Knox juror says prosecution's case just conjecture

AP News
Posted: Oct 07, 2011 6:26 PM
Knox juror says prosecution's case just conjecture

One of the jurors who overturned Amanda Knox's murder conviction said Friday he was never convinced by the "conjecture" of the prosecution's case and that he believed the U.S. student and her co-defendant simply didn't kill her British roommate.

Mauro Chialli was one of eight jurors who on Monday ordered Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito freed after acquitting them of charges they sexually assaulted and murdered Meredith Kercher in 2007. Knox returned home to Seattle on Tuesday, and Sollecito to his home in southern Italy.

In an interview Friday with Italy's state-run RAI television, Chialli said he had spent a lot of time during the 10-month appeals trial reading the faces of Knox and Sollecito and determined they were telling the truth in insisting on their innocence.

"I saw the faces of these two kids, and they couldn't bluff. They didn't bluff. My point of view is that these kids weren't guilty. They weren't there," he said.

Knox and Sollecito were arrested a few days after Kercher's body was discovered in a pool of blood on Nov. 2, 2007 in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia. They were convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. A third defendant, Rudy Hermann Guede was also convicted and had his 16-year prison sentence upheld by Italy's highest court.

Following Monday's acquittals, Guede remains the only one in prison for the death. His lawyer has said he wants the case reopened, given that Italy's high court determined Guede didn't act alone.

Chialli said there were several elements of the prosecution's case that didn't convince him, primarily the lack of a motive and uncertainties about the precise time of Kercher's death.

"What didn't convice me was that in the end, it was an accusation based on so many conjectures," he said. "It could have been this way, it could have been another way."

Knox and Sollecito maintain they were at Sollecito's apartment the night of the killing, smoking hashish, watching a film and having sex.

Earlier in the week, the Italian judge who presided over the appeal, Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, said the two were cleared of murder based on the evidence but that the real truth could be different.