Why Amanda Knox did not get a fair trial:
1. Overly aggressive and intimidating interrogation procedures, including physical abuse of Knox.
2. No evidence whatsoever connecting Knox to the crime scene.
3. No credible motive whatsoever has been described. The wild sex game theory of the prosecution was merely a fantasy. Before that, they claimed it was a "satanic ritual" that killed Kercher.
4. Pollution of the jury pool -- the jury was not sequestered and were allowed to read sensationalist tabloids and watch TV shows demonizing Knox, which put forth all kinds of bizarre theories of how and why Knox murdered Kercher.
5. Improper trial procedures -- Hearsay and personal opinions of witnesses were allowed in testimony and considered by the jury. None of this would have been allowed in an American court.
6. The prosecutor was a man who was, at the time of the trial, under indictment for prosecutorial crimes and irregularities, and who may be soon going to jail himself.
Here's the long version for die-hard readers:
Last night on the television show 48 hours, the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (for the murder of Meredith Kercher) was reviewed for fairness and propriety. The segment made it clear that the case against Amanda Knox and Sollecito was deeply flawed, and the trial tainted by improprieties.
This week an Italian court found both Knox and Sollecito guilty of Knox's murder. However, the evidence against them appears very weak.
The real killer who had an actual motive: rape
An earlier suspect, Rudy Guede, opted for a fast track trial, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years. The evidence against Guede was strong. Guede's semen was found in Kercher, as well as one of his bloody hand prints on a cushion in the room. His fingerprints were all over the room.
Guede was described as a "thief who carried a knife," and who had brandished that knife at others on occasion. Rudy Guede showed consciousness of guilt by fleeing to Germany to avoid prosecution (he was later extradited back to Italy). During initial questioning, Guede stated that he had consensual sex with Kercher on the fatal night, and that someone came into the room and stabbed Kercher while Guede was in the bathroom. It was a transparent lie, as Kercher had bruises, scratches and cuts all over her body, indicating that she actively resisted the assault. All of that went on while Guede was in the bathroom? Absurd.
Guede initially stated and restated that Knox was not present the night of the murder. He changed his story after intense questioning by police, then blamed the murder on Knox and Sollecito, saying that they killed Kercher in an argument over money. It is obvious that Guede was merely interested in directing the blame away from himself.
No physical evidence exists that points to Knox or Sollecito
An almost complete lack of physical evidence tying Knox and Sollecito to the crime scene makes Guede's explanation unbelievable. The one and only bit of evidence is Sollecito's trace DNA on a bra fastener that belonged to Kercher. However, the bra fastener lay on the floor of Kercher's apartment for six weeks before it was found, and then it was passed around and fingered by several investigators at the scene. The trace DNA could easily have been contamination picked up from other areas of the house.
Guede's fingerprints were present throughout Kercher's room, but not a single fingerprint was found belonging to Knox or Sollecito. Defense lawyers point out that it would have been impossible for Knox and Sollecito to wipe away their own fingerprints without disturbing those of Guede (and this while they were high on pot?). This is strong evidence that neither Knox nor Sollecito were in Kercher's room the night of her murder.
Some traces of Knox's DNA were found on the handle of a knife presented into evidence by the prosecution. However, the knife was a kitchen knife found in a kitchen drawer in Sollecito's apartment -- it was not found at the crime scene. Knox's DNA was found on the handle of the knife, indicating nothing more than that she had used it for food preparation. Testing the knife for the presence of Kercher's DNA was "inconclusive," meaning none was found. Further, bloody knife prints on Kercher's sheets do not match those of the kitchen knife. The kitchen knife should never have been allowed into evidence. It was clearly not the murder weapon.
No motive for Knox or Sollecito to kill Kercher
The police's belief that Kercher had been killed in a rough sex game is strictly a fanciful theory. There is no evidence to support it. Without it, however, the police had no credible theory of anything resembling a motive. Indeed, neither Knox nor Sollecito had any reason to murder Kercher. No credible motive has ever been established.
Prosecutorial irregularities cast doubt
The one potentially troubling aspect of the case for Knox is that she gave conflicting statements about whether she was in the house the night of the murder. She initially stated that she was not in the house, but spent the night with Sollecito in his apartment. Later, she signed a statement that she was in the house with her boss and Kercher the night of the murder, and that the boss, Patrik Lumumba, murdered Kercher. Lumumba, however, had an airtight alibi. Knox signed this statement, which was written by the prosecution, after 14 hours of grueling interrogation, and after one of the investigators had slapped her in the back of the head several times "to help her remember."
Knox later retracted this statement, saying that it had been made under duress. The Italian system is not the American system, and an author, Douglas Preston, has written a book, the Monster of Florence, which details the Italian system as rife with corruption, coerced statements, lawyer vendettas, forced confessions, planted evidence and other illegal methods. Preston was in Italy researching a series of serial murders there for a book he was writing on the subject.
Because Preston was writing a book about the serial killings, this same prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, suspected Preston was somehow connected with the crimes. Mignini aggressively interrogated Preston and accused him of crimes. When Preston asked Mignini how he had arrived at such theories, Mignini answered that "these are not theories, but facts." Mignini appears to quickly develop fantasy scenarios which he believes are true and then proceeds to act on them. Preston was released after a few hours, but was terrified by the experience and immediately fled Italy.
The prosecutor Mignini, who tried Knox and Sollecito, is himself under indictment and will stand trial for criminal behavior such as bugging defense lawyers and other prosecutorial crimes. This fact corroborates Preston's description of the Italian system.
After viewing the evidence, I have changed my mind about the trial. It was clearly a travesty. Neither Amanda Knox nor Rafaele Sollecito should have been found guilty. The verdict should be overturned on appeal and both of them released. This court verdict stinks to high heaven.
Watch the 48 Hour segment here. It is eye-opening.