Amanda Knox Retrial: Guilty in Bloody Death of Meredith Kercher

Image: Amanda Knox Retrial: Guilty in Bloody Death of Meredith Kercher

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 06:43 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Amanda Knox has been found guilty in a retrial in the 2007 slaying of her British roommate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.

The ruling was issued by an Italian court on Thursday, more than two years after the 26-year-old returned to her Seattle home after having been acquitted of all charges, along with her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

After hearing the verdict, the former American exchange student said she was "frightened and saddened by the unjust verdict" and blamed "overzealous and intransigent prosecution," ''narrow-minded investigation" and coercive interrogation techniques, the Associated Press reported.

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"This has gotten out of hand," Knox said in a statement. "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. . . There has always been a marked lack of evidence."

Sollecito, 29, who remains in Italy, will be appealing the decision to Italy's highest court, according to his attorney Giulia Bongiorno.

According to Knox's attorney, Ted Simon, in Italy defendants are presumed innocent until the defense attorneys are able to issue an appeal, which will come after the Presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini issues his argument. Both the judge and defense attorneys have 90 day periods in which to issue their arguments, which means it could be up to 180 days before Knox and Sollecito are actually considered guilty under Italian law.

However if extradition should become an issue, Simon told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Knox has "very substantial defenses" to fight it.

"But I think we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves," Simon cautioned CNN. "The bottom line is, there is no evidence. There was no evidence, and there never will be any evidence, and that's why this is such a gross miscarriage of justice."

The U.S. State Department declined comment on the matter, given "that that there is room for appeal in this case," Reuters reported.

Similarly surprised by the verdict was the victim's family, which had reportedly pushed the appeal process for the Italian courts to reconsider their earlier acquittal verdict of Know and Sollecito.

"We didn't know what to expect. We are still in shock," said Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister, after the ruling was read.

Kercher's family has long held that Knox and Sollecito are guilty of killing the British student.

Knox and Sollecito became instant media spectacles when they were initially convicted of murdering Kercher in 2009 during what prosecutors had said was a drug-fuelled sexual assault.

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In 2011 Knox was freed by an Italian appeals court that overturned her murder conviction citing weak DNA evidence.

In March, however, Italy's Supreme Court overturned the pair's acquittals citing evidence and discrepancies in testimony that the jury did not consider.

The only person currently serving time for the murder is Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter whose DNA was found on the victim. Having been convicted in 2007, Guede is currently serving a 16-year prison term.

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