Murder of Meredith Kercher
Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher
28 December 1985|
Southwark, London, England
|Died||1 November 2007
Via della Pergola 7, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
|Cause of death||Knife wounds leading to blood loss and suffocation|
|Burial||14 December 2007
Mitcham Road Cemetery, Croydon, London
Giovanni Galati (General Prosecutor of Perugia)
|Convicted of sexual assault, murder||Rudy Guede
(29 October 2008)
Meredith Kercher, a British university exchange student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was murdered in Perugia, Italy, on 1 November 2007. Kercher, aged 21, was found dead on the floor of her bedroom. Some of her belongings were missing, including cash, two credit cards, two mobile phones, and her house keys. The alarm had been raised by one of her flatmates, Amanda Knox, who had reported an apparent burglary when she arrived the next morning. Within hours the principal investigator had concluded that signs of a break-in had been staged to mislead the police enquiry, and Knox became the prime suspect. After four days of repeatedly being questioned, Knox was subjected to an all night interrogation during which—in disputed circumstances—she implicated herself and a bar owner she worked for; he was then arrested along with Knox and her boyfriend. The bar owner was released when forensic evidence pointed to Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native raised in Perugia. Guede opted for a fast track trial. He was convicted in October 2008 of having sexually assaulted and murdered Kercher and is currently in prison.
Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were accused of murdering Kercher while acting with Guede. Knox and Sollecito were tried together and found guilty at the initial stage of a two-level trial process. They were sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. In October 2011 they were released after almost four years in prison following their acquittals at the second level trial. In an official statement of their grounds for overturning the convictions the judges wrote there was a "material non-existence" of evidence to support the guilty verdicts, and that an association among Sollecito, Knox and Guede to commit the murder was "far from probable". The murder and subsequent events, especially Knox's arrest and trial, received worldwide press coverage, often in the form of salacious tabloid reporting. Some observers criticised the media for not describing the case accurately and dispassionately, as they believed it could influence the court case.
- 1 Meredith Kercher
- 2 Prosecutions
- 2.1 Italian criminal procedure
- 2.2 Amanda Knox
- 2.2.1 Background
- 2.2.2 Police focus on Knox
- 2.2.3 Interrogation
- 2.2.4 Significance of text to Lumumba
- 2.2.5 Self-incrimination
- 2.2.6 Knox's account of interrogation
- 2.2.7 Statement and arrest
- 2.2.8 Knox's withdrawal of her statement
- 2.2.9 Hearing, Guede substituted for Lumumba
- 2.2.10 Pre-trial publicity
- 2.2.11 Prosecution
- 2.2.12 Reactions to the conviction
- 2.2.13 Appeal and release
- 2.3 Raffaele Sollecito
- 3 Rudy Guede
- 4 Aftermath
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
|Via della Pergola 7, courtesy of the BBC.|
Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher (born 28 December 1985 in Southwark, South London, and known to her friends as "Mez") lived in Coulsdon, South London. She had two older brothers and an older sister. Her father is a freelance journalist, and her mother a housewife who was born in India. Kercher attended the Old Palace School in Croydon. She was enthusiastic about the language and culture of Italy, and after a school exchange trip she returned, aged 15, to spend her summer vacation with a family in Sessa Aurunca. Kercher who was petite, surprised her father by taking up karate when she was 17 years old.
She won a place at the University of Leeds studying European politics and Italian, which she could speak almost fluently; working as a barmaid, tour guide and in promotions to support herself, she made a cameo appearance in the music video for Kristian Leontiou's song "Some Say" in 2004. Her ambition was to work for the European Union or as a journalist, possibly while living in Italy. After some research, she chose the University of Perugia for her Italian study year, the course was in modern history, political theories and history of cinema. Fellow students described Kercher as caring, intelligent, witty, and popular.
Perugia, a well-known cultural and artistic center, is a city of 150,000. More that a quarter of the population are students, many from abroad, giving it a vibrant social scene. Reportedly, there had not been a killing in Perugia for over twenty years. The so-called 'Perugia trail' line of enquiry in the Monster of Florence investigation attracted national media attention. Michele Giuttari, senior detective on the case, formed a theory that the killings were the work of a conspiracy linked to the drowning death of a Perugia resident. Acting on Giuttari's information, Giuliano Mignini brought charges against a number of respectable people for concealing a murder, the charges were dismissed at the first hearing. Mignini, again acting on information from Giuttari, also sought a warrant for a phone tap on a Florence prosecutor, for which Mignini faced criminal charges on which he was eventually acquitted at a higher court. Giuttari was criticised for manipulating the investigation to further a personal agenda. According to author John Follain, Mignini felt he had simply been doing his duty.
Via della Pergola 7
In Perugia, Kercher shared a four-bedroom ground-floor flat in a house at Via della Pergola 7, whose front door lock did not have a spring latch and had to be closed with a key. The house was set on a hillside with an extensive unfenced garden and a panoramic view over the city. According to journalist Candace Dempsey, locals thought of it as a bad neighbourhood. Between the house and the university was Piazza Grimana, where students often gathered. (Coordinates: ) Her flatmates were two Italian women in their late twenties, and 20-year-old Seattle exchange student Amanda Knox. Kercher and Knox moved in on 10 and 20 September respectively, meeting each other for the first time. Kercher called her mother at least once a day on a mobile phone she kept with her at all times; her other mobile was registered to an Italian flatmate. Knox used her own phone as a watch and did not usually turn it off. Knox was employed part-time at a bar, Le Chic, which was owned by a Congolese man, Diya Patrick Lumumba. She told flatmates that she was going to quit because he was not paying her, Lumumba said the assertion was untrue. Kercher's English women friends saw relatively little of Knox, as she preferred to mix with Italians.
The walk-out semi-basement of the house was rented by young Italian men with whom both Kercher and Knox were friendly. One, Giacomo, spent time in the girls' flat due to a shared interest in music. Returning home at 2 am one night in mid October, Knox, Kercher, Giacomo and another basement resident met Rudy Guede who attached himself to the group and asked about Knox. He was invited into the basement and talked about her with the Italians. Knox and then Kercher came down to join them. At 4:30 am Kercher left, saying she was going to bed, and Knox followed her out.
Three weeks before her death Kercher went with Knox to the EuroChocolate festival. On 20 October, Kercher became romantically involved with Giacomo, after going to a nightclub with him as part of a small group which included Knox. On 25 October, Kercher and Knox went to a concert where Knox met Raffaele Sollecito, a 23-year-old student, she began spending her time at his flat, a 5 minute walk from Via della Pergola 7, and returning for clothes every second day. Knox brought Sollecito to Via della Pergola 7 where he cooked a meal for the flatmates; they noticed he stayed close to Knox, hugging and kissing her while she was doing the washing up.
1 November, was a public holiday, Kercher's Italian flatmates were out of town, as were the occupants of the downstairs flat. That evening, Kercher had dinner with three other English women at one of their homes. She parted company with a friend at around 8:45 pm, about 500 yards (460 m) from Via della Pergola 7. An April 2008 report by court-appointed experts estimated that Kercher died between 8:45 pm and 12:50 am.
By Knox's account she returned to Via della Pergola 7 on the morning of 2 November, finding the front door open and drops of blood, which she thought were menstrual, in the bathroom she shared with Kercher; Kercher's bedroom door was closed which Knox took as indicating that she was sleeping. After showering, Knox found faeces had been left in the unflushed toilet of the second bathroom, which she thought odd. At 12:08 pm, Knox called her Italian flatmate, to report that there was something strange. After returning to Sollecito's home she cleaned up a leak in his kitchen with a mop she had brought from the house, and had breakfast. Knox said she and Sollecito walked back to Via della Pergola 7, and saw that the window was broken in the Italian flatmate's bedroom, suggesting a break-in. When Kercher did not answer her door, which was locked, Sollecito unsuccessfully tried to break it in then called the carabinieri, but before they responded police arrived having traced mobile phones found in a garden to Via della Pergola 7.
Discovery of the body
The officers were told the carabinieri had been called, that a window had been broken, and that there were spots of blood in the bathroom. One of the Italian flatmates arrived with her friends. Dempsey writes that in rummaging around, looking for anything that might be missing, she inadvertently disturbed the crime scene. Battistelli and the Italian flatmate later said that glass from the window was on top of disturbed objects in the room, no crime-scene photographs showed this. On discovering the phone Kercher always carried with her had been found in a garden, her Italian flatmate became alarmed and requested that the police force open the door to Kercher's bedroom, but they declined. Instead, a male friend of the Italian flatmate broke down the door at around 1:15 pm.
The body of Kercher was found inside lying on the floor, covered by a duvet soaked in blood. There were knife wounds on her neck. The cause of death was combined blood loss and suffocation. A funeral was held on 14 December 2007 at Croydon Parish Church, with more than 300 people in attendance, followed by a private burial at Croydon's Mitcham Road Cemetery. The degree that she would have received in 2009 was awarded posthumously by the University of Leeds.
Italian criminal procedure
According to the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure, individuals accused of any crime are considered innocent until proven guilty. After the trial of the first grade (primo grado), if convicted the individual is referred to as defendant or accused (imputato), and is not considered guilty until convicted at the trial of the second grade (secondo grado). During this time, the defendant may be held in detention. An appeal to the second grade, which is similar to a trial de novo where all evidence and witnesses can be re-examined, is absolutely guaranteed. With conviction at the second grade, it is possible to appeal to the Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) only on issues of the interpretation of law, written briefs are either accepted, meaning the case is sent back to the appeals court for retrial, or rejected, in which case the verdict is final and the individual receives a sentence.
Amanda Knox was raised with two younger sisters. Her mother, Edda Mellas, a teacher, and her father, Curt, divorced when Knox was a few years old. She graduated in 2005 from the Seattle Preparatory School, and began to study linguistics at the University of Washington, making the university's dean's list in early 2007. Relatives later described Knox as not always able to pick up on social cues. She became interested in Italian culture while at school, and went to Italy on a family holiday when she was 15 years old. She decided to study there, choosing Perugia over Rome so as to mix with Italians rather than American expatriates. Her stepfather had strong reservations about Knox going to Italy that year as he felt she was still too naïve.
In September 2007, Knox became one of Kercher's three flatmates in Perugia, where she had arrived to attend the town's University for Foreigners for a year, studying Italian, German and creative writing. Burleigh writes that, while Knox appeared to be a confident young woman, she was known by friends and family to be averse to any kind of conflict, and had become a compulsive diarist. All these traits, Burleigh writes—including her bubbly personality and tendency to practise yoga stretches at inappropriate times—contributed to her downfall in Perugia, making her more reticent flatmates critical of her, and the police suspicious.
Police focus on Knox
In outlining the case for colleagues, Perugia Flying Squad Detective Superintendent Monica Napoleoni told them the murderer was definitely not a burglar. She had concluded the apparent signs of a break-in were staged as a deliberate deception, partly because the smashed window did not seem to be the obvious point of entry for a burglar and was almost a dozen feet above the ground. Knox was the only occupant of the house who had been in proximity to it on the night of the murder. Knox was filmed soon after the body was discovered, a frame reproduced by the media showed her kissing Sollecito. Burleigh writes that Italian television played the video for months. At her trial Knox said that she had been crying and trembling as she sat with Sollecito in a car outside the house, he then gave her his jacket and they left the car and were filmed kissing.
At around 3 pm police requested the flatmates and their friends to attend the police station for further enquiries, in the car Knox sobbed when she overheard that Kercher's throat had been cut. Knox was one of the first to be questioned, she said had spent the night of 1 November with Sollecito at his flat. She burst into tears at the end of her interview. English female friends of Kercher met Knox in the waiting room of the police station hours later, shortly after it had been confirmed to them that Kercher was dead. Some of Kercher's friends were to testify at the trial that Knox had shown "no emotion" and behaved in a way that they had found inappropriate. In the early hours Knox was seen pacing a corridor with her head in her hands, she remained at the police station until 6 am.
On the afternoon of 3 November, Knox accompanied police back to Via della Pergola 7. Edgardo Giobbi, of the Rome-based Central Operations Service, later told reporters Knox had sobbed uncontrollably outside the crime scene. Knox was questioned at the police station for a second day. That evening, unable to return to the house to pick up fresh clothes, she was filmed by a store security camera buying underwear, a purchase which was portrayed as shopping for lingerie. The following day, 4 November, the Italian flatmates and Knox were summoned for further questioning. To check if any knives were missing they were taken to the upper flat, where Knox broke down crying and shaking.
Knox was questioned repeatedly over the four days following the murder. She was officially being interviewed as a witness and safeguards normal in Italy during questioning of suspects, such as the presence of a lawyer and recording of interviews, were not used. The police had been listening to Knox and Sollecito's telephone conversations, and knew her mother was due to arrive from Seattle on 6 November; Burleigh writes that 5 November might have been the last night police could question Knox without a lawyer, parent, or the American Embassy being involved. On the evening of 5 November, Knox went to the police station with Sollecito, she later acknowledged doing stretches including a split while in a waiting room, but directly contradicted an accusation that she had done cartwheels, as Napoleoni told the trial.
Knox was asked into the Flying Squad offices where, so she was told, Sollecito's interview was about to finish. Napoleoni and detectives from the Central Operations Service interviewed Sollecito until 3:30 am. According to the police, at around midnight Sollecito ceased to support Knox's account of having been at his flat on the night of the murder, and an interview of Knox began at 1:45 am;. In a 2011 report by appeal court judges, the conduct of the interview was criticised on the grounds that, despite the seriousness of the offence for which she was in effect being treated as a suspect, no lawyer was assigned to her. Noting that Knox "at the time neither understood nor spoke Italian well" the judges said an interpreter had 'assisted police' in the interrogation rather than simply translating.
Knox was told that Sollecito, in another interview room, was no longer saying Knox had been with him all night, but was now maintaining she had left him at 9 pm to go to Le Chic, and had not returned to his apartment until 1 am. Giobbi, watching the interview from a control room, later said he heard Knox scream. Chief Detective Inspector Rita Ficarra told the trial that Knox started to cry when asked about activity on her mobile phone before it was switched off on the night of the murder.
Significance of text to Lumumba
The last activity on Knox's phone on the night of the murder was a text to Le Chic's owner, Lumumba. On the day the body was discovered police had asked Kercher's English friend if Kercher knew any black men. According to Burleigh the police may have seized on a connection to an African immigrant as confirmation of their line of inquiry. Interrogators asked Knox why she had not been working on that night; she told them that Lumumba had sent her a text saying she was not required because business was slow. Knox explained that the reason for switching off her mobile was to prevent Lumumba contacting her again if he changed his mind about her not working. Knox had deleted Lumumba's text from the memory of the phone. She told detectives she did not remember replying to it. The detectives looked through the phone's messages and found that Knox had replied. Follain renders Knox's reply to the text as "Sure. See you later. Have a good evening!". Detectives interpreted the "See you later" part of the message, not as a colloquial parting phrase, but as evidence of an arrangement to meet on the night of the murder. The interrogators showed Knox her reply to Lumumba on the display of her mobile. Anna Donnino, an interpreter for the Perugia police, told the trial that Knox had an "emotional shock" on being shown her text to Lumumba, and said: "It's him, he did it, I can feel it,".
According to the detectives, Knox told them she had met Lumumba at the basketball court at 8:30 pm, before going with him to Via della Pergola 7 where Lumumba had committed the murder, thereby implicating herself as his accomplice. Knox signed a statement, written by the police in official Italian, which said: "I have a hard time remembering those moments but Patrick had sex with Meredith, with whom he was infatuated, but I cannot remember clearly whether he threatened Meredith first. I remember confusedly that he killed her."
Knox's account of interrogation
At her trial Knox's account of what had happened during her interrogation differed from that of the police. She testified that she had spent hours maintaining her original story, that she had been with Sollecito at his flat all night and had no knowledge of the murder, but a group of police would not believe her. Knox said "I wasn't just stressed and pressurised; I was manipulated"; she testified to being told by the interpreter, "probably I didn't remember well because I was traumatised. So I should try to remember something else." Knox stated, "they said they were convinced that I was protecting someone. They were saying 'Who is it? Who is it?' They were saying: 'Here's the message on your telephone, you wanted to meet up with him, you are a stupid liar." Knox also said that a policewoman "was saying 'Come on, come on, remember' and then – slap – she hit me. Then 'come on, come on' and – slap – another one." Knox said she had requested a lawyer but was told it would make things worse for her, and that she would go to jail for 30 years; she also said she was not allowed access to food, water, or the bathroom. Ficarra and policewoman Lorena Zugarini testified that during the interview Knox was given access to food, water, hot drinks and the lavatory. They further said Knox was asked about a lawyer but did not have one, was not hit at any time and interviewed "firmly but politely". Napoleoni testified that Knox was not beaten, threatened or insulted.
Statement and arrest
Napoleoni was backed by several other detectives in arguing for the arrest of Knox, Sollecito, and Lumumba. Her immediate superior, Chief Superintendent Marco Chiacchiera, thought arrests would be premature, advocating close surveillance of the suspects as the best way to further the investigation. Knox had been interviewed as a witness and what she had said could not be used to prosecute her. Mignini placed Knox officially under investigation and at 5:45 am took a statement from her. According to Follain, Mignini began by telling Knox that anything she said in the statement could be used in evidence against her and that she was entitled to a lawyer. The statement had details changed from what she had previously said; for example, she now said she had met Lumumba at 9 pm, not 8:30. She also added that she had heard Kercher scream, though later in the same statement said she could not remember whether she had heard this. The taking of the statement ended when Knox broke down in tears. After being formally arrested, Knox was told to remove her clothes for a forensic check. Doctors obtained samples of her DNA, saliva, urine, hair and pubic hair. According to Knox, she was also subjected to a manual gynecological examination.
Knox's withdrawal of her statement
As Ficarra and Napoleoni were about to take her to prison Knox, who still had not seen a lawyer, made a four-page note. In it, she wrote:" I want to make clear that I'm very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion." The Italian Court of Cassation ruled the official statement could not be used in court, but the note was adjudged admissible in a defamation suit brought against Knox by Lumumba, which was heard concurrently with the murder charges against her and Sollecito and by the same jury. Lumumba's lawyer was to use vituperative language about Knox in court.
Hearing, Guede substituted for Lumumba
On 8 November Knox appeared along with Sollecito and Lumumba before judge Claudia Matteini, and during an hour-long adjournment Knox met her lawyers for the first time. Matteini ordered Knox, Sollecito and Lumumba to be detained for a year. On 16 November the Rome forensic police matched fingerprints found in Kercher's bedroom to Rudy Guede, on 19 December Mignini wrote a warrant for Lumumba's release in which he suggested that Knox may have named Lumumba to protect Guede. The prosecution charged Guede for the murder, but retained the allegations against Knox and Sollecito that originally related to acting in concert with Lumumba.
Knox became the subject of intense media attention. Shortly before her trial she began legal action against Fiorenza Sarzanini, the author of a best-selling book about her which had been published in Italy. The book included accounts of events as imagined or invented by Sarzanini, witness transcripts not in the public domain and selected excerpts from Knox's private journals which Sarzanini had somehow obtained. Lawyers for Knox said that the book had "reported in a prurient manner, aimed solely at arousing the morbid imagination of readers."
According to US legal commentator Kendal Coffrey, "In this country we would say, with this kind of media exposure, you could not get a fair trial". In the US there was a pre-trial publicity campaign supporting Knox and attacking Italian investigators, but her lawyer thought it counter-productive.
Knox said she barely knew Guede; she pleaded not guilty to all charges, and remained in prison throughout the legal process. Knox and Sollecito's trial began on 16 January 2009 before Judge Giancarlo Massei, Deputy Judge Beatrice Cristiani, and six lay judges at the Corte d'Assise of Perugia. Knox and Sollecito were accused of having gone to the house on the night of 1 November with Guede, and murdered Kercher in her bedroom. According to the prosecution's reconstruction, Knox had attacked Kercher, repeatedly banged her head against a wall, forcefully held her face, tried to remove her clothes, cut her with a knife, inflicted the fatal stab wound, and then took her two mobile phones and faked a burglary. Guede's shoe prints, fingerprints, and DNA were found in the bedroom, his DNA was found on Kercher and her clothing, and his skin cells were inside her body. Guede's DNA mixed with Kercher's was in bloodstains on the inside of her shoulder bag. No shoe prints, clothing fibers, hairs, fingerprints, skin cells or DNA of Knox were found on Kercher or in the room. The prosecution alleged that all forensic traces in the bedroom which incriminated Knox had been wiped away by her and Sollecito.
The prosecution's case centred on Kercher's interactions with Knox, and Knox's demeanor and movements on the day the body was discovered. According to Follain, an investigator thought the judge's questions were "relentless". Massei had pointedly questioned Knox on numerous details, such as whether she had touched a particular light switch or the timing of mobile phone calls; she repeatedly answered "I don't remember".
The prosecution alleged a knife found in Sollecito's kitchen had Kercher's DNA on the blade. Expert witnesses called by the defence said the DNA on the knife consisted of an insubstantial trace which could not be considered evidence, and pointed to contamination by other samples as a possible explanation; they also noted that the dates when different samples were tested, which could indicate whether they had been tested on the same day with a resulting risk of cross-contamination, had not been supplied by the forensic police. Both sets of defence lawyers requested the judges to order independent reviews of evidence including DNA and the compatibility of the wounds with the alleged murder weapon; the request was denied.
In final pleas to the court, Sollecito's lawyer described Knox as "a weak and fragile girl" who had been "duped by the police." Knox's lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, told the court there had been DNA contamination in the police forensic laboratory, and pointed to text messages between Knox and Kercher as showing that they had been friends. On 5 December 2009 Knox, by then 22, was convicted on charges of faking a break-in, slander, sexual violence and murder, and sentenced to 26 years imprisonment.
Reactions to the conviction
Although acknowledging that Knox might have been a person of interest for American police in similar circumstances, Journalist Nina Burleigh said that the conviction had not been based on solid proof, and there had been resentment at the Knox family which amounted to "anti-Americanism". Another journalist who attended the trial said that she saw no evidence of anti-Americanism in the proceedings. An Italian jurist said: "This is the simplest and fairest criminal trial one could possibly think of in terms of evidence."
Appeal and release
Under Italian law two appeals are permitted to defendants, during which there is a presumption of innocence until a final verdict is entered. Their first appeal began in November 2010 and was presided over by Judges Claudio Pratillo Hellmann and Massimo Zanetti. The court ordered a review of the contested DNA evidence by independent forensic DNA experts Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti from Rome's Sapienza University. They submitted a 145-page report that noted numerous basic errors in the gathering and analysis of the evidence, further asserting that a police forensic scientist had given testimony in court that was not supported by her laboratory work. In testimony to the appeal, Professor Conti said that a police video showed that, when a vital piece of evidence was gathered, it was handled with a glove that was visibly dirty. During cross-examination Vecchiotti was asked by prosecutor Comodi if a gap of several days between analysing samples was enough to remove the possibility of cross-contamination in the laboratory. "They're sufficient if that's the way things went," replied Vecchiotti.
On 3 October 2011, the court overturned Knox's and Sollecito's convictions on charges of staging a break in, sexual assault and murder. The conviction of Knox on a charge of slander was upheld and the original one-year sentence was increased to three years and eleven days imprisonment.
In their official report on the court's decision to overturn the convictions the appeal judges wrote that the verdict of guilty at the original trial "was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence." Describing the police interviews of Knox as of "obsessive duration" the judges said that the statements she made incriminating herself during interrogation were evidence of her confusion while under "great psychological pressure".
Raffaele Sollecito (born 26 March 1984, Giovinazzo, Bari), the son of a doctor, was 23 years old at the time of his arrest, and nearing the completion of a degree in computer engineering at the University of Perugia. Sollecito had met Knox at a classical music concert, seven days before Kercher was murdered.
Interrogation and detention
Sollecito was interviewed without audio or videotaping, on 5 November 2007 from around 10 pm, while Knox waited in a side room. He later said detectives had told him he was lying about Knox having spent the evening and night of the murder in his apartment, and treated him "with violence and coercion". At some point he signed a statement saying that he and Knox had been out on the evening of the murder and had parted company at 9 pm, and that she had not shown up at his apartment until 1 am. Sollecito was arrested with Knox, despite objections by several detectives that evidence against him was too weak. At a hearing on 8 December Sollecito said his statement made to Napoleoni was untrue. According to Sollicito, he was pressurised by authorities and his family to support the police against Knox in return for being released, and although he refused he was 'terrified' she would succumb to similar pressures.
Sollecito, who said he had never met Guede, was held in custody without bail. The defence called Professor Francesco Introna, who challenged the prosecution's reconstruction of the murder in almost every detail. Introna said the crime scene and injuries to Kercher indicated she had been overpowered by a single attacker who clamped his hand over her mouth, forced her to her hands and knees and used his legs to immobilise her; inflicting the fatal wound from behind with a knife much smaller than the one the prosecution said was the murder weapon. The prosecutors advanced a single piece of forensic evidence linking Sollecito to Kercher's bedroom, a DNA fragment (Sollecito's Y chromosome) detected during analysis of Kercher's bra clasp, which had been cut from the strap. The clasp was visible in crime-scene video taken on 2 November when it had been found by Perugia's forensics squad who placed a marking card beside it for Stefanoni's team from Rome. Stefanoni's team only realised it had been missed 46 days later, by which time they had inadvertently moved it four feet across the room, where it was found under a rug in a pile of other items. Giulia Bongiorno, leading the defence, questioned how Sollecito's DNA could have got on the metal clasp of the bra, but not on the fabric of the bra strap from which it was torn. "How can you touch the hook without touching the cloth?" Bongiorno asked. The back strap of the bra had multiple traces of DNA belonging to Guede. During a cross-examination Bongiorno screened film of the belated recovery of the bra clasp that appeared to show Stefanoni touching the hooks of the clasp with her glove; Stefanoni admitted that, contrary to what she had said at pre-trial hearings, she may have touched the hooks. DNA evidence remained the central plank of the prosecution case against Sollecito. Convicted in December 2009 on charges of staging a break-in, murder and sexual assault, he was sentenced to 25 years.
Appeal and release
Independent forensic experts appointed by the court for Sollecito's appeal (secondo grado) were unable to re-test the bra clasp, because it had become rusted due to incorrect storage by the Scientific Police, but noted that video of the clasp's recovery showed it had been handled using a glove that was "dirty". The experts said the DNA evidence was faulty, possibly because of contamination, and that the "international procedures for inspection, protocol and collection of evidence were not followed" by the police or forensic team. The conviction was overturned on appeal on 3 October 2011. A ruling that there was insufficient proof, similar to the verdict of not proven was available to the court, but they acquitted Knox and Sollecito completely. In an explanation of their decision the appeal judges noted that there was no evidence of phone calls or texts between Knox or Sollecito and Guede, that the tramp Curatolo who testified to seeing Sollecito and Knox in the Piazza Grimana on the night of the murder was a heroin addict, and that Massei, the judge at the 2009 trial, used the word "probably" 39 times in his report.
Rudy Guede 
Rudy Hermann Guede (born 26 December 1986, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire) was 20 years old at the time of the murder. He had lived in Perugia at the age of five. In Italy, Guede was raised with the help of his school teachers, a local priest and others. Guede's father returned to Côte d'Ivoire in 2004. Guede, then aged 15, was adopted by a wealthy Perugia family. Burleigh writes that Guede was given his own flat in a gated villa, spent summer with the family in Sardinia and winter in the Dolomites, and was sent to a good school. He also played basketball for the Perugia youth team in the 2004–2005 season. In his second year with the family, the relationship began to break down. He dropped out of hotel management and computer training courses; the family then employed Guede as a gardener in a bed and breakfast they owned. Guede said he met a couple of the Italian men from the basement of Via della Pergola 7 while spending evenings at the basketball court in the Piazza Grimana at this time. In mid-2007 he was sacked from the gardening job and the family asked him to leave their home.
According to Burleigh, the young men who lived in the downstairs flat at Via della Pergola 7, were unable to recall how Guede had met them, but did recall how, after his first visit to their home, they had found him later in the bathroom, sitting asleep on the unflushed toilet, which was full of faeces. Guede allegedly committed break ins, including one of a lawyer's office through a second-story window, and another during which he burgled a flat and brandished a jackknife when confronted. On 27 October, days before Kercher's murder, Guede was arrested in Milan after breaking into a nursery school, he was reportedly found by police holding an 11-inch knife.
Guede went to a friend's house at about 11:30 pm on 1 November, the night of the murder. He later went to a nightclub where he stayed until 4:30 am. On the following night, 2 November, Guede went with three American female students he had met in a bar to the same nightclub.
After his fingerprints were found at the crime scene, Guede was extradited from Germany where he had fled a few days after the murder, he had said on the internet that knew he was a suspect and wanted to clear his name. Guede opted for a fast-track trial, held in closed session with no reporters present. He told the court he went to Via della Pergola 7 on a date arranged with Kercher after meeting her the previous evening. Two neighbours of Guede, foreign female students who were with him at a nightclub on that evening, told police the only girl they saw him talking to had long blonde hair. He said Kercher had let him in the cottage around 9 pm. Sollecito's lawyers said a glass fragment from the window found beside a shoe-print of Guede's at the scene of the crime was proof that he had broken in.
Guede said that he and Kercher had kissed and touched, but did not have sex. He then developed stomach pains and crossed to the large bathroom on the other side of the apartment. Guede said he heard Kercher scream while he was in the bathroom, on emerging, he had found a shadowy figure, holding a knife, standing over Kercher, who lay bleeding on the floor. Guede said the man fled while saying in perfect Italian, "Trovato negro, trovato colpevole; andiamo" ("Found black, found guilty; let's go").
The court found that his version of events did not match the forensic evidence, and that he could not explain why one of his palm prints, stained with Kercher's blood, had been found on the pillow of the single bed, under the disrobed body. Guede said he had left Kercher fully dressed. He was found guilty in October 2008 of murder and sexual assault, and sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. Micheli acquitted Guede of theft, suggesting that there had been no break-in.
Guede had originally said Knox had not been at the scene of the crime, but changed his story to say she had been in the apartment at the time of the murder. He said he had heard her arguing with Kercher, then glancing out of a window had seen Knox's silhouette leave the house.
Three weeks after Knox and Sollecito were convicted, Guede had his prison term cut from thirty to sixteen years. A lawyer representing the Kercher family protested at a "drastic reduction" in the sentence. Guede will be eligible for release in 2014.
Meredith Kercher scholarship fund
Five years after the murder, the city of Perugia and its University for Foreigners in co-operation with the Italian embassy in London instituted a scholarship fund to honour the memory of Meredith Kercher. John Kercher stated in an interview that all profits from his book Meredith would be going to a charitable foundation in Meredith Kercher's name.
In Italy a defendant who has been acquitted can be re-tried for the same offence. In March 2013 the Court of Cassation, Italy's supreme court, granted a prosecution appeal, and set aside the judgement of the appellate trial that had acquitted Knox and Sollecito, ordering Knox and Sollecito to be retried. According to Hellmann, the Court of Cassation had not confined itself to technical matters of law, but interpreted evidence. Hellmann said the "ruling has explained to the judges in the new trial how they should convict the two accused".
- Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox freed: tears of joy as four-year nightmare is over", The Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2011: "A jury decided that Amanda Knox, who has spent almost four years in jail, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice following a chaotic Italian police investigation."
- Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox freed: tears of joy as four-year nightmare is over", The Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2011: "A jury decided that Amanda Knox, who has spent almost four years in jail, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice following a chaotic Italian police investigation."
- For the six lay jurors and two judges, see Bingham, John. "Amanda Knox juror: lack of motive sank case for Meredith Kercher murder", The Daily Telegraph, 5 October 2011.
- Also see Egan, Timothy. "Lessons From the Amanda Knox Case", The New York Times, 3 October 2011.
- Burleigh, Nina. "The scapegoating of Amanda Knox", Los Angeles Times, 4 October 2011.
- Chivers, Tom. "Amanda Knox acquitted: the Devil was in the details", The Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2011.
- Orr, Deborah. "Too many people were willing to believe lurid slurs about Amanda Knox", The Guardian, 5 October 2011.
- "Appeal Court Denies Existence of Proof – Amanda and Raffaele Not Guilty". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Elizabeth Vargas and Michael S. James A Tale of Two Cultures: Amanda Knox Case Reveals a Stark Divide, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, 6 December 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Kercher, John (2012). Meredith: Our Daughter's Murder and the Heartbreaking Quest for the Truth p.41-60
- Kercher, John (2012). Meredith: Our Daughter's Murder and the Heartbreaking Quest for the Truth p.78
- "Profile: Meredith Kercher". BBC News. 4 December 2009.
- Kercher, John (2012). Meredith: Our Daughter's Murder and the Heartbreaking Quest for the Truth p.82
- Murder Made in Italy: Homicide, Media, and Contemporary Italian Culture By Ellen Nerenberg p. 27 and 59,
- Monster of Florence: Amanda Knox Prosecutor's Satanic Theories Rejected by Judge, Crimesider, CBS News, 23 April 2010
- Joyce, Julian (12 February 2009). "Battle beyond the Kercher trial". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Follain p.371-372
- Follain p10-11 and 26
- Murphy, Dennis. "Deadly exchange", NBC News, 21 December 2007.
- Follain p. 25-47
- Follain p.35
- Follain p.39 ("Meredith joined them she took just one pull on the joint; she was no habitual smoker")
- Wise, Ann. "'They Had No Reason Not to Get Along'", ABC News, 7 February 2009.
- Follain p.41-43
- Follain 46-47
- Dempsey 2010, p. 3.
- Dempsey 2010, p. 41.
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 48–49.
- Follain p. 241
- Burleigh 2011, pp. 172–174.
- Follain p70-71.
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 61–62.
- Follain p 40-50
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 63–64.
- Gemma Wheatley (14 December 2007). "Meredith laid to rest". Croydon Guardian.
- Barry, Colleen. "Family of victim in Knox case remembers slain daughter", Associated Press, 30 September 2011.
- Vogt, Andrea: "The debate continues over Knox's guilt," SeattlePI.com, 14 December 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- Pisani, Mario; et al.; Manuale di procedura penale. Bologna, Monduzzi Editore, 2006. ISBN 88-323-6109-4.
- Povoledo, Elisabetta: "Amanda Knox Freed After Appeal in Italian Court", The New York Times, 3 October 2011.
- Cappelletti 1967, p. 113.
- Oloffson, Kirsti. "Amanda Knox, Convicted of Murder in Italy", Time magazine, 4 December 2009.
- Follain p.14
- Follain p.15 &19
- Burleigh, Nina. "The scapegoating of Amanda Knox", Los Angeles Times, 4 October 2011.
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- Follain p. 83-84
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 62, 76–77; for Napoleoni, see Burleigh 2011, p. 165. for Battistelli see Follain p. 67.
- Follain p. 75–76.
- Burleigh 2011, p. 151–152.
- Follain p.123
- Burleigh 2011, p. 36.
- Follain p.76
- Follain p.321
- Follain p.83
- Dempsey 2010, p. 47.
- ABC News Feb. 27, 2009, Cops Cite Amanda Knox's 'Strange Attitude' After Roomie's Murder
- The Herald, 14 February 2009, Knox 'showed no emotion' after murder of Meredith
- Burleigh 2011, pp. 174–175.
- ABC News, 13 March 2009, Amanda Knox's Odd Behavior Focus of Testimony
- Follain p.99
- Follain p.112
- "Amanda Knox Italian Police Bombshell: We Knew She Was Guilty of Murder Without Physical Evidence". CBS News. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
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- Follain p.112-113
- "Italian appeals court says why it cleared Knox". Ctv.ca. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
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- Follain 119–120
- "''48 Hours'' reveals Amanda Knox's untold story". CBS News. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Burleigh 2011, p. 189.
- Dempsey 2010, p. 138.
- "Kercher suspect 'did cartwheels'". BBC News. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
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- Follain p.133-4
- Only one killer: judge explains why Amanda Knox went free Andrea Vogt, Thu 15 Dec 2011
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- Daily Mail, 15 December 2011, [Police and prosecutors blasted for 'harsh treatment' of Amanda Knox and outlandish theories over Meredith Kercher's murder]
- "Amanda Knox unfairly demonised for behaviour, judge says". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
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- Donadio, Rachel. "Details Only Add to Puzzle in Umbrian Murder Case", The New York Times, 29 September 2008.
- Dempsey 2010, p. 143.
- Dempsey 2010, p. 145.
- Vogt, Andrea (28 February 2009). "Knox, ex-boyfriend refute police testimony". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Follain p.90
- CNN, May 2, 2013 What Amanda Knox can and can't tell us
- Follain p 320
- Follain p.134
- Kington, Tom and Walker, Peter. "Amanda Knox tells court police hit her during interrogation", The Guardian, 12 June 2009.
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 146–147.
- Follain p.132-137
- Time World, 29 September 200(The Tough Women of the Amanda Knox Case
- Follain p216-217
- Vogt, Andrea (11 June 2009). "A confident Amanda Knox defends herself, says she wasn't there during slaying". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Telegraph, 13 June 2009,Amanda Knox warned by police that she would spend 30 years in prison
- Guardian, 4 October 2011,Amanda Knox: police under fire over botched investigation
- Guardian, Friday 13 March 2009, Knox clashes with interpreter over Meredith 'confession'
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 147–148.
- Hooper, John. "Was there a plot to kill Meredith?", The Guardian, 5 February 2009.
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 147–148.
- Vogt, Andrea (28 February 2009). "Knox, ex-boyfriend refute police testimony". Seattle P-I.
- Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox 'hit in the head' during Meredith Kercher murder interrogation", The Daily Telegraph, 28 February 2009.
- For slander, see Dempsey 2010, p. 265.
- Follain p.281
- Follain 134–136
- Follain p. 133–138.
- Follain p.143
- Follain p. 351.
- Follain p.239
- Grinberg, Emanuella. "Crime author, Knox prosecutor butted heads", CNN, 1 July 2011, pp. 2–3.
- Moore, Malcolm. "Transcript of Amanda Knox's note", The Daily Telegraph, 22 November 2007.
- Donadio, Rachel. "Details Only Add to Puzzle in Umbrian Murder Case", The New York Times, 29 September 2008.
- Follain p.164 & 186
- Follain p.174"
- Radar Magazine October/November 2008.
- Squires, Nick (14 January 2009). "Amanda Knox launches 11th hour bid to stall Meredith Kercher murder trial". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Wise, Ann (22 March 2010). "Amanda Knox: Italian Civil Court Awards Knox $55,000 in Damages For Violation of Privacy". ABC News. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Pisa, Nick. "Knox Wins £36k Damages Over Sex Claims". BSkyB. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- "NEWS INTERVIEW – HLN Prime News – transcript". Kendallcoffey.com. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Media, Crime, and Criminal Justice: Images, Realities, and Policies, 2011, R.Surette, p. 124.
- Follain p. 243–245 and 182–183.
- "Timeline: Amanda Knox Trial". CBS News. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Follain p342-344
- Follain p.177
- Guardian, 22 September 2011, Amanda Knox 'hopeful of release'
- Judgment, Trial of Rudy Hermann Guede, Court of Perugia, judgment of 28 October 2008–26 January 2009 (Google translation, Italian to English).
- Falconi, Marta. "Prosecutors: Knox staged break-in after murder", Associated Press, 20 November 2009.
- Follain p.248
- ABC News, 3 July 2009 Defense Witness Says Amanda Knox Did Not Break Window
- Follain p.52
- Follain, p. 322–330.
- Povoledo, Elisabetta. "Italian Experts Question Evidence in Knox Case", The New York Times, 29 June 2011.
- Rizzo, Alessandra. "Amanda Knox DNA evidence contested by experts, crucial victory for defense", The Christian Science Monitor, 30 June 2011.
- Follain p334
- 7 October 2009,Croydon Guardian Last evidence heard in Coulsdon student Meredith Kercher murder trial
- Sky News,26 September 2009, 26 September 2009, Meredith Case: Expert Casts Doubt On DNA
- Wise, Ann (26 September 2009). "Defense Expert Disputes DNA Evidence in Amanda Knox Trial". ABC News. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Follain p.335-336
- Follain 353–358.
- "Amanda Knox guilty of Meredith Kercher murder". BBC News. 5 December 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 311–312.
- Follain p. 366.
- NY Post, 28 February 2010, Anti-US bias in Amanda Knox orgy verdict
- Seattle PI, 14 December 2009 The debate continues over Knox's guilt
- Kalmthout, A.M. "Italy", Pre-trial Detention in the European Union. Wolf Legal Publishers. ISBN 978-90-5850-524-8|.
- Kington, Tom. "Amanda Knox DNA appeal sparks legal battle by forensic experts", The Observer, 24 July 2011.
- "DNA experts highlight problems with Amanda Knox case", Associated Press, 25 July 2011.
- Guardian, 29 June 2011, Amanda Knox prosecution evidence unreliable, appeal court hears
- Follain p. 408.
- Polvoledo, Elisabetta."Amanda Knox Freed After Appeal in Italian Court", The New York Times, 3 October 2011.
- "Amanda Knox Acquitted, Leaves Prison". ABC News. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Follain, p. 366 & p. 428.
- "Amanda Knox 'Satisfied' With Italian Court Ruling". ABC News. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Kington, Tom. "Cold comfort in jail as Amanda Knox begins 26-year sentence", The Guardian, 6 December 2009.
- Stressed as RaffaEle SollEcito.
- Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox: Who is Raffaele Sollecito?", The Daily Telegraph, 2 October 2011.
- For the make of Sollecito's car, see Dempsey 2010, p. 19.
- Day, Michael. "Sollecito accuses Italian police of violence", The Independent, 6 October 2011.
- Dempsey 2010, p. 136ff, 144.
- Follain p.136
- Follain p.156
- Guardian 18 September 2012,Raffaele Sollecito makes new claims in memoir about Amanda Knox trial
- Follain p.332-333
- Follain p.307
- Follain p.218
- Dempsey 2010, pp. 69, 243.
- Telegraph, 5 December 2009, Amanda Knox trial: the unanswered questions
- News AU, Bra takes centre stage in Foxy Knoxy trial
- Follain, p. 306–307. (
- CNN, 30 July 201, Police forensics under scrutiny in Amanda Knox appeal
- "Amanda Knox: 'Doubts raised' over DNA evidence", BBC News, 29 June 2011.
- Guardian, 4 October 2011, Amanda Knox: police under fire over botched investigation
- 15 December 2011, Colleen Barry, Associated Press
- "Rudy, il barone con la passione del basket" (in italian). Quotidiano.net. 20 November 2007.
- Burleigh 2011, pp. 90–91.
- Burleigh 2011, pp. 92–93.
- Burleigh 2011, pp. 95–96.
- Owen, Richard. "Rudy Guede: engaging drifter who boasted ‘I will drink your blood’", The Times, 28 October 2008.
- Follain p.179
- Burleigh 2011, p. 97.
- Burleigh 2011, pp. 84–85.
- Dempsey, pp. 299, 327.
- Squires, Nick. "Meredith Kercher murder: Rudy Guede profile", The Daily Telegraph, 29 October 2008.
- Follain p.
- Follain p.204-205
- Moore, Malcolm (20 November 2007). "Fourth Meredith suspect arrested in Germany". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Pisa, Nick (6 December 2007). "Meredith Kercher suspect extradited to Italy". The Telegraph (London).
- Follain p.206
- Owen, Richard. "Rudy Guede guilty of Meredith Kercher murder, Amanda Knox faces trial", The Times, 29 October 2008.
- Moore, Malcolm. "Meredith whispered killer's name, suspect says", The Daily Telegraph, 24 November 2007.
- Pisa, Nick (25 October 2008). "Meredith murder suspect Rudy Guede is an 'easy target' for accusations, say his lawyers". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Judgment, Trial of Rudy Hermann Guede, Dr Paolo Micheli, Court of Perugia, judgement of 28 October 2008 – 26 January 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2011 (Google translation, Italian to English).
- "Rudy: Meredith l'ha uccisa Raffaele", La Stampa (Italian), 27 March 2008.
- Diritto, procedura, e pratica penale Tribunale di Perugia: Ufficio del G.I.P.: Dott. Paolo Micheli: Sentenza del 28 October 2008 – 26 January 2009 (Italian): (English trans): Guede "confirmed then to have touched more or less everywhere in the room, even with his hands stained with blood, without however explaining why one of his [palm-]prints were found on the pillow under the corpse, when he remembered the regular pillow on the bed, where they also found the jacket and purse/handbag that the girl [Kercher] had put down on re-entering the house. The bed was, according to his description, covered with a red or beige duvet (but he had insisted far more on the former colour): the pillow was outside of the quilt." Earlier in his judgement, the judge noted that (Italian): "Soltanto in seguito, attraverso la comparazione in Banca Dati di un'impronta palmare impressa nel sangue e rinvenuta sulla federa del cuscino che si trovava sotto il corpo della vittima, si accertava invece la presenza sul luogo del delitto del 21enne G. R. H., nativo della Costa d'Avorio ..." (English): "Only later, through the comparison in the database of a palm-print imprinted in the blood of the victim and found on the pillowcase of the pillow where the body of the victim was found, it confirmed instead the presence at the scene of the crime of the 21-year-old G[uede] R.H., native of the Ivory Coast, ...".
- Dempsey 2010, p. 175.
- Burleigh 2011, pp. xxvi–xxvii.
- Follain p. 397.
- Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox trial: Rudy Guede profile", The Daily Telegraph, 5 December 2009.
- "Meredith Kercher killer Rudy Guede has sentence reduced", BBC News, 22 December 2009.
- Follain p. 338
- Follain, p. 370.
- Daily Mail 15 December 2011, Police and prosecutors blasted for 'harsh treatment' of Amanda Knox and outlandish theories over Meredith Kercher's murder
- NY Daily News November 29, 2013
- Diane Sawyer, ABC News 30 April 2013
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- "Death in Perugia: John Kercher is no closer to knowing who killed his daughter Meredith". The Australian. Retrieved 2012-11-13.(login required)
- New Jersey State Bar Association Lessons Learned from the Amanda Knox Case
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- Knox, Amanda (30 April 2013). Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir. Harper. ISBN 978-00-622-1720-2.
- Sollecito, Raffaele (18 September 2012). Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox. Gallery Books. ISBN 978-14-516-9598-4.
- Kercher, John (2012). Meredith: Our Daughter's Murder and the Heartbreaking Quest for the Truth.
- Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case from her Murder to the Acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. John Follain. Hodder & Stoughton 2011
- The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox. Nina Burleigh. Broadway 2011.
- Murder in Italy. Candace Dempsey, Berkley Books 2010.
- The Italian Legal System: An Introduction Stanford University Press 1967
- Judicial reports
- "Corte di Assise di Appello Perugia: On the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.". Claudio Pratillo Hellmann and Massimo Zanetti, (Court of Appeals) Perugia 2011
- "La Sapienza to the Corte di Assise di Appello , regarding DNA evidence in the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito." Stefano Conti and Carlo Vecchiotti Court of Appeals Perugia 2011
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