Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s former Italian boyfriend, said Tuesday that she provided alibis for him that he will use to try to persuade Italy’s court of last resort to dismiss his conviction for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.
Raffaele Sollecito hopes the Court of Cassation will rule he deserves yet another trial and throw out the 25-year sentence he received in January from a Florence appeals court, which convicted both him and Amanda Knox for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, 21.
His lawyers will stress apparent contradictions in the Florence court’s 337-page verdict explanation.
That court signaled it believed a memo Amanda Knox wrote, while being held for questioning, in which she indicates Raffaele Sollecito had no role in the murder.
“She herself lets me off the hook and gives me an alibi,” Raffaele Sollecito, 30, said.
Amanda Knox wrote a memo while being held for questioning in which she indicates Raffaele Sollecito had no role in Meredith Kercher’s murder (photo Reuters/NBC)
He noted the court accepted findings that an Amanda Knox text message, shortly before the murder, to the owner of a Perugia pub where she worked, had been sent while outside Raffaele Sollecito’s house.
Yet he insisted he wasn’t trying to pin the murder on Amanda Knox.
Flanked by his lawyers in Rome, Raffaele Sollecito stressed what he described as his steadfast belief in the innocence of Amanda Knox, whom he had been dating for barely a week when Meredith Kercher was slain in Perugia, Italy.
“I want to make clear that I and all the people around me, including my family, have always believed, and we still believe today, in the innocence of Amanda Marie Knox.”
The Florence court sentenced Amanda Knox to 28 ½ years in prison.
Amanda Knox, 26, who has repeatedly proclaimed her innocence, has been in America since an earlier court ruling, in 2011, acquitted both her and Raffaele Sollecito.
Most probably Italy will ask the US to extradite Amanda Knox and the decision will probably come down to Secretary of State John Kerry.
According to legal experts, it would be difficult for John Kerry to refuse the request.
Amanda Knox, who was convicted for a second time by an Italian court on Thursday in the 2007 murder of her roommate, vowed to “fight this until the very end”. And Italy would probably wait until the appeals process plays out before asking the US to expel her.
Italy and the US have an extradition treaty, and unless American authorities find clear evidence of a miscarriage of justice, legal experts say, it would be difficult for the US to say no.
Amanda Knox, 26, an American citizen, was convicted by an Italian court in 2009 in the murder of Meredith Kercher, a British student who was found dead in a pool of blood in the apartment she shared with Knox.
An appeals court in Italy threw out the conviction in 2011 after independent experts said DNA evidence had been contaminated by the police.
Amanda Knox, who had spent four years in prison, returned to the US.
Amanda Knox was convicted by an Italian court in 2009 in the murder of Meredith Kercher
The highest court in Italy later dismissed the acquittal because of “contradictions and inconsistencies”.
Then, on Thursday, an Italian court convicted Amanda Knox again and sentenced her to 28 years and six months behind bars.
Meredith Kercher’s family is pushing for Amanda Knox to be returned to Italy. Her brother, Lyle, told reporters that it would be “strange” and would set “a difficult precedent” if she were not handed over.
Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said Friday that the department has followed the case closely, but she declined to address the prospect of extradition for Amanda Knox.
“The case is still working through the Italian legal system, so we don’t want to get ahead of that process,” she said.
An extradition request would go first to the US State Department. It would review whether a treaty exists (it has since 1984), whether the crime is an extraditable offense (murder qualifies), and whether there are “any potential foreign policy problems”.
If the State Department decided that the request was proper, it would go to the Justice Department, which would check to see whether the request established probable cause that the American committed the crime – a relatively low bar to clear.
If the request cleared that hurdle, it would go to a federal judge.
If a judge failed to intervene, the extradition request would go back to the State Department and John Kerry.
Some legal analysts have said that Amanda Knox could cloak herself in the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy, being tried again for a crime after an acquittal. However, that protection wouldn’t apply to Amanda Knox.
Because extradition requests mix law and diplomacy, there are cases in which a country looks at the facts and simply declines to turn someone over.
Amanda Knox was the focus of intense media scrutiny from the start of the highly publicized Meredith Kercher’s murder trial in 2009.
Amanda Marie Knox, born on July 9, 1987, was convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in 2009. She served four years of a 26-year sentence before the murder conviction was overturned on October 3, 2011.
However, on March 26, 2013, Amanda Knox’s acquittal was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court, sending the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.
Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s boyfriend at the time of the murder, was also found guilty of the murder but had his conviction overturned by an appeal.
Amanda Knox, now 26, whose pretty face maintained its carefree smile throughout her trial, was the ideal female suspect for an Italian murder – “the face of an angel – but the eyes of a killer,”.
From the images of her kissing her co-accused and erstwhile boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, to her cartwheels in the police station, Amanda Knox’s seemingly innocent insouciance contrasted gratingly with the gory crime and general preconceptions of what a murderer should look like.
One lawyer was reported as accusing Knox of being “dirty inside and out” and described her as “half Maria Goretti and half demon”.
The lawyer added: “Who is the real Amanda Knox? Is it the one we see before us here, simple water and soap, the angelic St Maria Goretti?”
“Or is she really a she-devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol, living life to the extreme and borderline – is this the Amanda Knox of 1 November 2007?”
Maria Goretti was a teenager made a saint by the Roman Catholic Church after she was murdered during an attempted rape.
As the trial unfolded the two Amanda Knox vied for acceptance: the hapless student championed by her family and defense lawyers; and the manipulative hedonist described by the prosecution.
And despite her plea in court – “I’m afraid of having the mask of a murderer forced on to my skin” – the latter always seemed to gain the upper hand.
Amanda Knox was the focus of intense media scrutiny from the start of the highly publicized Meredith Kercher’s murder trial in 2009
Details soon began emerging of Amanda Knox’s private life – her “Foxy Knoxy” nickname, the drug-taking and claims she slept with several men after she arrived in Italy.
In letters from his jail cell, co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito wrote: “The Amanda I know… lives a carefree life.”
“Her only thought is the pursuit of pleasure,” he wrote to his father.
“But, even the thought that she could be a killer is impossible for me.”
Reporters descended on Amanda Knox’s home city of Seattle in search of more details of her private life.
They discovered that the University of Washington student had been fined in 2007 for her role in a drunken party that police were called to.
A picture began to be painted of a “party girl” who abused drink and drugs and had an active s** life.
Tabloid interest intensified after it emerged that Amanda Knox had written a short story on a social networking site about a man who drugs and rapes a young girl.
In it, one character remarks: “A thing you have to know about chicks is that they don’t know what they want.”
This was not the daughter known to Amanda Knox’s family – who term themselves “typically American”.
They helped fund their daughter’s year in Italy in order to further her Italian, German and creative writing studies.
And apart from the story on the social networking site, Amanda Knox’s page also portrays a very different young woman.
On it, she describes herself as a non-drinker and non-smoker. Her favorite pursuits include yoga and “backpacking long distances with people I know”.
Among her favorite films are Shrek and The Full Monty and she likes listening to The Beatles and reading Harry Potter books.
It was partly a desire to emphasize this aspect of their daughter’s character, and counter what they term her “misrepresentation”, that led Amanda Knox’s supporters in Seattle to set up a tribute website.
On it, family and friends write about the “joiner” who excelled at sports and school plays; a “smart, fun, affectionate and loyal” girl who bought sandwiches for homeless people and nursed sick friends.
They had been optimistic that she would be freed by the Italian courts.
According to alleged leaks of her prison diary, Amanda Knox was similarly determined to maintain her innocence – and may have been preparing to blame her ex-boyfriend.
She reportedly wrote: “I think it is possible Raffaele went to Meredith’s house, raped her, then killed her and then when he got home, while I was sleeping, he pressed my fingerprints on the knife.”
But neither of their cases were helped by CCTV evidence that found its way into the Italian press, reportedly showing Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito buying underwear together two days after Meredith Kercher’s death.
The case was media gold from the start: a pretty young victim, brutally murdered in mysterious circumstances, whose murderers were both wealthy and attractive.
Amanda Knox said on Good Morning America she will fight the reinstated guilty verdict against her in the 2007 murder of British roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy.
She also vowed to “never go willingly” to face her fate in Italy’s judicial system.
“I’m going to fight this to the very end,” Amanda Knox said in an interview with Robin Roberts on ABC’s GMA.
Amanda Knox, 26, said she has written a letter to the family of Meredith Kercher expressing sympathy for the legal ordeal that continues more than six years after she was killed.
“I want them to know I understand this is incredibly difficult. They also have been on this never-ending thing. When the case has been messed up so much, a verdict is no longer a consolation for them,” Amanda Knox said during Friday’s interview.
“And just the very fact that they don’t know what happened is horrible,” she said.
Amanda Knox said on Good Morning America she will fight the reinstated guilty verdict against her
“They deserve respect and the consolation of some kind of acknowledgement,” Amanda Knox said.
“I really wish them the best.”
Meredith Kercher’s sister Stephanie and brother Lyle were in the courtroom in Florence for Thursday’s verdict.
Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, has been prohibited from leaving Italy while the case continues.
“I don’t know what I would do if they imprisoned him. It’s maddening,” Amanda Knox told GMA.
And she is not ready for the possibility she could be extradited to Italy to serve a 28-year prison sentence.
“This really, it hit me like a train. I didn’t expect this to happen. I really expected so much better from the Italian system. They found me innocent before; how could they say beyond a reasonable doubt?” Amanda Knox told GMA.
During the trial, Amanda Knox remained in Seattle, where she is a student at the University of Washington.
The court reinstated a guilty verdict first handed down against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. The verdict was overturned in 2011, but Italy’s supreme court vacated that decision and sent the case back for the third trial in Florence.
“I just really hope that people try to understand that (when you have) overzealous prosecutors and when you have a biased investigation and coercive interrogation these things happen. And I’m not crazy,” Amanda Knox told GMA.
Members of Meredith Kercher’s family have said they “are still on a journey to the truth” and may never know what happened to her.
It comes after guilty verdicts were reinstated against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for Meredith Kercher murder in 2007.
An Italian court sentenced Amanda Knox to 28 years and six months, and Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years, on Thursday, with their lawyers saying they would appeal.
Amanda Knox, 26, remains in the US and Meredith Kercher’s family called for her to be extradited.
Reports suggest her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffele Sollecito is being held by police after he was found in Udine, near the Slovenian and Austrian borders.
Meredith Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon in south London, was stabbed to death in the flat she shared with Amanda Knox in the college city of Perugia.
Members of Meredith Kercher’s family have said they “are still on a journey to the truth” and may never know what happened to her
Her sister, Stephanie, told a press conference in Florence on Friday: “I think we are still on a journey for the truth and it may be the fact that we don’t ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something we’ll have to come to terms with.”
She added: “We hope that we are nearer the end so that we can just start to remember Meredith for who she was and draw a line under it, as it were.”
Meredith Kercher’s brother, Lyle, said he believed extradition would be appropriate “if someone has been found guilty and convicted of a murder, and if an extradition law exists between those two countries”.
Amanda Knox has said she will only be extradited to Italy from the US “kicking and screaming”.
In a statement after the case concluded, she said she was “frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict”.
Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer, Luca Maori, said his client had heard the verdict on TV and looked “annihilated”.
He had earlier been at the Florence court, which imposed a travel ban on the 29-year-old and ordered that his passport be revoked.
The court noted that there was a “real and actual the danger that Raffaele Sollecito could escape Italian justice” – but he is free to move in Italy until the verdict is confirmed.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were also ordered to pay damages to Meredith Kercher’s family as part of the ruling.
The Kercher family’s lawyer, Francesco Maresca, called the verdict “justice for Meredith and the family”.
Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s Italian ex-boyfriend, has been stopped by police near the Austrian border following the reinstatement of his guilty verdict for the murder of Briton Meredith Kercher in 2007.
Raffaele Sollecito was stopped between Udine and Tarvisio, near the Slovenia and Austria borders, Italy’s Rai News said.
He was given 25 years and American ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox 28 years and six months in Thursday’s ruling.
The Kercher family lawyer said that justice had been done.
Raffaele Sollecito has been stopped by police near the Austrian border following the reinstatement of his guilty verdict for the murder of Meredith Kercher
A travel ban was part of the verdict handed down on Raffaele Sollecito.
He had been in court earlier in the day on Thursday but was not there for the ruling.
Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer, Luca Maori, said his client had heard the verdict on TV and looked “annihilated”.
Lawyers for both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have said they will appeal to the supreme Court of Cassation.
Amanda Knox said today that she is “frightened and saddened” after being re-convicted in the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher when they were students in Italy in 2007.
A panel of judges and jurors set a sentence of 28 years and six months for Amanda Knox, who returned to the US after an earlier conviction was reversed.
The jury also convicted her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, sentencing him to 25 years in jail and banned him from traveling.
“I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict,” Amanda Knox, 26, said in a written statement from her home in Seattle, where she returned after spending four years in prison.
“Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system.”
Now it’s unclear what will happen to Amanda Knox, who is certain to appeal – a process that could take a year or longer. Even if the high court confirms the new conviction, Italy still would have to seek her extradition.
Amanda Knox said today that she is “frightened and saddened” after being re-convicted in the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher
Amanda Knox has vowed not to return.
Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers said they were stunned by the latest twist in a whiplash-inducing case that has made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic for six years.
“There isn’t a shred of proof,” attorney Luca Maori said.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were arrested after British student Meredith Kercher was found dead in their apartment in the university town of Perugia.
In 2011, an appeals court reheard the case and acquitted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito after independent experts said crucial DNA evidence had been contaminated by police.
But in March, Italy’s highest court dismissed that acquittal – slamming the lower court for “contradictions and inconsistencies” in its decision – and ordered a new trial.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito say that only one person is responsible for Kercher’s death: small-time drug dealer Rudy Hermann Guede. The Ivory Coast-born man is serving 16 years in jail, but a court found that he did not commit the crime alone.
The defense and prosecution in Amanda Knox’s third trial were both making their final rebuttals on Monday before the court begins deliberations on January 30.
Prosecutor Alessandro Crini urged the court on Monday to take steps to make sure that Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecitp would serve their sentences, if they are convicted of murdering British student Meredith Kercher.
The prosecutor preceded his request by noting that Amanda Knox has remained in the US for this trial, while co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito has traveled abroad during it.
A verdict is expected later that on January 30.
Alessandro Crini has requested guilty verdicts and jail sentences of 26 years for both defendants, and that the court increase to four years Amanda Knox’s three-year sentence for a slander conviction, which has been upheld.
In the case of Raffaele Sollecito, who told reporters Monday that he intends to remain in Italy for the verdict, the precautionary measures could include immediate arrest, house arrest or the confiscation of his passport.
Amanda Knox is being tried in absentia
The court’s reach in Amanda Knox’s case is limited by her presence in the US, where she returned a free woman after the 2009 guilty verdicts against her and Raffaele Sollecito were thrown out by a Perugia appeals court in 2011. Italy’s highest court ordered a second appellate trial after blasting the acquittal.
Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said during a break that any request for extradition could be made only after a possible guilty verdict is confirmed by Italy’s highest court – a process that can a year or more.
For the moment, Amanda Knox is being tried in absentia, a status that formally is not prejudicial in her regard. She would become a fugitive should she fail to return to serve a sentence should any guilty verdict in this trial be upheld on appeal by Italy’s top criminal court.
Raffaele Sollecito’s father, Francesco Sollecito, said his son has no intention of fleeing justice.
“The fact that Raffaele has no intention of escaping the trial is evident by his presence” in the courtroom, Francesco Sollecito said. He said his son has been legitimately looking for jobs abroad, having explained in court that prospective employers in Italy are put off by the notoriety surrounding the case.
“He is looking around, because he hopes this story ends soon.”
A third person, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Hermann Guede, is serving a 16-year sentence for the murder. His conviction specified that he did not carrying out the murder alone.
Amanda Knox is prepared to become “a fugitive” from justice if an Italian court upholds her original conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
One of the last hearings in Amanda Knox’s retrial was held Thursday in Florence.
Amanda Knox, 26, confirmed from her home town of Seattle, where she is studying at Washington University, that she would fight any extradition request from Italy if the appeals court in Florence finds her guilty of the murder and assault of Meredith Kercher in Perugia in 2007.
Italy could apply for her to be extradited but her lawyers in the US are expected to resist that on the basis of double jeopardy – the principle that a defendant cannot be tried twice for the same crime.
Amanda Knox is prepared to become “a fugitive” from justice if an Italian court upholds her original conviction
The appeals court is expected to hand down its verdict on Jan. 30 after hearing the case since September.
Asked what she would do if the court overturned her 2011 acquittal for the murder of the Leeds University student, Amanda Knox said: “In that case I will be … how does one say … a fugitive.”
Amanda Knox told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that she remained optimistic the court would find her and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, not guilty.
Prosecutors have asked for Amanda Knox to be sent to jail for 30 years – four years more than her original conviction in 2009.
Raffaele Sollecito, who was convicted and later cleared of killing British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia in 2007, has appeared in court in Florence, Italy.
The Italian is due to make a statement over the death of Amanda Knox’s room-mate Meredith Kercher.
Raffaele Sollecito and his then-girlfriend, Amanda Knox, were convicted in 2009 of murder but acquitted on appeal in 2011.
However, in March Italy’s highest court overturned the acquittals, and ordered a new appeal.
Amanda Knox is now in the US and is not expected to attend court.
“He has come to show that he is not running away,” Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer, Luca Maori, told reporters before the start of the hearing.
The new appeal was ordered after the prosecution took the case to the Supreme Court.
Raffaele Sollecito is due to make a statement over the death of Amanda Knox’s room-mate Meredith Kercher
The court strongly criticized the way the appeals court had dismissed important DNA evidence, ordering the whole process to begin all over again.
One of the key pieces of forensic evidence that helped to convict the pair in the first place was a kitchen knife found in Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen, which was said to have Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade.
But the DNA sample was tiny, and the appeal judge thought the evidence was unreliable, so he rejected a forensic scientist’s suggestion to have it tested again.
Tuesday’s hearing will focus on a minute trace of DNA found on the murder weapon but not previously tested.
Meredith Kerceher’s family was not in court. But their lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said the evidence was clear for all to see.
“I think that this court has all the elements to take its decision. Another court has determined why that knife was in Knox’s hands,” said Francesco Maresca.
Both Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox spent four years in prison before their acquittal, and have always insisted they are innocent.
Another man – Rudy Guede from Ivory Coast – was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to 16 years for the killing.
Police experts in Italy found Amanda Knox’s DNA, not the victim’s, on the alleged murder weapon–a butcher knife she supposedly used to kill British roommate Meredith Kercher to death in 2007.
Perugia police took the knife from the kitchen of Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s then boyfriend, and she’d cooked with it. Thus her DNA is not incriminating–unless the knife shows traces of the victim, in blood. The fact that Amanda Knox’s DNA showed up, not Meredith Kercher’s, increases her acquittal odds in this third murder trial, set to end November 26 in Florence, Italy.
Independent experts did not find Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the kitchen knife in the last trial either
Independent experts did not find Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the kitchen knife in the last trial either.
Conti & Vecchiotti savaged the police lab analysis: “Taking into account that none of the recommendations of the international scientific community relative to the treatment of Low Copy Number (LCN) samples were followed, we do not accept the conclusions regarding the certain attribution of the profile found on trace B (blade of knife) to the victim Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, since the genetic profile, as obtained, appears unreliable insofar as it is not supported by scientifically validated analysis.”