American student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty for the second time on Thursday of the 2007 murder of Briton Meredith Kercher, in a retrial that reversed an earlier appeal judgment. By Naomi O'Leary.
The verdict, after 12 hours of deliberations, confirmed Knox and Sollecito’s original 2009 conviction. Knox’s sentence was increased to 28 years and six months and Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years. Knox did not attend the retrial, however, having gone home to the United States after the previous appeal.
“We didn’t know what to expect. We are still in shock,” said Stephanie Kercher, Meredith’s sister, after the ruling was read.
Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno confirmed that her client would appeal to Italy’s highest court, and Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said he was “stunned”. The court will publish the reasons for its verdict in 90 days.
If final appeals are heard, neither Knox nor Sollecito would face arrest or jail time until a final verdict by the highest court.
Knox is in the United States and would have to be extradited to serve her sentence. The court banned Sollecito from leaving Italy.
Kercher, 21, was found stabbed to death in her bedroom in the apartment she shared with Knox in the Umbrian city of Perugia in 2007, where the two were students.
Investigators quickly pointed to Knox and Sollecito as suspects, building a narrative that the two killed Kercher in a sex game gone awry. Both were convicted in 2009 and spent four years in prison.
They were cleared on appeal, but Italy’s highest court last year quashed that verdict due to “inconsistencies” and ordered a repeat of the appeal trial. It was this trial that concluded on Thursday. DM
Photo: A combination photo shows Amanda Knox of the U.S. (L) and Italian national Raffaele Sollecito, suspects in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher last year, arriving with penitentiary police to a court hearing in Perugia September 26, 2008. REUTERS/Daniele La Monaca (ITALY)
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