Amanda Knox has been found guilty of the murder of Briton
Meredith Kercher. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/Files
American student Amanda Knox and her former Italian
boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been found guilty for the
second time of the 2007 murder of Briton Meredith Kercher, in a
retrial that reversed an earlier appeal judgment.
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
"I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having
been found innocent before, I expected better from the
Italian justice system," Knox said in a statement.
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.
For Kercher's family, who had pushed to have the appeal
verdict overturned, the reaction was equally raw.
"We didn't know what to expect. We are still in shock," said
Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister, after the ruling was
If final appeals are heard, neither Knox nor Sollecito, who
was banned from leaving Italy, would face arrest or jail time
until a final verdict by the highest court.
Knox, who is in the United States and would have to be
extradited to serve her sentence, attacked the "overzealous
and intransigent prosecution" and "prejudiced and
narrow-minded investigation" and said she had been wrongfully
Gabriele Giambrone, managing partner of Anglo-Italian law
firm Giambrone Law, said it was "very unlikely" Knox would be
extradited to serve her sentence.
"The U.S. will do everything to protect their own citizens,
they will mount every challenge possible so I don't think
she'll serve any time in an Italian jail," said Giambrone,
who is not involved in the case.
Legal experts estimate the case could continue until
end-2015, though it could be brought forward if fast-tracked.
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.
From the start, the case, one of the highest-profile murder
trials in recent Italian history, has been played out as much
in the media as in court, with bloggers and journalists
sifting through evidence and weighing in for or against Knox
Initially portrayed as a sex-obsessed party girl, Knox has
seen a steady transformation of her image, helped by a
sophisticated publicity machine that has portrayed her as a
victim of a faulty justice system.
Knox's lawyers have made stinging criticisms of police
procedures, the handling of evidence from the crime scene and
the conduct of the prosecution.
They argued that only one person is guilty of the murder:
Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, who is serving a 16-year
sentence for sexually assaulting and stabbing Kercher.
His trial found that he did not act alone because of the
number and variety of Kercher's more than 40 wounds.
While the initial case had argued that Knox and Sollecito
killed Kercher in a sex game gone awry, the prosecution has
moved away from this interpretation in the current appeal.
The retrial has focused on a re-examination of DNA evidence.
In closing defence arguments, Sollecito's lawyer argued that
a trace of his client's DNA on a metal hook on Kercher's bra
clasp was there due to contamination, because it was not
collected from the crime scene until more than a month after
the murder and was repeatedly touched.
The defence and prosecution contest whether Kercher's DNA was
on the blade of a kitchen knife from Sollecito's apartment,
which had been used by Knox.