In the Meredith Kercher murder trial, defence lawyers have produced witnesses to show that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent. There was no attempt to stage any fake break-in as alleged by prosecution. Besides Sollecito was a pleasant boy, he could not have been part of a diabolical murder, it was claimed.
Knox, 21, of Seattle, is on trial along with Sollecito, 25, her Italian former boyfriend, for the murder of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old British exchange student who shared a Perugia apartment with Knox and two Italian women.
AdvertisementKercher was found in her bedroom on Nov. 2, 2007, semi-naked in a pool of blood, her throat slashed.
Investigators in Perugia believe she was killed when she resisted participating in a sex game involving Knox, Sollecito and a third person, Rudy Guede, who has already been convicted for sexual assault and murder, and sentenced to 30 years in prison. All three maintain they are innocent, and Guede's appeal is scheduled to begin in November.
Prosecutors say Knox and Sollecito staged a break-in to make the murder appear to be the result of a botched theft. A window in the bedroom of Filomena Romanelli, Knox and Kercher's housemate, was broken, and glass shards and a 9-pound rock were found in the room. The prosecution presented witnesses and evidence that suggest the window was broken from the inside.
But Francesco Pasquali, a retired forensic police officer hired as a consultant by Sollecito's defense, presented Friday a video in court that included three different scenarios showing how the rock could have been thrown from the outside to break the window, located 13 feet off the ground.
According to Pasquali, the rock was thrown from a terrace across from the window, making the glass "explode" on the inside and spreading glass fragments everywhere on the inside and the outside of the windowsill.
Pasquali said that he had re-created the same conditions that were found in Romanelli's room at the time of the break-in. Pasquali said he constructed a window of the same size, with the same paint and the same type of glass, and threw the rock through it into a room with the same characteristics as Romanelli's room. Two video cameras -- one inside and one outside -- filmed the rock being thrown through the glass.
By analyzing the trajectory of the rock and the projection of the glass shards, Pasquali said he could "exclude that the glass could have been broken from the inside."
Prosecutors, however, contend that shutters outside the window could have prevented a rock from breaking it.
On Saturday, lawyers for Sollecito called longtime acquaintances to testify on Sollecito's behalf.
They described him as a calm young man who rarely used drugs.
"The television described him as a womanizer, in fact he was shy and introverted," said Saverio Pinetti Mofetta, who has known Sollecito for 10 years.
Sollecito's college friend, Angelo Cirillo, said Sollecito was sexually inexperienced but excited about his new relationship with Knox.
Both men were asked about a small knife Sollecito was known to carry. Kercher was found with her throat slashed.
"Raffaele wore his knife as a garment," said De Martino.
Mofetta agreed. "He used it to cut fruit or pizza."
Angelo Cirillo, said Sollecito was sexually inexperienced but excited about his new relationship with Knox. Prosecutors asked him to explain a photograph in which Sollecito is shown wielding a meat cleaver. Cirillo described it as a college prank.
"I took that picture and did him up that way," he said. "I wrapped him in toilet paper."
"Raf is a big romantic," said Mariano De Martino, who has known Sollecito since the age of seven. De Martino said that Sollecito would occasionally smoke hashish, but that "he never actively looked for drugs."
In their testimony, Mofetta and De Martino said Sollecito never became violent while under the influence. Knox has testified that on the night of the murder she and Sollecito smoked marijuana and had sex at his apartment before she returned to her apartment and discovered Kercher's body.
During the trial, Knox and Sollecito have often appeared in the courtroom at the same time and have exchanged letters. On Friday he gave her a chocolate, apparently for the second time.
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