November 2, 2007, Perugia, Italy. Via Della Pergola 7. Meredith Kercher, a Londoner attending the University of Perugia, lay dead in a pool of blood on her cold bedroom floor. She had been slain the night before when she walked into a burglary in progress, an unfortunate end to the talented and beautiful young woman. Diminutive Meredith was no match for the strong and wiry man who killed her. Rudy Guede, a local burglar, needed money and he knew that many of the university students would have cash in their homes for Rent Day. Police expected burglaries on the first of the month like they expected the full moon. This thief was a casual friend to the young men who lived downstairs from Meredith and her three roommates, he played basketball with them in a court just up the street. He had surveilled the duplex during his visits and knew that the men were growing pot. He also knew that the women included two foreigners, who were always appealing targets. Guede was well-known to the Perugian police and, to their chagrin, he had been on a crime spree during the forty-five days Meredith had been in town. Only six days before he killed her Guede was caught red-handed in a break-in with stolen goods from a previous robbery. But a Perugian contact negotiated his release and put him back on the streets where he would continue to burglarize homes.
That Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card led to Meredith Kercher’s death.
Fortunately Meredith had today’s technology on her side, advances in crime scene forensics over the past thirty years have allowed police to collect genetic material and use it to identify perpetrators. Police have learned to let the victim tell the story and work from that point, luckily for Meredith her death was a “disorganized” crime and Guede left evidence everywhere. Meredith and her bedroom were awash in her killer’s DNA. More than that, he was not known to her family, roommates or friends in both Perugia and London. Lastly her apartment fit his modus operandi, he had entered through a roommate’s window. Three obvious and important strikes against any criminal, in other circumstances no one would have thought twice about him being her killer. His finger, foot and palm prints were in her blood on her bedroom wall, surrounding her body and trailing down the hall to her front door. His DNA was on her body, clothing and purse. He confessed to being present when she died. It should have been an open and shut case and Rudy Guede should be serving a life sentence for murder.
Instead Meredith’s killer is set to begin work-release program after serving less than seven years of his 30 year sentence. Perugia’s star prosecutor charged two innocent students with her murder as he was making a back-room deal with her killer.
The day Meredith’s lifeless body was found Perugia’s then Public Prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, was dealing with an Abuse of Office charge and he was angry with an American. In the eighteen months prior to the Briton’s murder Mignini had kicked an American writer out of Italy and jailed his Italian co-author in an effort to stop the publication of their book. Mignini wanted an associate’s book on the same subject to be published first, but despite his efforts The Monster of Florence was released as planned. Mario Spezi’s unjust incarceration and Douglas Preston’s efforts on his friend’s behalf resulted in the charges against Mignini. Preston further rankled Mignini when he returned to Italy to film a Dateline NBC episode about his research into the Tuscan serial killer, it included a segment about the abusive prosecutor. The show aired four and a half months before Meredith’s death.
Stinging with humiliation Mignini saw an opportunity for revenge when Meredith’s naïve American roommate raised the alarm that led to the discovery of her broken body. His xenophobia became a nightmare of historic proportions for Amanda Knox and her new Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Meredith was pushed aside, used only as a prosecutorial prop. A Pity Party. Her story disregarded. Her death dismissed as easily as one dismisses an ant. Her tragic last moments on earth used to fuel a sexually explosive fantasy that sprang from the mind of the man entrusted to find justice for her. A man who laser focused instead on Meredith’s helpful roommate. From his fevered imagination came a sordid and foul tale casting Meredith as a Madonna and Amanda as a Whore. Using Raffaele and Guede as the male leads, Mignini “created a truth” and convinced the grieving family that their daughter and sister had been the victim of rape and torture. That she has valiantly tried to defend herself against three determined killers.
Guede’s deal would place him in a minor role, as a bystander, and he would be protected by the system that steamrolled over Raffaele and Amanda. The police would ignore Meredith’s tale of woe. She told of the shock of being confronted by a knife-wielding man, of being hit in the mouth, of trying to get the knife away from her throat, of being stabbed three times in a row by a pocketknife. Her blue jacket showed her spirit leaving her body, proving she was fully dressed when attacked. A swath of blood on her floored showed how she was moved as Rudy Guede stripped the clothing from her dying body. His DNA in her vagina spoke of the “date alibi” he would later use and to his abhorrent use of his victim for his own benefit. In her last moments on earth, Meredith played second fiddle to the selfish young man and to add insult to injury she would also play a minor role for the prosecutors trying to protect him.
Indeed, no one has listened to Meredith Kercher. No one cares about the story she has to tell. No one wants to hear her voice from the grave. While people have listened to the voices of dozens of different judges and lawyers telling a dozen different fairy tales about Amanda, no one pays the slightest attention to the pitiful dead girl.
Because Meredith Kercher doesn’t matter.