Lawyers for Amanda Knox wrapped up their summations today in the appeal of her Italian murder conviction, and her relieved father said, “It couldn’t have gone any better.”
The worried father, Curt Knox, acknowledged it remains uncertain how the six jurors and two judges will react to the appeal.
“I’m not the one actually making the choice. I’m just hoping the judge and jury heard what I heard today,” Curt Knox told ABC News.
Amanda Knox, 24, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, are asking the court in Perugia, Italy, to throw out a 2009 conviction that they murdered Knox’s British roommate Meredith Kercher. The two women were sharing a cottage during a year studying in Italy when Kercher’s partially nude body was found in her bedroom with her throat slashed in November 2007.
Knox and Sollecito have spent the last four years in an Italian prison. Knox is serving a 26 year sentence, while Sollecito was given a 25 year sentence. A verdict on their appeal is expected Monday. One possibility is that the court could agree with the prosecutors and extend their prison sentences to life.
Knox attorney Luciano Ghirga closed the team’s summations by alluding to the suffering of Knox and her family during the four years of investigation, trial and appeal for a murder he inisted she didn’t commit.
He told the court that Knox and her family have been subjected to seven books and at least one movie about the case, and much of Knox’s jailhouse correspondence and diaries have been leaked into the media.
Her privacy had been “massacred” and “violated,” Ghirga said. Another Knox attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said of the media reports during the investigation and trial, “She was crucified in a public square.”
Ghirga turned to Knox’s family, sitting in the courtroom.
“Look at them,” he said to the jury. “Their life has changed. Don’t see them as part of a cross Atlantic plot. They are parents who deserve respect.”
Then turning to Knox, he added, “Her heart is full of hope to be set free.”
Knox’s legal team concluded their 10month long appeal today by attacking the prosecution’s theories on the alleged murder weapon and the couple’s alleged motive for brutally assaulting Kercher.
One of the key pieces of evidence for the prosecution during the initial murder trial was a knife found in a kitchen drawer at Sollecito’s apartment that investigators claim was the weapon used to kill Kercher. They claimed that DNA from Knox was on the handle and DNA from Kercher was on the blade.
Two forensic experts appointed by the court during the appeal, however, have said there was not enough DNA to prove it belonged to Kercher. The experts also said they believed the DNA came from rye bread.
Ghirga had noted that there is no evidence of Knox, including any DNA, in Kercher’s bedroom. The only clue linking Knox to Kercher is the DNA on the knife, the lawyer said.
“If you take this piece of evidence away that links the two girls, what do you have?” he asked the court.
Another Knox attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova tried to add to the doubt by citing defense forensic experts who determined that the blade was not compatible with Kercher’s wounds and that it was expected to have Knox’s DNA on it because she cooked at Sollecito’s apartment.
If a knife that large was used to stab Kercher in the neck with such force, “it would have come out the other side of her body,” the lawyer argued.
And if it was the murder weapon, Dalla Vedova asked rhetorically, why wouldn’t they just throw it into the canyon next to the crime scene rather than take it back to Sollecito’s house?
Dalla Vedova also pointed out to the jury that the prosecution’s motive for the November 2007 murder in Perugia, Italy, has shifted several times. The initial accusation was that Kercher died in a sex game gone awry. During the trial the motive changed to a furious Knox attacking Kercher out of hatred over her criticism and a fight over money. At the conclusion of the murder trial, the prosecution said simply they “killed for no reason.”
So there is “no motive and no murder weapon.” Ghirga said.
Another target of Knox’s lawyers today was Rudy Guede, a local drifter who was convicted of taking part in the Kercher murder in a separate trial. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison on his final appeal.
Guede, who admits being at the Perugia cottage at the time of the killing but claims he is innocent, initially told a friend and authorities that Knox and Sollecito were not present when Kercher was attacked. He later said he tussled with an Italian man who had a hood over his head.
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