Amanda Knox appeals trial resumes in Italy

PERUGIA, Italy—An Italian appeals court on Saturday heard witnesses brought in by the defense of Amanda Knox to refute testimony that placed the American student near the crime scene the night her British roommate was killed.

Knox was convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in the apartment they shared as exchange students in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, also was convicted and sentenced to 25 years.

They both deny wrongdoing and have appealed the 2009 verdict.

During the first trial, a homeless man, Antonio Curatolo, testified that he had seen Knox and Sollecito in a piazza near the house from about 9:30 p.m. to shortly before midnight on the night Kercher was killed, Nov. 1, 2007. Curatolo said at the time that he was certain because he also remembered seeing buses and other students in the piazza waiting to board buses to go to discos around town.

The defense wants to show that Curatolo, a key witness for the prosecution, is unreliable because he was wrong on the activity in the piazza that night.

Saturday’s six witnesses included some operators of shuttle bus services that run from the piazza in question to discos on Perugia’s outskirts, as well as people doing work for two discos.

The witnesses said shuttle bus services were not operating that night.

A woman working for one of the discos that normally uses the shuttle bus said her nightclub was closed the night of Nov. 1.

“I’m certain because discos focus on Halloween, which is a big draw. It’s like New Year’s Eve,” said Rita Pucciarini, who at the time of the murder worked for the Red Zone disco. “There were no buses.” Nov. 1 is also a public holiday in Italy.

Luciano Ghirga, a lawyer for Knox, said the testimony “removes the two from the scene of the crime.”  Dorothee Nair, a cousin of Knox’s mother, said of Saturday’s hearing, that “what came out, it was really good for Amanda.”

But the prosecution maintained the testimony was inconclusive because it didn’t take into account other shuttle bus services, or other discos whose operators have not been heard.

“If ever there is testimony that is completely useless—I don’t want to say counterproductive—this is it,” prosecutor Manuela Comodi said.

A lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, also noted the testimony said nothing of the public buses that pass through the piazza. “I remain convinced of the reliability of this witness,” he told reporters during a break in the session.

Curatolo is expected to take the witness stand again in the next hearing, on March 26.  In a blow to the prosecution, Curatolo was recently convicted and arrested on an unrelated drug charge, news reports and officials said.

Knox has said she spent the night at Sollecito’s house, watching a movie, smoking pot and having sex.

The trial resumed after a break of almost two months.

Relatives and friends in court described the 23-year-old Knox, who has been looking pale and appears to have lost weight, as strong and hopeful during the appeals trial, which also includes a review of DNA evidence used to link the defendants to the crime.

“She’s strong, she’s doing OK,” said university friend Madison Paxton, who has been attending hearings in Perugia.

Knox and Sollecito have been behind bars since Nov. 6, 2007. Four days earlier, Kercher’s body had been found, stab wounds to her neck and a pool of blood around it.

Prosecutors say the 21-year-old Briton was murdered in what had begun as a sexual assault.

A third person, Rudy Hermann Guede of the Ivory Coast, also has been convicted of murder in a separate proceeding. Italy’s highest criminal court has upheld Guede’s conviction and his 16-year-prison sentence. Guede denies any wrongdoing.


0 thoughts on “Amanda Knox appeals trial resumes in Italy

  1. The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is overwhelming. They gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis despite three attempts each. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified. Innocent people don’t give multiple conflicting alibis and lie repeatedly to the police. 

    The DNA didn’t miraculously deposit itself in the most incriminating of places. 

    An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp. His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17.

    According to Sollecito’s forensic expert, Professor Vinci, Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra. 

    Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts – Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo and Professor Francesca Torricelli – categorically stated that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade. Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he twice lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

    There were five instances of Knox’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage.

    Knox tracked Meredith’s blood into the bathroom, the hallway, her room and Filomena’s room, where the break-in was staged. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was found mixed together in Filomena’s room, in a bare bloody footprint in the hallway and in three places in the bathroom. 

    Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house. This means that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

    The bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare bloody footprints were revealed by luminol in the hallway. 

    It’s not a coincidence that the three people – Knox, Sollecito and Guede – who kept telling the police a pack of lies are all implicated by the DNA and forensic evidence.

    Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith’s murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. After she was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment.

    Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite the fact she knew he was completely innocent. She didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison. She admitted that it was her fault that Lumumba was in prison in an intercepted conversation with her mother on 10 November 2007.

    The English translation of the Massei report can be downloaded from here:

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