Prison inmates testified in defense of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito in their latest court hearing in Perugia, Italy. Knox and Sollecito stand convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in 2007 and are currently appealing their convictions. The latest hearing was not short on drama as five inmates told the court details of prison yard conversations with Rudy Guede. Guede, tried separately, has already been convicted of murdering Kercher and has exhausted his appeals. Many feel that Guede murdered Kercher during an attempted burglary and acted alone. The court of first instance felt differently, choosing to believe that three were responsible for the murder as a result of a sex game gone wrong.
Guede’s conversations are significant because he repeatedly stated that Knox and Sollecito were not present when Meredith was murdered. Many articles flooded the news cycle this past weekend stating that inmate testimony was the last chance for Amanda Knox to secure her freedom. This assessment is far from the truth. The latest court hearing was simply part of the process.
The court heard testimony from convicted child killer Mario Alessi. Alessi told the court that he was friends with Guede in prison and he spoke of conversations that he and Guede shared in the prison yard where Guede told him that Knox and Sollecito were innocent. Guede told Alessi that he and another man murdered Kercher.
It is understandable to ask why a jury would believe the testimony of a convicted child killer. The man is a repulsive human being. However, the defense also brought in three additional inmates to corroborate that Guede told them the same story. It would be very difficult for the three to keep details straight during questioning if there was no truth to the story. Importantly, the testimony showed that Guede stated repeatedly that Knox and Sollecito were innocent.
Another inmate, well known mobster, Luciano Aviello, also testified but his story was far from that of the others. He told the court that his brother Antonio murdered Kercher. According to Aviello his brother came home to the residence they shared to inform him that he stabbed Kercher after entering her apartment to steal a painting he thought was there. Aviello told the court that his brother’s jacket was torn and he was covered in blood. He claimed that is brother asked him to help hide a set of keys and a knife used in the murder. He wrote to the court several times about his brother’s alleged involvement but was never questioned. In the case of Aviello, the fact that he was never questioned proves more important than his actual testimony because the court has an obligation to exhaust all possibilities and in this case they failed to do so.
In a striking turn of events, Rudy Guede is expected to take the stand June 27, which will be interesting to say the least. Guede has changed his story several times leading many to wonder what he will tell the court this time around. It’s quite possible that if Guede told the truth in the first place, Knox and Sollecito would not have been dragged into this nightmare.
The testimony of these convicts should be noted but at the same time serve as a distraction from the appeal process as a whole. The current appeal looks to be going well for Knox and Sollecito. Independent experts are currently reviewing the DNA evidence and preliminary reports have been promising for their defense. We have also seen the prosecution’s star witness, Antonio Curatolo, crumble on appeal. For those who do not remember, Curatolo was the only supposedly credible eye witness brought forward by the prosecution during the first trial. He is a homeless man that admits to using heroin on a daily basis and on the day he claims to have seen Amanda and Raffaele. The question and answer session with Curatolo on appeal left many wondering how his testimony was ever deemed credible the first time around.
Whether the testimony of criminals will have an impact on the jury is anyone’s guess but every appeal hearing to date has weakened the prosecution’s case, this past court session, although shocking, may prove to have the same effect.
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