Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito
[Amanda Knox e Raffaele Sollecito, pp. 49-53]
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito
Amanda Knox had decided to come to Italy for the purpose of studying. She had chosen Perugia “because she wanted to learn something about the Italian people and culture; not to live in a place that was too touristy” (statement of her mother, Edda Mellas, hearing of 6-19-2009, p.75). In order to be able to come to Italy she had worked and saved a bit of money; moreover both her mother and father had given her and continued to give her money (p. 76, Mellas statement). She had left the United States around the middle of August 2007 and had stopped in Germany; around the end of August or the beginning of September she had come to Perugia, Italy, together with her sister, had seen the house on Via Della Pergola, and had returned to Germany, and then again to Perugia, Italy, to the house that she had already seen and taken a liking to. She had begun to attend the University, with diligence and punctuality: “a truly good student, diligent, participatory” (statement of Antonella Negri, hearing of 3-14-2009, p.5). She had also found employment at the pub Le Chic operated by Patrick Lumumba, where she initially worked every day, until 9:30 or 10:00 pm, and then two times a week, Tuesday and Thursday (see statement of Patrick Lumumba, hearing of 4-3-2009, pp 152 et seq.).
Raffaele Sollecito had moved to Perugia in 2002 from his hometown, Giovinazzo, after obtaining his diploma. He had enrolled in the computer science department [facoltà di informatica] and had chosen Perugia on account of the presence in the city of the ONAOSI boarding house [collegio ONAOSI] (see statement of his father, Francesco Sollecito, p.15. hearing of 6-19-2009) where he had stayed from 2003 to 2005. He was a “quiet, introverted, shy” young man who “watched a lot of films” and the staff of the ONAOSI men’s dormitory [collegio maschile ONAOSI] were struck by a “rather hard-core film…in which there were scenes involving sex with animals” so that they had immediately started monitoring the young man to try to understand him (pp. 130-131, hearing of 3-27-2009, statment of Francesco Tavernesi). He was in the habit of “carrying a small knife in his pocket”, which dated to his adolescence when he would amuse himself by using a pocketknife to carve things on the bark of trees and to shape objects (p. 23, statement of Francesco Sollecito, hearing of 6-19-2009).
He had had a brief involvement [storia] with a girl from Brindisi, which occurred a few months before October of 2007. This relationship had had an extremely short duration — a few days — and he had not been particularly drawn into it [non l’aveva coinvolto più di tanto] (see again father’s statement, p. 18, hearing of 6-19-2009). He had known Amanda Knox for a very short time, from the second half of October; [but] with her “a beautiful rapport [una bella intesa]” had suddenly developed; “he treated her and cuddled her as if she were a baby” (see again statement of Raffaele Sollecito’s father, p. 17).
Ever since Amanda and Raffaele had met, on October 25, 2007 at a classical music concert to which Amanda had gone with Meredith, their relationship and visits to each other were very regular and continuous, to such an extent that in every telephone call that Raffaele’s father made to him — and he made them every day, sometimes more than one on the same day — Raffaele spoke of Amanda (statement of Francesco Sollecito, p. 16). Amanda, for her part, in the coversation that she had in prison with her parents on 11-13-2007 (cf. recording of 11-13-2007, RIT 397/08) was to say that they had gone out together as if they were a couple and that she spent of great deal of her time, outside of school, with him; he was “kind, attentive”, cooked for her, and always wanted to hug her and help her.
Both Amanda and Raffaele made use of mind-altering substances, and on this circumstance the statements are many (p. 19 of Romanelli’s statement, hearing of 2-7-2009; of Mezzetti’s, hearing of 2-14-2009; p. 164 hearing of 3-27-2009, statement of Antonio Galizia, commander of the Giovinazzo station of the Carabinieri, who reported that in September of 2003, 2.67 grams of hashish were found in the possession of Raffaele Sollecito; Amanda made references to the use of marijuana on many occasions in recorded conversations).
That the Raffaele-Amanda relationship, begun only on October 25, was extremely close, can be inferred also from what Filomena Romanelli reported; she recalled that on October 26 (a precise memory since it was based on the graudation date of a friend of hers), thus the day immediately following the first meeting of Amanda and Raffaele, she saw Raffaele in the house on Via Della Pergola, and Laura Mezzetti told er he was a friend of Amanda’s; she saw him again in the apartment on another two or three occasions (statement of Romanelli, p. 15, hearing of 2-7-2009). Laura Mezzetti, too, has remembered seeing Raffaele Sollecito several times in the house on Via Della Pergola, “around four times” (p. 8, hearing of 2-14-2009), and very often Amanda slept at Raffaele’s house (see again statement of Mezzetti, hearing of 2-14-2009).
These statements, considering the very few days intervening from the date of the beginning of the relationship, October 25, indicate a particularly intense association, a sedulously pursued relationship [una relazione sicuramente assidua], as if they were a couple, to use Amanda’s expression from the recording cited above. Laura Mezzetti would say, in this regard, that “they were constantly hugging each other…Raffaele was particularly tender; to me he seemed at times amost a bit possessive; for all that it would have annoyed me, he was very attached to Amanda” (statement of Mezzetti, hearing of 201402009, p. 25).
On the evening of November 1, too, when Francesco Sollecito called his son at 8:42 pm to tell him about the plot of the film he had just seen, The Pursuit of Happyness, Raffaele was with Amanda, and reported to his father that he would also be with Amanda the following day: they had in fact planned a trip to Gubbio. He further recalled that on that evening, the 1st of November, when he called at 8:42 pm, Raffaele told him “that while he was washing the dishes he realized that water was being lost…water was pouring onto the floor” and he explained that he was with Amanda (p.45, statement of Francesco Sollecito).
That Amanda and Raffaele were together on the evening of November 1 can also be inferred from the testimony of Jovana Popovic (see statement at the hearing of 3-21-2009), who has reported that, during the evening of November 1, she went to Raffaele Sollecito’s residence on Corso Garibaldi twice, and on both of those two occasions she found Amanda there. Jovan Popovic stated that on October 31, 2007, her mother in Milan had told her that she had sent her a suitcase on the bus [pullman] that was leaving Milan and would arive in Perugia at midnight. The 1st of November was thus spent at Raffaele’s house (p. 6 of the Popvic statement, hearing of 3-21-2009) and she had asked her if he could take her to the bus station. This had happened around 5:45 pm, thus a little before 6:00 pm. In the house were Amanda, who opened the door, and Raffaele.
Shortly thereafter her [Popovic’s] mother had called her back, telling her that she had not been able to send the suitcases because the bus driver refused to take them. Jovana Popovic, having finished the class that she had at I Tre Archi, which ended at 8:20 pm, had thus walked back to Raffaele’s apartment to tell him that she no longer needed him to take her to the station. She had arrived at the apartment after about twenty minutes and thus around 8:40 pm, and had again found Amanda, who opened the door and informed her that Raffaele was in the bathroom.
The relationship between Amanda and Raffaele was thus quite recent but particularly intense in the few, *very* few days following [their first encounter] (the tragedy that ensued having occurred barely a week after their first encounter). And, indeed, on the 1st of November — in the afternoon, in the evening, and at night — Amanda and Raffaele were together.
Commitments on the part of one or the other of them could separate them for a short time, but circumstances entirely indepedent of their choices would bring them together, as if to tempt them and put their free will to the test. [tentare la loro libertà e metterli alla prova: lit. “to tempt their freedom and put them to the test”]
Raffaele Sollecito, as has just been recalled, was to accompany Jovana Popovic, a medical student, to the station in order to collect luggage her mother had intended to send to her in Perugia from a bus originating from Milan. The driver had however refused to accept it and thus Jovana Popovic had informed [Sollecito] that she no longer needed to be taken to the station.
Amanda Knox, for her part, was to go to work at the Le Chic pub operated by Diya Patrick Lumumba. The latter, however, had sent her a text message — shprtly after 8:00 pm on that 1st of November — to tell her that there was no need for her to come to work that evening (see statement of Patrick Lumumba, hearing of 4-3-2009, pp. 160 et seq.).
Thus Amanda as well as Raffaele found herself free of all commitments for the evening and night of the 1st of November.