Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, (Mez) would have been celebrating her 30th birthday on 28 December 2015. However, she was brutally murdered in Perugia, Italy on 1 November 2007 while she was on an exchange from the University of Leeds in the UK. Although one person has been found guilty of her murder, it is unknown whether justice has been truly served, due to flaws in the investigation, legal loopholes, and media sensationalism and influence. Has Meredith been denied justice due to human errors, or the system succumbing to the media pressure surrounding other suspects?
A murder is never nice to read about, but is worse when you recognize the name. I knew Meredith, (and she did insist on my calling her Mez), and she was a friend for a brief time when we worked on promotional events together when she was 18-years-old. I hired her one Saturday during the summer when her friend brought her along to an event I was running. My agency continued to book her, and I worked with her until she left to go to University. What was she like? I remember her being petite, with a tiny frame, and no more than 5 feet 3 inches in height. When I knew her she was bubbly, but not flirtatious, friendly, and softly spoken. She was sociable, but also innocently naïve in that she was quite trusting of people, but she had no reason not to trust them until they had proven themselves to be untrustworthy. I remember her and another girl running over to me one day at work, telling me that they had some problems with boys harassing them, and I went with them to sort things out. She wasn’t the type of girl to invite strangers around or to be confrontational, and when an article suggested that’s what she did with the murderer (as in implying she invited him around for sex), I knew there was something wrong with the story.
I believe in justice, however, I realize it’s not what you know, but what you can prove in the legal system. So did the justice system fail Meredith, because the whole truth of what happened has not been revealed? Meredith’s roommate, Amanda Knox, and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, were arrested as suspects in the murder, sentenced and then acquitted. Rudy Guede’s fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime, and he was eventually apprehended and is serving a sentence for the crime. However, his story is inconsistent with the evidence and also the character of Meredith. She had a boyfriend and it’s highly unlikely, knowing her character that she would invite someone she barely knew into her home without a good reason.
The justice system isn’t perfect by any means, and there are wrongful convictions due to many factors such as mistaken identity, false confessions, and prosecutorial misconduct. In this situation, given the high-profile of the case due to the brutal and tragic circumstances, one wonders why all items in the room were not taken away as evidence to be tested for DNA? Was that incompetence or inexperience? This major error led to reasonable doubt over the DNA found on items that belonged to the suspects.
There are several variables to take into consideration here; the Italian police didn’t follow procedures, and thus now as Knox and Sollecito have been exonerated, has the justice system failed, and if so, why and how? The legal case maybe over, but the moral case will not rest until the true story is told. The question most people want the answer to, and may never find out is; what role, if any did these two play in the murder? Their alibis, consistently changing stories, and Knox’s implication of Patrick Lumumba, indicates they were, and are still are hiding some facts. Why did the police detain Lumumba as he had a solid independent alibi, despite no evidence? Perhaps it was because he was black that they believed the white American girl? If so, that is a grave injustice, being judged on status and the color of the skin. The police have never given a valid reason, and compensation was given as a result.
Suspicions did arise from the behaviors and testimonies of Knox and Sollecito, in addition to the procedures the police failed to follow. Here are some facts that no one has been able to give a logical or reasonable explanation for:
- Forensic evidence indicates the murder involved more than one person, as bruises indicate Meredith’s arms were held down as she was attacked, and she was unable to fight back.
- Why was DNA evidence missed at the crime scene? Forensic officers returned on December 18, 2007, where a bra clasp with Sollecito’s DNA was discovered. Here, there is no explanation why all evidence wasn’t bagged and tagged, nor how Sollecito’s DNA appeared on Meredith’s bra. While contamination is possible, it still would not explain why his DNA was on a bra, especially one that had been removed from the body.
- Knox’s deliberate attempt to frame Patrick Lumumba, has never been explained.
- The police failed to allow Knox access to a lawyer, thus depriving her of her rights and due process. It allowed the defense to dismiss any statements made, as they would have been under duress.
- The staged burglary; a career criminal like Guede would have known how to break in without breaking a window, in addition valuables were not taken. Who would have gained from a staged burglary?
- The police failed to search the scene of the crime (the burglary) under the advice of Knox who persuaded them not to look in Meredith’s room. This isn’t normal procedure when a robbery has taken place. Despite the question over whether Meredith locked her door or not, the police should have searched all rooms to look for evidence. Why they listened to Knox rather than do their job has not been answered. It was only when another roommate arrived (Filomena Romanelli), did she demand that the police look in the room. Not only does it violate normal police procedure, anyone whose house has been broken into, should for safety and insurance purposes have all rooms checked. That’s normal behavior.
- The missing cell phones; why were they not tested for fingerprints, and if they were, what did they indicate? If Guede had stolen them his DNA would be on them? If he left his fingerprints at the scene of the crime, he would unlikely wipe them from a cell phone.
- If Guede had acted alone, why did he not remove any evidence of the crime? As a criminal he would have been aware of his DNA as evidence. One may consider any accomplices would have assured him they would do it (which is why he left it at the scene), yet they failed to do so, and removed their own instead. Maybe he wasn’t that clever, but knew to flee the country.
- Why did Knox and Sollecito switch off their phones? Most young people never switch off their phones unless they have to or wish to avoid detection. Did the prosecution look at their cell phone patterns and determine whether this was normal for them or not?
There are many other sites that have detailed the case notes, trial transcripts of the case, and the appeals, but have all those involved in Meredith’s murder been accounted for? The legal case maybe over and legal justice may elude Meredith, yet I know there is a higher power that will ensure Meredith will receive the justice she deserves. I hope she is resting in peace, and that one day these questions will be answered. Maybe someone on their deathbed will have a conscience and tell the whole truth one day? Meredith deserves that—justice is about the truth being told, and those who have erred to face the consequences. It may not happen in this life, but Karma has a way of ensuring those who commit unjust acts will be confronted with the morality of their actions and their debts will be repaid— somehow, somewhere.
I recall the last time I saw Mez—she got on my train when it stopped at Coulsdon on the way to Gatwick. We chatted about the job we were on our way to, and how many more shifts we had agreed to do. The next time I saw her name was when I opened a newspaper at work—the report of her murder.
R.I.P. my friend, and know that justice will find its way to you.