March 26, 2013

Italian high court overturns Amanda Knox acquittal

Frances D'Emilio / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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This 2007 file photo shows Amanda Marie Knox, left, and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, of Italy, outside the rented house where 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher was found dead in Perugia, Italy.

AP

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Luciano Ghirga, lawyer of Amanda Knox, center, talks to reporters in front of Italy's Court of Cassation in Rome on Monday.

AP

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The appeals court that acquitted them in 2011 criticized virtually the entire case mounted by prosecutors. The appellate court noted that the murder weapon was never found, said that DNA tests were faulty and that prosecutors provided no murder motive.

It's not clear what part of the appeals sentence was faulted by the high court in ordering a new trial.

Kercher's family attorney, Francesco Maresca, said after Tuesday's ruling: "Yes, this is what we wanted."

Sollecito's attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, noted that Tuesday's ruling was not a determination of guilt but merely a need for further study of the appeals court ruling.

"It's a decision that cancels a verdict and orders a retrial," she said. "I'm not concerned about a deeper reading of the documentation, because I know the documentation."

She acknowledged that perhaps the appeals court ruling had been "too generous" in ruling that the pair simply did not commit the crime, but was confident that Sollecito's innocence would be affirmed.

In her statement, Knox took the Perugia prosecutors to task, saying they "must be made to answer" for the discrepancies in the case. She said "my heart goes out to" Kercher's family.

After nearly four years behind bars in Italy, Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle after the 2011 acquittal and Sollecito resumed his computer science studies, following the degree he earned while studying in prison.

Italy's judicial system allows for two levels of appeals, and prosecutors can appeal acquittals.

Although the court on Monday heard gruesome details, including how Kercher choked on her own blood, it wasn't ruling on the guilt or innocence of the defendants. Its sole task was to decide if the appellate trial was properly conducted.

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Additional Photos

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From left: Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, slain 21-year-old British woman Meredith Kercher, and her American roommate Amanda Knox. Amanda Knox was waiting in Seattle to hear if she would face trial again in the murder of Kercher in Italy.

AP

  


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