Amanda Knox Family Disputes Court's Theft Motive for Murder

Italian court says motive for murder was theft of Kercher's money.

ByABC News
April 29, 2014, 12:08 PM

April 29, 2014— -- The family of Amanda Knox disputed an Italian court's report today that she killed her roommate Meredith Kercher after a "mounting quarrel" that may have culminated with Kercher accusing Knox of stealing 300 euros from her.

Knox’s family said today that the court's reasoning was flawed, that there was no reason for Amanda Knox to steal money from Kercher. The family told ABC News that at the time of Kercher’s murder, Knox had over $4,000 in her bank account that was immediately accessible to her.

In addition, she had a job and received monthly allowances from her parents.

The court said in the 337-page document, known as a "motivation" of the sentence, that the relationship between Knox and Kercher was "not idyllic," with tension over Knox's supposed sloppiness and her tendency to bring strangers to the cottage that they shared in Perugia, Italy. The two college students were spending a semester abroad when the murder occurred in 2007.

In a statement, Knox said, "The recent Motivation document does not -– and cannot –- change the forensic evidence: Experts agreed that my DNA was not found anywhere in Meredith’s room, while the DNA of the actual murderer, Rudy Guede, was found throughout that room and on Meredith’s body. This forensic evidence directly refutes the multiple-assailant theory found in the new Motivation document. This theory is not supported by any reliable forensic evidence."

Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was convicted along with her and a third man, Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate trial of taking part in the killing. Guede is serving a 16 year prison sentence.

"I will now focus on pursuing an appeal before the Italian Supreme Court. I remain hopeful that the Italian courts will once again recognize my innocence. I want to thank once again, from the bottom of my heart, all of those -- family, friends, and strangers -- who have supported me and believe in my innocence," Knox added in her statement.

The court stated in the motivation that it was hard to establish a reason for the brutal slaying of the British student, but cited the allegations of tension between the roommates and a statement Guede made to police that Kercher believed Knox stole 300 euros - about $450 - and two credits cards from her.

The document states that a fight over money was a "valid motive" for the murder.

"It is a matter of fact that at a certain point in the evening events accelerated; the English girl was attacked by Amanda Marie Knox, by Raffaele Sollecito, who was backing up his girlfriend, and by Rudy Hermann Guede, and constrained within her own room," the court document said.

Today's release by the Italian court was the latest twist in a legal saga that has lasted nearly eight years.

Kercher was found partially nude and with her throat slashed in a cottage she shared with Knox. Knox and Sollecito were both arrested and jailed pending trial and were convicted in the first trial after the prosecution argued that the murder was the result of a sex game gone awry.

They were both freed after four years in prison when an appeals court ruled in 2011 that much of the evidence was poorly handled, raising questions that key forensic evidence had been contaminated, and that the prosecution had failed to produce a motive for Knox to kill Kercher.

Knox returned home to Seattle and was stunned when Italy's Supreme Court ordered another appeals court to look at the case again. This time, the appeals court found Knox and Sollecito guilty of murder.

In detailing the latest decision, the court dismissed the sex game gone awry theory, but attributed the murder to bad blood between Knox and Kercher that erupted over the theft accusation.

The motivation also said there was evidence that more than one person was involved and more than one knife was used in the attack on Kercher, which meant that Guede did not kill Kercher by himself. It claimed that Guede restrained Kercher while Knox and Sollecito wielded knives.

The court sentenced Knox to 28.5 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years. The defendants are expected to appeal this latest sentence to Italy's supreme court.