FLORENCE, Italy: Italian Raffaele Sollecito was not a “puppy” who committed murder out of love for US student Amanda Knox, his lawyer argued yesterday as she concluded her defence to charges the pair murdered 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in 2007.
Sollecito, 29, and Knox, 26, were convicted in 2009 of killing the British student, whose body was found with more than 40 stab wounds and a deep gash in her throat in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia, a picturesque Italian town where both were studying as exchange students.
The guilty verdicts were overturned on appeal, but Italy’s highest court rejected that ruling last year and ordered that the appeal trial be repeated.
Sollecito’s defence lawyer Giulia Bongiorno rejected accusations that he was drawn into a crime by his fascination with Knox, who had been his girlfriend for only a matter of days when the murder took place. “Raffaele was not a puppy. He wouldn’t have killed for the love of Amanda,” she told the court. Bongiorno said investigators had invented a theory that Kercher was murdered in an intimate game gone wrong in order to avoid causing panic in Perugia over the truth that a dangerous murderer was still on the run.
She also dramatically brandished a knife while saying that other knives were more likely to have been the murder weapons.
Bongiorno said that even after a different culprit had been found — Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede who is serving a 16-year sentence for the murder — investigators kept returning to Knox and Sollecito, concocting an improbable story to “reconcile the irreconcilable” and implicate them.