The Second Version

02/10/11

The Knox-Sollecito Trial

This is one of the issues I normally avoid, because it's nearly impossible to have a pacate and rational discussion about, and because it has been treated in a manner undignified for the seriousness of the case.

So let's set a couple of ground rules for those who may want to comment:

- No foaming at the mouth, shrieking and insults.

- No Italy Vs. USA pissing matches.

I'll state my position from the start: initially I believed that Knox and Sollecito were guilty, but after some more research I became convinced that there are very reasonable doubts about their guilt.

The first problem comes with the very scenario of the killing: according to the prosecutor, it occurred during a ritualistic orgy gone bad, or in which the victim, Meredith Kercher, refused to take part. It should be noted that the prosecutor seems to have a fascination with stories of satanic/esoteric sex rituals.

This scenario is physically possible, sure, but not very credible. Much less credible than the one in which Rudy Guede, the third defendant and already convicted for the murder, raped and killed Kercher alone.

Also the evidence against these two last defendants is scarce and dubious (while it is abundant and undisputed against Guede).

There is the supposed murder weapon that doesn't match very well the wounds on the body and has not enough DNA on it for a secure identifiction; and another important piece of DNA evidence, on a bra clasp, had been recovered many days after the fact, and handled and stored improperly.

But not only the DNA evidence is dubious; there are other unclear aspects - for example the exact time the first police officers arrived at the scene.

Many - both in Italy and the USA themselves make a great deal of Knox and Sollecito's supposedly weird behaviour after being arrested, but that doesn't impress me much, especially from Knox: it is very likely that a person jailed in a foreign country for a serious crime would feel a bit off, so to speak.

And it's also very likely that a young woman with no criminal history ends up telling the police what they want to hear (regarding a fourth suspect then exonerated, Patrick Lumumba) after a long and aggressive interrogation*.

Now, did Knox and Sollecito lie about some aspects? It is very possible, either to save their butts or because they honestly remembered things differently from others.

It is possible that especially Knox is not the near-saint some depict her to be? Again, it is possible if not likely**. Oh yes, I just saw online a video of her being tipsy: big bloody deal.

But the scope of a trial is not to ascertain the defendants' sanctity, but rather to ascertain whether they committed the crimes they are accused of, or not.

Or at least it should be, because these days in both Italy and the USA character assassination seems to be the norm.

For me, at this point the correct verdict must be acquittal: we'll have to wait and see, as usual.

* A common modus operandi of Italian police and prosecutors.

** Pot-smoking is a very popular pastime of university students, as are drinking and generally having fun without thinking much.

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