Amanda Knox and Roommate Fought Over Money Before Murder, Court Says
The victim's wounds also indicated multiple attackers, says the Italian appeals court explaining its guilty verdicts
An Italian court that convicted Amanda Knox in her roommate’s 2007 murder said in lengthy reasoning made public Tuesday that the victim’s wounds indicate multiple aggressors, and that the two exchange students fought over money on the night of the murder.
The appellate court in Florence explained the January guilty verdicts against the American student and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in a 337-page document that examined both the evidence and the motive.
The court said that a third person convicted in the murder, Rudy Hermann Guede, did not act alone, and cited the nature of the victim’s wounds. It noted that at least two knives were used to attack 21-year-old Meredith Kercher and that there were also finger imprints on her body, indicating she had been restrained.
The court said there was ample evidence of a bad relationship between the two roommates, despite Knox’s attempts to play down differences in court, and cited statements by Guede under police questioning that Kercher had blamed Knox for taking money from the British student’s room.
“It is a matter of fact that at a certain point in the evening events accelerated; the English girl was attacked by Amanda Marie Knox, by Raffaele Sollecito, who was backing up his girlfriend, and by Rudy Hermann Guede, and constrained within her own room,” the document said.
The court said it was not necessary for all of the assailants to have the same motive, and that the murder was not attributable to a sex game gone awry, as it was out of Kercher’s character to have ever consented to such activity.
Knox, responding Tuesday to the latest court allegations, said in a statement on her blog that they do nothing to change the facts of their case.
“I want to state again today what I have said throughout this process: We are innocent of the accusation against us, and the recent motivation document does not – and cannot – change the fact of our innocence,” Knox said.
“Experts agreed that my DNA was not found anywhere in Meredith’s room, while the DNA of the actual murderer, Rudy Guede, was found throughout that room and on Meredith’s body,” she added. “This forensic evidence directly refutes the multiple-assailant theory found in the new motivation document. This theory is not supported by any reliable forensic evidence.”
She added: “The forensic evidence also directly refutes the theory that the kitchen knife was the murder weapon: The court-appointed independent experts confirmed that neither Meredith’s blood nor her DNA was on the alleged murder weapon, which experts also agreed did not match the stab wounds or the bloody imprint of a knife on her bed sheet.”
Knox detailed the expert testimony that was used in her previous appeal, and said she was hopeful the court would review the evidence and recognize their innocence.
“The recent motivation document does not – and cannot – identify any legitimate motive for our alleged involvement in this terrible crime. No fewer than three motives have been previously advanced by the prosecution and by the courts. Each of these theories was as unsupported as the purported motive found in the new motivation document, and each of these alleged motives was subsequently abandoned by the prosecution or the courts,” Knox said.
The release of the court’s reasoning opens the verdict to an appeal back to the supreme Court of Cassation. If it confirms the convictions, a long extradition fight for Knox is expected. She has been in the United States since 2011 when her earlier conviction was overturned.
Kercher was found dead in a pool of blood in the apartment she and Knox shared in the town of Perugia, on Nov. 2, 2007. Her throat had been slashed and she had been sexually assaulted. Knox and Sollecito were arrested four days later and served four years in prison before an appeals court acquitted them in 2011. Knox returned to the U.S.
Italy’s high court later threw out that acquittal and ordered a new trial, resulting in January’s conviction. The court sentenced Knox to 28 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years.