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Entries in Meredith Kercher (33)

Thursday
Dec152011

Amanda Knox 'Satisfied' with Italian Court Ruling

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- Amanda Knox is "satisfied" with an Italian court's statement Thursday that demolished the prosecution's case that led to her conviction for murder and four years in an Italian prison.

The judges' comments came in a 143-page detailed explanation of their decision in October to dismiss murder charges against Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

The ruling freed Knox, now 24, and Sollecito, 27, after spending four years in prison convicted of murdering her English roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. A third person, Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate trial and has exhausted his appeals.

The Italian judges appear to criticize the "obsessive duration" of her interrogation by Italian police and shrugged off Knox's affectionate antics with her co-defendant in the police station -- used as evidence of her guilt -- as nothing more than "tenderness between lovers."

In one of its most damning passages, the court statement, called a motivation in the Italian legal system, said that Knox and Sollecito were convicted despite the fact that 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."

Knox's parents Edda Mellas and Curt Knox issued a statement Thursday saying they were "pleased" that the judges' statement "reiterate and reaffirm what we have known all along, that Amanda had absolutely nothing to do with the tragic and terrible murder of Meredith Kercher."

"Amanda and we are satisfied with the motivations and take heart in the strength of the judge's words and proclamation of her innocence," the statement said.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini told ABC News that he has read the court's reasoning, but does not think it is proper for him to comment. Mignini said that he "believes that the chief prosecutor will appeal the sentence." The prosecution has 45 days to file an appeal.

The lawyer for the Kercher family was quoted by the Italian news agency ANSA as saying that the motivations "increase the bitterness" of having the murder convictions thrown out.

The judge's ruling dismantled piece by piece the previous conviction and Knox's 26 year prison sentence.

"The evidence, even if taken in its totality, does not prove in any way that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher" and notes that the evidence was largely circumstantial," the court wrote.

It went on to say that the judges "do not confirm the hypothesis that there were many people necessarily involved in the murder."

The very "bricks" on which the judges in the first trial built their sentence of Knox and Sollecito "fell away," the report said.

Not only did these "bricks" get moved, but there was a "lack of materials necessary for their construction," the judges wrote.

Copyright 2011 ABC News

Monday
Nov072011

Amanda Knox’s Ex: ‘Cruel Injustice’ Crushed Our Love

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In his first interview since he and ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox were released from Italian prison after their murder convictions were overturned, Raffaele Sollecito said the pair’s romantic relationship is over because of the “cruel injustice” they suffered.

“Our love was like a seed that was not allowed to grow because it was brutally stamped on.  We were both victims of a cruel injustice and our relationship was overcome,” he said in an interview with Italian television, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, have been the subject of many news stories since their murder convictions in the death of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher were vacated by an Italian appeals court on Oct. 3.

The prosecution had charged that Knox and Sollecito killed Kercher in a cottage that the two young women shared in Perugia, Italy, while they were studying there.  Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009 and Knox was sentenced to 26 years, while Sollecito got a 25-year sentence.  Both were freed after an independent report by court-appointed experts cast serious doubts on the evidence that police collected.

Since then, both families have kept low profiles, and Friday’s interview on the program Quarto Grado was Sollecito’s first time being interviewed since he got out of prison. He wished Knox the best for the future, and said he had “affection” for her.

The interview contradicts other supposed interviews in British and Italian media in which Sollecito reportedly claims to have been in daily contact with Knox and planned to visit her in America before Christmas.  Sollecito’s father has said those media reports were lies.

Raffaele Sollecito confirmed that Knox had invited him to visit her in Seattle, but said he would not be accepting the offer anytime soon.

He also said he had reached out the family of the victim, but “found the doors closed.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct052011

Italian Prosecutor in Amanda Knox Case Will Appeal Acquittal

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- As Amanda Knox arrived in her hometown of Seattle Tuesday, after spending the past four years in an Italian prison, the prosecutor in her case announced he would appeal her acquittal of Meredith Kercher's murder.

Giuliano Mignini said Tuesday he would take the case to Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation in Rome.  If the appeal is accepted, Knox's 26-year prison sentence could be reinstated.

Knox was acquitted Monday of killing her British roommate in 2007.  Her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, was also cleared of murder charges and spared from serving 25 years in jail.

Mignini said intense media scrutiny of the Knox trial influenced Monday’s decision to toss out the murder convictions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct042011

Kercher Family Doesn't Want 'Wrong People' Convicted

Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Franco Origlia/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The family of Meredith Kercher, still dazed by a court ruling absolving Amanda Knox of her murder, said Tuesday they don't want "the wrong people" imprisoned but are still hoping for the truth of who killed their "Mez."

Kercher's brother Lyle told a news conference Tuesday that the search will continue for the person who killed Meredith, a 21-year-old university student from England who was studying in Perugia, Italy, at the time of her murder. Kercher, fondly called "Mez" by her family, was found strangled and with a slit throat in her bedroom in November 2007.

The murder convictions of Knox, Kercher's roommate, and Raffaele Sollecito were tossed out Monday. Knox flew off to the U.S. on Tuesday and Sollecito returned to his home in Italy.

Before heading home to Britain, the Kerchers held a news conference in Perugia, saying they were still baffled over how a conviction "that was so certain two years ago has been so dramatically overturned."

"Ultimately we accept the decision and respect the court, but we do find that we are left looking at this again. We are back at square one, left wondering what truly happened," he said. "It is my understanding that we will go ahead and appeal the decision."

In Italy, the prosecution can appeal a loss, and that is expected to happen in the Knox and Sollecito cases.

"We don't want the wrong people put away for a crime they didn't commit, but now we may have to wait another year or so. We will wait," said Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister.

Their mother, Arline Kercher, was silent for most of the press conference, saying only that the family was still absorbing the decision.

Copyright 2011 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

Meredith Kercher's Family Hopes Truth Will Emerge

British student Meredith Kercher's sister Stephanie Kercher looks on as she listens to the verdict during the appeal trial session at the Perugia court on Oct. 3, 2011 in Perugia, Italy. American student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have won their appeal against their conviction in 2009 of killing their British roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007. Alessandro Bianchi - Pool/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The mother of Meredith Kercher sat stoicly in the front of the courtroom Monday as Amanda Knox's family and supporters erupted into cheers and hugs when Knox was acquitted of Kercher's murder.

The Kercher family, who earlier in the day professed its belief that Knox was involved in Meredith's death, remained behind in the courtroom long after the Knox family and its supporters poured into the streets in celebration. Arline Kercher was held upright by her daughter and attorney as she made her way through a crowd of reporters to a waiting vehicle.

The family later released a statement expressing its disappointment and confusion over the trial.

"We respect the decision of the judges. But we do not understand how the decision of the first trial could be so radically overturned. We still trust the Italian judicial system, and hope that the truth will eventually emerge," they said.

Earlier in the day, the family told reporters that the media attention surrounding Knox's appeal had overshadowed Meredith's grisly murder.

"What everyone needs to remember is the brutality of what actually happened that night -- everything Meredith must have felt, the fear and the terror and not knowing why. She didn't deserve that, no one does. She'd been here for two months, and she loved this place," said Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister.

The family also criticized Knox family's use of the media to gain sympathy for its daughter, calling the family a "PR machine" against whom they had to battle to keep the memory of their beloved "Mez" alive.

"It's very difficult to talk about forgiveness at this time, with the [media] hype around the case. And the defendant is involved in that. The brutality of it has been forgotten," said Kercher's brother, Lyle.

Arline Kercher said before the verdict was announced that she hoped the evidence keeping Knox and Sollecito in prison would be upheld despite the media attention surrounding the case.

"What I want and what the Knoxes want doesn't come into play today," she said. "It's what the police have found, the science has found, the evidence, and that's all you can go on."

The Kerchers had stayed away from the nearly year-long trial in Perugia, Italy, until Monday, when they arrived to witness the appeals verdict.

When asked if they believed in the original guilty verdict, Stephanie Kercher said, "We were satisfied with the verdict....Nothing's changed."

Referring to the gruesome autopsy photos that were shown during the trial and appeal, the brother said, "If we had them all up here," he said pointing to the wall behind him, "you would find it hard to forgive someone who had done that to your loved one.

"I'm not sure we'll be looking for forgiveness for a while," he said.

The Kercher family, who traveled from its home in Great Britain, is wary about the current attention on Knox instead of Meredith Kercher.

Kercher, a student at the University of Leeds, was studying in Perugia for a year when she was killed. She had been sharing an apartment with Knox, an American student, and two Italian women. She was found partially nude and with her throat slit in her bedroom on Nov. 2, 2007.

A third person, Rudy Guede, 22, was also convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in her murder.

During her final statement to the court in pleading for her freedom Monday, Knox said Kercher was her friend, someone she "shared my life with. She cared for me."

Kercher's mother downplayed their friendship.

"I don't think they were that close....Amanda only got there in the beginning of October, and Meredith was murdered on the first of November," Arline Kercher said. "I think they were friendly but not that close."

The family shared memories of Meredith Kercher. "Mez was just a lovely girl....She was always there for everyone," Stephanie Kercher said.

Arline Kercher cited a line in a story she read about the murder, saying, "I think it happened to Meredith because she was all that they weren't."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

Amanda Knox Acquitted of Murder, to Be Released from Prison

Amanda Knox sobs with relief as she is removed from the courtroom after her acquittal. ABC News(PERUGIA, Italy) -- A jubilant Amanda Knox was cleared of murder charges Monday by an Italian appeals court, ending her four-year prison ordeal and clearing the way for the American student to return home to Seattle.

The tension of the moment was so acute and full of dread for Knox that she looked pale and physically ill when she was brought into the courtroom for the verdict. When the judge cracked the tension by announcing that she was acquitted, Knox nearly collapsed. She was rushed out of the courtroom, barely able to walk, stumbling while being hauled along by court officers.

The former exchange student was crying and doubled over, her head occasionally coming up for big breaths of air.

Left behind in the courtroom was the family of Meredith Kercher, Knox's British roommate who she was accused of killing. Kercher's mother, Arline Kercher, sat stoically long after the elated Knox family hugged each other fiercely and streamed out into the street.

In the street, the family was greeted with cheers and boos, with some shouting "disgrace."

Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in December 2009 of killing Kercher in a 2007 attack that left the British exchange student partially nude and bleeding to death from a slashed throat.

Sollecito's conviction was also overturned.

Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, have spent the last four years in an Italian prison and faced the prospect of a life sentence depending on the appeals court ruling.

The court's six jurors and two judges deliberated for hours after listening in the morning to impassioned pleas by Knox and Sollecito to throw out the guilty verdict and set them free.

Knox struggled through tears and, at times, a shaking voice, as she addressed the court in Italian.

"I want to go home. I want to go back to my life. I don't want to be punished... I don't want my future taken away from me for something I didn't do because I am innocent," she said.

"I didn't do what they say I did. I didn't kill. I didn't rape. I didn't steal. I was not there," Knox insisted.

In encouraging the six jurors and two judges to set her free, Knox said, "I am not escaping truth. I am not fleeing from justice. I insist on the truth."

Lawyers for the prosecution called Knox a sex obsessed "she devil" and a liar. Twice they showed the court grisly photos of Kercher's nude and bloodied body, along with close-ups of the gash in her neck.

Knox's defense countered, saying that she wasn't a "she devil," but was more like Jessica Rabbit, the voluptuous cartoon character who was tender and loving. "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way," was her trademark line.

Knox's lawyers told the court she had been "crucified" by the media during the investigation and trial, a reference to the often lurid coverage of the case in tabloid papers, as well as seven books and a movie.

Forensics may have played a bigger role than rhetoric in the court's verdict. Much of the appeal revolved around whether the DNA on two key pieces of evidence were credible.

Two court appointed experts looked at the prosecution's evidence and delivered a damning assessment that the manner in which the DNA was collected, stored and analyzed was below international standards.

The prosecution defended their evidence and dismissed the experts' conclusion as the shoddy work of people with little experience in genuine investigations.

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.

===

(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

Meredith Kercher's Family: Media Coverage May Influence Verdict

Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Franco Origlia/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The family of Meredith Kercher said Monday they still believe Amanda Knox took part in her murder and are in no mood to think about forgiveness.

Kercher's family spoke as the six jurors and two judges were deliberating whether to uphold or throw out the 2009 murder conviction of Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

The Kerchers have stayed away from the nearly year-long trial in Perugia, Italy, until Monday when they arrived to witness the appeals verdict.

Meredith Kercher's mother Arline was joined by her sister Stephanie and her brother Lyle. When asked if they believe in the original guilty verdict, Stephanie Kercher said, "We were satisfied with the verdict… Nothing's changed."

"It's very difficult to talk about forgiveness at this time, with the [media] hype around the case. And the defendant is involved in that. The brutality of it has been forgotten," said Kercher's brother, Lyle. "There comes a point when we are just battling against what's essentially a PR machine."

Referring to the gruesome autopsy photos that were shown during the trial and appeal, the brother said, "If we had them all up here," he said pointing to the wall behind him, "you would find it hard to forgive someone who had done that to your loved one."

"I'm not sure we'll be looking for forgiveness for a while," he said. The Kercher family, who traveled from their home in Britain, are wary about the current attention on Knox instead of Meredith Kercher.

"It's been four years now, and the focus has shifted for obvious reasons onto the proceedings at court at the moment, but Meredith has been forgotten in all of it," said Stephanie Kercher.

If the appeal is overturned, Knox and Sollecito will be freed from prison. If the conviction is upheld, Knox may have to serve out her 26 year prison sentence and Sollecito will have to complete his 25 year term. Those sentences could be reduced or increased to life, which is what the prosecution is seeking.

Kercher, a student at the University of Leeds, was studying abroad in Perugia for a year when she was killed. She had been sharing an apartment with Knox, an American student studying abroad, and two Italian women. She was found partially nude and with her throat slit in her bedroom on Nov. 2, 2007.

A third person, Rudy Guede, 22, was also convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in her murder.  

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







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