Story Summary

Amanda Knox

In November 2007 Seattle college student Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were arrested in connection with the murder of British college student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. Initially found guilty of the crime in 2009, and after being imprisoned for nearly four years, the decision was overturned and Knox and Sollecito were released. In March 2013, an Italian court ordered that Knox and Sollecito be retried for the murder of Kercher.

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Local News
02/19/14

Time behind bars helps Knox get degree

SEATTLE — Amanda Knox is almost finished with something she started a long time ago.

No, she’s not close to being done with the lengthy appeals process in her Italian trial for allegedly killing study-abroad roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007. That will take years.

Amanda Knox Awaits Murder VerdictInstead, she’s almost done with her University of Washington degree, something she started nine years ago.

According to the University of Washington Daily, Knox is within two quarters of completing a creative writing degree she started in 2005 at UW. She was studying in UW’s abroad program in Perguia, Italy, when she was arrested and accused of  killing Kercher.

Knox continued her education while she was in jail in Italy, spending her time waiting on endless hearings studying in her cell. She told the Daily that UW professors helped compile a workload of Italian language courses and studies that she could read behind bars, helping improve her communication skills with prison guards and in court.

“I got really obsessed with making each day count,” Knox told the Daily.

Shortly after her acquittal in an Italian appeals court in 2011, Knox returned to campus to the local continue her studies. She said at first she was worried about how the students would receive her, but she said she’s having a good time meeting friends.

“I was a little anxious that it was going to be like high school,” she told the Daily. “But everyone was really friendly and really open to being friends.”

Knox is in line to graduate with a creative writing degree this spring.

For more on Knox and her latest court hearings, click here.

(CNN) — The ex-boyfriend of American exchange student Amanda Knox says he has returned to Italy to fight his new murder conviction in the death of Knox’s onetime roommate, Meredith Kercher.

In a CNN interview Monday evening, Raffaele Sollecito said he and his current girlfriend were in neighboring Austria, preparing to celebrate what he had expected to be his exoneration by an Italian court. Instead, that court found Knox and Sollecito guilty for a second time last week, sentencing him to 25 years.

sollecitoKnox, who returned to the United States after her 2009 conviction was overturned, said last week that she “will never go willingly” back to Italy. But Sollecito said he came back “as soon as I understood the verdict.”

“I’m trying to be as positive as possible in a situation like this,” he said. “It’s very traumatic, the situation here now. But on the other side, I still have to fight. I have chosen to be here and to fight against this ordeal.”

Italian police said Sollecito was stopped in the northern Italian town of Udine, near the border with Austria and Slovenia.

In an interview on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Sollecito said he thought his relationship with Knox hurt him.

“Why do they convict me?” he said. “Why do put me on the corner and say that I’m guilty just because in their minds I have to be guilty because I was her boyfriend. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Kercher, 21, of Great Britain, was found stabbed to death in 2007 in the house she shared with Knox in Perugia, where both women were exchange students. Prosecutors said Kercher was killed after she rejected attempts by Knox, Sollecito and another man, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, to involve her in a sex game.

Guede is the only person in jail for the murder, and many aspects of the crime still remain unexplained.

Both Knox and Sollecito have maintained their innocence, and their 2009 convictions led to questions about the effectiveness of Italy’s justice system. The trial revealed widespread doubts over the handling of the investigation and key pieces of evidence, and the convictions were overturned on appeal in 2011.

But in March 2013, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the pair’s acquittals and ordered a retrial. That proceeding resulted in the convictions being reinstated on Thursday.

“I don’t know what to think, because objectively, there’s nothing against me and nothing very strong against Amanda,” Sollecito said.

FLORENCE, Italy — Amanda Knox vowed Friday to fight her conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher “until the very end” and said she “will never go willingly” back to Italy.

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Knox said news of the guilty verdict Thursday “really has hit me like a train.”

“I did not expect this to happen. I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system,” she said. “They found me innocent before. How can they say that it’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?”

An appeals court found Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, guilty of murder in the Italian city of Florence after a retrial.

Her attorney, Ted Simon, told CNN’s “New Day” that he had been in touch with Knox and her family all day as they awaited the court’s decision.

“It was terrible news,” he said. “She understands more than anyone that a wrongful conviction is unjust, not just for the accused but for the victim, their family, as well as society, and she feels this very personally.”

Knox’s conviction has raised questions about her possible extradition to Italy to serve her 28½-year sentence, handed down in absentia, since she has been in the United States throughout the retrial.

amanda knox press confBut Simon said it was too early to talk about extradition since there is still an appeals process to go through, which will probably last another year.

Knox, 26, told ABC she would fight every step of the way.

“I will never go willingly back to the place where I — I’m gonna fight this until the very end,” she said.

Asked how she was coping with the situation, her attorney highlighted her strength of character.

“While she accepted that very difficult news, she has rebounded. She has shown great resilience and fortitude. And with a great deal of family support, they’re going to go forward and appeal what we would characterize as a completely unjust conviction,” Simon said.

The attorney argued there was “no evidence” implicating his client in the murder and never had been, adding that it was “incomprehensible” that the court had found her guilty.

Sollecito stopped near border

Earlier Friday, Italian authorities stopped Sollecito near the border with Austria and Slovenia, Italian police told CNN.

Sollecito, who is not allowed to leave Italy while the legal process continues, was halted in the northern Italian town of Udine, police said.

The Slovenian border is less than 20 miles east of Udine, and the border with Austria lies about 55 miles to the north.

Prosecutors said the couple killed Kercher, a British student, in November 2007. Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Both denied murder.

Kercher, 21, was found partially nude in a pool of blood in the house she shared with Knox in the picturesque town of Perugia, where both women were exchange students.

But despite years of courtroom battles over her death, many aspects of the crime still remain unexplained.

‘Journey to the truth’

On Friday morning, Kercher’s siblings spoke in Florence about their family’s long ordeal.

Her sister, Stephanie Kercher, said the family might never know exactly what happened on the night of her death.

“I think we are still on the journey to the truth,” she said. “I think it may be the fact that we don’t ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something we will have to come to terms with.”

Lyle Kercher, Meredith’s brother, said the family may have to wait until spring 2015 for a final resolution, since the verdicts reached Thursday can still be appealed at Italy’s Supreme Court.

“Nothing is going to bring Meredith back, nothing will take away the horror of what happened to her,” he said.

“The best we can hope for is finally bringing this whole case to a conclusion, having a conviction, and everyone can move on with their lives.”

If the Supreme Court upholds the murder conviction, he expects to see Italian authorities make an extradition request to the United States so that Knox serves her sentence in Italy, he said.

Stephanie Kercher said that she had been told of a letter written by Knox to the Kercher family but that she had not seen it.

She also appeared to rule out meeting with Knox in the future, despite the American’s overtures to the family and whatever the final outcome of the case.

“We’ve asked to have our wishes respected in that we would like to be together as a family to remember Meredith,” she said. “A lot has happened over this length of time. It would be very difficult to meet someone having had all that happen.”

Pair first convicted in 2009

Knox and Sollecito were first convicted in 2009, but those charges were overturned on appeal in 2011 and the pair were freed, having spent four years in prison.

In March of last year, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the pair’s acquittals, leading to the retrial that resulted Thursday night in their convictions for murder being reinstated by a Florence appeals court.

Knox, who remained at home in Seattle, Washington, while the retrial was held, said in a written statement Thursday that her conviction would bring no consolation to the Kercher family.

Presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini has 90 days to write his arguments behind the jury’s ruling. Once that is out, lawyers have 90 days to appeal.

Amanda-Knox

Photo courtesy of biography.com

FLORENCE, Italy — Amanda Knox was found guilty for a second time in the murder of Meredith Kercher, an Italian appeals court said Thursday.

Knox, who is at home in Seattle, was previously both acquitted and found guilty in the death of her former British roommate. Thursday’s decision in the Italian Court of Cassation sentenced Knox to 28 years and six months in prison.

Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s former boyfriend, was also found guilty Thursday. He was sentenced to 25 years.

Italy’s Supreme Court will need to ratify the decision before the country asks for the former University of Washington student’s extradition to Italy. The verdict can, and will, be appealed again, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Prosecutors called for sentences of 26 and 30 years for Sollecito and Knox, the exchange student from Seattle who shared a house in the Italian town of Perugia with Kercher, then 21, who was found partially naked in a pool of blood with her throat slashed.

Initially arrested and convicted of the murder, Knox and Sollecito spent four years in jail before being acquitted on appeal in 2011. However, Italy’s highest court overturned the acquittal and ordered a new appeal, saying the first was riddled with “shortcomings, contradictions and inconsistencies.”

Knox has refused to attend the second appeal, which opened in Florence last year, writing to the court from Seattle that she fears being “wrongly convicted.”

The Knox family released a statement Thursday, saying they were “frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict.”

“There has always been a marked lack of evidence,” the statement read. “My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution.”

It is unknown if the U.S. would require Knox to go back to Italy if extradition was requested.

Here’s the full release of Knox’s response to the latest verdict:

First and foremost it must be recognized that there is no consolation for the Kercher family.  Their grief over Meredith’s terrible murder will follow them forever.  They deserve respect and support.

I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict.  Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system.  The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Rather, nothing has changed.  There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution.

This has gotten out of hand. Most troubling is that it was entirely preventable.  I beseech those with the knowledge and authority to address and remediate the problems that worked to pervert the course of justice and waste the valuable resources of the system: overzealous and intransigent prosecution, prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation, unwillingness to admit mistake, reliance on unreliable testimony and evidence, character assassination, inconsistent and unfounded accusatory theory, and counterproductive and coercive interrogation techniques that produce false confessions and inaccurate statements.

Clearly a wrongful conviction is horrific for the wrongfully accused, but it is also terribly bad for the victim, their surviving family, and society.

With information from the LA Times

 

SEATTLE — Amanda Knox said she wants to speak with the family of Meredith Kercher and tell them she is innocent.

Amanda-KnoxThe Daily Mail reported that Knox recently spoke with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, saying that she liked Kercher and that they were friends.

Knox is currently being retried by an Italian court for the 2007 murder, but she is not attending the hearings. Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were initially convicted in 2009, then cleared and freed from jail in 2011.

As The Daily Mail reported, Knox told La Repubblica that when she saw Kercher’s family in court during her earlier trial, she wanted to speak with them but the Kerchers’ attorney Francesco Maresca refused the request.

Maresca has told reporters that Knox should stop making public comments.

A verdict in the retrial is expected January 30.

Amanda-Knox

Photo courtesy of biography.com

PERUGIA, Italy — An Italian judge on Tuesday read aloud in court a recent five-page email from Seattle’s Amanda Knox in which she says “I didn’t kill, I didn’t rape” her late roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007, the BBC reported Tuesday.

The British Broadcasting Corporation said that in the email, Knox wrote,  “I didn’t kill. I didn’t rape. I didn’t rob. I didn’t plot. I didn’t instigate. I didn’t kill Meredith.”

Kercher was a British exchange student in Italy and roomed with Knox, a UW exchange student, when she was found stabbed to death in their rental apartment in 2007.

“I am not present in court because I am afraid. I am afraid that the vehemence of the prosecution will make an impression on you, that their smoke will get in your eyes and blind you,” Knox wrote to the court.

Judge Alessandro Nencini said the email from Knox was not normal procedure in Italy. “Who wants to speak at a trial comes to the trial,” he said, according to the BBC.

Knox, 26, and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, were convicted of Kercher’s murder in 2009, but acquitted on appeal in 2011. In March 2013, Italy’s highest court overturned both their acquittals.

Knox, who returned to Seattle after her release from prison, has declined to appear at the latest Italian court hearings.

Italian prosecutors have said Kercher died in a sex game involving Knox, Sollecito that turned violent.

A third person — Rudy Guede of Ivory Coast — was convicted of the murder in a separate trial in Italy.

SEATTLE – Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend RaffaeleSollecito took the stand in an Italian court Wednesday, defending himself at a retrial in the 2007 killing of British exchange student Meredith Kercher.

“I would like to make you understand that these charges against me are absurd,” he said. “There was not a basis to charge me, to put me in jail. … I don’t wish anybody on Earth to go through what I went through.”

He said that evidence against him — a knife that was a key part of the prosecution’s case — was “an illusion.”

“I ask you … to really look at reality,” he implored the judges.

“For me, it’s a nightmare that goes beyond imagination,” Sollecito said of what he’s been through.

Amanda-Knox

Photo courtesy of biography.com

“Right now, I don’t have a real life.”

Sollecito, 29, is not testifying in the case, which is being heard in an appeals court in Florence. But he made a spontaneous declaration, which is the right of any defendant in an Italian trial, and he is not under oath.

He and Knox were convicted in 2009 of killing Kercher, 21, who was found stabbed in November 2007 in the villa that she and Knox rented in the central Italian university town of Perugia.

Their convictions were overturned in 2011 for “lack of evidence.” But Italy’s Supreme Court decided last year to retry the case, saying the jury that acquitted them didn’t consider all the evidence and discrepancies in testimony needed to be answered.

Both Knox, 26, and Sollecito have maintained their innocence.

For more on this CNN story, click here.

Amanda-Knox

Photo courtesy of biography.com

By Tom Kington, Los Angeles Times

FLORENCE, Italy — Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend are back on trial in the 2007 murder of her British roommate, but neither defendant was in court as the case got underway Monday.

The trial is the latest stage in a drawn-out legal process that saw the pair convicted in 2009 of stabbing to death 21-year-old student Meredith Kercher at the house the two women shared in the Italian city of Perugia. They were freed from prison after winning an appeal in 2011. But the Italian Supreme Court ordered a retrial this year, saying the acquittal was riddled with “shortcomings, contradictions and inconsistencies.”

Neither Knox, 26, who now attends the University of Washington in her hometown of Seattle, nor her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, were required to be present at a Florence appeals court for the new trial. But Knox’s absence was criticized by Patrick Lumumba, a former Perugia barman whom she briefly accused of being at the scene of the killing, before retracting the statement in the days after her arrest.

“Knox is afraid. She knows she has responsibility for the death of poor Meredith,” said Lumumba, who is participating in the case as a civil plaintiff and seeking damages from Knox.

Knox told the Italian newspaper Corriere Fiorentino that she would not return to Italy for the trial, “in part because my presence has always been an element of distraction in court.”

“I’m not coming back to avoid that circus,” she was quoted as saying.

Sollecito’s father has said that his son will attend the trial at a later stage in the proceedings.

Lawyers representing Knox and Sollecito made a series of requests Monday for evidence to be re-examined, including Kercher’s cellphone, a semen stain found on her bed, and a knife that prosecutors allege was used to kill her.

Most of the requests were turned down, but the presiding judge, Alessandro Nencini, agreed that DNA testing should be conducted on a previously unexamined biological trace found on the knife. He also asked to hear testimony Friday from Luciano Aviello, a convicted member of the Naples mafia who previously claimed that his brother killed Kercher.

Hearings in the case are expected to last until December, after which the Supreme Court is expected to weigh in again.

Kercher’s family has welcomed the new trial. In a letter addressed to the court, the family wrote, “Nothing will ever bring our beautiful Meredith back, and we will always hold her in our hearts and memories, but we need to know what happened, and she at least deserves the dignity of truth.”

Kercher, 21, was found with her throat slashed and more than 40 stab wounds. Authorities said there were signs of sexual assault.

Knox and Sollecito, who deny any involvement in Kercher’s death, spent four years in prison before their acquittals. In a separate trial, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede was sentenced to 16 years for his role in the slaying.

Local News
09/30/13

Knox retrial begins without her

FLORENCE, ITALY (CNN) — The latest chapter in Amanda Knox’s long legal battle began Monday in Florence, Italy, with a retrial over the 2007 killing of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.

But Knox, 26, who has expressed concern about returning to a country where she spent four years behind bars, was not in court.

She was convicted in 2009 of murdering Kercher, a 21-year old British exchange student who was found stabbed to death in November 2007 in the villa the two young women rented in the central Italian university town of Perugia.

The convictions of Knox and her ex-boyfriend, RaffaeleSollecito, were overturned in 2011 for “lack of evidence.”

After her acquittal, Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle where she has been living since.

But Italy’s Supreme Court decided last year to retry the case, saying the jury that acquitted Knox didn’t consider all the evidence, and that discrepancies in testimony needed to be answered.

amanda knox italian courtAfraid to go back

Knox has said she’s scared to return to Italy.

“I’m afraid to go back there,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo in May. “I don’t want to go back into prison.”

The high court also said evidence could support prosecutors’ initial argument — that Kercher was killed in a twisted sex game gone wrong.

Knox has said such claims are “a bombardment of falsehood and fantasy.”

“No one has ever claimed that I was ever taking part in deviant sexual activity. None of my roommates, none of my friends, none of the people who knew me there. This is simply coming out of the prosecution,” she told CNN in May. “I was not strapping on leather and bearing a whip. I have never done that. I have never taken part in an orgy. Ever.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to send the case back to the appeal court for retrial “may be interpreted by the American authorities as double jeopardy — twice tried for the same fact or the same case,” said Riccardo Montana, a law lecturer at City University in London. “In Italy it’s not like this, because this is still the same trial.”

If the court convicts her, Knox will be ordered to return to Italy. If she refuses, Italy could request her extradition from the United States. But it’s not clear if American authorities would comply.

Knox has said she would be willing to take a lie detector test.

“I’d do anything to prove my innocence,” she told CNN affiliate ITV earlier this month. “I don’t think that is necessary. But like I said, I’m doing everything to prove my innocence. It’s just very sad that’s what it has come to.”

Knox isn’t the only person watching the retrial from afar.

Sollecito, her former boyfriend, told CNN he plans to stay in the Dominican Republic with a friend. At the moment he says he has no immediate plans to return to Italy.

And as the legal saga continues over Kercher’s death, her family remains in Britain.

“It took us as a family nearly five years to even begin to feel ready to lay Mez to rest and it is still extremely painful now,” they said in a statement Sunday, according to ITV.

They also appeared to respond to recent comments by Knox that she would like to visit Kercher’s grave.

“She now has a place near to us that we and her friends can visit to take flowers and spend time…her grave is now her safe place to sleep in peace and be with us and we hope that is respected by all,” the family statement said.

From CNN

 

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