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Tuesday
Sep272011

Lawyer: Amanda Knox Is Jessica Rabbit, Not 'She Devil'

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The defense of Amanda Knox began Tuesday by denying claims over the last three days that she is a murderer and a sex-obsessed "she devil" who orchestrated the killing of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

Instead of a she devil, attorney Giulia Bongiorno told the Italian court that Knox is more like Jessica Rabbit, the sexy yet loyal and tender femme fatale of the Who Killed Roger Rabbit? movie.

She paraphrased a famous line from the movie in which Jessica says, "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Bongiorno invoked the loving image of Jessica Rabbit when she mentioned the pictures of Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito embracing outside the Perugia cottage where Kercher was killed and later at the police station while waiting to be interrogated.

Those images have been used by the prosecution and the press to reinforce an image of Knox being more interested in sex than her slain roommate.

The embrace outside the cottage, Bongiorno said, was "tenderness, not obsession." And she added that she didn't know that "two young kids were not allowed to embrace in police stations."

Knox's defense was launched by Bongiorno, who is actually the lawyer for Sollecito, who was convicted of Kercher's 2007 murder along with Knox. A third person, Rudy Guede, was also convicted in a separate trial of taking part in the murder. He was sentenced to 16 years on his final appeal.

Bongiorno told the appeals court that the case has been "Amanda-centric." Sollecito was convicted of taking part in the killing because he was Knox's boyfriend, she said.

Bongiorno said the image of the two suspects was drawn up by prosecutors to fit the crime.

The real problem with the trial is "haste" she said, "haste to resolve the case in four days, haste to find the evidence to fit the crime, including haste to find the murder weapon." She said the prosecution should have abandoned the case against Knox and Sollecito as soon as "one piece of evidence didn't fit the puzzle."

Knox is clearly feeling the pressure of being the focal point of the case. Her father, Curt Knox, told ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday that she had broken out in hives, and has had trouble eating and sleeping. Curt Knox said he watched his daughter "cringe" as lawyers depicted her Monday as a liar and a person with a "double soul," half of it "angelic" and the other half "satanic."

The father said Amanda Knox has also been working for more than three months on the statement she will make to the court next week. Knox will be the last person to speak before the six jurors and two judges retire to decide whether to overturn her murder conviction and set her free, or increase her 26-year prison sentence to life in prison.

Knox's lawyers will make their summations on Thursday, followed by summations and statements by Sollecito and Knox.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul252011

Amanda Knox Appeal: No DNA Evidence Found on Murder Weapon

TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- American student Amanda Knox received a major boost in the appeal of her Italian murder conviction Monday when independent analysts rejected the prosecution's claims of finding DNA on two crucial pieces of evidence used to convict Knox of killing her roommate.

Knox, looking pale and fragile, smiled slightly at her mother at the start of the hearing that could determine whether she is released from prison or must finish her 26 year sentence.

Knox, 23, was convicted along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of stabbing her British roommate Meredith Kercher to death in November 2007 in Perugia, Italy, where both girls were spending the year studying.

The two analysts testified Monday that they found no DNA or blood on the blade of a knife found in Sollecito's kitchen that prosecutors claimed was the murder weapon. Prosecutors had claimed during the trial that the knife had DNA from both Knox and Kercher on it.

The experts also told the court that there was no DNA on Kercher's bra clasp that was recovered from the crime scene six weeks after the murder. Prosecutors had argued that the clasp contained Sollecito's DNA, a piece of evidence that placed him at the scene of the grisly killing.

The independent DNA experts told the court that the investigating team violated numerous protocols for the proper collection of DNA evidence. A ripple of laughter went through the courtroom at one point as the court was shown video of the detectives collecting DNA evidence, and doing the exact opposite of what the experts had just described was the proper method.

DNA evidence is supposed to be placed in paper bags, not plastic, and it should not be wiped, the experts said. The evidence in the Knox case was placed in plastic bags and video showed the investigators swiping Q-tips for evidence, and not changing their gloves at the proper moments.

In addition, the experts presented a catalogue of errors allegedly committed by the prosecution's forensic team, including how the evidence could have been contaminated, the original reports were missing certain data, the DNA was not quantified at times, and how control tests were not used.

The experts' written conclusions released earlier this month and their testimony has buoyed Knox's family members, who have insisted she is innocent of murder. Knox has been in prison since her arrest shortly after Kercher's death.

Knox’s defense team has argued that a third person who was also convicted of the murder is the real killer. Ivory Coast drifiter Rudy Guede was convicted of the murder in a separate trial and is serving a 16 year prison term.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio