This article originally appeared in
Slain student's body sent home from Italy
By ERIC J. LYMAN
Special to The Seattle Times
ROME— The body of slain student Meredith Kercher was returned to Britain on Sunday, despite
a request for a second post-mortem from defense lawyers.
Seattle native Amanda Knox, who was Kercher's
roommate; Knox's boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito; and
Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, a 37-year-old Congolese
immigrant who owned the bar where Kercher worked,
have been detained as suspects in the Nov. 1 slaying.
It is not clear which defendant's attorney requested that
Kercher's body be retained for a second autopsy. But
Italian magistrates denied the request, allowing the
body to be moved to Rome by train and then to London
on an Alitalia flight. The body arrived Sunday afternoon.
Still, legal experts said the request could mean that a
defense strategy for Knox and the other defendants is
starting to take shape.
In that vein, several Italian newspapers speculated that
part of the strategy could be based on DNA evidence
that a fourth person was in the room with Kercher
during the struggle in her apartment in Perugia,
which ended with her throat cut and her bleeding to
death — likely for at least two hours.
Her body was not discovered until the next morning.
Whatever defense strategy is eventually used, it may not be heard in court for some time. The
three detainees have been declared "flight risks," which means that in the case of violent crimes
the law allows them to be held up to two years without being charged and with no bail being set.
However, a shorter period is likely in a high-profile case such as this one.
In other news from the weekend, Knox's parents were finally able to see their daughter.
Edda Mellas visited her daughter on Saturday, four days after arriving in Perugia, and the Italian
media reported that her father, William Knox, visited Sunday, two days after his arrival.
The Italian media quoted Mellas as saying: "Amanda told me she was not even in the house
when it happened and that she is sure she would be released soon."
Another visitor over the weekend was Father Saulo Scarabattoli, who came to Knox's two-
person, 16-foot by 16-foot cell after Knox was denied permission to attend Mass at the prison.
"I explained to her the true sense of what life is, and how values are connected to moral
behavior," Scarabattoli said in a statement. "I told her that wild party nights were a tragedy, and I
believe she listened carefully to what I said."
The Roman Catholic priest said he didn't meet with Knox's mother, Edda Mellas.
He said Knox had received visits from him "with joy" and was writing down her thoughts. "It's not
a diary in a formal sense as we know it, but she is recording sensations, memories, her
account," the priest told The Associated Press by telephone.
Knox and her mother would have sat face to face in the visitors room, said the priest. Inmates
usually are allowed hourlong visits about four times a month, he said.
Francesco Sollecito, the father of Knox's boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, visited his 23-year-old son
in prison. He described his son as "tranquil enough, although obviously tried by the
His son is also "a bit perturbed," the father said. "He's reviewing his impressions of this girl,"
referring to Knox. Raffaele Sollecito had been seeing her for about two weeks before the slaying.
Investigators have said Kercher was stabbed with a knife similar to one Raffaele Sollecito was
known to carry.
But Francesco Sollecito dismissed any link.
"I, too, collect weapons. I collect rifles and other things," he said. His son, he said, "collects
knives — nothing more, nothing less."
The father, a doctor, contended the wound suffered by Kercher was "compatible with several
kinds of knives."
In a ruling upholding the detentions, Perugia Judge Claudia Matteini described Knox as
confused about the events because she had smoked hashish before the slaying.
The third suspect, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, 38, was accused by Knox of the killing, according to
the judge's ruling. Lumumba's lawyer has maintained that his client was at his pub at the time
and accused Knox of making "slanderous statements."
Sollecito's attorney has also told reporters that his client was not at the crime scene, although
the judge wrote that Sollecito's footprints were found in Kercher's room. The Italian news agency
Apcom quoted Sollecito's father as saying that the footprints were of a "very common" kind of
shoe and that the defense would press for new scientific tests on his son's shoes.
Eric J. Lyman is a freelance reporter based in Rome.
|Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
Monday, November 12, 2007
Amanda Knox, of Seattle, is a suspect. One
defense attorney sought further tests on
victim's body. Photo: Stefano Medici / AP