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Entries in Appeal (16)

Tuesday
Feb142012

Amanda Knox's Family Slams 'Harassment' By Italian Prosecutor

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The family of Amanda Knox said Tuesday that efforts by Italian prosecutors to put her back in prison is "an example of the harassment" by prosecutors who are intent on prolonging "this terrible, painful incident."

Knox's family put out the statement after prosecutor Giovanni Galati filed a 112-page appeal seeking to throw out a court ruling that found Knox innocent of her roommate's murder and set her free after four years in an Italian prison.

Galati said he is "very convinced" that Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito killed Meredith Kercher Nov. 1, 2007. Kercher, Knox's British roommate, was found dead in her room with her throat slashed.

Knox's family said they knew the prosecution would challenge the court's ruling.

"We are not concerned about this appeal as Amanda's innocence was clearly and convincingly proven in her appeal trial," the statement said. "This is simply another example of harassment by the prosecution against Amanda and makes this terrible, painful incident continue to go on for Amanda, Raffaele and their families."

Galati said the appeals court conclusion had "omissions and many errors," according to ANSA, the Italian news agency.

Knox and Sollecito were freed after the independent review found that DNA evidence was badly mishandled, could have been contaminated and was so minute it was not legally credible.

In setting aside Knox and Sollecito's convictions, the court said the prosecutor's allegation "was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence and in itself was not, in fact probable: the sudden choice of two young people, good and open to other people, to do evil for evil's sake, just like that, without another reason."

Tuesday's appeal came more than four months after Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, were freed in a dramatic ruling in Perugia, Italy.

Knox has several legal issues still pending in Italy. She is appealing her conviction of slandering her former boss Patrick Lumumba, which she claims she was pressured by Italian police to implicate during a marathon interrogation.

She faces charges of slandering her police interrogators for claiming they hit her in the head during her grilling.

Her parents also face slander charges for repeating their daughter's claim about the police interrogation.

It's not clear whether the Knoxes will return to Italy for more legal proceedings, but her Italian lawyer Carlo Dall Vedova said earlier this year that Knox "loves Italy," and would return as a witness at her parents' trial.

A third person, Ivory Coast-born drifter Rudy Guede, was convicted of taking part in Kercher's murder in a separate trial. He is serving a 16-year prison sentence.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct042011

Amanda Knox's First Words Since Regaining Freedom

Tiziana Fabi - Pool/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Amanda Knox's first comments since she was acquitted of murder have arrived in a written letter of thanks to a U.S.- Italian foundation for supporting her through her four-year ordeal.

Knox was thankful people were there, "To hold my hand and offer the support and respect through the barriers and controversies of the Italians. There was the Italy U.S.A. Foundation, and many who have shared my pain and helped me to survive on hope," Knox wrote Tuesday in a letter addressed to the Secretary General of the Italy-U.S. Foundation, Corrado Maria Daclon.

"I am forever grateful for their caring hospitality and their courageous efforts.  Those who wrote to me, who defended me, who stayed close to me, who prayed for me.  We are forever grateful.  I love you.  Amanda," the letter read.

The Italy-U.S. Foundation said Knox departed shortly after noon on Tuesday from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport.  After a layover, she's set to board a British Airways flight from London Heathrow to arrive Tuesday evening in her hometown of Seattle.

Daclon confirmed that he was with Knox from Monday night when he went to see her at prison, until Tuesday morning when he left her at the airport gate.  He confirmed that he and Knox went through special security channels and that the rest of the Knox family departed on same flight.

"She is very tried... it's a mix of emotions...," Daclon told ABC News. "Tired by this long limbo of a year's appeal trial...the uncertainty of the result made her more tense and she was very worried."

He said that Knox said nothing when they departed.

"We just hugged and looked at each other," he said.

"She told me that she has nothing against Italy and the Italians.  She is just upset about the judicial mistake but she has said she will come back to Italy," Daclon said she told him early Tuesday morning.

Knox, 24, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, were convicted in December 2009 of killing her roommate Meredith Kercher in a 2007 attack that left the British exchange student partially nude and bleeding to death from a slashed throat.  Sollecito was also acquitted of the murder on Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

Amanda Knox Makes Final Plea: 'We Deserve Freedom'

Franco Origlia/Getty ImagesUPDATE: Amanda Knox Appeals Court Has Reached a Verdict

The Italian jury considering whether to overturn Amanda Knox's murder conviction and let her go home to Seattle -- or send her back to prison -- has reached a verdict, court officials said. The six jurors and two judges are expected to announce their decision at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Amanda Knox made her final plea for freedom before the courtroom in Perugia Monday, telling the Italian judges and jurors, "I don't want my future taken away from me for something I didn't do because I am innocent.”

Crying and with a shaky voice, Knox delivered her statement in Italian after her codefendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito made his last remarks and her lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, made his final rebuttal.

[Click here to see Amanda Knox make her final plea]

Knox and Sollecito are appealing their conviction for the 2007 murder of Knox' British roommate, Meredith Kercher.  Knox, 24, was sentenced to 26 years in prison, while Sollecito, 27, was given 25.

Through a translator, Knox said, "I didn't do what they say I did.  I didn't kill.  I didn't rape.... I was not there."

"...This person [Kercher] who I shared my life with, who had the bed next to mine had been killed in our home, and if I had been there that night, I would be dead, I would be killed,” she continued.  "The only difference is I was not there.  I was at Raffaele's place."

"I am not escaping truth.  I am not fleeing from justice.  I insist on the truth," Knox said.

She concluded, "We deserve freedom.”

Following Knox's statement, the court adjourned to allow the six jurors and two judges to begin their deliberations.  They do not have to reach a unanimous verdict; a majority vote will decide Knox and Sollecito's fate, and if the judges and jurors are evenly split, the two will be freed.

Knox and Sollecito have been transported back to prison, where they'll await the decision.  A verdict is not expected to come before 8 p.m. local time, or 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

Amanda Knox Ready to Make Emotional Appeal for Her Freedom

MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Amanda Knox has one last chance to save herself from spending the next two decades in an Italian prison when she stands in the Perugia courtroom Monday and pleads with the jury to believe her when she says she is innocent.

"She will be fighting for her life," Knox's mother Edda Mellas told ABC News last week in the final days of the appeal.  She entered court Monday morning holding hands with her husband, Chris Mellas.

Knox has been working on her statement for three months, her father Curt Knox said, an acknowledgement that there is a lot riding on it.

Knox's statement on Monday comes after her lawyer makes a final rebuttal and her codefendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito makes his personal statement.

Interest in the pending verdict is so intense that court officials removed seats from the court room to accommodate more observers, although it is standing room only.

The two are appealing their 2009 conviction for murder.  A jury concluded they were guilty of killing Knox's British roommate Meredith Kercher in November 2007 in the cottage the two women shared in Perugia.  Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito was given 25 years.

Sitting in the courtroom are Knox's family who are holding their breath in hopes that after four years in an Italian prison cell they will be able to take her home to Seattle.

Also in the courtroom are Kercher's family, who have made it clear that they believe Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, are guilty.

The six jurors and two judges do not have to be unanimous in their verdict.  A majority vote will decide their fate, and if they are evenly split, Knox and Sollecito will walk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep302011

Amanda Knox Goes Back to Cell to Await Monday's Verdict

MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The Italian appeals court hearing Amanda Knox's appeal of her murder conviction was adjourned Friday, sending the American student back to her jail cell for the weekend to await a verdict Monday that could either set her free -- or keep her in prison for life.

Knox's father, Curt Knox, said he did not think the defense's final arguments succeeded in proving his daughter killed her British roommate Meredith Kercher in November 2007. But he knows he has to rely on the court's perception of the evidence.

"I'm hoping the judge and jury have seen what I've seen throughout the trial. I'm very hopeful we'll take Amanda home," he told ABC News.

His daughter, who has been looking pale and tense during the appeal, is bearing up, Curt Knox said.

"Her frame of mind was good. The guards were very kind and let us all give her a hug after court. That cheered her up before she has to go spend a weekend alone in prison, before she has to plead for her life to the judge and jury come Monday morning," he said.

Court will resume Monday when a lawyer for Knox will make the last rebuttal argument followed by personal statements from Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. A verdict is expected to be delivered several hours later.

The six person jury and the two judges who will decide the fate of Knox and Sollecito heard a series of impassioned arguments from prosecutors and lawyers Friday urging them to find the truth. They disagreed sharply on what the truth is, however.

The prosecution charge that Knox and Sollecito killed Kercher in a cottage that Knox and Kercher shared in Perugia, Italy. They were convicted of the crime in 2009 and Knox was sentenced to 26 years while Sollecito was given 25 years. Prosecutors not only want to keep them in prison but to increase their sentences to life.

The lawyer for the Kercher family Friday gave a stark final statement.

"On Monday, Meredith's mother, sister and brother will be here to hear your sentence," lawyer Francesco Maresca told the court Friday during a series of rebuttals in one of the last stages of the appeal. "They will look you in the eyes for the first time. With one look, they will ask you to confirm the sentence."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep292011

Amanda Knox Defense Slices into Murder Weapon Evidence

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Amanda Knox's lawyer attacked the last key piece of evidence in her Italian murder trial Thursday, saying the prosecution's claim that a knife found in her ex-boyfriend's apartment was the murder weapon was "total imagination."

Defense lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova also pointed out to the jury that the prosecution's motive for the November 2007 murder in Perugia, Italy, has shifted several times.  The initial accusation was that Knox's British roommate Meredith Kercher died in a sex game gone awry.  During the trial, the motive changed to a furious Knox attacking Kercher out of hatred over her criticism and a fight over money.

At the conclusion of the murder trial, the prosecution said simply they "killed for no reason."  And during Knox's current appeal, prosecutors asked that her 26-year prison sentence be increased to a life term because the motive for the killing was "futile," an Italian legal term that means there was no motive.

Speaking passionately to a hushed courtroom, the lawyer told the jury, "Amanda is innocent.  She has spent more than 1,000 days in jail for a murder she did not commit."

Knox and her family looked more relaxed Thursday as the grueling appeals process -- and possibly her four-year prison ordeal -- is nearing an end.  She nodded at her family while entering court on Thursday amid a barrage of camera flashes from the media and mouthed "bongiorno."

The judge said Thursday that Knox and her co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito will have to wait until Monday to find out if their murder conviction is overturned or their sentences increased to life behind bars.  The judge had previously said the verdict could come as early as Saturday.

One of the key pieces of evidence for the prosecution during the initial murder trial was a knife found in a kitchen drawer at Sollecito's apartment which investigators claim was the weapon used to kill Kercher.  They claimed that DNA from Knox was on the handle and DNA from Kercher was on the blade.

Two forensic experts appointed by the court during the appeal, however, have said there was not enough DNA to prove it belonged to Kercher.  The experts also said they believed the DNA came from rye bread.

Dalla Vedova tried to add to the doubt by citing defense forensic experts who determined that the blade was not compatible with Kercher's wounds and that it was expected to have Knox's DNA on it because she cooked at Sollecito's apartment.

He calls the theory that Knox had the large kitchen knife in her bag an "incredible story" and "total imagination."  She didn't carry a knife with her because she wasn't scared in Perugia, even though she worked at a bar at night.

If a knife that large was used to stab Kercher in the neck with such force, "it would have come out the other side of her body," the lawyer argued.

And if it was murder weapon, Dalla Vedova asked rhetorically, why wouldn't they just throw it into the canyon next to the crime scene rather than take it back to Sollecito's house?

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep282011

Amanda Knox's Sisters 'Hoping for the Best' as Appeals Trial Concludes

MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Every week for the past four years, at least one member of Amanda Knox's family has made the trip to the Italian prison where the American student is being held.

Wednesday morning, Knox's parents, stepparents, aunts and sisters made what they hope will be their final visit to the prison as the appeals case in her 2009 murder conviction nears its conclusion. They're hoping the case will end in a verdict that will free her from a sentence of 26 years in jail.

"She's doing really good," Knox's sister, Deana, told ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday in an exclusive interview from Italy with Knox's two other sisters, Ashley and Delaney, after their visit.

Knox, 24, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, were convicted in 2009 of murdering Knox's British roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, where both women were spending a year abroad to study.  Knox has been sentenced to 26 years, while Sollecito got 25 years in prison.

"I cherish every moment I get with her because you don't know when it could be your last," Knox's younger sister, Delaney, who had not seen her sister in two years before Wednesday's visit, told GMA.  "But I'm hoping for the best and things are going good."

Knox's family said they now see new reason for hope in the final days of the often tense trial.

Knox herself looked more optimistic in court this week as her lawyers urged the judge and jury, "If you have any doubt about the DNA evidence, you must set her free."

At the end of Tuesday's session, Edda Mellas, Knox's mother, told ABC News that she saw Knox smile for the first time and asked her daughter, "'Can you feel the light?' because today's hearing was great."

"I think we got past all of the hard stuff in the last couple of days," Deana said on GMA.  "We finally started the good days with all the defense and she was really happy that process has begun."

The judge presiding over the appeal by Knox and Sollecito said that the final arguments were moving along so quickly that a verdict could come as soon as Saturday.  It had originally been anticipated to be delivered early next week.

A key moment in the trial still to come will be when Amanda Knox addresses the court, either Friday or Saturday.  Knox will be the last person to speak before the six jurors and two judges retire to decide whether to overturn her murder conviction and set her free, or increase her 26-year prison sentence to life in prison.

Knox's family said she has been working on the statement, which she plans to deliver in Italian, for more than three months.

"She really wants to just show the court who she really is," Deana said on GMA. "She doesn't want them to believe the character that all the prosecutors have played out.  She wants them to know who she is."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep272011

Amanda Knox Called 'She Devil,' Shown Roommate's Wounds at Trial

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The lawyer for Amanda Knox's slain roommate showed an Italian appeals court Monday autopsy pictures of the more than 40 wounds on her body because he wanted the jury to know "how this girl suffered."

The photos and summation presented by the lawyer for Meredith Kercher's family capped a grueling day for Knox who was earlier described by another lawyer as a "she devil," a "liar" and a woman who has an "angelic" side as well as a "diabolic" side.

The Kerchers' lawyer Francesco Maresca was one of several civil lawyers who addressed the court on Monday in a series of summations in the appeal by Knox, 24, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27.  Both have been convicted of killing Kercher in November 2007.  Knox is serving a 26-year prison term while Sollecito was given a 25-year term.

The stakes are excruciatingly high for the former Seattle college student.  While Knox and Sollecito are hoping they will be let out of the Italian prison where they have been confined for the last four years, prosecutors have asked the appeals court to increase their sentences to life in prison.

Maresca was the third lawyer to speak Monday and he presented the jury with a second look at autopsy photos that had been shown earlier in the appeal.  While the court was cleared when the grisly photos were originally shown, spectators were allowed to remain in the courtroom this time.

The lawyer held up a photo of Kercher when she was alive and said, "I don't know why such a happy girl was killed."

He then proceeded to show photos of her naked and bloodied body, including a picture of the fatal gash on Kercher's neck.  Some of the jurors looked away.  The lawyer said the lack of any defensive wounds on Kercher indicated that she was either tied up or held by others, preventing her from defending herself.

"I'm showing these photos to make you understand how this girl suffered," Maresca told the court.

"We are asking for justice," he said.

Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, called the repeated use of the photos "disgusting."  She told ABC News that she found the "personal attack on my daughter a sign of desperation because they have no evidence."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep232011

Amanda Knox Summations Have Gruesome Start

TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Italian prosecutors argued Friday that American student Amanda Knox should be kept in prison and displayed a series of bloody crime scene photos, including gruesome close ups of murder victim Meredith Kercher's wounds.

The bare knuckle tactics by the prosecutors comes on the final leg of an appeal by Knox, 24, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, who were convicted in 2009 of killing Kercher.  There has been growing speculation that Knox and Sollecito could win their appeal and be freed because court appointed experts have raised damaging questions about the prosecution's DNA evidence.

Knox, serving a 26-year prison sentence, on Friday seemed to reflect that hope that she could be released, as well as the worry that her hopes could be crushed.  She appeared tense and anxious as she entered the courtroom in Perugia, Italy, for the start of summations.  She barely smiled at her family who have gathered in Perugia for what they hope will be a final time.

Prosecutors, however, appeared equally determined to convince the court to keep her in prison where she has been since shortly after Kercher was found with her throat slashed in November 2007.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini presented the court with a slideshow of photos that included pictures of bloodstains in the house as well as photos of Kercher's slashed body.  The blood-filled pictures included close-ups of the wounds.

The slideshow also included pictures of Knox and Sollecito outside the cottage that had been shared by Knox, Kercher and two Italian women.  The behavior of Knox and Sollecito -- either cuddling or supportive depending on who is describing it -- was an issue in the original murder trial.  Knox's lawyer objected to the photo being being used in court this way and the judge agreed with him.

The prosecutors reviewed much of the circumstantial evidence surrounding the case and said, "All clues converge toward the only possible result of finding the defendants guilty."

They also appealed for the jurors to not be swayed by the press coverage that has been critical of the prosecution's handling of evidence and what is perceived to be a growing sentiment for Knox and Sollecito.

A team of prosecutors is expected to present its case through Friday and into Saturday.  A lawyer for Kercher will also get to make a summation before lawyers for Knox and Sollecito get to speak.

Before the jury retires to consider a verdict, Knox and Sollecito will get to make statements on their own behalf.  A verdict is expected in the early days of October.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep072011

Amanda Knox Wins Another Round in Her Murder Appeal

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- American college student Amanda Knox won a skirmish round Wednesday in the appeal of her Italian murder conviction when a court rejected prosecutors' request to conduct further tests on DNA evidence in the case.

The request to do additional tests on the DNA came after a court appointed independent panel gave a scathing report on the prosecutions' handling and analyzing of the DNA evidence, concluding it should not have been admitted as evidence.

A fresh round of tests could have added months to the appeal at a time when the Seattle woman has gotten her hopes up that her four year incarceration could be coming to an end.

The judge on Wednesday set closing arguments to begin on Sept. 23.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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