Amanda Knox

Sollecito defense says couple blamed to calm fears


Raffaele Sollecito checks his smart phone as he enters the Florence court, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2013. The defense lawyer for the former boyfriend of U.S. exchange student Amanda Knox told an appeals court Thursday that the young lovers were blamed by authorities for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher to calm any fears that a monster was loose in their Italian university town. Defender Giulia Bongiorno said her client, Raffaele Sollecito, and Knox were identified as suspects in a "record" four days after the murder in the picturesque central town of Perugia because authorities "did not want to think that a stranger, a monster, could have entered a house and murdered a student." (AP Photo/Matteo Bovo, Lapresse)

Raffaele Sollecito checks his smart phone as he enters the Florence court, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2013. The defense lawyer for the former boyfriend of U.S. exchange student Amanda Knox told an appeals court Thursday that the young lovers were blamed by authorities for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher to calm any fears that a monster was loose in their Italian university town. Defender Giulia Bongiorno said her client, Raffaele Sollecito, and Knox were identified as suspects in a “record” four days after the murder in the picturesque central town of Perugia because authorities “did not want to think that a stranger, a monster, could have entered a house and murdered a student.” (AP Photo/Matteo Bovo, Lapresse)

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — The defense lawyer for the former boyfriend of U.S. exchange student Amanda Knox told an appeals court Thursday that the young lovers were blamed by authorities for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher to calm any fears that a monster was loose in their Italian university town.

Defender Giulia Bongiorno said her client, Raffaele Sollecito, and Knox were identified as suspects in a “record” four days after the murder in the picturesque central town of Perugia because authorities “did not want to think that a stranger, a monster, could have entered a house and murdered a student.”

Bongiorno said much of the evidence later used to convict the pair in their first trial — including the presumed murder weapon found in Sollecito’s kitchen drawer and a clasp that had been ripped from Kercher’s bra — had not even been gathered by investigators at that point.

Bongiorno, on the last day of closing arguments in the pair’s third trial, showed a court a series of slides and videos in a bid to dismantle the prosecution’s case.

Sollecito sat placidly at her side throughout.

Kercher, 21, was found murdered in her bedroom in the apartment she shared with Knox and two others on Nov. 2, 2007, having been sexually assaulted and stabbed.

In their first trial, Knox and Sollecito were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years, respectively, in proceedings that made headlines around the world.

Italy’s high court ordered the case back to trial after vacating their 2011 acquittals, blasting the appeals court’s handling of the case. While Sollecito, now 29, has attended several hearings, Knox, 26, remains in Seattle, where she returned a free woman after her acquittal.

A third man, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Hermann Guede, is serving a 16-year term in the case after being convicted in a separate trial.

Prosecutors initially said Kercher was killed in a drug-fueled sex game that went bad. But in this trial, Prosecutor Alessandro Crini has backed away from the orgy scenario presented by colleagues in the previous trials. Now he is arguing that the violence was triggered when Guede failed to flush a toilet, igniting an alleged dispute between the roommates over cleanliness.

Bongiorno, the defense lawyer, argued that the young lovers had no motive for the crime, noting their romance was just 9 ½ days old when Kercher’s half-naked body was discovered.

“The relationship between Amanda and Raffaele was tender, just bloomed, and it had nothing to do with a 50s-something’s searching for thrills,” Bongiorno said.

The two, she said, liked to cuddle and rub noses like Eskimo kisses, which she called “unca nunca.”

“Unca nunca has nothing to do with bunga bunga,” Bongiorno said, eliciting a rare moment of laughter of the long day of arguments with the reference to former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous parties with scantily clad would-be showgirls.

Bongiorno said Sollecito never met Guede before the crime “and it is absurd to think that they met that night.” She also argued against the theory that there were multiple assailants, and said the knife found at Sollecito’s house was too large to have been the murder weapon.

The defense lawyer blasted alleged evidence used to link Sollecito to the murder, showing a slide of a bloody footprint on a bathroom rug attributed to him but which she said was the wrong size and model.

“There was an enormous error in the print attributed to Sollecito,” she said.

Turning to a clasp ripped from Kercher’s bra — the only piece of evidence linked to Sollecito that was found in Kercher’s bedroom — she said it had been contaminated. Bongiorno showed a photo of the clasp on Nov. 3, 2007, under a pillow at the scene of the crime — noting that it wasn’t catalogued as the bra had been.

In another photo taken 46 days later, the clasp is found beneath a rug and at that point taken as evidence. In the interim, Bongiorno said more than 30 people had entered the crime scene in the meantime.

“The clasp was 1.5 meters (4 ½ feet) from where it was 46 days later. It means someone or something moved it,” she said.

Bongiorno showed another slide, indicating that the clasp appears to have been stepped on between the first and second inspections.

And she showed a video of the search of the room when the clasp was found, pointing out that the investigator’s gloves were dirty and that the clasp was placed back on the ground of the well-trampled room for a photograph before being put in an evidence bag.

The court has set Jan. 20 for rebuttals by both sides. It is set to begin deliberations on Jan. 30, and a verdict is likely that day.

COLLEEN BARRY

Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Giorgio says:

Colleen,

Are you implying that 3 separate trials, independent of each other, each one bearing no relationship with the one before it, have taken place?

In Italy, if a trial is voided any following trial is a new trial (that is to say, two trials have taken place).

If a trial is not voided first, to make way for a new trial, and the ruling at the first court is just being appealed against, the appeal is not a trial in the sense of a separate new trial, separate from the first, it is an appeal, part of an ongoing single trial , nothing more and should be called an appeal to avoid confusion as to what is meant.

If a trial runs and comes to a conclusion with a guilty or not guilty ruling then surely anything that follows cannot be called a new trial, not unless the first trial is thrown out/voided first, if it is not thrown out what follows is called an appeal.
Can you have 3 trials on the same thing in America without each preceding trial getting thrown out first?

Do people in America undergo 3 separate trials?
Is that even possible?

In America, surely the concept of 3 trials would imply two separate cases of double jeopardy, that is to say if people were to be tried on 3 occasions in 3 separate, independent trials without any prior trial being made void?

If your answer is yes that’s true, it is not possible in America, then it will be easy for you to understand that it is also not possible in Italy either, the Italians and Greeks invented the very concept of double jeopardy so can make claims as to having an in-depth grasp of how it works.
You have written ”3 trials”, that is misleading and incorrect, they have undergone 1 trial.

The (1) trial was appealed against by those found guilty.
That appeal was overruled and voided by the Supreme Court in Rome, Italy.

The appeal now under way is a new appeal, the preceding appeal was ruled void for not complying with the set rules of law attached to the application of law in Italian courts but the trial itself was never voided.
A single (1) trial, followed by 1 appeal (preceding appeal here having been ruled void by the Supreme Court in Rome) means everything is part of a single trial, there is no question of double jeopardy. Despite this ”fact” your wording may lead people to imagine that there could be a question of double jeopardy, there is ”not”.

   

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