Amanda Knox Begins Kercher Murder Appeal

Amanda Knox has been in court to hear her lawyers argue she should be freed from jail in Italy because she had no reason to kill Meredith Kercher and no murder weapon has ever been found.

Wearing a blue jumper, the 23-year-old American was escorted by a female police officer into the same Perugia courtroom where her first trial was held.

The appeal hearing lasted only a few minutes and was largely devoted to procedural matters.

The judge set the next hearings for December 11, December 18 and January 15.

Knox was jailed for 26 years last December after being found guilty of the brutal murder of British student Ms Kercher, 21, who was found semi naked with her throat cut.

Her Italian ex-boyfriend, computer studies graduate Raffaele Sollecito, 25, was also given 25 years.

But within hours there were claims that DNA evidence presented at the trial was at best clumsy and at worst non-existent.

At the appeals trial, her lawyers are arguing she and Sollecito, who is also in court, were victims of a gross miscarriage of justice.

Crucially, no trace of Knox at the murder scene was ever found – despite the court being told genetic evidence from 19 other people was discovered in the blood stained bedroom and never traced.


Meredith Kercher

Briton Meredith Kercher was killed in Perugia, Italy, in 2007


The original trial heard how a knife said to be compatible with the murder weapon was found in Sollecito’s kitchen during a police search and on it were traces of DNA from Knox on the handle and of Ms Kercher on the blade.

But the traces were so low they would have been ruled inadmissible in any trial and Knox’s lawyers will argue a request to have a third party examination of all the DNA evidence should have been granted.

During the original trial, lawyers asked for an independent analysis of all the forensic evidence but the judge overruled this – although the appeal in Perugia is likely to allow it.

In his sentencing report, Judge Giancarlo Massei allowed the jury to consider a second knife was probably used for the murder but Knox’s lawyers will argue that it was never even mentioned in court.

The 200-page defence report, which claims there was no murder motive, says: ”The existence of a second knife was never mentioned during the trial.


Knox and Sollecito

Knox was sentenced with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito


”To justify the injuries on the poor victim that could not have been inflicted by the knife seized, in an additional arbitrary way, a second fantasy knife was introduced.”

Knox’s legal team will also argue Italian and international law was broken because she was questioned almost non-stop for four days and made to sign a statement without consulting a lawyer or translator.

Their case file reads: ”The court violated Italian and international law…failing to allow a just and fair trial. There is underway a gross miscarriage of justice against Amanda Knox.”

They also claim court evidence from a jailed mafia informer Luciano Aviello that his brother Antonio confessed to the killing and gave him the murder weapon and Ms Kercher’s keys to hide.

In a statement Knox’s parents Curt and Edda said: ”The family has always known Amanda is innocent – it is very gratifying that a growing number of people feel the same way.”

In October 2008 Ivory Coast drifter Rudy Guede, 23, was jailed for 30 years for his part in the murder. Last December his sentence was reduced to 16 years on appeal. He is making another final appeal next month.




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