The second appeal trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito gets underway today in Florence, Italy. The American student and her former Italian boyfriend find they are once again defending themselves against the charge that they murdered Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy in November 2007.
According to the Italian Supreme Court's decision, there is one piece of evidence in the case that is yet to be tested - and could be the key to the final verdict. It is labeled number 36-I. Number 36-I is a miniscule trace of material on the blade of a 12 inch knife that Italian prosecutors claim was used to kill Meredith Kercher. In 2007, police found the knife in a kitchen drawer in Sollecito's Perugia apartment. At the time, the Italian Scientific Police said they'd discovered a tiny amount of Meredith Kercher's DNA on the blade, but significantly no blood. That was trace evidence 36-B.
In 2010, the appellate court threw out DNA trace evidence 36-B, concluding the police laboratory testing and results were unreliable. So Meredith Kercher's DNA could no longer be claimed to be on the knife blade. But now, the Italian Supreme Court thinks trace 36-I should be front and center in the new trial that started today. And that could make things very interesting.
So, following the path of the Supreme Court's "decisive" dictate, if trace 36-I contains Meredith Kercher's DNA, the new trial is all but over, the two defendants are once again found guilty. But conversely, if trace 36-I has no Meredith Kercher DNA, Knox and Sollecito have, what should be a hands-down argument courtesy of the Italian Supreme Court, "if 36-I doesn't fit, you must acquit".
In an interview on Today, Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend says the pair's retrial that kicked off Monday in Florence, Italy has left him in a horrible state of legal hell from which he's afraid there's no return.
“It seems to be a pretty never-ending saga of a nightmare," Sollecito, Knox's former boyfriend, told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Monday. "My life is still on hold and I cannot move on. I cannot make plans for my future. I don’t see any real future for me instead of standing in the trial, kind of forever.”
Amanda Knox's one-time boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito wishes he'd never laid eyes on the American brunette, he has admitted. 'My life is a hell, but it's not Amanda's fault, this situation,' Sollecito told CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight on Wednesday. Instead, he said, he was falsely convicted the first time and must face trial against because of 'a prosecution that didn't want to admit its faults.'
Amanda Knox’s DNA was nowhere to be found in the bedroom in which Meredith Kercher was found stabbed to death, an Italian court heard Monday. On the first day of the American’s retrial, the court in Florence was told that there was ample DNA evidence from Rudy Guede, the Ivorian drifter who is serving a 16-year jail sentence after being convicted of the sexual assault and murder of Kercher, 21.
“How is it possible to find traces of Guede in enormous quantities but not a single trace of Amanda?” Giulia Bongiorno, representing Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, asked. “How is it possible that the only trace of Raffaele, which naturally we contest, was on the bra strap?”
Tiny traces of Sollecito’s DNA were found on a strap torn from Miss Kercher’s bra in the violent struggle that led to her death. But the strap was only discovered by forensic officers on the floor of the bedroom 47 days after the murder.
Police experts found Amanda Knox’s DNA, not the victim’s, on the alleged murder weapon, a butcher knife supposedly used to slash Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher to death in 2007. Because Perugia police took the knife from the kitchen of Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s then boyfriend, and she had used it to cut bread. Thus her DNA is not incriminating–unless the knife shows traces of the victim, in blood.
Rudy Guede has already been convicted of the crime and is serving 16 years, but the prosecution insists that all three conspired to kill Kercher. Guede has refused to be cross-examined and came into court for Knox’s last trial only to present a letter, pointing the finger at both college students. Embarrassingly, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini (mercifully silent in this new trial) had to read Guede’s letter for him. Although loudly proclaiming his innocence, Rudy could not manage that feat. It was almost as if he had no hand in writing it.
So how did a common kitchen knife come to be the alleged murder weapon? Keystone Cops chose it, by their own admission, because it was large and “suspiciously shiny” (e.g. scrubbed by Amanda and Raffaele). It doesn’t match all of Kercher’s wounds or a bloody outline the killer left on a sheet. Independent experts tested it for the first time in the last trial, the one where Knox was acquitted. They discovered that the DNA attributed to the victim was actually starch.
Previously untested DNA found on alleged murder weapon no match for victim. Italian police found “not a single trace” of Amanda Knox’s DNA in the bedroom where British student Meredith Kercher was found murdered, her retrial heard. A police examination of Knox’s knife found only her DNA and there was no DNA from victim Meredith Kercher.
On Friday, Italian forensic experts began tests on the crucial - and previously untested - piece of DNA found on the alleged murder weapon. Defense lawyer Ted Simon tells ABC News that preliminary findings have found no trace of Kercher's DNA on the knife.
"The findings were Meredith Kercher was not on the blade - something that the prosecution was hoping for," says Simon. "Those hopes have been dashed." The new findings could refute the prosecution's claim that the knife was used to kill Kercher. The results will be officially unveiled during a hearing on November 6th.
Raffaele Sollecito (L) and Amanda Knox (centre) are on a retrial for the murder of Meredith Kercher (R).