Murder Weapon

[Arma del delitto, pp. 62-66; translated by roteoctober]

As recalled in the narrative section, the Corte di Assise of first level has held that the knife seized at Raffaele Sollecito’s home is the weapon, or more precisely one of the weapons, employed to commit the murder.

From a reading of the ruling, it emerges clearly that the cornerstone, used by the Corte di Assise of first level to reconstruct the event, is represented by the genetic investigations carried out by the Police, and by the supposed coherence with the other circumstantial evidence introduced.

Particularly concerning the knife that was seized, the Corte di Assise of first level emphasizes that said knife is compatible at least with the main wound inflicted on Meredith Kercher and then explains how it happened that at the time of the murder that knife, which was indisputably known as being part of the furnishings of Raffaele Sollecito’s home, was found available at the house on Via Della Pergola.

But now, if we leave aside the genetic analyses (we will soon cover them and the reasons will be explained according to which this Court, accepting the conclusions of the appointed Expert Panel, does not regard  the results produced by the Scientific Police as reliable) in truth any significant objective evidence of the supposed employment of the aforementioned knife for the perpetration of the murder fails.

Firstly, in fact, said knife has not been deemed compatible with the other wounds present on the body of Meredith Kercher, clearly inflicted with a smaller knife, insomuch as the Corte di Assise of first level had to hypothesize the use of multiple knives, and the presence of multiple aggressors, because otherwise the supposed compatibility of the seized knife with the wounds would have failed.

Secondly, on the mattress cover, in the victim’s room, a bloody imprint was detected which clearly matches a knife of lesser dimensions.

But even the major wound (in the left laterocervical region of the neck) – the one that, according to the Corte di Assise of first level, should have been produced by the knife under discussion – would however not have been caused, according to the defense consultants, by that knife, since the path [of the wound] appears to be noticeably shorter (8 cm as opposed to the 17.5 cm length of the blade) and the presence of an ecchymotic area [bruise] beneath the wound, corresponding to the entry of the blade, would mean that the handle ended up hitting [sbattere] [the flesh] at that point, the blade having been inserted in its entire length.

These arguments, in truth, seem more convincing than those produced by the consultants of the Public Minister – who explain it [ecchymotic area] with a direct action of the aggressors’ hands – which does not seem compatible with the placement of the bruise exactly next by the wound, and even less [compatible] with the explanation proposed by the civil-party attorney, Ms. Perna, during the rebuttal:  having been produced by the impact in that place not of the handle but of the fingers of the hand holding the weapon. And in truth, a longer blade, like that of the seized knife, should have, logically, kept the hand at a greater distance from the victim’s body, it not being plausible that the hand could have been nearer to the blade than the handle itself. [That is, the hand holding the handle can’t get anywhere nearer to the blade than the point where the handle touches the blade.]

Moreover – the defense consultants, and particularly professor Torre, observe – since in reality the main wound results from the reiteration of multiple strokes, so much so that it laterally appears widely diastasized - it seems even more difficult to hypothesize that a knife with a 17.5 cm blade was introduced multiple times for a length of only 8 cm.

But in truth there is no need, in order to rule out a link between the seized knife and the murder, to determine if the aggressors have indeed been multiple and if the weapons used have been one or more. There is no such need since (again abstracting from the genetic analyses) there are no particular elements, specific signs left on the body [of the victim] by that knife, and the alleged compatibility – according to the Public Minister’s consultants – is not even such in a strict sense, the experts appointed by the Investigating Judge [GIP, Giudice per le Indagini Preliminari, i.e. Claudia Matteini] having ascertained only the “non-incompatibility” of the seized knife with the wounds present on the victim’s body, basing their assessment on the consideration that a 17.5 cm blade can anyhow cause wounds with a 8 cm path and on the fact that the blade in object is single-edged and sharp pointed. And an assessment of “non-incompatibility” amounts, on the probative [probatorio] level but also on the merely evidentiary [indiziario] one, to nothing, since such characteristics are common to many commonly-used knives.

And even the explanation, given by the Corte di Assise of first level, for the presence at the house on Via Della Pergola, of a knife belonging to the furnishings of Raffaele Sollecito’s home appears to be implausible in itself and, at any rate, lacking any objectively significant confirmation.

With premeditation excluded, as well as the preparation of any minimal arrangement aimed toward the commission of the murder (never hypothesized by anybody, not by the Corte di Assise of first level, nor even by the Public Minister), the presence of said knife at the house on Via Della Pergola is explained by the possibility that Amanda Knox usually carried with her a knife of such dimensions inside her capacious bag for personal safety reasons, since she had to go out even late at night to go to work. Of such habit, however, no evidence has been given, and it seems truly odd that a young woman, after having crossed the ocean and traveled to Germany and Italy, and certainly even being used to going out alone at night for a few years, had to arrive in Perugia and to meet Raffaele Sollecito (whom she knew for about a week) in order to begin being afraid of going out alone to work after dinner in a provincial town and to decide to accept Sollecito’s invitation to carry in her bag, for personal safety reasons, a knife of such dimensions, with the risk — a very real one — of being arrested and charged for carrying a concealed knife [porto abusivo di coltello].

Also making it wholly unbelievable,  according to a criterion of normality, that the knife was the murder weapon, is the way in which it was discovered: it was in its drawer in the kitchen at Raffaele Sollecito’s home, together with the other knives and the rest of the flatware.

Is it really plausible that two young people, certainly affected by what had happened, being in any case two normal — one would even have to say “good” – young people (committed to studies and helpful to others, to use the words of the first-level Corte di Assise, very young and nevertheless ready to accept the burden of the working life), after having taken part in such a barbaric murder, had not only such cold and diabolical minds as to not throw away the knife, instead putting it back together with the rest of the flatware in the kitchen from where it had been taken, but also the hardness of heart (and of stomach) to continue using that flatware, maybe even that same knife, to prepare meals in the days following the murder?

This Court finds that it cannot accept the arguments of the Public Minister explaining why they did not get rid of the knife: that is because it was in the inventory made when the flat was rented and also to save the few euros needed to replace it.

The absence of an inventoried knife would have certainly constituted a much smaller risk than having the murder weapon seized in the house, while the expense of a few euros, in view of such a need as preventing the finding of the murder weapon, would clearly have been a trivial price, not even worth considering.

It is therefore the truth that the only evidence that could reasonably connect the knife to the murder committed at the house on Via Della Pergola is represented by the results of the genetic investigations performed by the Scientific Police — which, however, we will shortly find to be unreliable.

Next: Expert Review of Exhibits 36 and 165b