Amanda Knox 'crucified' in Italy murder case: lawyer

29th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Amanda Knox's defence urged jurors to overturn her murder conviction on Thursday and condemned media coverage of the trial that "crucified" the American as the appeal in Italy moves to a verdict.

"It's possible that there's been a mistake. No-one is infallible," Carlo Dalla Vedova told the court in the university town of Perugia where the shocking 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher took place.

He condemned "fantastical reconstructions" of the grisly killing made by prosecutors and said a review of the forensic evidence that cast doubt on some of the DNA analysis in the case had given the defence "some comfort."

"If there's no proof, you have to absolve," he told jurors, as an ashen-faced Knox looked on. Knox walked into the courtroom in a black coat and green blouse to the sounds of dozens of camera shutters clicking.

Dalla Vedova also accused the media of setting up a parallel trial of Knox based on sensationalist information on her sex life and her character.

Knox "has been crucified, humiliated in the public square... She has been overwhelmed and raped" by scurrilous news reports, he said.

Knox, 24, is set to make a statement to the court later on Thursday.

Earlier this week a lawyer for the man she identified as the killer in a deliberate lie to police in her first interrogation said she had "a two-faced soul" divided between the "angelic" and the "demonic".

Her lawyers repeated her claims that she was at her boyfriend's house on the night of the murder and is completely innocent of the gruesome killing of her British housemate on November 1, 2007.

Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison for the crime in 2009 and her appeal began in November 2010.

The prosecution will have a chance to respond to the defence's arguments and the verdict is then expected as early as Saturday, lawyers said.

Knox's stepfather Chris Mellas told reporters earlier that her accusers were telling "crazy lies" and that Knox was "under a lot of pressure."

"We really hope that she'll be freed. It's a matter of days," he said.

Her defenders have fought hard against the image of Knox put forward by the prosecution as a dissolute party girl who harboured hatred towards Kercher.

Kercher was found almost completely naked in a pool of blood on the floor of her bedroom on November 2 with multiple bruising and stab wounds.

The prosecution claims that Knox was the one wielding the knife, or at least one of the knives -- while Kercher was held down by two others in the room.

Knox's then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is also appealing, while the third person -- Rudy Guede -- was tried separately and has exhausted his appeals.

Sollecito's lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said prosecutors were obsessed with the portrayal of Knox as a "femme fatale" figure like the dominatrix character in a well-known 19th century sado-masochistic novel called "Venus in Furs".

Knox travelled to Italy in September 2007 for a one-year programme at a university in Perugia -- a medieval town popular with foreign students.

She met Sollecito at a classical concert a few days before the killing.

During a night-time police interrogation in the days after the murder with no lawyer present, Knox admitted to investigators that she had been in the house at the time of the murder and was still haunted by Kercher's screams.

She identified the owner of a local bar where she worked as a waitress as the killer. The man, Patrick Lumumba, was held for two weeks but was later found to have a rock-solid alibi. He is an injured party in the court case.

© 2011 AFP

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