concerned about should have greatly elevated concern. The fact that the Postal Police are present for a considerable amount of time and neither Amanda or Raffaele mentions the locked door is itself unreconcilable with Knox's account. One would expect that the locked door and the missing roommate would be the first issue the couple would bring up once the police unexpectedly appear but they say nothing and Knox actually goes further and lies to the police to keep them from exploring the locked door.
The Calls to the Emergency Number
Were the Calls Made After the Police Had Already Arrived?
There is considerable debate about if the calls to the police emergency number happened before or after the Postal Police arrived looking for the owner of a mobile phone that had been discovered in a backyard.
We maintain that the calls were made after the Postal Police were already present. As such we disagree with the findings of Judge Massei who concluded that since the Postal Police had not seen the calls they must have happened before their arrival. Massei's reasoning fails to account for the testimony of two witnesses that saw Knox and Sollecito enter and leave Knox's bedroom. Once you consider that testimony the argument that the calls had to happen before the arrival of the Postal Police for them to go unnoticed ceases to be valid.
The reason that we maintain that the calls to the emergency number had to happen after the postal police arrived is based on the testimony of six witnesses of which two were police officers. It is unreasonable to assume that the officer's notes would have the incorrect time. Further, a reconstruction of the agreed to events makes it near impossible for the emergency calls to have been made before the Postal Police arrived. Lastly, there is video from a parking structure that shows the Postal Police arriving at a time that matches their notes which is before the calls to the emergency number were made. The defence claims to have evidence that contradicts the video evidence but they originally elected to not present it at trial and their request to add this evidence at the last minute was denied.
This is an issue that can't adequately be addressed in a summary. Readers interested in this specific item of evidence should really read the detailed version of the evidence and decide for themselves.
The Suspicious Content of the Calls
Raffaele called the emergency number to report that Amanda had discovered a burglary and some blood at the cottage she shared with three other girls. During the first call to the emergency number the police operator is immediately suspicious of Raffaele's account and starts to ask questions. Raffaele stumbles and then the line goes dead presumably because Raffaele terminated the call.
Seconds later Raffaele makes a second call to the emergency number. The content of this call will be considered suspicious. For example, Raffaele specifically states that there has been a burglary but that nothing has been taken. This is an odd statement given the room that was made to look like it had been searched by a burglar belonged to Filomena a roommate that was not present. Raffaele did not even live there so that he would state twice that nothing was taken shows foreknowledge that when combined with the later determination that the burglary was not real but rather staged strongly indicates involvement.
Knox's Behaviour at the Police Station the Night the Body was Found
Amanda Knox was behaving in a way that most people would find inappropriate given the circumstances. Her roommate's body had just been discovered and everyone was at the police station and upset. Knox seemed completely oblivious to the seriousness of what was happening. She is described as kissing and hugging Raffaele and at time laughing. This behaviour is contrasted with the episode the occurred when the interpreter came to fetch Knox so she could be fingerprinted. Fingerprinting individuals who have access to a crime scene is standard procedure so that the police can exclude the innocent fingerprints and focus on those that you would not expect. The same request was made of everyone who had regular access. As Knox was being escorted to have her fingerprints taken she started to get agitated and started to hit her head with both her fists.
Knox's Statement Regarding the Day the Body was Found is Difficult to Believe
Meredith was murdered by the closet but at some point after she was dead her body was moved and staged in the middle of the room. At the police station before this had been discovered Knox said that Meredith had been killed by the closet. Meredith's friends reported this to police.
Knox at trial did not deny saying it. She was unable to explain how she came to know this information. She said Raffaele might have told her but it still leaves the question of how did he come to know this detail? Raffaele refused to testify so was never questioned. Raffaele had the opportunity to make a spontaneous statement during Knox's cross examination to explain the source of the detail of the murder but remained silent. The result is that Knox came across as deceptive and unbelievable. The logical conclusion would be that she knew this detail because she was present when the murder happened.
Raffaele Lying to Explain the Presence of Meredith's DNA on the Knife
Once it was announced that the victim's DNA had been discovered on a knife recovered from Sollecito's apartment Sollecito was quick to offer an explanation for what the DNA was present. Sollecito claimed that Meredith had come over to his apartment and that while he was preparing dinner for the girls he was playing around and pricked Meredith with that knife. She didn't find it entertaining so he apologized and that was the end of the issue but that incident was the reason that her DNA would be found on the knife.
The explanation turned out to be a complete fabrication. Meredith had never been to Raffaele's apartment, he had never cooked her dinner, the whole thing was just made up.
A knife was recovered from Raffaele's apartment that contained the victim's DNA on the blade and Amanda Knox's DNA on the handle. The quantity of the victim's DNA was insufficient for normal DNA profiling but an LCN profile was obtained. The profile was a definitive match to Meredith.
For a detailed discussion of the knife
Mixed Blood / DNA
There are two traces discovered by the application of Luminol to the room where the burglary was staged. These are referred to as L1 and L2. Both trances are presumed blood and both contained the victim's DNA. In addition L2 also contained the DNA of Amanda Knox. There is no reasonably plausible explanation for this evidence that does not involve Knox being at least involved in the clean up after the murder.
The Bra Hook
The DNA of Raffaele Sollecito was found on the bra hook of the victim. The match is definitive. The controversy over the bra hook stems from the fact that the bra hook was not collected during the original search. It was recovered on the second search of the crime scene which occurred six weeks later. As such the defence rely on this to cast doubt on the reliability of the bra hook. Such a tactic while likely effective with layman jury members is nevertheless not supported by the facts of the case and would not be convincing to anyone who looks at the argument critically.
The Luminol Traces
A series of footprints in Amanda Knox's room and in the hallway between the victim's room and Amanda's room were discovered when Luminol was applied to the hallway. Luminol use is used by crime investigators to detect blood that is invisible to the naked eye so what this establishes is that at some point someone with blood on their feet walked between the victim's room and Amanda' Knox room. These footprints are compatible with the barefeet of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito but not Rudy Guede. Some of these footprints would contain Amanda Knox's DNA and one footprint contained both Amanda Knox and the victim's DNA.
The Bathmat Footprint
A bathmat with a bloody barefoot print was recovered from the second bathroom that was shared by Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher and in close proximity to the victim's room. Police experts determined that the foot was incompatible with Rudy Guede but that is was compatible with Raffaele Sollecito.
The Footprint on the Pillow
A shoe print made in blood was discovered on a pillow found under Meredith's body. Two police experts testified that this print was made by a female shoe that was the same size as Amanda Knox. The defence expert testified that the print was compatible with Rudy Guede's much larger shoe. Judge Massei acknowledge both positions but choose to not make a finding on this matter. We tend to concur with Massei in that individually both arguments are convincing and it is difficult to decide which is correct.
The Staged Burglary
The burglary was determined to be staged. The reasons supporting this determination include but are not limited to an illogical point of entry, glass distribution that makes entry through the window and impossibility, absolutely no evidence that an entry was even attempted, a search of the room that does not look authentic, and the presence of glass on top of the clothing that was thrown on the floor indicating that the room was ransacked before the window was broken. This leaves little doubt that the burglary was staged.
In staged burglary situations suspicion naturally falls on individuals who would normally have access to the property where the murder happened. The purpose of staging the burglary is to divert suspicion from the residents and explain how a stranger gained entry. In this case Meredith Kercher lived with three girls but only Amanda Knox was present in Perugia. Suspicion would also extend to the occupants of bottom floor of the cottage which include Meredith's boyfriend. The murder happened on an Italian holiday so the downstairs apartment was also empty as the boys had returned to their family homes. The only individual who would normally have access to the cottage that remained in Perugia was Amanda Knox.
Click here to read about The Staged Burglary in greater detail.
Why Rudy Could Not Have Acted Alone
The attack on Meredith involved multiple attackers. While the various experts were unable definitively rule out a single attacker the injury evidence makes a scenario with multiple attackers considerably more probable. The judge in Massei concluded that based on the injuries there had to have been multiple attackers. We agree with his assessment. While this by itself does not directly implicate Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito it does exclude the possibility that Rudy Guede acted alone.
Other Evidence That Indicates the Presence of Others
There is several items of evidence that indicate that Rudy Guede was not alone.
- A tow truck operator who testified that at about the time of the murder a car that was compatible with Raffaele's car was at the cottage. The description of the car is vague so we can't conclude it was Raffaele's car but it causes issues for the claim that Rudy was at the cottage alone.
- A witness saw Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede together the night of the murder meters from the cottage where the murder happened.
- A witness testified that she heard a scream at a time that would make it probable that the scream was Meredith being attacked. This scream was followed by footsteps belonging to multiple individuals running in different directions.
- The evidence indicates that there was an extensive effort to selectively remove evidence. Some bloody footprints were cleaned while others were left untouched. The bathroom was extensively cleaned a task that Rudy Guede could not have done nor would he have any reason to clean the bathroom or selectively clean some footprints while leaving others.
- Meredith's body was moved and staged to look like a sexual assault some time after she had died. Rudy would have no reason to intentionally focus police attention on sexual assault since he had actually sexually assaulted Meredith. It makes absolutely no sense for Rudy to then alter the crime scene to make this apparent. Setting up the staged sexual assault was done by someone other than Rudy. Beyond motivations that the staging occurred a considerable amount of time after death precludes the possibility that Rudy did the staging. The evidence shows that Rudy exited the cottage quickly after the attack and he never returned.
Injuries to Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox has a scratch to her neck and an injury to her ear. According to her roommates these injuries were not present the day of the murder but they were present the following day.
Knox claims that the neck injury was a hickey. The injury was photographed and has no resemblance to a hickey.
Knox claims that the ear injury was from a botched piercing. She offers nothing to substantiate this claim and given the timing and location of the injury her explanation is not convincing.
When Raffaele Sollecito's apartment was searched the police found that it smelled of bleach. During the search two bottles of bleach were located under the sink. The police interviewed Natalia who had taken over the job of cleaning Raffaele's apartment from his previous maid who was pregnant. Natalia was responsible for cleaning the apartment from September until the apartment became the scene of an investigation on November 5th. Natalia claimed she had never seen the bleach and that when she took over duties from Raffaele's previous maid she was told to never use bleach.
The police also interviewed Kiriboga who had been Raffaele's maid prior to Natalia. Kiriboga originally told the police that she knew nothing about the bleach. After meeting with Raffaele's lawyer Kiriboga changed her story and claimed that the bleach was at Raffaele's apartment when she used to clean it and that she in fact was the person who purchased it. When the police asked why she had changed her story she claimed that she did not remember but that when Raffaele's lawyer asked her about it the memory came to her.