Meredith Kercher murder case timeline

This page provides a brief timeline of the murder case. The first section provides some details of the murder discovery and the initial police investigations, while the later section provides summaries of the subsequent trials. There are several important points to note:

Contrary to what was repeatedly reported in the media, police investigations did not last for only a few days. Police investigations continued for eight months, from before the cautionary arrests in early November 2007 up to June 2008. In fact police investigations and evidentiary hearings happened after the cautionary arrests were confirmed by the Italian Supreme Court in early April 2008. Notably, prosecutors did not finalize charges until after the investigations were complete, in July 2008. This is when the investigation phase officially ended. The arrests made were precautionary, primarily to prevent flight risks by Knox and (at the time of the arrests) Lumumba.

The Micheli trial played a critical role in the proceedings, though it has been often overlooked in media reports and books. The trial had a dual purpose. It acted as Guede's primary murder trial and also as a preliminary hearing for the murder charge evidence against Knox and Sollecito, a precursor to their main trial. The reason it acted as Guede's murder trial is because Guede's defense team asked for a fast track judicial process at the beginning of the trial. Otherwise, this would have been a preliminary hearing trial for Guede as well.
Judge Micheli's sentence notes that all three defendants acted together in the murder of Meredith Kercher. His motivation report is well worth reading, since it is the first court motivation report that looks at most of the evidence gathered by the police. The previous court motivation reports of the cautionary arrest proceedings only looked at some parts of the evidence, because investigations were still ongoing and not all final reports had been released.

Finally, it is very important to note the large number of trials that have occurred in the case. Many think that this was a case where evidence was meager and the Italian courts were equally divided about whether Knox and Sollecito participated in the murder of Meredith Kercher. But as can be seen below, many judges weighed the evidence against the defendants and found the evidence preponderant. The judges who found the evidence valid enough to tie all three defendants to the murder include: the preliminary hearing judge (Claudia Matteini); two different cautionary arrest appeal courts; two different Italian Supreme Courts that confirmed the cautionary arrests; the Micheli court; Guede's appeals court and the Italian Supreme Court judges ruling on his appeals; the Massei court, the 2013 Italian Supreme Court which annulled the first appeals court decision for Knox and Sollecito, and finally the second appeals court in Florence, also for Knox and Sollecito.
Only two courts (the first appeals court in Perugia and the final Italian Supreme Court) found the evidence contradictory or insufficient. In both these cases, the trials were presided by judges with primarily civil case experience, not with violent crime experience. And in both cases, the judges only considered a limited part of the evidence, not all of it.
So in reality the vast majority of the Italian judges who considered the case found the evidence valid enough to believe that Knox and Sollecito had also participated in the murder. The first appeals court (whose trial sentence was annulled,) and the final Supreme Court ruling, are outliers in the case.

A more detailed chronology of the murder case can be seen from the chronological listing of the file library here. A PDF of this table can be found in this document.

Investigations Arrest trials Guede trials Knox and Sollecito trials
11/01/2007 Around 22:00, a family in a villa about a kilometer from the cottage receive a prank call of a bomb threat in their toilet. They call the Postal Police who come out to investigate their villa and garden.
11/02/2007 In the morning, a family member discovers a cellphone in their villa garden. They bring it to the Postal Police around 11:00 AM, thinking it was accidentally dropped by a Postal Police agent the night before.
11/02/2007 Around 12:00 Postal Police dispatch a squad to find Filomena Romanelli to whom the cellphone is registered. Romanelli shares an apartment in the cottage with Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox and Laura Mezzetti.
11/02/2007 Around 12:00 another family member discovers a second cellphone in their villa garden and brings it to the Postal Police, after the squad has already left.
11/02/2007 Around 12:10, Knox calls Romanelli to let her know there has been in apparent break-in at the cottage, that Romanelli’s room has a broken window and her room is ransacked. Romanelli is with her friend Grande at a local festival and advise their boyfriends to meet them at the cottage.
11/02/2007 At around 12:35 Postal Police arrive at the cottage and find Knox and Sollecito present. Knox and Sollecito show them the break-in. Postal Police await the arrival of Romanelli.
11/02/2007 At 12:51 and 12:54, Sollecito calls the Carabinieri twice to advise them of the break-in in Romanelli’s room.
11/02/2007 Between roughly 12:50 to 13:00 the boyfriends of Romanelli and Grande arrive, and Romanelli and Grande arrive shortly after. Romanelli verifies nothing has been stolen from her ransacked room. The Postal Police show her the cellphone numbers of the phones discovered by the family. Romanelli identifies the cellphone numbers as belonging to Meredith. Seeing that Meredith’s bedroom door is closed and locked, she insists, with Postal Police approval, to have Meredith’s door broken down. The boyfriends break down the door.
11/02/2007 Around 13:15, Meredith Kercher is discovered dead inside her bedroom. Postal Police close off the cottage as a crime scene. Police investigations start, including local Perugia police, Perugia Scientific police, Perugia Postal Police and Rome Scientific Police squadrons. Preliminary investigations include: witness depositions; phone intercepts; phone log analysis; surveys of the cottage (both lower and upper apartments) for DNA samples and fingerprints; reviews of CCTV footage of the parking garage across the street from the cottage.
11/03/2007 The coroner examines the cadaver onsite shortly after midnight of 11/02/07, noting two different sizes knife wounds in the neck. The cadaver is taken to the morgue and later that morning, the Coroner, an assistant gynecologist and Scientific Police examine the cadaver. Additional DNA samples are taken. The Rome Scientific police continue the crime scene survey at the cottage, reviewing the lower apartment. Perugia police review phone records and take additional depositions.
11/04/2007 The coroner performs the autopsy; the time of death is estimated around 11:30 PM of 11/01/07; bruising in the genital area suggests sex without consent. The coroner notes that the knife wounds are possibly made by a knife with single cutting edge. Police continue with preliminary investigations. CCTV footage shows Meredith returning to cottage around 9:00 PM on 11/01/07 after an evening dinner party with friends. Police review phone records and take additional depositions.
11/05/2007 Police find discrepancies in Sollecito’s phone records with respect to his November 2nd deposition. They call in Sollecito for a new deposition. Knox accompanies him to the police. Sollecito changes alibis and says Knox was not with him the evening of the murder. Knox changes her alibi; she accuses Lumumba of the murder of Meredith Kercher while Knox was in the kitchen at the cottage.
11/06/2007 After the arrests, police make additional sequesters at the cottage, at Sollecito's apartment, and at Lumumba's apartment and bar. At Sollecito’s apartment they find a kitchen knife that police think could be the murder weapon; Perugia police release a preliminary shoeprint analysis with a probable match between Sollecito's sneakers and bloody shoeprints at the cottage.
Knox, Lumumba, Sollecito are arrested as a precautionary measure. Police note Sollecito carried a pocket knife that could have been used in the murder; police also note his sneakers may potentially match bloody shoeprints at cottage. Police appoint them lawyers.
11/07/2007 A second shoeprint analysis report is released by the Foligno Scientific Police; Sollecito's sneakers are a close match to the bloody shoeprints found at the crime scene. Police make additional sequesters at cottage and Lumumba's bar. The coroner releases a preliminary autopsy report.
New lawyers are hired by defendants’ families and Kercher’s family.
11/08/2007 Police sequester additional items at Sollecito’s and Lumumba’s apartment, and also sequester Sollecito’s car.
Cautionary arrest hearings with Knox, Lumumba and Sollecito; the preliminary hearing judge Claudia Matteini condemns all three to cautionary arrest.
11/12/2007 Rome Scientific Police starts DNA analysis on the first roughly 20 samples of nearly 200 samples obtained for DNA analysis (nearly 480 separate traces- DNA and hairs- will eventually be analyzed).
11/13/2007 Rome Scientific Police survey Sollecito’s car and apartment; Perugia police issue a brief phone analysis.
11/14/2007 Rome Scientific Police survey Lumumba’s bar.
11/15/2007 Rome Scientific police release preliminary fingerprint report identifying fingerprints by Kercher, Knox, Sollecito and others at the crime scene. Four key prints on the pillow case found underneath Meredith remain unidentified. DNA analysis proceeds.
11/16/2007 Rome Scientific Police release "part B" to the preliminary fingerprint report identifying Rudy Guede's palm print on the pillow case. Perugia police sequester Guede’s apartment. More items sequestered at Sollecito’s apartment.
Preliminary hearing judge Claudia Matteini orders Guede's arrest.
11/17/2007 The first of a dozen DNA analysis reports released as Rome Scientific police works through hundreds of samples obtained. These reports are compiled into a single DNA report in June 2008.
11/19/2007 Postal Police issue reports on the analysis of Sollecito’s computer and cellphone contents.
Lumumba is released from prison. Guede is coincidentally arrested in Koblenz, Germany.
11/22/2007 Police ask to do blood pattern analysis on the doors of the wardrobe in Meredith's bedroom.
Defense teams release the first of many reports questioning the evidence. This one questions the shoeprint comparison between Sollecito's sneakers and bloody shoeprints found at the cottage.
An evidentiary hearing by the preliminary hearing judge Matteini to hire medical consultants.

Knox and Sollecito cautionary arrest appeals hearing; judges Ricciarelli, Bellucci and Brutti reject their appeal and confirm their cautionary arrest in two motivation reports, one for each suspect.
Guede is extradited from Germany to Italy.
Guede cautionary arrest trial; judge Matteini condemns him to cautionary arrest based on her report previously released on 11/16/07.
Guede cautonary arrest appeals hearing; judges Battistacci, Bellucci and Brutti reject Guede's appeal and confirm his cautionary arrest.
12/18/2007 An additional Rome Scientific Police survey of the cottage: more DNA samples are obtained; luminol revealed footprints are discovered; blood spray pattern is photographed. The clasp of Meredith's bra is found. Scientific Police also release a fingerprint report of Guede's apartment (survey done on 11/20/07-11/21/07).
January 2008 The CCTV analysis report, bloodstain pattern analysis report and final fingerprint report are all released; the first evidentiary hearing is held on the computer evidence.
February 2008 The coroner releases the final autopsy report and a separate toxicology report; all medical consultants and lawyers review the knife alleged to be the murder weapon at a meeting at the Rome Scientific lab.
March 2008 Police make additional sequesters at the cottage. Additional fingerprint reports released on items sequestered.
April 2008 A third shoeprint analysis report is released; a second evidentiary hearing is held on the computer evidence; an evidentiary hearing is held with all the medical consultants (prosecution, judge and defense consultants) on the medical evidence and manner of death; medical consultants release commentary reports on the autopsy report. Police perform additional sequesters at the cottage.
Italian Supreme Court confirms the cautionary arrests for Guede, Knox and Sollecito, in three separate motivation reports.
May 2008 Footprints are taken of the suspects; a footprint analysis report is released comparing footprints to the luminol footprints and bloody footprint on the bathmat, both found at the cottage.
June 2008 Police investigations are completed; reports completed in June include: a DNA Egrams booklet; final DNA analysis report with photographic attachments; the violent crime police unit (UACV) report on the crime scene. The full scope of police and prosecutor investigations includes: phone intercepts; prison intercepts; phone log analysis; computer use analysis; three shoeprint analyses; footprint analysis; fingerprint analysis; crime scene analysis; blood spray pattern analysis; DNA analysis; over 220 depositions and interrogations; surveys of four different crime scenes- the cottage, Sollecito’s apartment, Guede’s apartment and Lumumba’s bar.
July 2008
On July 11, 2008, Prosecutor Miginini finalizes charges against Guede, Knox and Sollecito and releases intent to go to trial, in both Italian and English. Charges include six counts: murder of Meredith Kercher for unknown motives; carrying a large kitchen knife from Sollecito's apartment to the cottage; subjecting Meredith to unwanted sexual relations; stealing Meredith's money, credit card and cell phones; Knox and Sollecito simulating a burglary; Knox falsely accusing Lumumba of the crime.
August 2008
In August 2008, Lumumba's lawyer Pacelli, previously hired during the cautionary arrest proceedings, files to attach themselves to the murder trial proceedings for Knox's calumny against Lumumba.  Defense and civil lawyers are granted access to cottage.
September- October 2008
Guede’s primary fast track trial; Judge Micheli reviews some witnesses, reviews some key police and defense reports and condemns Guede to 30 years for the murder of Meredith Kercher, having acted together with Knox and Sollecito.
At the same trial, judge Micheli, acting as preliminary hearing judge, finds there is sufficient evidence against Knox and Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher and orders them to trial. Judge Micheli's motivation report details the evidence and reflects on how the threesome acted together in murdering Meredith.
November - December 2008
Some follow up investigations ordered by the prosecutors (Comodi and Mignini), including more witness depositions and the production of a computer animated recreation of the murder.

January to December 2009

Guede's appeals trial in November- December 2009; judges Borsini and Belardi reject a number of defense lawyer's claims, including that Guede did not act separately from Knox and Sollecito; the judges confirm the original sentence, but grant a reduced sentence of 16 years in prison for the fast-track process.
Knox and Sollecito's primary trial from January to December 2009; judges Massei and Cristiani review many witnesses, tour the actual crime scene, review police and defense reports, and consider defense motions and all the evidence; the judges condemn Knox and Sollecito to 30 years in prison for the murder of Meredith Kercher. The judges also sentence Knox for calumny against Lumumba (knowingly and falsely accusing him of the murder).
November 2010 -October 2011

Italian Supreme Court confirms Guede's guilty sentence in December 2010.
Knox and Sollecito first appeals trial; judges Hellmann and Zanetti review some of the evidence, hear some witnesses, order an additional DNA test and find insufficient grounds for conviction. The court releases Knox and Sollecito from prison, but confirms Lumumba's charge of calumny against Knox.
2012- March 2013
Italian Supreme Court finds multiple contradictory and illogical reasons by the appeals court. The court annuls the Hellmann and Zanetti court decision and orders a second appeals trial. The court finalizes Lumumba’s calumny charge against Knox.
September 2013 - January 2014
Knox and Sollecito second appeals trial; judges Nencini and Cicerchia hear some witnesses, order another DNA test, review all the evidence and convict Knox and Sollecito of murder of Meredith Kercher.
March 2015
Italian Supreme court, contrary to its usual role, fails to review the reasons of the second appeals trial and instead reviews only a fraction of the evidence. The court rejects the second appeals court decision and finds insufficient evidence against Knox and Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher. But, the court places Knox and Sollecito at the cottage at the time of the murder. They do not remand the proceeding for a third appeals trial.