Raffaele Sollecito, who was convicted for the murder in Perugia of British student Meredith Kercher along with his ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox, graduated this week from the University of Verona, presenting a thesis that analyzed the murder case for which he was found guilty through social media networks, focusing on the numbers of those who favored or opposed his conviction.
In his thesis, written in English and defended in Italian, Sollecito concludes that his name is more frequently linked to the word “innocent” than “guilty” on the Internet.
“On the day we were convicted, my name was associated with the word ‘innocent’ twice as many times as with the word ‘guilty’,” Sollecito said. “I carried out a study of my own case. What was interesting was that in the days after we were reconvicted, there was a complete inversion – for the justice system we were guilty, but on the web, or at least among those internet search engines that I studied, the interpretation was exactly the opposite.”
Sollecito, who already has a degree from Perugia University obtained while in custody during his first murder trial in 2008, graduated in Computer Engineering. His thesis was titled “Social network analysis and semantic proximity.”
Sollecito and former girlfriend Amanda Knox were initially convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher at the 2009 trial in Perugia and served a total of four years in prison. That conviction was overturned on appeal two years later, but in 2013 Italy's Supreme Court ordered a repeat of the appeals trial, saying evidence linking Knox and Sollecito to the murder scene had not been properly considered. In January, the Florence court sentenced Knox to 28 and a half years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years.
Both Sollecito and Knox have always proclaimed their innocence. Sollecito remains free pending the result of a further appeal. Knox, who refused to return to Italy for the appeals trial, was convicted in absentia, and is living in the United States.