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Entries in Raffaele Sollecito (18)

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

Thursday
Oct062011

Amanda Knox Shared One Last Moment with Ex-Boyfriend Before Release

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Soon after Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend and co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, learned they were acquitted of murder charges in an Italian court, the two shared one final moment together before they went free.

In his first sit-down interview since the verdict, Amanda Knox’s father, Curt Knox, revealed to ABC News never-before-heard details about his daughter’s days in prison, including when she saw Sollecito.

“The only time they really got to talk was after the verdict, when they were getting ready to be whisked away in the cars,” Curt Knox said. “They actually went back to the prison in the same car. They hold something in common that very, very few people have ever had to deal with.”

He confirmed that the Sollecitos had been invited to visit the Knox family at their home in Seattle.

“An offer was extended to the Sollecito family to come to Seattle,” he said, “and whether they take us up on that or not is really too early to tell, because  I know that Rafealle is experiencing the same thing that Amanda’s experiencing, and wanting to reconnect with people and try to get back to normal life.”

Curt Knox discussed how his daughter has been readjusting to life back in the United States. He said Amanda Knox, out of habit, occasionally slips back into Italian, a language she became fluent in during her four years in Capanne prison outside of Perugia while she battled charges that she murdered her roommate.

His daughter has also been experiencing a kind of Rip van Winkle wonderment over the pop culture references she had missed while in prison, where there were no electronics. Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, iPads and Twitter were just some of the now iconic things Knox had never heard of.

“Somebody put out a phony tweet trying to say it was her and I don’t think Twitter even existed when she was arrested,” Curt Knox said. “So it was just totally fake, but it’s those kinds of things that you know times have changed.”

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

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

Thursday
Sep292011

Amanda Knox's Dad Says Summations 'Couldn't Have Gone Any Better'

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Lawyers for Amanda Knox wrapped up their summations Thursday in the appeal of her Italian murder conviction, and her relieved father said, "It couldn't have gone any better."

The worried father, Curt Knox, acknowledged it remains uncertain how the six jurors and two judges will react to the appeal.

"I'm not the one actually making the choice. I'm just hoping the judge and jury heard what I heard today," Curt Knox told ABC News.

Amanda Knox, 24, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, are asking the court in Perugia, Italy, to throw out a 2009 conviction that they murdered Knox's British roommate Meredith Kercher. The two women were sharing a cottage during a year studying in Italy when Kercher's partially nude body was found in her bedroom with her throat slashed in November 2007.

Knox and Sollecito have spent the last four years in an Italian prison. Knox is serving a 26 year sentence, while Sollecito was given a 25 year sentence. A verdict on their appeal is expected Monday. One possibility is that the court could agree with the prosecutors and extend their prison sentences to life.

Knox attorney Luciano Ghirga closed the team's summations by alluding to the suffering of Knox and her family during the four years of investigation, trial and appeal for a murder he inisted she didn't commit.

Knox's legal team concluded their 10-month long appeal Thursday by attacking the prosecution's theories on the alleged murder weapon and the couple's alleged motive for brutally assaulting Kercher.

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 that 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 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 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."

So there is "no motive and no murder weapon." Ghirga said.

Another target of Knox's lawyers Thursday was Rudy Guede, a local drifter who was convicted of taking part in the Kercher murder in a separate trial. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison on his final appeal.

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







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