Complex and conflicting evidence was presented at Amanda Knox’s year-long trial in 2009 and at her appeal over the last 10 months.
By Nick Squires, Perugia12:27AM BST 03 Oct 2011
FIVE REASONS KNOX IS GUILTY
1) The confession.
Knox confessed that she was in the house on the night of the murder and that she heard Miss Kercher scream, identifying a Congolese bar owner, Patrick Lumumba, as the assailant. She told the court during the trial that the confession was made under duress but then repeated the entire account in a five page memorandum the next morning.
2) The false accusation.
The prosecution said the fact that Knox falsely accused Lumumba of being the killer was a sign of her own guilt and an attempt to throw them off her trail. He was arrested in a dawn raid by armed police and spent two weeks in jail. It was only by chance that a Swiss businessman read about the case and came forward to say he had been talking to Lumumba in his bar on the night of the murder — offering him a rock-solid alibi. Lumumba says Knox nearly ruined his life and is suing her for defamation.
3) The alibi.
Sollecito could not back up Knox’s alibi on the night of the murder.
She claimed she spent the evening with him, smoking marijuana, watching the French film Amelie and making love. But Sollecito told police he could not remember if Knox was with him that evening or not.
Even assuming his memory was hazy because of the drugs, it seemed odd that a young man who had just embarked on a new relationship could not recall whether he had spent the night with his girlfriend or not.
4) Computer and telephone records.
Sollecito claimed he used his computer to download and watch cartoons and Amelie. But computer experts told the court that there was no activity on his laptop between 9.10pm on Nov 1, and 5.32am the next morning — the time frame in which the murder took place.
Knox and Sollecito turned off their mobile phones on the night of the murder, from around 8.40pm, and turned them back on at around 6am, inviting further suspicion.
5) The staged break-in.
A bedroom belonging to one of Miss Kercher’s Italian flatmates was ransacked on the night of the murder, with a window smashed with a rock. But police said the break-in was staged - broken glass from the window was found on top of clothes scattered on the floor, suggesting the window was broken after the contents of the room were messed up. Prosecutors accused Knox and her boyfriend of staging the break-in to make the killing look like a burglary that had turned into rape and murder.
FIVE REASONS KNOX IS INNOCENT
1) Lack of motive.
There still seems to be no convincing motive for the murder.
Prosecutors said tensions between Knox and Miss Kercher had reached boiling point over disagreements about housework, hygiene and boyfriends. They claimed Knox was driven to rage by jealousy towards her British flatmate. But it seemed far-fetched to claim that such relatively minor differences would lead Knox to kill.
2) Lack of DNA.
None of Knox’s DNA was found in the bedroom in which Miss Kercher was stabbed to death. The prosecution claimed that Knox’s DNA was on the handle of the presumed murder weapon, a kitchen knife, and Kercher’s genetic material on the blade, linking the American to the killing.
They also said that Sollecito’s DNA was found on the clasp, which had been cut or torn off the bra, proving that he took part in the attack too.
But a review of the evidence by two independent experts from La Sapienza University in
The bra clasp was only found six weeks after the initial crime scene investigation, by which time it had been kicked around the floor of Miss Kercher’s bedroom, leading to a high risk of contamination.
3) No witnesses.
The prosecution struggled to come up with witnesses who could place Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime. A homeless drug addict, Antonio Curatolo, told the initial trial that he had seen Knox and her boyfriend arguing on the night of the murder near the scene of the crime. But during the appeal he gave confusing and contradictory evidence, mixing up dates, and admitted to regularly using heroin, further undermining his credibility.
Even Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast-born drifter who was also convicted of the murder, initially said that Knox was not in the house on the night of the murder. He changed his story a few months after his arrest, saying that on coming out of the bathroom he had grappled with a stranger, who could have been Sollecito, and that he saw Knox’s silhouette outside the house.
4) Doubts over the murder weapon.
Police and prosecutors said Miss Kercher was killed with a 6.5 inch long kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s apartment. But the blade of the knife did not match two out of three of the wounds to her neck.
Nor did it match a bloody, knife-shaped smear on Miss Kercher’s bedclothes. The trial judge said that two knives must have been used; the second has never been found.
5) The false confession.
The defence said that when Knox "confessed" to being in the house on the night of the murder and could remember hearing Miss Kercher scream, she was traumatised and acting under extreme psychological pressure after an all night interrogation by police. Knox told the trial that during the questioning she had been cuffed around the head by an officer and told that if she did not start cooperating she would face decades in jail. She was questioned without a lawyer being present and at the time she knew only basic Italian. (The Telegraph,