FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — An Italian prosecutor on Tuesday demanded that an appellate court find Amanda Knox guilty of the 2007 murder of her British roommate, a killing he argued may have been rooted in arguments about cleanliness and triggered by a toilet left unflushed by the only man now in jail for the murder.
Prosecutor Alessandro Crini called for 26-year sentences for Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her co-defendant and former boyfriend, following more than 10 hours of closing arguments over two days. Knox and Sollecito deny any involvement in the killing.
Crini departed from past scenarios by suggesting the crime was not so much sexually fueled — an erotic game that got out of control, as the lower court prosecutor described it — but an act of physical violence with a sexual expression.
He alleged that Knox and Sollecito acted with another man in an explosion of violence sparked by tension between Knox and British student Meredith Kercher.
Crini argued that Rudy Guede — a native of Ivory Coast now serving a 16-year sentence for the murder — may have inflamed tensions between Knox and Kercher after he defecated in a toilet inside the women's apartment and didn't flush.
Crini said Guede, who was friendly with young men living in a neighboring apartment, had done the same thing the previous week. "It is an absolutely disgusting and incongruous habit that he evidently had," Crini said.
Testimony in previous trials had cited tensions between Kercher and Knox over the cleanliness of the house they shared with two Italian roommates.
Kercher's murder in the idyllic hillside town of Perugia is getting its third trial after Italy's highest court annulled an appellate ruling overturning the 2009 guilty verdicts against Knox and Sollecito. They were convicted in the first trial, and sentenced to 26 years and 25 years, respectively. Knox's sentence included 1 year for slander.
Knox's lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said the shift in the prosecution's theory about events leading up to the killing "confirms the lack of proof."
"In a trial based on clues, all the facts can be interpreted. This prosecutor worked very hard, but it doesn't change the situation. There are too many doubts. It calls for only an acquittal," Dalla Vedova said.
Kercher's body was found in a pool of blood in her locked bedroom on Nov. 2, 2007. Her throat was slit and there were signs of sexual aggression.
Kercher was stripped naked during the attack, and prosecutors allege that her bra was removed with a knife that tore off a clasp, one of the most-disputed pieces of evidence in the case. Guede was convicted in the murder on evidence that included physical evidence from a vaginal swab of the victim.