I have stated from the beginning of this long ordeal that Raffaele and I are innocent of the accusations against us. We were found innocent by the only court in Italy that retained independent forensic experts to review the case. I want to state again today what I have said throughout this process: We are innocent of the accusation against us, and the recent motivation document does not – and cannot – change the fact of our innocence.
The recent motivation document does not – and cannot – change the forensic evidence: Experts agreed that my DNA was not found anywhere in Meredith’s room, while the DNA of the actual murderer, Rudy Guede, was found throughout that room and on Meredith’s body. This forensic evidence directly refutes the multiple-assailant theory found in the new motivation document. This theory is not supported by any reliable forensic evidence.
The forensic evidence also directly refutes the theory that the kitchen knife was the murder weapon: The court-appointed independent experts confirmed that neither Meredith’s blood nor her DNA was on the alleged murder weapon, which experts also agreed did not match the stab wounds or the bloody imprint of a knife on her bed sheet.
In fact, in the prior proceeding in which we were found innocent, the court specifically concluded that the forensic evidence did not support our alleged participation in the crime and further found that the circumstantial evidence was both unreliable and contrary to a conclusion of guilt. The recent motivation document does not – and cannot – change the fact that the forensic evidence still does not support our participation and the circumstantial evidence still remains unreliable and contrary to the conclusion of guilt.
And the recent motivation document does not – and cannot – identify any legitimate motive for our alleged involvement in this terrible crime. No fewer than three motives have been previously advanced by the prosecution and by the courts. Each of these theories was as unsupported as the purported motive found in the new motivation document, and each of these alleged motives was subsequently abandoned by the prosecution or the courts. Like the prior “motives,” the latest “motive” in the new motivation document is not supported by any credible evidence or logic. There is simply no basis in the record or otherwise for this latest theory.
I will now focus on pursuing an appeal before the Italian Supreme Court. I remain hopeful that the Italian courts will once again recognize Raffaele’s and my innocence. I want to thank once again, from the bottom of my heart, all of those—family, friends, and strangers—who have supported us and believe in our innocence.
The Nencini Report is divided into 12 sections:
0. The development of the trial. Pg. 1-32.
1. Premise. Pg. 32-37.
2. The context in which the murder occurred and the time of death of Meredith Kercher. Pg. 37-63.
3. Post-crime activity. Pg. 63-92.
It has been much discussed, especially by the defense of the defendants, whether a “selective” clean-up of the crime scene is possible by the authors of the crime. This possibility was denied on the basis of the empirical impossibility of a “naked eye” to identify and select the singular traces, often invisible, to destroy. It was also excluded that someone in the cottage of Via della Pergola, on the night between November 1st and 2nd, 2007, after having committed the murder of Meredith Kercher, could “selectively clean” the traces left by the authors of the crime, destroying all of the traces of the defendants in question, and leaving at the crime scene all of those traces that would have lead investigators to Rudy Hermann Guede.
The affirmation, if apparently agreeable theoretically, must be correlated with the case in question, of which there are certain peculiarities.
It is peculiar, for example, that no traces of Amanda Marie Knox were found in the cottage of Via Della Pergola if not those which are refer-able to the murder – nor of Raffaele Sollecito. For the latter the explanation may be simple, that he had only just begun his sentimental relationship with Amanda Marie Knox, and so had his patronage of her house, but regarding Amanda Marie Knox the explanation is not simple at all, because she had been living there since the previous September.
The lack of biological traces of Amanda Marie Knox at the cottage, if not those refer-able to the murder, is a circumstance that is surely singular and at the same time not easily explainable, if not with conjecture. But there are other examples, all of which have the same vulnus: to likely be conjecture.
The Court retains that in fulfilling its duty, it must limit itself to a reasoning that is founded upon objective facts; upon that which emerged procedurally that are the most objective possible.
An argument characteristically objective that emerged procedurally was evidence that, after the murder of Meredith Kercher, selective or not, there was a clean-up of the traces of the murder, and a maneuvering of the body of poor Meredith into a position (between the armoire and the wall of the room and covered by a duvet) that certainly doesn’t correspond with the position in which the girl died, at the end of the aggressive phase. Someone spent much time within the cottage on the night between November 1st and 2nd, 2007, altering the crime scene and destroying numerous traces. The evidence provided by the Scientific Police proves this incontestable truth, which the Court’s reasoning must take into consideration.
4. Slander, false alibi. Pg. 92-146.
5. The probative picture inferable by the testimonies of the defendants and witnesses. Pg. 146-175.
6. The genetic investigations of the evidence. Pg. 175-250.
7. Shoe prints, footprints, and hand prints. Pg. 250-263.
8. The attempt to pollute the evidence in the appellate court. The testimonies of witnesses Aviello and Alessi. Pg. 263-289.
9. The testimonies of Rudy Hermann Guede. Pg. 289-308.
10. Conclusive evaluations. Pg. 308-328.
From the results of the analysis of the entire body of evidence, this Court finds it possible to develop some conclusive considerations.
Each piece of evidence from the entire body of evidence that was been obtained from the proceedings, of absolute consistency in their quantity and significance, was singularly evaluated and analyzed by this Court with the articulated treatment that verified their part in the context in which the homicide occurred. None of the clues examined individually resulted eccentric, by nature or by significance, in respect to the means of their cause. It is also useless to go over them individually again in this circumstance. It would be a useless weighing down of this report. The assignment of this concluding paragraph is instead to evaluate altogether the circumstantial clues collected and already evaluated as conferring, in order to verify, by examining them together, if there emerges a probative picture of unequivocal significance that affirms the criminal responsibility of the defendants of the murder of Meredith Kercher, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Confirmation of the criminal responsibility of the defendants of the crime ascribed to them can be reached only if there is no reasonably reliable explanation other than the theory that emerged in the investigation of their personal involvement in the crime. Doubt over the significance of the circumstantial evidence that would justify an acquittal of the defendants must be reasonable, and not just a hypothesis unsupported by any objective evidence. The truth that emerges from the probative picture must be ascertained with exclusion of any reasonable explanation of the means of their cause that is different than the involvement of the defendants.
This Court affirms that an alternate explanation of the causes of the circumstantial evidence, for how they were ascertained in the proceedings, is not conceivable, and that the body of evidence, if evaluated critically, inevitably affirms the criminal responsibility of both the defendants of the crime ascribed to them.
One must then proceed to the reconstruction of the events of the evening of November 1st, 2007 exclusively using that which was ascertained from the proceedings and that which one may obtain from the procedural material of a declarative nature, as well as that which results from the technical investigations that took place in the course of the trial.
It is proven that Meredith Kercher, who had spent the afternoon at the house of her British friends looking at photographs and some videos having to do with the past night of Halloween, returned home around 9:00 p.m. in the evening. At that time no one was present in the cottage of Via della Pergola. The proposal by the defense that by 9:00 p.m. Rudy Hermann Guede would have already been present within the cottage via the window in Filomena Romanelli’s bedroom has already resulted, from a detailed analysis, to be unfounded.
The British girl arrived home and entered using the keys that she had at her disposal. Laura Mezzetti and Filomena Romanelli were both distant from the cottage (Laura Mezzetti gone from Perugia even) while Amanda Marie Knox was at Raffaele Sollecito’s house, presumably together intent on watching the film previously downloaded from the internet.
Both the defendants only by 8:00 p.m. of the evening of November 1st, 2007 were aware that they could spend the night together. In fact, Amanda Marie Knox, who had left Sollecito’s apartment to go to Patrick Lumumba’s pub were she was to work for the whole evening, received a text from Lumumba communicating to her that she didn’t have to work that night at the pub. The girl then returned to Raffaele Sollecito’s home. He then received a communication at 8:30 p.m. that there was no longer the necessity that he accompany his friend, Popovic, to pick up a suitcase from the bus station at midnight that had been sent to her by her mother.
Around 9:00 p.m. on the evening of November 1st, 2007, therefore, without it having been possible before, but by coincidence, both the defendants had the possibility to spend the evening together.
The last certain evidence of the presence of both of the defendants in the apartment of Via Garibaldi #130 consists in the human interaction on Raffaele Sollecito’s computer around 9:20 p.m. that night, presumably by Sollecito himself. Then, until 5:30 a.m. the morning after, when Raffaele Sollecito’s computer in his apartment at Via Garibaldi #130 was again solicited by human interaction, neither of the defendants provided reliable indications of where they were.
The witness Curatolo placed them in Piazza Grimana already from 9:30/10:00 p.m. of that evening, where the witness claimed to have noticed them many times until 11:00/11:30 p.m. of the same evening; a circumstance that the Court holds to be reliable for the reasons already expressed.
One must immediately observe that Piazza Grimana was a few tens of meters from the entrance of the cottage of Via della Pergola; a cottage that can be observed by leaning on the railing that borders the piazza, and from which Curatolo saw Raffaele Sollecito lean, evidently interested in what was happening around the cottage.
A first fact that can be inferred from the procedural acquisitions is that both the defendants from 9:30/10:00 p.m. on the night of November 1st, 2007, were stationed a few tens of meters from the cottage which Meredith Kercher had already entered, around 9:00 p.m.
Amanda Marie Knox was the only person, other than Meredith Kercher who was in the apartment and the other housemates Laura Mezzetti and Filomena Romanelli who were far away from the cottage, to have access to the keys to the house. It doesn’t result from the facts that any other person was also in possession of them.
We know for certain that the evening of November 1st, 2007 Rudy Hermann Guede was present inside the cottage of Via della Pergola, and not only because this was affirmed in his conviction and also by his own testimony, but also based upon the investigations of the judicial police inside the cottage and evidence they deposited. Just as we know with certainty that Rudy Hermann Guede remained in the cottage for a considerable period of time with absolute tranquility, seeing as he left his “traces” in the big bathroom of the apartment.
We know for certain, because the probative picture allows it, that immediately after the murder within the cottage of Via della Pergola there were three persons present, certainly two men and a woman. This is confirmed by the genetic investigations and from the results of the traces revealed by luminal. We can also affirm that one of the men, who stepped in Meredith Kercher’s blood, left a visible trace of his foot on the blue bathmat found in the small bathroom of the apartment. This footprint was attributed by the investigators, an attribution that this Court agrees with based on the already developed considerations, to the right bare foot of Raffaele Sollecito. One of the footprints revealed by luminal was attributed by the judicial police to a female foot corresponding, by measurement, to that of Amanda Marie Knox, just as the mixed traces of DNA in the small bathroom of the apartment were attributed to Amanda Marie Knox (sink, bidet and Q-tip box).
We have altogether probative elements of certain reliability, that are numerous and concordant, that place Rudy Hermann Guede, Amanda Marie Knox and Raffaele Sollecito within the apartment of Via della Pergola the evening of the murder of Meredith Kercher, and in the immediate phases after the murder, when the three left traces of their presence by stepping in the blood of the victim that poured copiously from her wounds.
From the examination of the testimonies discussed, and noted by the girl’s British friends, there emerges with reasonable reliability the fact that Meredith Kercher, the evening between November 1st and 2nd, 2007, did not have an appointment with Rudy Hermann Guede, contrary to his own testimony. The girl, at the moment of leaving her friends’ house, with whom she had confidence and to whom she had not mentioned any appointment with Rudy Hermann Guede, had led them to believe she was tired, because the preceding night she had partied and the next day she had to study. One may therefore affirm that Rudy Hermann Guede entered into the apartment with the use of keys that, the night of November 1st, 2007, only Amanda Marie Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had at their disposal.
It’s prudent to clarify at this point that the fact that Raffaele Sollecito had never before met Rudy Hermann Guede has scarse significance in the reconstruction of the events, because the connecton between the latter and the defendant is constituted without a doubt by Amanda Marie Knox, who was Raffaele Sollecito’s girlfriend and who had met Rudy Hermann Guede on more than one occasion.
In any case, what matters is not whether Rudy Hermann Guede entered the apartment with Amanda Marie Knox and Raffaele Sollecito or if Meredith Kercher opened the door for him (the only possible options, excluding the entrance via the window of Filomena Romanelli’s bedroom); what’s important is that, at a certain point, most likely between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. the night of November 1st, 2007, both of the defendants and Rudy Hermann Guede were certainly within the cottage, and Meredith Kercher in her bedroom.
The development of the sucessive events necessitates a premise.
The prosecutor hypothesized in his closing arguments, specifically in relation to the motive of the murder, that it cannot be identified as a sexual aggression, but one that roots itself in a situation of conflict between the girls, a conflict that suddenly exploded the night of November 1st, 2007; and specifically by the fact that Meredith Kercher had blamed Amanda Marie Knox for having let Rudy Hermann Guede into the apartment, and he having made inurbane use of the apartment’s bathroom.
With regard to the problematic issue of the motive, it is first of all prudent to remember the direction of the Court of Legitimacy, according to which the exact identification of the motive of a murder loses its relevancy when the attribution of the responsibility of the defendant is derived from a probative picture that is precise and concordant.
Second of all, the motive of a grave, bloody crime cannot always be readily deciphered. It may certainly be when the crime occurs in the context of criminal association, or when the crime was committed with evident finality (profit, for example). But where instead, as in this case, one is working with the consummation of a crime completely detached from a criminal framework, but in all likelihood is rooted in motivations of a personal character or in instantaneous drives, the identification of the motive may become extremely complicated.
Motivations that drive multiple persons reunited to commit an act as grave as that of taking the life of another human being may not be united in character, in the sense that each of the accomplices may be the carrier of an accumulation of motives, some of which may be embedded in previous personal relationships, while others may respond to instantaneous drives of a communal nature, or also the simple adhesion to the behavior of the person to whom one is affectively tied.
The difficulty in pursuing an effective knowledge of the motivations that regulate human actions—in whose scope also enters the consummation of crimes—imposes an analytical approach that is as objective as possible. To effect an analysis of the facts that emerged during the trial for the sake of identifying a precise motive that would have driven the defendants, together with Rudy Hermann Guede, to the murder of Meredith Kercher, one must begin with an evaluation of a series of facts that, if evaluated together, may produce an indication of the reasons for which the murder was committed; without, however, the validity of that or any other motivation, reconstructed a posteriori, minimally affecting the conclusion, in regards to the responsibility, derived in a unique manner from the circumstantial and incriminating evidence that emerged in the course of the trial and that were thoroughly investigated.
And so a first fact may be immediately perceived. Amanda Marie Knox and Meredith Kercher did not have a good relationship. Meredith Kercher, who conducted a very regulated lifestyle of study and spending time with her fellow British friends, and who had begun an intimate relationship with one of the young men who lived in the semi-underground apartment of the cottage, did not tolerate the way in which Amanda Marie Knox interpreted cohabitation of the same apartment. In particular it has arisen from witness statements that the British girl did not tolerate the fact that Amanda Marie Knox brought strange persons to the apartment, especially young men; she did not tolerate that Amanda Marie Knox used communal spaces of the apartment and didn’t take part in the cleaning, such that in the last period of their cohabitation, it was necessary for the young women to construct a kind of schedule system for the performing of domestic chores.
Essentially, and looking beyond the scarce significance of the singular circumstances, once taken together in a greater context of relations, there is no doubt that the concrete behaviors of the defendant constituted reason for which she did earn the sympathy of Meredith Kercher.
The fact that the relationship between the American girl and the British girl was not idyllic is adequately illuminated in the testimonies of the British girls who were examined in the course of the first trial; and it is Amanda Marie Knox herself who, in her interrogation before the Court of Perugia, hinted at the difficulty of her relationship with the victim, if undervaluing the circumstance.
Lastly are the declarations made by Rudy Hermann Guede in the course of the interrogations made following his arrest. Guede claimed that Meredith Kercher, the night she was murdered, had discovered money was missing from her bedroom, and she immediately blamed the theft on Amanda Marie Knox. Regardless of the whether or not the victim’s blame of the American girl was justified, that which interests the Court is to observe that in this circumstance referred by Guede, the fact is that, in the face of an event of objective severity, that of the theft of money within an apartment shared by multiple girls, a situation of inevitable promiscuity, the British girl immediately attributed the action to Amanda Marie Knox; a circumstance that is compatible only with a negative evaluation of the personality of the defendant by part of the victim.
But the theme of money brought to the attention of the Court by the declarations made by Rudy Hermann Guede and recalled in the conviction of the same, introduces another reflection.
It results from the witness testimonies heard in the first trial that in the days preceding November 1st, 2007, nearing the due date of the monthly rent payment, Filomena Romanelli invited all of the girls to procure the sum of 300 euro that constituted the amount each of them had to pay for the payment of the rent of the apartment they occupied. It also results that the victim had the money at her disposal, and evidently kept it in her bedroom.
The sum of 300 euro was certainly in the bedroom occupied by Meredith Kercher and it was not found after her murder, just as her credit cards were not found; such that the sum of money and the credit cards constituted an object of the theft noted in letter D) of the indictment. It is surely of interest to observe, after the elevated indictment relative to the theft of the sum of the money and the credit cards, there was no further trace of those goods in the court documents or in the minutes of the proceedings. The only reference is on page 471 of the sentence handed down by the Court of Perugia at the first trial, which reads: “the total of the given evidence that was evaluated singularly demonstrates a overall and unitary picture, without holes or incongruencies, that demands as a necessary and strictly consequential result the attribution of the hypothesized facts of the crime to both of the defendants to which is therefore declared the criminal responsibility, with exclusion of the objects of letter D) that are other than the cell phones, of which no evidence emerged incriminating the defendants, for which they are acquitted of the rest of the indictment because the crime doesn’t subsist.”
Rudy Hermann Guede was also absolved of the theft (in his case of the entire indictment) according to article 530,2 by the GUP of the Court of Perugia for not having committed the act. One understands that the Judge evaluated the circumstance as totally devoid of proof, because in the entire body of the sentence there is no evaluation on the subject.
In any case, and noting that both of the defendants and Rudy Hermann Guede were all absolved of the theft in relation to the indictment with reference to the 300 euro and the two credit cards, there remains the fact that both the money and the cards were never found; just as the fact remains that on the evening of November 1st, 2007 it does not result that anyone entered the cottage of Via della Pergola other than the defendants and Rudy Hermann Guede.
If, then, the acquittal of the defendants of the theft described above constitutes an indisputable element seeing as it is covered by the judgment, in any case the circumstance of the disappearance of the money and the credit cards never was explained in the court documents, and could constitute an element that could have sparked a discussion between the defendants, Rudy Hermann Guede (who references the circumstance explicitly in all of his interrogations, including the guaranty hearing) and Meredith Kercher; in addition to the circumstance that Rudy Hermann Guede effectively used the bathroom of the residence in a casual manner, as he was used to do, at least in that one which was in use of the young men who resided in the lower part of the cottage.
But there is another certain element that must be evaluated in the scope of the reconstruction of the events on the night of November 1st, 2007 and in the possible reconstruction of the motive of the murder.
Surely Meredith Kercher suffered a sexual assault, with vaginal penetration by the fingers of the hand of Rudy Hermann Guede. This fact is confirmed by the finding of the convict’s DNA inside the vagina of the victim and, furthermore, expressly admitted y the same Rudy Hermann Guede in all of his interrogations, if however in the context of a situation of affectionate exchange with the British girl which advances were, according to Guede, not only tolerated by the victim, but also encouraged.
11. Sanctioning treatment. Pg. 328-337.
UPDATE – 16 May 2014
Luca Cheli has written a thorough review of the Nencini Report, including translations: Knox and Sollecito: Dissection of a Conviction.