Raffaele Sollecito And Amanda Knox Blamed To Calm Fears, Defense Says

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This combo image made of files pictures shows US student Amanda Knox (L) and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito during their trial in Perugia. Italy's highest court of appeals was set to rule on March 25, 2013 on whether US student Amanda Knox, acquitted in 2011 of murdering her British housemate in the university town of Perugia, will face another trial. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI,FABIO MUZZI/AFP/Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — The defense lawyer for the former boyfriend of U.S. exchange student Amanda Knox says the young lovers were blamed for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher to calm local fears that a monster was on the loose.

Lawyer Giulia Bongiorno told an appeals court Thursday that her client, Raffaele Sollecito, and Knox were identified as suspects in a "record" four days after the murder in Perugia because Italian authorities "did not want to think that a stranger, a monster, could have entered a house and murdered a student."

Bongiorno said much of the evidence later used to convict Sollecito in the first trial had not even been gathered at that point.

Bongiorno spoke on the final day of closing arguments in the third trial of Knox and Sollecito.

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