Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Amanda Knox and the Murder of Meredith Kercher at the Copacabana

Foxy Knoxy

The Meredith Kercher trial has, in my opinion, been approached from a flawed perspective. I think that, instead of focusing on integrating the forensic evidence and statements of the accused (Guede, Knox and Sollecito) into a theory of a premeditated crime, the correct approach would be that articulated in Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’.

The Trials of Rudy Guede, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

If you need reminding of the case, than I recommend a quick perusal of the Wikipedia entry. You will find all the key points regarding Amanda Knox’s erratic and contradictory testimony and behavior. The self styled ‘Foxy Knoxy’ Similarly, Sollecito gave contradictory. As for Rudy Guede, his testimony can’t be taken seriously. Guede is a liar, an alleged thief, a murderer and the forensic evidence is indisputable. His actions betray no remorse and I suspect he was lying through his teeth purely to get a more lenient sentence.

So what does all of this have to do with the 'Copacabana'?

How Lola Lost Her Love

Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather listen to an operatic duet from Janet Street-Porter and Forrest Gump, than listen to this song. However, it is always played at weddings in Lebanon so, I can hardly avoid hearing it. In case you don’t know it, Manilow depicts a crime which takes place after a considerable amount of situational events and environmental factors contribute to the inevitable denouement.

‘His name was Rico, he wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancin' there
And when she finished, he called her over
But Rico went a bit too far, Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gun shot
But just who shot who?’

According to Manilow, Lola spent the next thirty years wearing the same dress and drinking herself half blind whilst greaving over the death of Tony.

The serious point being that in ‘Copacabana’, the situational factors that govern the murder are given far more prominence than purely relying on a character assessment. Also, if you were to a posteriori piece together the sequence of events from a perspective of a premeditated crime, than it would hard to conceive of anyone turning up at the Copacabana and shooting someone in front numerous witnesses. This wasn’t premeditated.

The same argument applies to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

However, I digress. Turning back to the case, I want to put these understandings together and come up with a theory of what I think happened. The following is purely a fictional reconstruction of what might have happened, it is not intended to be an accurate depiction of events.

The Murder of Meredith Kercher?

Rudy Guede was an alleged thief and a drug dealer. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito both confessed to smoking hashish on the evening in question.  Knox goes to the house with Guede in order to either buy or pay for some hashish. Sollecito is supposed to meet her later after having been with her earlier that evening at his flat.  Testimony places them there at 8:40pm.

Guede wants money for the hashish and is threatening Knox, he needs the money to score his next hit for the class A drugs that he is known to take. Knox doesn’t have the money and decides to ask Meredith Kercher to give her the share of the rent in cash and she (Knox) will pay it all together in two days when it is due. Kercher refuses. Bank records show Kercher withdrew 250 Euros for her rent, due in two days time. Knox/Sollecito both said they smoked hashish on the evening.

Guede threatens Knox and decides to let them sort it out whilst he defecates in the toilet. Knox and Kercher argue loudly over the money issue. A tussle ensues. Guede then decides he wants to deal with it directly, and starts bullying Kercher. Sollecito arrives and Knox leaves the flat and talks with him outside telling him what is going on. Guede’s DNA was found all over the crime scene and on body of Kercher as was his feces in the toilet.

Guede loses control, pulls a knife and then rapes and slashes Kercher whilst she fights back. Knox and Sollecito return. Guede threatens to kill them both and implicate them if they inform on him. Kercher is slowly dying of asphyxiation (on her own blood) and it starts making her chest feel very tight as her lungs fill up. Sollecito rips off her bra clasp in order to help her. Guede frames the scene so it looks like a break in and murder. The murder scene was believed to have been framed to look like a murder and the only DNA evidence that places either Knox or Sollecito at the crime was that found on Kercher’s bra clasp (Sollecito’s).

Knox and Sollecito are scared of Guede’s revenge plus his threat to inform on them. Guede goes on the run. Sollecito takes the knife home and scrapes it clean in order to hide the evidence. A knife was found with Kercher’s DNA on the tip and Knox DNA on the handle at Sollecito’s flat.

Knox, Guede and Sollecito’s Conflicting Testimonies

 Knox initially said she went to the house with Patrick Lumumba (a different black man) and he did the murder. Clearly, she feared that she had been seen going to the house with a black man (Guede) and wanted to detract attention from Guede, whom she feared. She did not conceive that no witnesses would place her at the scene.

Sollecito initially said that he wasn’t sure whether he was with Knox on the evening or not. He said this because he wanted to ‘wait and see’ what came from witnesses. He knew that one witness could confirm he was with Knox at his flat, this would be damaging to him because it would establish that they were together for at least part of the evening. If no forensic or witness evidence had come forward, there would be nothing linking him with the crime.

In his appeal, Guede claimed that Knox and Kercher argued, loudly, over money. In my ‘version’ they do. I think he thought that a witness was coming forward that had heard them arguing and that that would substantiate his story.

The Official Verdict

I don’t buy the verdict that there was a premeditated orgy of sex and drugs that went wrong. Sollecito was reported to be sexually inexperienced and such an attack on Kercher is unlikely to have been planned with someone like Guede. No DNA evidence places Knox in the room of the crime and none-save for the bra clasp-places Sollecito there either. The knife evidence and contradictory testimony, is merely two scared kids (as much from Guede as from the police) trying to hide the evidence of a murder that they did not actually commit themselves.

The fixation on some sort of rational premeditation to this crime and subsequent testimony is flawed. I think it is more to do with situational factors causing Knox and Sollecito to act in the way that they do.

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  1. If some bring a hungry lion to your bedroom, will that be a crime?

  2. The only crime that your 'hungry lion' is doing now is not saying 'thank you' after getting his arse pumped in jail in Italy.

  3. If you want to understand the reasons why Amanda Knox was convicted of murder, I recommend reading the Massei report. It can be downloaded from the Perugia Murder File website: