A consultant for the defense in the trial of U.S. student Amanda Knox used a video presentation today to show the court in Perugia, Italy, that Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito had not faked a break-in at the murder scene of her British roommate, as prosecutors allege.
Knox, 21, of Seattle, is on trial along with Sollecito, 25, her Italian former boyfriend, for the murder and of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old British exchange student who shared a Perugia apartment with Knox and two Italian women.
Kercher was found in her bedroom on Nov. 2, 2007, semi-naked in a pool of blood, her throat slashed.
Investigators in Perugia believe she was killed when she resisted participating in a sex game involving Knox, Sollecito and a third person, Rudy Guede, who has already been convicted for sexual assault and murder, and sentenced to 30 years in prison. All three maintain they are innocent, and Guede's appeal is scheduled to begin in November.
Prosecutors say Knox and Sollecito staged a break-in to make the murder appear to be the result of a botched theft. A window in the bedroom of Filomena Romanelli, Knox and Kercher's housemate, was broken, and glass shards and a 9-pound rock were found in the room. The prosecution presented witnesses and evidence that suggest the window was broken from the inside.
Francesco Pasquali, a retired forensic police officer hired as a consultant by Sollecito's defense, presented a video in court that included three different scenarios showing how the rock could have been thrown from the outside to break the window, located 13 feet off the ground.
According to Pasquali, the rock was thrown from a terrace across from the window, making the glass "explode" on the inside and spreading glass fragments everywhere on the inside and the outside of the windowsill.
Pasquali said that he had re-created the same conditions that were found in Romanelli's room at the time of the break-in. Pasquali said he constructed a window of the same size, with the same paint and the same type of glass, and threw the rock through it into a room with the same characteristics as Romanelli's room. Two video cameras -- one inside and one outside -- filmed the rock being thrown through the glass.
By analyzing the trajectory of the rock and the projection of the glass shards, Pasquali said he could "exclude that the glass could have been broken from the inside."
Prosecutors, however, contend that shutters outside the window could have prevented a rock from breaking it.
The two prosecutors in the case, Giuliano Mignini and Manuela Comodi, made a number of objections when they cross-questioned Pasquali, who admitted that he had not taken into account the fact that there were shutters on the outside of the original window.
Prosecution witnesses have testified that the shutters were partially closed on the morning after the murder, and Pasquali conceded that the closed shutters would have prevented a rock from the breaking the window from the outside.
"It does not take a technician," Pasquali said. "If the shutters were ajar then the rock couldn't fit through."
The combined defense teams of Sollecito and Knox have attempted to show in recent hearings that the vicious murder of Kercher was committed by one person -- Guede -- who killed Kercher when she caught him stealing.
Witnesses in recent hearings have said they were robbed and threatened by Guede just weeks before Kercher was killed.