Amanda Knox’s new murder trial continued today in Italy with fresh testimony that supports her defense. Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are accused of killing Knox’s British roommate, Meredith Kircher, in 2007 in the Italian city of Perugia.
A forensics expert told the jury in Florence that a trace collected from the blade of a kitchen knife did not match Kercher’s DNA, as prosecutors had originally claimed:
Knox defense lawyer Luca Maori told the Associated Press after the hearing that expert testimony backs their argument that Knox had used the knife found in Sollecito’s kitchen solely for preparing food. He also noted that the new DNA trace was from the knife handle where another DNA piece linked to Knox had been located.
“It means that Amanda took the knife exclusively for cooking matters, to keep in the kitchen and to use it,” Maori said.
Maori said the trace’s very existence also indicated the knife had not been washed.
“It is something very important,” he said. “It is absurd to use it for a murder and put it back in the drawer.”
The DNA evidence on the knife found in a drawer at Sollecito’s place has been among the most hotly contested evidence in the original trial and now in two appeals.
Sollecito later gave an emotional speech before the court, saying the prosecution had ruined his life:
Sollecito said his brief romance with co-defendant Amanda Knox in Perugia was a “little fairytale” that was shattered when the pair were accused of fatally stabbing Kercher in the Italian city. This pushed them into a “nightmare beyond imagination”, he said. “I have been described as a ruthless killer but I am nothing of the sort,” said Sollecito, during a soft-spoken and occasionally rambling speech.
Sollecito told the jury he was proud to come from a “good Italian family”, which had taught him strong values and had never had legal problems. “I have always been honest,” he said, “but I have been called an assassin.”
He claimed he had been a reserved student at Perugia, had not been an “obsessive party-goer” and did not drink. In an apparent reference to photographs of him kissing Knox at the crime scene, he apologised, telling the jury: “I didn’t take the situation seriously at the start.”
From being one week away from obtaining his degree, he was plunged into six months in isolation followed by a spell in a maximum security prison, he said, adding: “I don’t recommend it to anyone in the world. All my life was cancelled.”
Speaking without notes, Sollecito condemned what he called his “hallucinatory persecution”, complaining that police had believed a footprint found at the house was his before changing their minds eight months later. He said he had never known Rudy Guede, who was also convicted of murder.
Knox remains in the United States. She explained her decision not to return for the new trial to NBC’s Matt Lauer in September, saying she feared returning to prison in Italy.
Knox and Sollecito were convicted of Kirchner’s murder in 2009 but were freed after an appeals court vacated the conviction. Knox left prison and returned to her home country. Two years ago, however, Italy’s highest court overruled the appeals court and ordered a new trial.