PERUGIA, Italy (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) — The clock ticks for two former college students whose lives lie in the balance as they and their lawyers work to prove their innocence in the 2007 murder of British University exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy.
Below you will see shocking truth of how forensic police mishandled, left behind, and failed to test several pieces of critical evidence until six weeks after Meredith’s murder.
A video was produced that shows the shocking truth: Forensic police left behind and failed to test several pieces of critical evidence until six weeks after Meredith Kercher’s murder.
Meredith shared an upstairs flat with three other young women in a cottage in Perugia, Italy. On November 1, 2007, at age 21, Meredith was sexually assaulted and stabbed, and property belonging to her was stolen.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollicito were both young college students studying abroad at the time of Meredith’s murder. Amanda was Meredith’s roommate and Raffaele was Amanda’s boyfriend.
Amanda was a 20-year-old University of Washington language student attending the University of Foreigners in Perugia at the time. Raffaele was a 23-year-old computer engineering student from Giovinazzo, Bari studying at the University of Perugia and nearing the completion of his degree.
The two were charged and convicted in the brutal slaying of Meredith and are each serving 26 and 25-year prison sentences in Perugia, Italy, respectively.
They are appealing that decision.
The decision made on appeal stands to forever alter the course of the lives of these two young college students who many believe are innocent – they could be freed or they could be sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison.
The appeals process in Italy differs from that in the United States. If they are found guilty during the appeals process Amanda and Raffaele could be sentenced to life in prison – a sentence prosecutors now seek.
Another man charged and convicted, Rudy Guede, is serving a 16-year-sentence for killing Meredith.
Shocking truth about crime scene evidence
Friends, family, and supporters of Amanda and Raffaele have long said they believe the two are innocent. No evidence collected at the crime scene proves that either of them was in the room where Meredith was brutally murdered the night of November 1, 2007.
So the question begging an answer is how could Amanda and Raffaele have been involved in what was clearly a violent crime (see slideshow photos, left side bar) and yet not leave behind one single hair, one single fingerprint, a single footprint, not a single speck of DNA?
There was, however, plenty of evidence to prove Rudy Guede was in the room the night Meredith was murdered –
- Guede’s DNA was found in and on Meredith’s body
- Guede’s DNA was found on the cuff of Meredith’s bloody jacket
- Guede’s DNA, along with Meredith’s blood, was found on Meredith’s purse
- Guede’s bloody palm print was found on Meredith’s pillow
- Guede’s shoe prints, set in Meredith’s blood, were found in the bedroom and hallway
- Guede’s handprints, in Meredith’s blood, were found on a pillow case in Meredith’s room and on her wall
- Guede had a cut on his right hand that was still visible when he was arrested
A semen stain was found on Meredith’s pillow which was never tested. The semen stain was found smeared by Rudy Guede’s shoe pattern found using a crimescope by defense forensic expert Francesco Vinci (see slideshow photos, left side bar.)
The mishandled crime scene
An early crime scene photo (left side bar) taken November 2, 2007, the day after Meredith was murdered, shows her lying on the floor covered in a duvet except one foot sticking out.
Her attacker had forcibly removed all of her clothes except a long-sleeve T-shirt which was pulled up to expose her breasts.
A torn-off bra clasp was found under a pillow her assailant had placed her hips on. One of her bloodied socks was found underneath her back.
Forensic police photographed the rest of her removed clothing and laid it on the floor encircling her body for clear view.
Failure to collect evidence in a timely manner
Shockingly, police did not collect as evidence within the first few days of the investigation several pieces of clothing Meredith Kercher was wearing when attacked.
These include a light-blue Adidas jacket, socks, a bra clasp, Puma shoes, a brown leather purse, and a tote bag.
They also failed to collect a rock thrown through the window, which her attacker used to gain entry into the cottage.
Police left behind all of these items until a second search was conducted 47 days later on December 18th, 2007:
Police originally videotaped the light-blue Adidas jacket on the floor by the wardrobe corner, close to where Meredith’s head was found resting on a brown boot.
Her assailant had turned the sleeves inside out when he pulled it off of her. The neck cuff was soaked in blood from Meredith’s bleeding wound. She was wearing the jacket when he stabbed her.
Forensic police video taken December 18 shows them removing it from a laundry hamper, where they had tossed it in November instead of collecting it. The forensic officer then dropped it on the floor before the forensics team later gathered it as evidence.
Rudy Guede’s DNA was found on a cuff. See slideshow photo (left side bar) that shows the jacket’s location on November 2nd versus December 18th.
It is important to note that police photos taken of Meredith’s purse on November 2, 2007, show blood near the zipper.
Her attacker removed her cash, credit cards, and cell phone.
Forensic police did not see this as important evidence and did not collect it until six weeks later on December 18, 2007.
Between Nov. 2 and Dec. 18 police had moved the purse into the wardrobe and then to the empty bed rails. Once police finally collected the purse as evidence, they found local thief Rudy Guede’s DNA on the purse.
Prior to Meredith’s murder Guede was a known thief.
Rather than collecting Meredith’s shoes as evidence shortly after she was murdered police piled them together.
Police originally photographed Meredith’s red and white Puma shoes on the floor near the duvet on the right side of the room. One of the shoe’s laces was still tied.
By December 18, police had tossed the shoes into a large pile of shoes by the bed. The shoe’s laces were no longer tied. They had also thrown the bloody brown boots on which Meredith’s head was found resting into the same pile of shoes.
See slideshow for photo of the shoes before and after they were tossed into a pile.
On November 2, police found one of Meredith’s socks under her back. They found the other sock on the throw rug by the tote bag and Puma shoes.
Both socks had blood on the cuffs from the bloody hands that removed them. Even with blood on the cuffs, police did not collect the socks for DNA testing.
Police videotape taken on December 18 shows the first sock tangled in the same throw rug as the bra clasp (near the desk). The videotape shows the second sock crammed under the empty bed rails with many other items.
Police photographs taken on November 2nd show the clasp from the bra that the attacker ripped off of Meredith. It was under the pillow she was lying on.
However, police video taken on December 18th shows that police had carelessly moved the bra clasp to a location underneath a piled up throw rug by the desk.
Police claimed that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was on the bra clasp, and the prosecution used that evidence to convict him.
Independent DNA experts have now dismissed that evidence as flawed due to multiple DNA profiles and contamination.
On November 2, Police found the tote bag Meredith Kercher used the night of her murder. It lay on the floor near the duvet.
Meredith had pulled a book from the tote bag and placed it on her bed. She might have hung the tote bag on the back of the desk chair before it came loose in the attack.
Even though her murderer might have searched through the tote bag, police did not collect it as evidence until March 14, 2008.
Rock used to break into the cottage
On Nov. 2, 2007, police found the rock used to break the window and gain entry into the cottage in a tipped over shopping bag.
They finally retrieved the rock for forensic testing on December 18, 2007.
Amanda Knox’s sweatshirt
Police alleged Amanda Knox had discarded the sweatshirt she was wearing on Nov. 1, 2007.
Yet they retrieved the sweatshirt in March – this proved police were mistaken in their claims that Amanda had discarded the sweatshirt.
Notes from InjusticeInPerugia.org
When forensic police returned for a second search on December 18, 2007—six weeks after the murder—police had tossed the cottage upside down and trampled it.
They had carelessly moved clothes originally photographed encircling Meredith’s body to new locations—unprotected from contamination.
In a show of careless disregard and incompetence, forensic police did not immediately or correctly collect critical evidence in the Meredith Kercher murder.
Incredulously, there was a semen stain found on Meredith’s pillow which has never been tested. The stain was found smeared by Rudy Guede’s shoe pattern using a crimescope by defense forensic expert Francesco Vinci.
The defense has requested the stain be tested since the first trial. This also should have been found and tested within the first days of the investigation.
How would anyone feel if their daughter, sister, or mother was murdered and the police did not collect as evidence clothing forcibly removed by their murderer, they ask?
Luckily, Meredith’s killer left a bloody palm print made on her pillow. That palm print did lead the police to her killer. Rudy Guede is currently serving a 16 year sentence.
The shocking lack of forensic standards shows how lucky they were that he had left a palm print.
Justice needs to be served, not only for Meredith Kercher and her family, but for the guilty and innocent involved.
It is the responsibility of the prosecution and forensic police to do their job completely and correctly. It is clear they failed at both.
Hopefully, with the independent review done by the court-appointed forensics experts in the appeal, true justice will be served, and Amanda and Raffaele will be set free.
Information above was provided by InjusticeInPerugia.org