by Katie Ginnane
For those of you keeping up with the well-known trial of Amanda Knox, it all came to a head yesterday. Amanda Knox’s guilty verdict was overturned by an Italian appeals court.
For those of you not keeping up with the Knox case, here is cursory look at the case and its underlying facts and legal issues.
The murder of Meredith Kercher occurred on November 1, 2007. That evening, Amanda Knox, Kercher’s roommate, was with Raffaele Sollecito, another individual convicted in Kercher’s murder trial. Kercher’s body was found by police officers (Post and Communications Police), Knox, Sollecito and Know’s other flatmates.
After Kercher’s body was found, Sollecito and Knox were both interviewed separately by the Italian government. This resulted in a “confession” from Knox; however, it is unclear how the confession came about. Knox claimed she was denied food and water and interrogated in Italian. The Italian government denies such claims. These allegations would later lead to libel charges against Knox.
Later in the investigation, the Italian Supreme Court would rule that Knox’s human rights were violated because she did not get a lawyer and was not informed of her legal rights; therefore, her signed statement could not be used in the criminal trial.
Police officers found their third suspect through DNA taken from a bloody fingerprint. Rudy Guede was convicted of Kercher’s murder along with Knox and Sollecito; however, Guede’s conviction was not recently overturned. His sentence was reduced because he apologized to the Kercher family.
Some of the evidence used against Knox and its problems are below:
Kercher’s bra clasp and a knife, which surfaced six weeks after the murder, were found with Knox’s, Sollecito’s and possibly Kercher’s DNA on them. The two sides wanted DNA testing re-done because of possible contamination, but the appeals court refused.
Bloody footprints of both Knox and Sollecito were found at the scene of the murder; however, they were not found in Kercher’s bedroom. Another expert challenged whether the footprints were really Knox’s and stated that the footprints were those of Guede’s.
Knox’s behavior after arrest also did not help her case. According to police, Knox was turning cartwheels at the police station and at one point, sat on Sollecito’s lap during questioning. The two were also seen embracing and kissing after questioning.
Guede testified against both Knox and Sollecito.
Once the written explanation of the appeals court verdict is published, we will have a better understanding of they came to their decision and why.
For more information, you can see the BBC’s news webpage on this issue, or try searching the news archive Westlaw or Lexis for various media sources’ coverage of the trial.