Hellmann-Zanetti court

These are all the files pertinent to the first appeals court of Knox and Sollecito's murder trial. After judges Massei and Cristiani sentenced Knox and Sollecito in December 2009 to 25-30 years in prison for participating in the murder of Meredith Kercher, Knox and Sollecito's defense teams appealed the sentence. The appeal was handled by this court, presided by judges Claudio Pratillo Hellmann and Massimo Zanetti.

Both judges had extensive civil case experience but no murder case experience. At the time, due to retirements and transfers, the Perugia court district was without additional criminal case judges who could handle the case (and who were not Massei and Cristiani). The court district director therefore wound up assigning the case to these two judges. 

This appeals trial is notable for its longevity. There were many days of hearings sparsely distributed over the course of a year. The proceedings were marked by witnesses that later recanted their testimony and by court appointed medical consultants (Conti & Vecchiotti) who performed an extra DNA test on the knife. The expert testimony of these consultants was itself problematic and the prosecutor and civil consultant rebuttals of their DNA test and testimony are well worth reading.

In the end, this court confirmed the calumny charge against Knox by Lumumba, but considered the murder evidence contradictory. They released Knox and Sollecito from prison. There was much subsequent discussion about this trial and its merits (see the news articles under the Media section below). The Italian Supreme Court annulled this proceeding in 2013 with a notably scathing motivation report that detailed numerous illogical reasonings, inconsistencies and failures by judges Hellmann and Zanetti. In the end, the judges failed to consider all the evidence that judges Massei and Cristiani had considered. Ultimately a second appeals trial was held, which did consider most of the case evidence, and found Knox and Sollecito guilty of the murder.


November-December 2010

January-March 2011

April-June 2011

July-September 2011

September 2011- October 2011- closing arguments

Files issued by the Hellmann-Zanetti court

Decrees, ordinances and sentences



These are reports created prior to and during the appeals trial. As can be seen, the Conti-Vecchiotti report generated much commentary from both the prosecution and the defense teams. 

Various files

Various files for the Hellmann-Zanetti appeals trial, including appeals, defense motions, notices and other documents directly related to the trial. Also included are various notes by the prosecutors that provide some rebuttals to points raised by the defense teams.

Media articles

As noted above the sentence and the entire proceeding raised various questions and spurred much discussion in the media. These articles from various Italian press provide a range of opinion on the Hellmann-Zanetti proceeding.

Relevant links
Files by Subject