Saturday, December 11, 2010
Tearful Beginning: Knox up to Old Tricks
Today was the first formal hearing in the appeal against conviction for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. No one is sure just how long the trial will be, but one thing is for sure; Amanda Knox has had enough of prison living. Knox, now 23, broke down several times as she delivered an emotional twenty-minute address to the court; her voice sometimes quavering as she claimed that she had nothing to do with Miss Kercher’s brutal death. Her nervous, rambling statement—reminiscent of the court address she made at her 4th preliminary hearing back on 18 October 2008—was once again a limited, evasive, non-explanation of an explanation. It was an “I didn’t do it but I am so sorry for Meredith and her family anyway” kind of address. The fragile yet defiant Knox insisted that she did not kill Kercher and pled with the judge and jury to give her back her “shattered life,” calling her conviction unjust and an “enormous mistake.”
On 2 December 2010, Meredith Kercher’s (the victim), father, John Kercher, wrote a letter in which he made a strong plea for the cruel, callous, and inaccurate PR games, of Knox’s family, to stop. The well informed Kercher family has remained singularly cool-headed, dignified, and truthful throughout. On the other hand, the Knox family has continued to lie about the basic facts of the case; and unlike Edda Mellas, Knox’s mother, they have read Judge Massei’s sentencing report.
During Knox’s address to the court, Kercher family lawyer, Francesco Maresca walked out of the courtroom. Maresca later said he left because he wasn’t interested in comments he felt were “inappropriate, out of place and untimely.”
She went on to apologize to the Congolese bar owner, Patrick Lumumba, who spent nearly three weeks in jail after Knox told police he had killed Kercher. Lumumba was later cleared of all connection to the crime.
“Patrick: I'm sorry,” she said, turning in the direction of the courtroom where he was sitting with his lawyers. “I was naive and not at all courageous because I should have put up with the pressure that pushed me to hurt you. You didn't deserve what you went through and I hope you are able to find your peace.”
In a break after Knox’s statement, Lumumba told reporters that he felt her apology lacked sincerity, however. “If she had said it to me in the first weeks, after I got out of isolation, and we were both going in front of the judge, well then I would have believed her. But now, three years later, well, it seems like strategy. It's as if she's playing a card game and she's losing, so she’s playing every card she's got.”
Knox’s lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, in his formal requests later in the day, asked for a complete review of “dubious” forensics in the case, and criticized the first judge’s sentencing report as full of personal reflections and conjecture that resulted in “perhaps one of the biggest judicial errors to happen here in recent years.”
Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito requested the court hear testimony from two new witnesses, convicted child killer Mario Alessi, who was housed in a prison cell across from Rudy Guede and says he heard another version of what happened, and mafia snitch Luciano Aviello, who claims his own brother killed Kercher and asked him to hide the murder weapon. On Friday, Perugia police raided Aviello’s prison cell on the grounds that Aviello is slandering his brother with a false homicide accusation. Italian newspapers hinted that police had sequestered documents or letters from Aviello’s cell that show his story was fabricated, but the matter was not brought up in court.
The prosecution and civil parties give their arguments next Saturday (Dec. 18). Knox’s appellate trial is expected to last for several months, with hearings held only on Saturdays.
See video footage of today's hearing