Prosecution Sums Up Its Case In Amanda Knox Trial

by Gopalan on  November 21, 2009 at 1:32 PM Medico Legal News   - G J E 4
 Prosecution Sums Up Its Case In Amanda Knox Trial
The end game is being played out in the "Foxy Knoxy" trial in Perugia, Italy.

US student Amanda Knox "hated" her British room mate Meredith Kercher and murdered her in "an unstoppable crescendo of violence" for suggesting that she was promiscuous and slovenly, the court was told Friday.

It was marathon summing up by the prosecution, lasting seven hours. The trial itself has dragged on for over eight months now.

Kercher, who was studying at Leeds University, came to Perugia to learn Italian and to pursue her European Studies degree.

Just two months into the medieval city, on Nov.2, 2007, she was found semi-naked, with her throat slashed in a hillside cottage she shared with Ms Knox and two Italian women. Her body bore more than 40 injuries.

In the days following the murder, the prosecutors arrested Miss Knox, 21, her former boyfriend and Italian  Raffaele Sollecito, 24, and Rudy Guede, 21, a drifter and immigrant from the Ivory Coast. Sollecito is an IT student from a wealthy southern Italian family.

The prosecution maintains that Kercher died during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito pinning her down while Miss Knox touched her with the point of a knife and Guede sexually assaulted her. Knox then allegedly stabbed the young British woman in the throat. 
"When I closed my eyes, I could only see red," Guede wrote in an account for the police after his arrest. "I have never seen so much blood. All of that blood on her beautiful face."

Ms Knox told police that she had covered her ears in the kitchen to block out Ms Kercher's screams. A year later the African was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

But Judge Paolo Micheli  ruled that there was enough evidence to send Knox and Sollecito to trial on charges of murder and aggravated sexual assault. 

Sollecito and Knox have also been accused of simulating  a break-in by smashing a window and theft of cash and credit cards. In addition Patrick Diya Lumumba, a Congolese barman whom Ms Knox at first accused of the murder, is seeking damages.

Knox bitterly resented the fact that Kercher had complained about her personal hygiene and her habit of bringing men back to the house they shared in the medieval walled town of Perugia in Umbria, lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini claimed.

Knox, Sollecito and Guede, were all under the influence of drugs "and possibly alcohol" when they murdered Kercher.

"Amanda had the chance to retaliate against a girl who was serious and quiet," Mr Mignini said. "She had harboured hatred for Meredith, and that was the time when it could explode. The time had come to take revenge."

He said the three alleged murderers went to Miss Kercher's house on the evening of Nov 1, probably to settle a dispute over drugs with Guede, who was known in Perugia as a small-time dealer.

Miss Kercher and her American flat mate started arguing over money and the row exploded into violence, with Miss Knox allegedly slitting her throat with a knife.

At one point, Knox hit Kercher's head against a wall, then tried to strangle her, as Sollecito held her and Guede sexually assaulted her.

"They realized that Meredith would not give up fighting and at that point, the match had to be brought to an end," he said.

Mignini said Knox used a knife to cut Kercher's throat, causing the deepest wound, while Sollecito used another knife to threaten her.

According to prosecutors, a knife with a 6 1/2-inch (16.5-centimeter) blade with Kercher's DNA on the blade and Knox's on the handle was found at Sollecito's house.

"That is the weapon with which Amanda inflicted the deadly blow," Mignini said. Defense lawyers argue that the knife is too big to match Kercher's wounds and the amount of what prosecutors say is Kercher's DNA is too low to be attributed with certainty.

Prosecutors also maintain Sollecito's DNA was found on the clasp of Kercher's bra, although his defense team contends that the evidence might have been inadvertently contaminated during the investigation.

Also on Friday, Mignini said that Knox and Sollecito staged a burglary in the apartment by breaking a window in a bedroom in an attempt to sidetrack the investigation.

A rock was found in a bedroom, and witnesses testified that shattered glass was found all over clothes on the floor, suggesting the window was broken after the room was put into disarray.

"The key to the mystery is in that room," Mignini said, adding that it would be nearly impossible to climb through the window without getting cut and leaving blood on the shattered glass.

Also, he argued, that window, the most exposed of the apartment, was an unlikely choice for a burglar. Nothing in the room with the broken glass, which belonged to a roommate of Knox and Kercher, was reported missing, Mignini noted.

Miss Knox has told the court that she got on well with Miss Kercher, of Coulsdon, Surrey, and that she was shocked and saddened by the death of her "friend".

The University of Washington student, wearing a long-sleeved knitted top and jeans, smiled as she entered court Friday but appeared tense and nervous throughout the rest of the proceedings.

Knox, who has denied wrongdoing, appeared to be weeping as Mignini described the wounds on Kercher's body. Her lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, sitting next to her, at one point held her hand. Looking discouraged and keeping her head down, she was hugged and comforted by lawyers during breaks.

The 22-year-old Knox maintains she spent the night of the murder at Sollecito's house in Perugia, but he says he does not remember if she spent the whole night with him or just part of it.

But both of them say they spent the night in question smoking marijuana, having sex and watching a film.

Defense lawyers for Knox and Sollecito insist Guede was the sole attacker.

Ivory Coast citizen Rudy Hermann Guede, the drifter convicted of killing Meredith Kercher, has claimed that he saw Amanda Knox fleeing the murder scene, as he desperately fought to staunch the blood pouring from wounds in the British exchange student's neck. Guede addressed the court for the first time as he launched an appeal against his 30-year jail sentence, handed down last year in a separate trial during which he was convicted of the murder.

Guede, who was born in the Ivory Coast but emigrated to Italy as a child, said he went to the Leeds University student's house on the evening of Nov 1, 2007.

But he started to feel queasy, having eaten a kebab the night before, and went to the bathroom, where he sat on the lavatory and started listening to his Ipod. Over the sound of the music he heard an argument break out between Miss Kercher and Miss Knox, he claimed.

"I heard Meredith's and Amanda's voices, arguing about some money missing," he said. "I was listening to music but halfway through the third track I heard a piercing scream."

He said he rushed into Miss Kercher's bedroom where he saw a man, who he later suggested could have been Mr Sollecito, who tried to stab him with a knife.

Staggering back into the hallway, Guede said he heard the man say: "'Let's go, there's a black guy in the house."'

Guede said he heard footsteps leaving the house and looked out of the window where he saw a silhouette that he later identified as Miss Knox's.

He then said he tried to save the life of Miss Kercher, who was by now lying in a pool of blood with her throat cut.

He tried to stem the flow of blood with towels, but then panicked and left the house.

"Seeing Meredith in these terms was agonizing," he said. "She was dying. She tried to tell me something, but I couldn't understand her. I held her hand, I asked her what had happened. ... In that moment, I entered into a state of shock".

He fled the house and a few days later left the country. He was arrested on a train in Germany and extradited back to Italy.

"I want to let the Kercher family know that I did not kill or rape their daughter," he said. "I was not the one who took her life."

Prosecutors are expected to formally make their sentencing requests to the eight-member jury Saturday, while a verdict is expected in early December. They are expected to request life in prison — Italy's stiffest punishment.

Source: Medindia

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