Amanda Knox Starts Laying Out Evidence for Defense

Knox lawyers begin slowly laying out defense strategy.

ByABC News
June 23, 2009, 2:42 PM

ROME, June 23, 2009#151; -- Lawyers for Amanda Knox began laying out their defense for the American student on trial in an Italian courtroom for allegedly murdering her British roommate in what prosecutors say was a sex game gone awry.

As part of the day's testimoney, they prompted one of Knox's neighbors who said he saw no friction between the two exchange students who were spending a year studying in Perugia, Italy.

Knox, 21, of Seattle, and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are accused of murdering Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old British student, who was strangled and stabbed in the neck. Both defendants deny any involvement in the crime.

A third person, Ivory Coast drifter Rudy Guede, has already been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the murder. He is appealing his conviction.

Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito, who are presenting a joint defense, called several witnesses today in an apparent attempt to cast doubt on the prosecution's claim that Kercher was killed between 11 and 11:30 p.m. Nov. 1, 2007.

It appears that the defense of Sollecito wants to move the time of Kercher's death up by a couple of hours, a time when Sollecito was likely to still have been at home.

Pasqualino Coletta, a tourist who was visiting Perugia in November 2007, told the court that his car had broken down on the night of Nov. 1 as he was leaving the public parking lot across from the cottage that Knox and Kercher shared.

Coletta said that while he waited for a tow truck between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., he noticed nothing strange and did not hear any screams.

Last week, Francesco Introna, a coroner called as a consultant for Sollecito, told the court he believes Kercher died at 9:30 p.m.

Earlier in the trial, two witnesses who live within earshot of the crime scene were called by the prosecution and told the court they heard a scream coming from the house between 11:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. that night.