Tuesday 23 January 2018

All clues point to Knox guilty verdict, insists prosecution

Amanda Knox, the US student convicted of murdering her British flatmate Meredith Kercher in Italy, reacts during her appeal trial in Perugia,
Amanda Knox, the US student convicted of murdering her British flatmate Meredith Kercher in Italy, reacts during her appeal trial in Perugia, yesterday

Alessandra Rizzo in Perugia

Italian prosecutors urged an appeals court yesterday to uphold the murder conviction of Amanda Knox despite what they called a media campaign in support of the American student.

They asked jurors to think instead of the young victim whose life was brutally ended.

In the first round of closing arguments that took seven hours yesterday, the prosecutors summed up circumstantial evidence, testimony and other clues they believe point solely to Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. They sought to dismantle a recent independent review of genetic evidence which cast doubt on key traces used to link the defendants to the murder and dealt a significant blow to the prosecution's case.


"All clues converge toward the only possible result of finding the defendants guilty," prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola said.

Prosecutors will wrap up their arguments today. A verdict is expected at the end of September or early October.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher, on the night of November 1, 2007, when they were all students in Perugia. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison; Sollecito to 25. Both deny wrongdoing and have appealed the lower court's verdict in December 2009.

Speaking in a packed courtroom, the prosecutors sought to focus the jury's attention on Kercher and her family's pain, against a backdrop of what they described as media fascination with the photogenic Knox.

Mr Costagliola urged the jurors to try and "feel a little bit like the parents of Meredith Kercher". Another prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, said he would never forget Kercher's wide open eyes when he inspected the crime scene. He then juxtaposed gruesome photos from the murder with a snapshot of the defendants kissing shortly after Kercher's body was found.

"The victim has sunk into an absolute and shameful oblivion, made more intolerable by the media's morbid exaltation of the two people sitting on the defendant's bench," Mr Mignini said. He urged jurors not to be deceived by the defendants' clean-cut appearances, saying "there's a dark side in all of us".

Mr Mignini, who served as prosecutor in the first trial, resurrected some of the prosecution's case, mentioning Knox's purported promiscuity, the presence of a vibrator in the house, her use of drugs and her supposed tensions with Kercher.

Gesticulating, using sarcastic comments and making citations in Latin and French, Mr Mignini appeared to capture the jurors' attention despite his lengthy exposition. Nearby, a tense, worn-out looking Knox watched attentively.

"I'm sure today, it was stressful for her. Listening to people tell a bunch of lies about her is difficult," said Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, who flew to Italy on Thursday for the final stretch of the proceedings. "But we know we have to go through this part to get to the end."

Irish Independent

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