Friday, January 31, 2014

Amanda Knox 'Couldn't Believe What I Was Hearing'

from abc


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Amanda Knox retrial verdict: Live updates as Italian court rules


Follow the latest updates as Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito learn if they have been found guilty, for a second time, of murdering British student Meredith
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9:34 pm
Neither defendant was in the courtroom as the verdict was announced, though Sollecito had attended the lengthy hearings. Members of Miss Kercher's family were there to hear the verdict.
The co-accused were originally found guilty of murder in 2009, and were handed jail terms totalling more than 50 years.
They were cleared nearly two years later - but the appeal court ordered a fresh trial in March last year.
Today, after lengthy deliberations, the court heard that both were guilty.
It is unknown whether the duo will appeal the decision, or whether Knox could be extradited from the US to Italy.
Rudy Guede, a drug dealer, is serving a 16-year sentence over the death - though the courts have said he did not act alone.
9:01 pm
Amanda Knox has been found guilty again of murdering Meredith Kercher.
The verdict was read out by the judge and caused some confusion.
But we can confirm that both Knox and Sollecito are guilty.
8:53 pm
The judges are now re-entering the room.
The courtroom has stood to attention.
A verdict is imminent.
8:52 pm
It looks like the jury and judges could be about to return to the court room.
The doors into the courtroom have opened. Everybody in the room suddenly fell silent once the door was opened by a court official.
Stay with us.
8:37 pm
The courtroom is now packed full of journalists, family members and lawyers.
Deliberations have been going on now for more than 11 hours.
Amanda Knox is believed to be watching the verdict on TV from her home town of Seattle, Washington.
8:14 pm
We have expected a verdict all afternoon.
Journalists were initially told it would be at 5pm local time. But we now expect it will happen at 9.30pm local time, or 8.30pm GMT.
The fact that Ms Kercher's family are now seated in the courtroom indicates that a verdict could be imminent.
8:05 pm
The verdict is expected within the next 30 minutes.
The family of British student Meredith Kercher have arrived in court for the hearing.
Judges will decide whether Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito murdered Ms Kercher.
Unlike Britain, Italy has three different verdicts: guilty, not guilty and innocent.            
A not guilty verdict means accused are still viewed with suspicion although there is not enough evidence to convict.
Stay with us for live updates as they happen.
5:29 pm
The case has played out through the media as much as through the courts, propelling Knox and Sollecito to something approaching celebrity status in their home countries.
Armies of bloggers battle over disputed evidence about the case online.
Supporters of Knox in the United States have done much to transform an initial public image of her as a sex-obsessed party girl, which critics say prevented a fair trial, to one portraying her as a victim of a faulty justice system.
Knox has lived in her US home city of Seattle since her 2011 release and has not returned to Italy to hear the verdict, saying she will remain a "fugitive" if found guilty.
But Sollecito, dressed in a smart coat with sunglasses despite the pouring rain, attended with his family.
4:24 pm
Lawyers for Sollecito and Knox argue that Rudy Guede is the only person is guilty of the murder.
His trial found that he did not act alone because of the number and variety of Kercher’s more than 40 wounds.
The court has the power to detain Sollecito immediately if he is judged a flight risk, but Knox would need to be extradited to serve any sentence.
4:00 pm
Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova raised his voice in anger as he urged the judges not to feel they had to protect the reputation of the Italian justice system, following allegations from the United States that a flawed system led to Knox being wrongfully dragged into the case as a suspect.
He said: "Judges, we cannot send two innocent people to jail to ... protect the dignity of anyone we heard in this process.
"What about the dignity of the accused, who spent four years in jail? The dignity of the family? The victim?"
He dismissed Knox’s initial testimony to police, in which she falsely implicated Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba in the crime and described hearing Kercher scream, as the result of police manipulation, confusion and her lack of Italian language skills.
The prosecution maintains her initial testimony proves she had knowledge of the crime, and has asked for an additional four years of jail for Knox for a standing slander conviction for implicating Lumumba.
3:50 pm
Lawyers for Knox today urged a Florence court to find her and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito innocent of Meredith Kercher's murder as judges retired to decide a verdict.
In final statements to the panel of two judges and eight jurors, defence lawyers asked them to disregard DNA traces that originally helped convict the two, saying errors by investigators meant they could not be relied upon.
Traces of DNA on a knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and on Kercher’s bra clasp, as well as footprints from the crime scene, have been poured over in the latest trial.
3:14 pm
Two of Meredith’s family, sister Stephanie and brother Lyle, are expected to arrive for the verdict.
Stephanie had earlier told a local Italian newspaper that, while the verdict was an important date, the family was not expecting it to be "a source … of truth".
Meanwhile Knox confirmed she would be in Seattle with her mum and family and that it would be her lawyer would inform her of the outcome.
Speaking to Italian TV through Skype she maintained her innocence.
She said: “The proof is in the facts. There is no proof that I was there when this happened. I remember Meredith as a person who gave me friendship from the very beginning.
“If I am convicted I understand that I will be seen as a fugitive but I will continue to fight until the end.”
Meredith Kercher's mother Arline, sister Stephanie and brother Lyle hold a press conference in Perugia (Pic: AFP)

Amanda Knox F------ Unbelievable !

from nbc

Nbc Newswire / NBC/NBC NewsWire
Amanda Knox
American student Amanda Knox, who spent four years in prison before her murder verdict was overturned, was re-convicted Thursday in the stabbing death of her roommate when they were students in Italy in 2007.
A panel of two judges and six jurors sentenced Knox to 28 years and six months. They also convicted her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, set a sentence of 25 years and banned him from traveling.
"I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict," the 26-year-old said in a written statement from Seattle, where she returned after her earlier conviction was reversed.
"Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system."
It's unclear what will happen to Knox, who is certain to appeal — a process that could take a year or longer. Even if the high court confirms the new conviction, Italy still would have to seek her extradition. She has vowed not to return.
Sollecito's lawyers said they were stunned by the latest twist in a whiplash-inducing case that has made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic for six years.
"There isn't a shred of proof," said attorney Luca Maori said.
Fabrizio Giovannozzi / AP
Raffaele Sollecito is comforted by his lawyer Luca Maori prior to the start of the final hearing.
Knox and Sollecito were arrested after British student Meredith Kercher was found dead in a pool of blood in their apartment in the university town of Perugia, her half-naked body covered in up to 40 knife wounds.
Prosecutors argued that Kercher was killed in a sex game, and Knox and Sollecito were convicted and sentenced to 26 years.
Knox was also convicted of slander for falsely telling police she heard a Congolese bar owner kill Kercher — a claim that prosecutors say is evidence of her guilt but that she says was made out of fear during a high-pressure grilling.
In 2011, an appeals court reheard the case and acquitted Knox and Sollecito after independent experts said crucial DNA evidence had been contaminated by police.
But in March, Italy's highest court dismissed that acquittal — slamming the lower court for "contradictions and inconsistencies" in its decision — and ordered a new trial.
Although prosecutors claimed six years ago that Kercher was killed because she balked at participating in a drug-fueled orgy, they changed theories for the new trial and now say a simple argument sparked the violent frenzy.
Knox and Sollecito say that only one person is responsible for Kercher's death: small-time drug dealer Rudy Hermann Guede. The Ivory Coast-born man is serving 16 years for the slaying, but a court found that he did not commit the crime alone.
Kercher's siblings said before the verdict that they would accept whatever the decision was.
"As we've always said, we wouldn't want the wrong people put away and we certainly wouldn't want anyone who should be away out there free," Stephanie Kercher told an Italian TV station.
Her brother Lyle added: "The most important thing is to reach a final point in this case."
In her statement, Knox expressed "respect and support" for the Kercher family but insisted she was the victim of overzealous prosecution and character assassination.
"This has gotten out of hand," she said.
"Clearly a wrongful conviction is horrific for the wrongfully accused, but it is also terribly bad for the victim, their surviving family, and society."
Knox has said the prospect of another conviction haunted her as she tried to rebuild her life in the U.S.
"I imagine it all the time because I have to think the worst-case scenario,'' she told TODAY earlier this year.
"I have to prepare in my mind what that would be like. I thought about what it would be like to live my entire life in prison and to lose everything, to lose what I've been able to come back to and rebuild. I think about it all the time. It's so scary. Everything's at stake."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Amanda Knox's Countdown to Yet Another Verdict


ROME Jan. 28, 2014

Amanda Knox is seen, May 1, 2013, in New York City.
Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Anxiety has set in for American student Amanda Knox as she waits for the fourth time in six years for an Italian court to decide whether she is guilty or innocent of killing her roommate Meredith Kercher.
Knox has remained at home in Seattle because she feared she would be "wrongly convicted" and arrested, but despite the relative safety the tension has been heightened by the prosecutor who sought to increase Knox's prison sentence if she is convicted and urged the judge to request her immediate arrest.
Two judges and eight jurors will deliberate Thursday in Florence after final rebuttals by Knox's legal team and a verdict and a sentence is expected to come sometime in the "late evening" on Thursday.
While Knox, 26, won't be present, Kercher's sister and brother have said they will be in court to hear the decision.
Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted in 2009 of the 2007 murder of Kercher in the cottage the women shared in Perugia. The prosecutor at the time said the murder was the result of a sex game gone awry.
That verdict was overturned in 2011 after Knox had spent four years in prison. But Italy's Supreme Court ordered an appeals court to review the case and that court will render its verdict this week.
Knox's lawyers Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga told reporters at the last hearing that "she cannot wait to end this nightmare." They said she has followed the trial "step by step" and that she was "very worried" about the outcome.
Sollecito, now 29, will wait for the verdict at his family home in Puglia, southern Italy. His father has said his son is not psychologically able to await the decision in court that day. "He will almost certainly stay at home and has no intention of course of running away."
If prosecutor Alessandro Crini gets his way, Knox and Sollecito will be sentenced to 26 years in prison for murder and her sentence for a related slander conviction would be increased from one year to four years.
Knox has befriended Ryan Ferguson, who was recently released from prison after serving 10 years for a murder he didn't commit. Ferguson told this week that she is "doing incredibly well considering the circumstances."
"She is very positive and we all believe that justice will prevail and the facts that have proven her innocence will set her free," Ferguson said.
There were only slight changes in the prosecution's case. Crini, a respected soft-spoken man whose style has held the judge and jury's attention, was a sharp contrast to the Perugia prosecutor Giuliani Mignini, a controversial figure.
Crini, in his closing arguments dismissed the motive suggested by Mignini that the murder was the result of a sex-game gone wrong. Instead, Crini argued that it was more likely to have been caused by a series of arguments over cleanliness in the bathroom that Knox and Kercher shared.
Many of the more contested points of the case remain unsolved, leaving many of the experts following the case unsure as to Thursday's outcome. A new wrinkle was the testing of one DNA speck on a knife found in Sollecito's apartment that the prosecution claimed was the murder weapon. The speck had been left untested previously. The DNA turned out to belong to Knox, but that was not seen as surprising she had stayed with Sollecito and could have used the knife for cooking.
The judge, Alessandro Nencini, has made it clear that this court's decision will be based on all the evidence and arguments used and presented in the previous trials.
Whichever way the judges and jury rule on Thursday, the case against Knox and Sollecito will still not be over. The decision will almost certainly be appealed, and return to the highest court for a definitive sentence. A conviction at that level could eventually lead to Knox's extradition, but Knox would be able to fight any such request in a U.S. court.
A third person, Rudy Guede, a native of Ivory Coast, was convicted in Kercher's murder and sentenced to 30 years, later reduced to 16-years on appeal. Guede was convicted of participating in the killing of Kercher with others.