News Column

Amanda Knox Retrial: Top Italy Court to Rule

March 26, 2013

The state has no basis to retry U.S. student Amanda Knox in her roommate's murder, lawyers told Italy's top court ahead of a Tuesday ruling on a new Knox trial.

The prosecution "started with an error and the prosecution continues to insist in the errors" in its arguments Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito should be retried for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher, Knox attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova told the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy's major court of last resort.

Knox, an exchange student, was convicted with Sollecito in 2009 of murdering Kercher in her Perugia apartment. She and Sollecito were freed two years later when an appellate court overturned the judgment, citing lack of evidence.

Prosecutors argued the appellate judges "lost their direction," failing to take "some elements ... into account," and therefore made an error in acquitting Knox and Sollecito, ABC News reported.

The court -- which cannot overrule the trial court's interpretation of the evidence but can correct the appellate court's interpretation or application of the law -- said Monday it would deliver its ruling at 10 a.m. Tuesday Rome time (5 a.m. EDT).

It was originally expected to announce its decision late Monday, after 6 hours of arguments and several more hours of deliberation, but postponed the ruling until the morning -- something Prosecutor General Luigio Riello told reporters sometimes happens "in very complex cases."

Neither Knox, 25, nor Sollecito, 29, was in court Monday. Knox, a University of Washington student, was in Washington and Sollecito was in northern Italy pursuing his computer science studies.

Sollecito's father, Francesco, was in the courtroom, British newspaper The Guardian reported. The Kercher family also was not present.

Knox and Sollecito were arrested in November 2007 shortly after 21-year-old Kercher's body was found on her bedroom floor in a pool of blood in the apartment she shared with Knox and others. Kercher had stab wounds to the throat.

Prosecutors said a game of rough sex involving Knox and Sollecito went horribly wrong.

Rudy Guede, a 24-year-old Ivory Coast native raised in Perugia, was convicted separately in October 2008 of having sexually assaulted and murdered Kercher and was sentenced to 30 years, reduced on appeal to 16 years in December 2009.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexual assault and murder in December 2009 and sentenced to 26 and 25 years, respectively. But their convictions were overturned on appeal in October 2011 by a panel of six jurors and two judges.

If the Court of Cassation rules for the prosecution, it would order a new appeals trial in Florence, The Guardian said, because Perugia's appellate court, which acquitted Knox and Sollecito, is not allowed to hear the case twice.

If they are cleared, they will be entitled to seek compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2013

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