MILAN, Italy - The Italian appeals court that overturned Amanda Knox's murder conviction in the slaying of her British roommate gave the reasons for its ruling Thursday: The evidence that had been used by a lower court against the American and her Italian boyfriend just did not hold up.
Those shortcomings included no murder weapon, faulty DNA, an inaccurate time for the killing, and insufficient proof that Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were even at the location where the crime took place. So said the Perugia appellate court in its reasoning behind its October ruling that reversed the lower court's convictions.
British college student Meredith Kercher was found slain in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor in Perugia, Italy, on Nov. 2, 2007.
Knox and Sollecito, who had just begun dating at the time of the murder, were arrested several days later, then convicted in what prosecutors' portrayed as a drug-fueled sexual assault. They were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years, respectively, in proceedings that made headlines around the world.
On Thursday, the appellate court said the DNA evidence was undermined during a reexamination in the appeals trial, and the murder weapon was not conclusively identified. The court even contradicted the lower court's time of death, saying it happened at about 10:15 p.m., not after 11. The court said the "building blocks" used to construct the case had failed.
The appeals court also said there was no proof of the prosecutors' assertion that Knox and Sollecito had helped a third man, who was convicted separately, to sexually assault Kercher, nor was there evidence that the pair had simulated a burglary by throwing a rock through a window to remove suspicion from themselves, as prosecutors alleged.
The appeals court said the lower court had arrived at a verdict "that was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence and in itself was not, in fact, probable: the sudden choice of two young people, good and open to other people, to do evil for evil's sake, just like that, without another reason."
The only elements of the prosecutors' case that were proven, the appeals court said, were the charge of slander by Knox, who was convicted of falsely accusing a bar owner of killing Kercher, and the fact that the Knox and Sollecito alibis did not match.