Double jeopardy is not a principle followed by the Italian courts. In the United States, where American college student Amanda Knox now resides, there could be no retrying of the appellate decision that acquitted her and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of murdering Knox’s British college roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia in 2007.
In Italy, however, it’s a different matter. The highest court has ordered a retrial. According to the Court of Cassation, the last trial was plagued with “deficiencies, contradictions and illogical conclusions” according to the newspaper, USA Today. However, the trial will have to go on without Knox, who refused to return to Florence, Italy, where the trial is taking place.
Knox remains in Seattle while trial begins in Florence
Knox, 26, remains in Seattle as a student at the University of Washington, having served four years of a 26-year sentence for the murder of Kercher, about which she has continued to claim her innocence. She was not compelled to return to Italy by international law, but she could be declared in contempt for failing to appear. Likewise, Sollecito, 29, is not present at trial.
Her prolonged battle with the Italian legal system has made Knox a household name in both the United States and Italy, where the Italian press had a field day portraying the college student as a dark seductress and painting the crime as one of a sexual nature.
Opening old wounds
For Meredith Kercher’s parents, the new trial is yet another attempt to gain some answers about the questions that linger over the death of their daughter. While a third person, Rudy Guede was convicted of murdering Kercher (and is at present serving a 16-year sentence for his part), the court found that Guede did not act alone.
However, faulty DNA tests and the lack of a murder weapon have left much of the case in limbo. While the court of appeals threw out the convictions of Knox and Sollecito due to the bungling by the prosecution and forensic collection experts, the Court of Cassation has found that the decision acquitting the two “openly collides with the objective facts of the case,” according to USA Today.
The court argued that evidence was mismanaged, some facts ignored and some facts given little credence. Knox herself has come into question repeatedly for falsely pointing a finger at another man who had nothing to do with the murder. In addition, Knox and Sollecito had been dating less than a week, and statements given by each did not match up.
Reexamining the knife
This third trial for Amanda Knox has also seen a call for and permission granted regarding the retesting of DNA on a knife suspected of being the primary weapon in the crime, according to the Washington Post. Many other defense requests, however, have been denied. While the trace amounts of DNA on the weapon had initially been deemed “too small to test,” the court is now allowing testing to be done.
At the beginning of this third trial, Defense Attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova warned of the possibility of an “infinite trial.” In Italy, as in the United States, there is no statute of limitation on murder charges. And it seems, the Italians plan to keep on trying the murder case until they are satisfied with the results.