Kercher Case: Back to Square One?

Last Revised: 2013.03.30.

Image: Getty Images, from AFP

On Tuesday, Italian Supreme Court judges ordered Amanda Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito to face an Italian appellate court again for the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Why?  Italy doesn’t have “double jeopardy,” as they have here in the United States.  You can be retried after acquittal there.

Worse, they could increase the sentence during the appellate process, as they did in September 2011 —to life in prison for Knox.

On the Flip-Side
Italian law cannot force a non-Italian to travel from the U.S.  So Knox, now present in Seattle, can only be taken in if present in Italy.  Sollecito, however, is Italian, and if convicted, the Italian police can pick him up whenever they please and put him in jail.  It is likely that Knox will be tried in absentia.

The Homicide
The case goes all the way back to 2007, when Kercher shared her Perugia apartment with Knox.  On November 1 (or Oct. 31, with one of the prosecution’s versions of the story), Kercher was stabbed and left for dead in her bedroom, door locked from the inside and pulled closed, where she choked on her own blood.

Because Kercher was partly nude, the prosecution sold the idea that she died as result, in part, of a “sex game gone wrong.”  Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, however, is known for often considering these kind of cases to always be the result of a sex game or Satanic ritual.

The way they interrogated Knox during trial was hard.  They lied to her, saying she had HIV, compelling her to write down the list of everyone she’d ever had sex with.

No Real Proof
The only real evidence, with the knife, was compromised in handling.  It appears Italian forensics standards are not nearly as good as those in the U.S.  The case would have easily been thrown out here in the States.

Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native raised by a local Perugia family, was at the scene, as his DNA was found all over.  Around the blood on the wall of Kercher’s bedroom, in the bathroom (using it), also having sex with Kercher.

Evidence, though limited, if not circumstantial, has instead pointed to a man that was already jailed during trial as the murderer.  But political pressures outweigh “actually getting it right.”

Napoleonic Law
The Italian legal process, still based on the law of Napoleonic days, is guilty until proven innocent.  In a country known for political scandal, the ability for a high-ranking official to become corrupt is easy.  They sometimes go after the press.

Worse, one of the main witnesses to the prosecution was a convicted heroin dealer.  Mignini, interviewed by CNN, denies that this witness got any favors for his testimony.

The West Memphis 3 were also accused of “Satanic rituals,” but now even Pam Hicks no longer believes in their guilt.  The Italian court judges don’t seem to care about their credibility in this case, other than of media control, appearing to fall prey to pressures of ego and personal beliefs.

“Fast Track” Case
One of the suspects had an air-tight alibi.  He was simply exchanged with Rudy Guede.

Guede was convicted in 2008, given thirty years in prison, a sentence reduced to eighteen.  Three were found guilty.

But Knox and Sollecito were lucky.  Their appeals went on, and on, also requiring them to find a balance in the act (as if personality really indicates guilt), but they were acquitted during what was supposed to be a “high court formality hearing.”

Square One
“We haven’t really had a chance to properly grieve,” Kyle Kercher, Meredeth’s brother, said in 2011.  “We accept the decision and respect the court.  But now we are left looking at this again.  We really are back to square one.”

And now, in 2013, Knox and Sollecito are ordered extradition.  Back to square one, indeed.


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