On November 24, 2010, Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann swore in the jury of five women and one man, beginning the appeal trial for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. The appeals filed by both defense teams not only requested a new trial but also detailed the evidence they wanted re-evaluated on appeal. It was Hellmann’s job to decide what items he would allow for review. Hellmann made it clear what points he felt were crucial during the third hearing on December 18, 2010, adding that other aspects of the case would be re-addressed in the future if necessary.
Hellmann’s approach was to focus on the key evidence that secured the convictions during the first trial. Hellmann ordered the DNA evidence to be analyzed by independent experts appointed by the court. The appeals filed by Amanda and Raffaele were built largely around a request for an independent review of forensic evidence so the fact that Hellmann granted additional testing (refused by Judge Massei in the first trial) was great news for the defense. Hellmann knew the case was built on two pieces of evidence; the knife and the bra clasp. If the DNA evidence on these two items was proven unreliable on appeal, the prosecution had no case.
In addition to the DNA review, Hellmann also granted the defense request to put a series of witnesses on the stand. First was the prosecution’s star witness, Antonio Curatolo. Second came five jailhouse snitches in an attempt by the defense to show that the prosecution did not pursue all avenues during the first trial (as required by Italian law). This move by the defense would lead the prosecution to call Meredith’s killer Rudy Guede to the stand to give a rebuttal. Testimony from the snitches and Guede provided nothing of value. It was the highly critical expert review of the DNA and the demolition of the prosecution’s star witness that would eventually lead to acquittals for Amanda and Raffaele.
The Hellmann Report was translated to English in December 2011 and can be read here: https://hellmannreport.wordpress.com/