Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito moved to distance himself from the 26-year-old Seattle native as the final verdict on the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher approaches.
While reiterating he ’’profoundly’’ believes in Knox’s innocence, Sollecito and his lawyers said today that his innocence can’t be questioned because of doubts about Knox’s behavior.
“They are not Siamese twins, one body with two heads,” Giulia Bongiorno, Sollecito’s main lawyer, said at a press conference in Rome.
Both Sollecito, 30, and Knox have denied any wrongdoing in the killing of Kercher, a 21-year-old Leeds University exchange student, in Perugia, Italy. Sollecito denied Italian press reports he was going to change his version of the story by saying Amanda wasn’t with him the night Kercher was killed.
“Only a madman or a criminal would change versions, and I’m neither mad nor criminal,” he said. The pair spent the night together, though Amanda wasn’t with him in the first part of the evening, Sollecito said. “There’s proof that I was at my place and I was watching Japanese cartoons,” said Sollecito.
Sollecito and Knox have gone through a legal odyssey since Kercher was found dead in her bedroom with her throat slashed, on Nov. 2, 2007, in the house she shared in Perugia with the American and two other women. They were convicted of murder in 2009 and served almost four years in prison before being acquitted by an appeals court in Perugia in 2011.
Their acquittals were overturned last year and a new trial was ordered. In January a Florence appeals court reinstated their guilty verdicts.
Knox, who currently lives in the U.S., was sentenced to 28 years and six months in jail for murder and slander, while Sollecito got 25 years. A final verdict by Italy’s top court may come later this year or the beginning of 2015, according to Italian newspapers including Il Fatto Quotidiano.
Knox has denied Sollecito is trying to distance himself from her and has said he’s just a scapegoat. “The only reason he has been dragged into this is because he happens to be my alibi,” she wrote on her blog Feb. 11.
Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said at the original trial in Perugia that Knox had masterminded a drug-fueled sex game involving Sollecito and Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native who grew up in Italy, that turned violent and lead to the murder.
At the retrial, a new prosecutor said that the violence stemmed instead from arguments about the house’s cleanliness and was triggered by a toilet left unflushed by Guede that night.
Guede was found guilty in a separate “fast-track” trial in 2008 and sentenced to 30 years. His jail term was reduced to 16 years in a 2009 appeal.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Liefgreen at firstname.lastname@example.org Marco Bertacche