THE defence for US student Amanda Knox says female police officers investigating the murder of British student Meredith Kercher “had it in” for Knox because of a sex toy found in the home both women shared.
In closing arguments, Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga described a “clash between women from the Perugia flying squad” and his client.
“They had it in for her just because she had condoms and a vibrator in her beauty case,” said Ghirga.
Knox “had suffered as a result of this antagonism”, Ghirga told the murder trial, being held in Perugia.
Knox, 22, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are jointly charged in Kercher’s murder in Perugia, Italy. Prosecutors claim she was killed after refusing to take part in a drug-fuelled sex game.
Ghirga wrapped up his closing arguments yesterday, breaking down after he urged the court to give his client back her life.
He insisted that Knox was the victim of a “mechanism that crushed her”.
“Amanda is asking to have her life back. Give Amanda her life back by clearing her of all charges,” Ghirga said, raising his voice and fighting back tears at the end of his remarks. A verdict by the eight-member jury is expected tomorrow .
Ghirga challenged evidence in the case, including a knife that prosecutors say could be the murder weapon. The six and a half- inch blade that prosecutors say had Kercher’s DNA, and Knox’s on the handle, was found at Sollecito’s house.
According to Ghirga, wounds and cuts on Ms Kercher’s body indicate that a smaller knife might have been used in the attack.
He charged that prosecutors had changed their minds about the alleged motive for the attack.
“Initially, it was a sexual motive, now it’s hate,” Ghirga said. “But that’s just another non-existing motive.”
In his closing remarks, lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini contended that Knox “harboured hatred” for Kercher and wanted to get back at her for saying she was promiscuous and not clean. Knox denied having problems with Kercher, and said she was shocked by her friend’s death.
In an apparent acknowledgment of the enormous pressure the high-profile case has created, Ghirga appeared to weep as he thanked the jury and colleagues at the end of his arguments. “I broke down at the end, as soon as I stopped talking. I even feel a bit embarrassed about it,” he said as he left the courtroom.
Prosecutors requested life terms for Knox and Sollecito, who maintain they were at Sollecito’s apartment the night of the slaying. Defence lawyers for Knox and Sollecito are working on the theory that Rudy Guede, jailed in October for 30 years, was the sole attacker.
Knox’s sister, Deanna Knox, said she was nervous about the outcome but hopeful. “I know she is innocent and she’ll be home any time now,” she said.
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