ROME, March 4, 2010 -- The Italian judge who presided over the Amanda Knox murder case concluded in court papers released today that she killed her roommate "without any animosity or feeling of resentment," and that the grisly homicide was the result of "casual contingencies."
The written conclusion of the case by Judge Giancarlo Massei, obtained by ABC News, appears to contradict the prosecution's argument that the murder of Meredith Kercher in November 2007 was the result of Knox's explosive rage at her "prissy" roommate who complained about Knox's hygiene and for bringing male friends to their Perugia apartment late at night.
Despite the apparent rejection of the prosecution's motive for the murder, Massei wrote that the prosecution "presents a comprehensive and coherent picture, without holes or inconsistencies."
Knox, 22, was convicted in December along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, of sexually assaulting Kercher, who was 20 at the time, and then killing her by slashing her throat. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito got 25 years.
A third person convicted of taking part in the murder was Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede. He was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison, but that term was reduced to 14 years on appeal.
While prosecutors claimed during the trial the assault was initiated by Knox, the judge wrote that Kercher's death had an "erotic, sexual, violent" motive that was initiated by Guede "giving in to his lust." When Kercher turned him down, Knox and Sollecito joined in the effort to overpower Kercher because it "could have seemed particularly exciting," the report states.
Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer Theodore "Ted" Simon, a member of Knox's defense team, said he was "heartened" by what he read and called the court's written summation "the first step in having Amanda's wrongful conviction overturned.'
"The Court unequivocally rejected the prosecution's ever changing theories of the case by concluding there was no planning, no premeditation and this was not the result of any resentment," Simon told ABC News.
"After review and discussion with Italian counsel it appears that the motivation contains internal inconsistencies and relies upon conjecture and unproven facts," he said.
Simon said there are "substantial grounds upon which to appeal."
The appeal process in Italy consists of a full review of all the evidence by a new set of jurors and judges, who will re-evaluate the whole case, based on the paperwork.
Amanda Knox's Judge Approves of Prosecution's Case
According to the report by Massei and his assistant judge, the murder was not planned or premeditated and not the result of resentment of the part of Knox or Sollecito towards Kercher, as the prosecutor had maintained.
The crime, they write, was committed "without any planning, without any animosity or feeling of resentment against the victim, that in any way could be seen as a preparation-predisposition for the crime….the crime seems to have taken place on the basis of merely casual contingencies."
According to the judges, the picture that emerged of the case "necessarily and consequentially leads to the attribution of the crimes to both the defendants."
Despite the depiction of Knox and Sollecito as cold blooded, casual killers, the report notes that the murderers covered Kercher's lifeless body with a blanket.
"The behavior toward Meredith after the violence and the murder, covering up her lifeless body, shows not only a feeling of pity towards the victim, but also a refusal and hence a sort of remorse for what was committed: refusal and remorse entrusted to this gesture of pity," the judge wrote.
The prosecution argued during the 15 month long trial that there was tension between Knox and Kercher, with Kercher complaining about Knox's cleanliness and her sex life. Prosecutors argued that things came to a head when the British girl suggested that Knox had stolen money from her, and Knox lashed out at what prosecutors said was her "prissy" roommate."
Prosecutors said Kercher was sexually assaulted before Knox attack slashed her throat with a kitchen knife.
The judges seemed to believe that Knox was a good kid who was overwhelmed by her situation of being so far from home.
The judges noted that "no witnesses reported any violent behavior" towards anyone on the part of the defendants, that Knox and Sollecito were good students who took on "the extra weight of a job, in addition to that of studying and attending classes."
"Both defendants are very young, and were even more so at the time of the crime," the judges wrote. "The inexperience and immaturity of their young age was accentuated by the context in which both found themselves, because it was different from that in which they had grown up, and without the usual points of reference that could have afforded support, comfort and supervision in their daily life."
Amanda Knox Also Convicted of Slander
In addition to the murder charge, Knox was also convicted of falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba, her boss at a Perugia bar where she worked, of taking part in the murder. The slander conviction added a year to Knox's murder sentence.
Knox, the judges write, "freely accused Patrick Diya Lumumba of killing Meredith, and accused him knowing that Lumumba was innocent."
Knox's family has argued that Italian police found a text message Knox sent to Lumumba on the night that Kercher was killed that read, "see you later." They interpreted the American slang for "so long" as an appointment to see Lumumba later that night, Knox's parents said.
Knox was badgered and hit in the head by police until she allowed that she had a vision that she was at the apartment when Kercher was murdered and that Lumumba was there too. She later signed a statement to that effect.
During her trial, Knox said she was not allowed to speak to a lawyer during her night-long interrogation and had insisted that she was badgered into making inaccurate statements.
Knox and Sollecito claimed that they spent the night of the murder together at Sollecito's apartment where they watched a movie, smoked pot and had sex.
Knox's parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, told Oprah Winfrey last month that their daughter has good days and bad in prison. The worst, Curt Knox said, was the day he had to hold his daughter as she cried for the entire 45 minute visit.
On other days, she is "bubbly," and spends part of her days studying languages in a correspondence course created for her by the University of Washington, which she was attending at the time of her arrest.
The Knox family gathers at their Seattle home every Saturday for the brief phone call home that Knox is allowed to make.