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Meredith Kercher

arie

The body of Meredith Kercher was discovered by Italian police at the cottage that she shared with other students in Perugia on November 2, 2007. The 21-year-old British student, who was part of a university exchange programme, was found lying partially clothed under a duvet in her bedroom. Her windpipe had been crushed and throat partially slashed.

Following a murder investigation, police initially arrested two suspects, Kercher's American flatmate, Amanda Knox, and Knox's boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, then a third man, the owner of a local bar (who was later released without charge). A fourth suspect was later arrested after having fled to Germany, on the basis of DNA and fingerprint evidence found on the victim's body. The remaining three suspects were held in custody in Perugia charged with murder, sexual assault and theft. On 28 October 2008, one of the three accused, Rudy Hermann Guede, the only person whose fingerprints and DNA were found on the body, was convicted of conspiracy to murder Kercher in a "fast-track" trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The trial of the two remaining suspects, Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, began on January 16, 2009.

The case has received heavy media interest in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States

Background
Meredith Kercher
Born Southwark, London, England
Died Perugia, Italy
Nationality British

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher was born in February 1986 in Southwark, London, England, and lived in Coulsdon, South London. She attended the University of Leeds. She had been part of the ERASMUS student exchange programme, and had gone to Italy to complete her degree course. Kercher made a cameo appearance in a music video for singer and friend Kristian Leontiou's song, Some Say, in 2007 just weeks before moving to Italy to study.

Murder and investigation

Kercher was murdered on the evening of 1 November 2007, with pathologists putting her time of death between 20:30 and 23:00.

The following morning, the Postal and Communication Police came to investigate the discovery of two mobile phones in a nearby garden, one of which was registered to Ms. Kercher. When they breached the door to Kercher's room, which had been locked from the inside, they reportedly found Kercher lying beneath a duvet in her room "soaked in blood."Police have said Kercher's throat was slit with a shard of glass or a pen-knife, but have not yet located the murder weapon. Police initially believed that the killer or killers escaped through a broken window in Kercher's room, since the door was locked when they arrived, but now suspect the break-in was staged. The following morning, Amanda Knox was spotted by two men at a laundromat on Via Fabretti washing clothes and a pair of shoes with a "North African" man.

A judge assigned to the case read the pathology report at a bail hearing for the suspects and ruled that Kercher's carotid artery had not been ruptured in the attack, and that she likely died a "relatively slow and agonizing death." Italian prosecutors allege that the lethal wound was inflicted by Amanda Knox while Kercher was held down by Guede and Sollecito. The prosecution points to violent literature, such as comic books, that they found in Sollecito’s apartment.Prosecutors allege that manga comics found in Sollecito's apartment recounted tales of killing female vampires on Halloween night and that many of the details in the comics were similar to the scene police discovered. Kercher had attended a number of Halloween parties dressed as a vampire the night of 31 October. Defence lawyers for Amanda Knox have dismissed the allegations of the prosecution, claiming that they are a "huge fantasy".

Patrick Diya Lumumba, 37, the owner of a bar at which Amanda Knox occasionally worked, was arrested on 6 November, having been implicated by Knox's version of events, and detained for two weeks until the arrest of Rudy Hermann Guede. Sixteen months later a court awarded Lumumba €8,000 in damages for unjust imprisonment.

The funeral service for Meredith Kercher was held on 14 December 2007 at the Croydon Parish Church in Coulsdon with over 300 people in attendance.

Prosecutorial bias

The lead prosecutor in the case, Giuliano Mignini, was also involved in the case of the serial killer known as "the Monster of Florence". The authors of a book about the Monster, journalists Mario Spezi and Douglas Preston, argue that Mignini was heavily influenced by an Internet conspiracy theorist and was determined to attribute the murders to a Satanic cult whereas evidence pointed to a single killer in most of the cases . Mignini is now being investigated for abuse of power and conflict of interest in the Monster investigation.

Defendants

Three of the suspects in the case are currently being held in separate Italian jails. Amanda Knox, an American student, is being held in Capanne prison near Perugia; Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian student and Knox's former boyfriend, is being held in Terni; and Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivory Coast native found guilty of the murder in October 2008, is being held in Viterbo.

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox, age 21, a student from Seattle, Washington, USA, was arrested on the morning of 6 November for her alleged involvement in Kercher's murder. Knox is a student at the University of Washington and had been living with Kercher in Perugia while she was studying abroad in Italy. Knox told the police that she had been in the house when the murder took place and had "heard the screams"; however, she has subsequently given several different versions of the events of the night of the murder, saying her memory was clouded by having smoked hashish, and now asserts that she spent the whole evening and night with her boyfriend at his flat.

In one of her earlier statements to the police, Knox implicated Patrick Diya Lumumba in the murder saying:
“ I don't remember if my friend Meredith was already there or whether she came later. What I can say is that the two of them (Meredith and Patrick) went off together... Patrick and Meredith went off together into Meredith's room while I think I stayed in the kitchen. I can't remember how long they were in the bedroom together, I can only say that at a certain point I heard Meredith screaming and I was so frightened I put my fingers in my ears. I don't remember anything after that, my head is really confused. I don’t remember if Meredith called out or if I heard thuds because I was upset, but I can imagine what was happening...I'm not sure whether Raffaele was there too that evening but I do remember waking up at his house in his bed and that in the morning I went back to where I lived, where I found the door open. ”

Knox appeared before a magistrate on the morning of 9 November and was ordered to be held, along with Sollecito and Lumumba, for up to one year while the police continued their investigation. In a leaked report published by The Times, Judge Claudia Matteini suggested that Knox and Sollecito had been seeking to "experience extreme sensations, intense sexual relations which break up the monotony of everyday life," and had attempted to persuade Kercher to participate in a sexual encounter. The report continued:
“ They went together to the apartment on Via della Pergola 7, to which only Amanda had the key. It was roughly at this time that both Sollecito and Knox switched off their mobile phones until the following morning. ”

After Knox's arrest, salacious aspects of the case caused international media attention. Knox's MySpace site was subject to adverse character analysis.

According to a report of January 2008, at least one of Knox's parents had visited her twice a week for the previous three months. In an interview with The Sunday Times, seven months after her arrest, they affirmed their belief in her innocence. Amanda Knox is being represented in Italy by attorneys Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova, as well as accepting the advice of high profile Seattle attorney Anne Bremner, who represents a group called "Friends of Amanda".

Knox proclaimed her innocence at the closed-door hearing on 17 October 2008.

Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito, 25 years old, from Giovinazzo, Bari, and at the point of completing a degree at Perugia University at the time of the murder, was Knox's boyfriend. The son of a urologist from Bari, and from an affluent family, he had known Knox for two weeks.

Sollecito says that he returned to his flat and spent the evening surfing the internet on the night of the murder. Detectives have said that his alibi is not substantiated by records of his internet service provider, though a private detective working for Sollecito disputes this. Like Knox, he admits to having smoked marijuana on the day of the murder.

Forensic investigators say that a footprint found in blood in Kercher's room is compatible with the footwear worn by Sollecito, but his legal team assert that it is not his. On 10 January Italian police released a statement which says that Sollecito's DNA was found on a piece of Kercher's bra. Several newspapers, including La Repubblica in June 2008 and Tiscali Web News in March 2009, report that Sollecito's influential family tried to upset the investigations. Phone taps reveal that Sollecito's sister, a high official in the Carabinieri, told her father that she intended to contact high profile politicians to ask them to get rid of the "troublesome" investigators and contaminate the police samples. Several members of Sollecito's family are now under investigation for a variety of infractions connected to the case.

Rudy Hermann Guede

Police arrested Rudy Hermann Guede, 20, originally from the Ivory Coast, on November 20. The Italian police announced that Guede had been arrested on a train near Wiesbaden, Germany, where he was caught riding without a ticket. Guede came to Perugia at the age of five with his father. After his father left Italy when Guede was 16, he was informally adopted by the family of a wealthy local businessman, Paolo Caporali. Caporali stated that he had been disappointed by Guede's behaviour, describing him as a "tremendous liar", skipping school and being reluctant to do any work. Guede played basketball for the local team which Caporali sponsored.

DNA tests indicate that Guede had sex with Kercher before her murder and that feces found in the toilet are his.

Guede's account of the evening was that he and the victim had consensual sex, after which he left the room to use the toilet where he listened to music on his iPod and thus did not hear the killer enter the house. He did, however, hear Kercher scream, and emerged to see the murderer, an Italian man whom he didn't know, stabbing Kercher. As the man escaped, he said "You're in trouble, you black bastard" after which Guede claims to have been so frightened that he fled the scene and made his way to Germany. The Investigators stated that Guede's version of events was "a highly improbable fantasy."

Trials and convictions

Rudy Hermann Guede elected for a 'fast track' trial on 16 October 2008, and on 28 October 2008 was found guilty of murdering and sexually assaulting Meredith Kercher and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Guede's lawyers want to appeal the conviction.

The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito began on 16 January 2009 with much attention from the media; both Knox's and Sollecito's lawyers used the occasion to proclaim their clients' innocence. Guede has declined to testify in the trial. During the first session, judge Giancarlo Massei rejected a request by the Kercher family to hold the trial behind closed doors. He ruled that the trial will be public, but closed sessions will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Amanda Knox testified for the first time on 12 June 2009, again affirming her innocence. She told the court that she had been with Sollecito in his apartment on the night of the murder. She also stated that the police had intimidated and beaten her, causing her to give false testimony and to falsely accuse Patrick Lumumba.


4 Responses to "Meredith Kercher"
paulo said :
June 24, 2009 at 1:03 PM
Hi Arie,

I pray for justice for Meredith. May God Bless her soul.

Thanks,
Paulo
thesius said :
August 22, 2009 at 3:07 AM
Amanda did not give "several versions" of the story to police. This statement implies these were adjustments made in her story over the course of time. Not true. Amanda gave one version of the story: she was asleep at Raffaele's house. She and Raffaele remained true to this version of events from the day of the murder, Nov 2nd, over days of repeated questioning by police until a controversial 14 hour police interrogation occurred starting late at night on Nov 5th. Under coercive techniques, (reportedly slapped on the back of the head 2X) she was instructed to "imagine" how the crime might have happened. This was used as a "confession" but Amanda had no idea at this point that she was confessing to anything at all. In the memoriale she wrote the next morning in an obviously confused state the things she is 'very' clear about are that she is "confused", people should "please stop yelling" at her because "it only makes things worse" and that nothing she said the night before should be considered reliable enough to be considered evidence. And it's not. It was thrown out by the Supreme Court because it was "illegally obtained".
A discussion of the contamination of the DNA evidence is below:

DNA Evidence contamination - crime scene video - discovery of bra clasp 47 days after crime
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMaTI0SiuLw

DNA Evidence Discussion - LCN DNA
http://www.freeaman.001webs.com/

False Confessions - Footage of interrogation methods that draw false confessions from innocent people/Mirror of Amanda's case from USA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0tdOWZK4AA
shorvath55 said :
December 13, 2009 at 2:45 PM
This is one of those "Crime Stories" nobody could solve! We will never know who is guilty or not guilty! As far as I know, there are 2 innocent youths held in Jail. In addition, there are more than one life lost! The life of the Brittish student, and the lives of the 2 innocent Italian boy and his Amican girlfriend who will pay with pay by wasting their lives away in the cold and damp Italian prisons' walls!
What a shame for hunanity to accuse and find guilty an American person against the prevoious mistakes of American Military Mistakes that took Italian Lives! Somebody had to pay the Price!
Amanda Knox was and is their Target!
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August 16, 2010 at 5:07 PM
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