The reinstatement of the guilty verdict in the trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia came down several weeks ago. American Amanda Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted, then acquitted, then retried and have now been re-convicted for the 2007 slaying of Kercher, who had been Knox’s roommate. Here’s what’s bizarre about the conviction: the court declined to believe the prosecutor’s argument that the murder occurred during a sex-game gone wrong. Instead, they came up with an entirely novel theory of the case, that Knox had killed Kercher over a dispute about the rent.
The court, in its decision, rejected the the prosecutor’s theory of the case. But, they still found her guilty. To do so, they still relied upon the worst of the government’s evidence, the discredited DNA evidence, and MADE UP a new theory about what happened out of thin air. The capper is that the court found that Knox delivered the fatal blow with one knife, which does not match the imprints at the scene. He then finds that Sollecito also cut the victim with a different knife, which has never been found or put into evidence. The judge is literally making stuff up. He invented a two-knife theory to try to make his ruling fit the facts.
I have long attacked the sex-game theory wildly imaginative and wholly lacking in credibility. But that’s what they were trying to prove at trial. How can a reasonable court reject that and find her guilty on a theory that not only did they not try to prove, but one that also is lacking in ANY actual, physical evidence.
Knox has spoken since the ruling, and she’s exactly right on one point: it is really a simple case. Rudy Guede, a drifter from out of the country, raped and killed her. He had a separate trial, where he was convicted of raping and murdering her. He allegedly committed some other break-ins around that time, also armed with a knife. After the murder, he fled the country, and was later caught in Germany. His fingerprints, DNA, and other implicating evidence at the scene, let to his conviction. He blamed the murder on a shadowy Italian man, but his claim was rejected.
That should be the end of the case. But political issues, personalities, and media coverage have driven the prosecution of Knox and Sollecito. The original prosecutor on the case has a history of wild sexual allegations: he was later convicted of abuse of office, though that conviction was overturned. It’s like they let Nancy Grace be the prosecutor and the jury.
Ironically, I like that the Italian courts issue documentation of their reasoning for verdicts. Every lawyer who practices in this country has experienced verdicts, and even judicial rulings, that are incongruous and baffling. However, when the court issues its ruling, and the reasoning proves to be just as baffling, it makes you shake your head. The death of Meredith Kercher is a tragedy, one for which the killer has already been held responsible. The courts do not honor her memory by politically driven, poorly reasoned and specious prosecutions.