Amanda Knox’s former Italian boyfriend engaged a dramatic change of defence strategy — shedding doubt on her alibi for murder.
Raffaele Sollecito said a court ruling that found the pair guilty of killing a British student proved they were not together when the crime took place and said he had not spent the entire evening with Knox at the time of the murder.
“I am not the guarantor of Amanda Knox, I am Raffaele Sollecito,” he said.
Sollecito hopes the Court of Cassation will rule he deserves yet another trial and throw out the 25-year sentence he received in January from a Florence appeals court, which convicted him and Knox for the 2007 murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.
Sollecito unveiled his new defence strategy as the pair prepare to appeal their convictions for the murder of Knox’s former roommate, found with her throat slit in the Italian town of Perugia.
His lawyers will stress apparent contradictions in the Florence court’s 337- page verdict explanation.
That court signalled it believed a memo Knox wrote, while being held for questioning, in which she indicates Sollecito had no role in the murder. “She herself lets me off the hook and gives me an alibi,” said Sollecito, 30. He noted the court accepted findings that a Knox text message, sent shortly before the murder, to the owner of a Perugia pub where she worked, had been sent while outside Sollecito’s house.
Flanked by his lawyers in Rome, he stressed what he described as his steadfast belief in Knox’s innocence whom he had been dating for barely a week.
Kercher was sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times. Her half-naked body was found in her bedroom.
The couple have been each other’s alibis almost from the start, insisting they spent the night together at his house — though they have admitted to smoking marijuana and being unable to recall everything.
But he said the guilty verdict handed down by an appeal court in Florence this year was based on details which exonerate him — while leaving doubts about her movements.
“The 25-year prison sentence given to me is based entirely on the statement written by Amanda Knox in pre-trial detention. She herself exonerates me entirely,” he told a press conference.
In the text, the US citizen described “flashes of blurred images” in which she saw herself in the house while the murder was being committed, “with my hands over my ears because in my head I could hear Meredith screaming”.
She makes no mention of Sollecito, which his defence invokes as proof he was not present at the scene.
Knox later recanted this version, saying she had written it under police pressure.
Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said their appeal would heavily revolve around the text message which Knox claims to have sent while with Sollecito at his house the night of the murder. “This text message, according to the court’s own ruling, was not sent from his house. Therefore the pair were not together,” she said.
While the Italian always claimed Knox “spent the night” with him, he never said they spent the evening together — which is when the crime took place, said Bongiorno.
According to authorities Kercher was killed between 9pm and 9.30pm.
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