The judge who presided over the murder trial of Amanda Knox said today, "If Amanda Knox had gone to work, probably we wouldn't be here." Judge Alessandro Nencini made the comment during an interview with Corriere della Sera which was published, Saturday, Feb. 1.
This highest of high profile cases was initiated when British exchange student Meredith Kercher was discovered in "a lake of blood" with her throat slashed on Nov. 2, 2007, according to investigative reports.
Although he is required to give a written report within 90 days explaining the basis for the decision of the two judges and six jurors, he said he gave this interview because he knew there would be a "storm in the media," according to the Italian newspaper which published the article.
Nencini gave a hint at what might have been a critical point in the court's decision-making process when he said, "At the moment I can say that up until 8:15 p.m. on the night of the murder, the kids had other plans, but they skipped them and the opportunity was created."
He further said that if Amanda had gone to work "we probably wouldn't be here."
In Knox's case, she was planning to work at a bar, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was supposed to have gone to a trian station to pick up a friend's luggage.
He further said he woud explain what he believed to be the true motive for the brutal crime in his written report to be presented in about three months. Although under American as well as Italian law, it is not a legal requirement to prove the motive for a murder, it is normally easier to obtain a conviction if the prosecutor can present evidence of a motive.
It is also true that many seemingly motive-less crimes are committed on a frequent basis in the U.S. as well as Europe.
The verdict reinstated the convictions handed down in 2009. Knox is sentenced to 28 1/2 years while Sollecito was meted out 25 years. Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede was also convicted in a separate trial and is now serving his 16-year sentence in prison.
European sentences are normally much shorter than those handed down in the U.S.
The Corriere della Sera is a daily newspaper in Milan, Italy with a daily circulation of about 800,000 and is one of the country's oldest and most significant publications. Begun in 1876 it is one of the most widely read Italian newspapers around the world.
The newspaper also published that Ms. Knox and Sollecito were found to be Co-perpetrators in the murder with Knox being considered a dominant figure while Sollecito was also a leading figure in the actual murder. This finding is consistent with the "indications" ordered by the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court of Italy). The paper also reported that the latest verdict "remediated the verdict of acquittal" as ordered by the Court of Cassation on March 26.
Nencino in his decision rejected the argument by Italy's top female attorney Giulia Bongorno in which she attempted to distance her client Sollecito from Knox. It was during her closing argument in which she took that strategy that many Italian observers sensed things were not going well for Knox this time around.
The Court of Cassation had previously found that a written confession by Knox should have been considered in the second trial in which she was found not guilty. The reasoning behind that finding was that Knox wrote the confession in a secluded room in the absence of her interrogators who it has been alleged overstepped their boundaries in the questioning.
These findings by the Court of Cassation do not bode well for Knox and Sollecito when they appeal this court's decision to that very Court of Cassation (Supreme Court of Italy), according to an article in the Corriere della Sera.
There appears to be a protracted extradition battle in the future as most Italian experts believe the Court of Cassation will uphold this conviction.
U.S. legal expert Rikki Kliemann said she would advise Knox to stay home in Washington and to certainly not venture outside the borders of the U.S. if she wants to remain free.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said today that if the Court of Cassation upholds her conviction, the U.S. would have no choice but to extradite her to Italy, according to an article in the London Daily Mail. He said since the acquittal was ordered by only an intermediate appeals court, it would not be double jeopardy even under American law.
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