Amanda Knox's murder conviction upheld on appeal

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Amanda Knox's murder conviction upheld on appeal
Amanda Knox's Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, left, is chased by media as he arrives at Italy's highest court building, in Rome, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. American Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend expect to learn their fate Wednesday when Italy's highest court hears their appeal of their guilty verdicts in the brutal 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate. Several outcomes are possible, including confirmation of the verdicts, a new appeals round, or even a ruling that amounts to an acquittal in the sensational case that has captivated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Raffaele Sollecito's lawyer Giulia Bongiorno speaks to journalists as she arrives on March 25, 2015 at the Rome's Supreme Court for the reviewing of Sollecito's trial. The court will examine the verdict that found Raffaele Sollecito and his former lover American Amanda Knox guilty of killing British student Meredith Kercher in the Italian university town of Perugia in 2007, in a case that has captivated the world with its sub-texts of drugs, alleged sexual debauchery and police bungling. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Amanda Knox puts her hand to her forehead while making a television appearance, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 in New York. Knox said she will fight the reinstated guilty verdict against her and an ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of a British roommate in Italy and vowed to "never go willingly" to face her fate in that country's judicial system . "I'm going to fight this to the very end," she said in an interview with Robin Roberts on ABC's "Good Morning America." (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Appeals Court Judge Alessandro Nencini, center, reads out the verdict for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, in Florence, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. An appeals court in Florence upheld the convictions of U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate. Knox was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison, raising the specter of a long legal battle over her extradition. After nearly 12 hours of deliberation Thursday the court reinstated the guilty verdict first handed down against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi)
Appeals Court Judge Alessandro Nencini, center, reads out the verdict for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, in Florence, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. An appeals court in Florence upheld the convictions of U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate. Knox was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison, raising the specter of a long legal battle over her extradition. After nearly 12 hours of deliberation Thursday the court reinstated the guilty verdict first handed down against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. Writing above reads in Italian "The Law is Equal for All." (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi)
Stephanie Kercher (L), sister of Meredith Kercher, and her brother Lyle hold a press conference in a hotel in central Florence on January 31, 2014. A court in Florence on January 30 sentenced US student Amanda Knox to 28 years and six months in prison for the murder of her British housemate in 2007 in the latest dramatic twist in the high-profile case. The court, after 12 hours of deliberations, also found Knox's former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito guilty for killing Meredith Kercher in the university town of Perugia and sentenced him to 25 years. Knox and Sollecito were first convicted of the murder in 2009, then acquitted in 2011 on appeal. An extradition procedure for Knox can only be launched following a definitive ruling from the supreme court, which could take months or years. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman believed to be Amanda Knox, center left, is hidden under a jacket while being escorted from her mother's home to a car by family members Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Seattle. Amanda Knox says she is frightened and saddened by her "unjust" murder conviction in the death of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox's lawyers have vowed to appeal to Italy's highest court. In a statement issued from Seattle on Thursday after her conviction was upheld, Knox blamed overzealous prosecutors and a "prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation" for what she called a perversion of justice and wrongful conviction. (AP Photo)
ADDS STATEMENT FROM KNOX SPOKESMAN DAVID MARRIOTT-An unidentified woman, center, is hidden under a jacket while being escorted from the home of Amanda Knox's mother, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Seattle.  Knox?s family spokesman, David Marriott, said Thursday that Knox was at the house when an Italian court upholding her murder conviction was read Thursday, but said he didn?t know whether the person who emerged was Knox. On Friday, Marriott stated he had made inquiries and that the person under the jacket wasn?t Knox. (AP Photo)
ADDS STATEMENT FROM KNOX SPOKESMAN DAVID MARRIOTT-An unidentified woman, center, is hidden under a jacket while being escorted from the home of Amanda Knox's mother, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Seattle.  Knox?s family spokesman, David Marriott, said Thursday that Knox was at the house when an Italian court upholding her murder conviction was read Thursday, but said he didn?t know whether the person who emerged was Knox. On Friday, Marriott stated he had made inquiries and that the person under the jacket wasn?t Knox. (AP Photo)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - During an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts, Amanda Knox vowed to fight murder conviction, on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 1/31/14, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) ROBIN ROBERTS, AMANDA KNOX
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - During an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts, Amanda Knox vowed to fight murder conviction, on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 1/31/14, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) ROBIN ROBERTS, AMANDA KNOX
This image released by NBC shows Amanda Knox during an interview on the "Today" show, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 in New York. Knox defended her decision not to return to Italy for a new appeals trial over the 2007 killing of her British roommate, even as she acknowledged that "everything is at stake," insisting she is innocent. In March, Italy's supreme court ordered a new trial for Knox and her former Italian boyfriend. An appeals court in 2011 had acquitted both, overturning convictions by a lower court. Italian law cannot compel Knox to return for the new legal proceeding. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)
Meredith Kercher's brother Lyle, left, and sister Stephanie wait for the reading of the verdict for the murder of the British student in Florence, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. An appeals court in Florence upheld the convictions of U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate. Knox was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison, raising the specter of a long legal battle over her extradition. After nearly 12 hours of deliberation Thursday the court reinstated the guilty verdict first handed down against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi)
Appeals Court Judge Alessandro Nencini, center, reads out the verdict for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, in Florence, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. An appeals court in Florence upheld the convictions of U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate. Knox was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison, raising the specter of a long legal battle over her extradition. After nearly 12 hours of deliberation Thursday the court reinstated the guilty verdict first handed down against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. Writing above reads in Italian "The Law is Equal for All." (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi)
Francesco Maresca, lawyer of Kercher family, right, caresses his assistant, left, as Meredith Kercher's brother Lyle, center right, and sister Stephanie talk after the reading of the verdict for the murder of the British student, in Florence, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. An appeals court in Florence upheld the convictions of U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate. Knox was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison, raising the specter of a long legal battle over her extradition. After nearly 12 hours of deliberation Thursday the court reinstated the guilty verdict first handed down against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni )
Meredith Kercher's brother Lyle, left, and sister Stephanie share a word after the Appeals Court Judge Alessandro Nencini, read out the verdict for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, in Florence, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. An appeals court in Florence upheld the convictions of U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate. Knox was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison, raising the specter of a long legal battle over her extradition. After nearly 12 hours of deliberation Thursday the court reinstated the guilty verdict first handed down against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni )
This image released by NBC shows Amanda Knox during an interview on the "Today" show, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 in New York. Knox defended her decision not to return to Italy for a new appeals trial over the 2007 killing of her British roommate, even as she acknowledged that "everything is at stake," insisting she is innocent. In March, Italy's supreme court ordered a new trial for Knox and her former Italian boyfriend. An appeals court in 2011 had acquitted both, overturning convictions by a lower court. Italian law cannot compel Knox to return for the new legal proceeding. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)
This image released by NBC shows Amanda Knox, right, during an interview with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 in New York. Knox defended her decision not to return to Italy for a new appeals trial over the 2007 killing of her British roommate, even as she acknowledged that "everything is at stake," insisting she is innocent. In March, Italy's supreme court ordered a new trial for Knox and her former Italian boyfriend. An appeals court in 2011 had acquitted both, overturning convictions by a lower court. Italian law cannot compel Knox to return for the new legal proceeding. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)
This April 9, 2013 photo released by ABC shows Amanda Knox, left, speaking during a taped interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer in New York. In March, Italy's highest criminal court overturned Knox's acquittal in the 2007 murder of a British student and ordered a new trial. The interview aired Tuesday, April 30, coinciding with the release of her memoir, "Waiting to Be Heard." (AP Photo/ABC, Ida Mae Astute)
Amanda Knox motions to cheering supporters as her mother, Edda Mellas, looks on at a news conference shortly after her arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, in Seattle. It's been four years since the University of Washington student left for the study abroad program in Perugia and landed in prison. The group Friends of Amanda Knox and others have been awaiting her return since an Italian appeals court on Monday overturned her conviction of sexually assaulting and killing her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Amanda Knox, right, is cheered by family friend Dave Marriott as she arrives for a news conference shortly after her arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, in Seattle. It's been four years since the University of Washington student left for the study abroad program in Perugia and landed in prison. The group Friends of Amanda Knox and others have been awaiting her return since an Italian appeals court on Monday overturned her conviction of sexually assaulting and killing her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Amanda Knox gestures at a news conference in Seattle Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, after returning home from Italy. Knox was freed Monday after an Italian appeals court threw out her murder conviction for the death of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Amanda Knox breaks in tears as she is taken away after hearing the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, central Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. Italian appeals court threw out Amanda Knox's murder conviction Monday and ordered the young American freed after nearly four years in prison for the death of her British roommate. Knox collapsed in tears after the verdict overturning her 2009 conviction was read out. Her co-defendant, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, also was cleared of killing 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in 2007. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
A woman believed to be Amanda Knox, center left, is hidden under a jacket while being escorted from her mother's home to a car by family members Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Seattle. Amanda Knox says she is frightened and saddened by her "unjust" murder conviction in the death of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox's lawyers have vowed to appeal to Italy's highest court. In a statement issued from Seattle on Thursday after her conviction was upheld, Knox blamed overzealous prosecutors and a "prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation" for what she called a perversion of justice and wrongful conviction. (AP Photo)
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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) - An appeals court in Florence on Thursday upheld the guilty verdict against U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate. Knox was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison, raising the specter of a long legal battle over her extradition if the conviction is confirmed.

Lawyers for Knox and her co-defendant, Raphael Sollecito, vowed to appeal to Italy's highest court, a process that will take at least another year and drag out a legal saga that has divided court watchers in three nations.

In a statement from Seattle, where she had awaited the verdict at her mother's home, Knox said she was "frightened and saddened" by the decision. She said it was "unjust" and the result of an overzealous prosecution and narrow-minded investigation that worked to "pervert the court of justice."

"This has gotten out of hand," she said. "Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system."

After nearly 12 hours of deliberations, the court reinstated the guilty verdicts first handed down against Knox and Sollecito in 2009 for the death of Meredith Kercher. Those verdicts had been overturned in 2011 and the pair freed from prison, but Italy's supreme court vacated that decision and sent the case back for a third trial in Florence.

Kercher, 21, was found dead Nov. 2, 2007 in a pool of blood in the bedroom of the apartment she and Knox shared in the central Italian city of Perugia, where both were studying. Her throat had been slashed and she was sexually assaulted.

Knox and Sollecito, who had just started dating a few days earlier, were arrested within the week. A third defendant, Rudy Guede of Ivory Coast, was convicted in a separate trial and is serving a 16-year sentence for the murder.

Knox and Sollecito maintained they were at Sollecito's apartment the night of the murder, smoking marijuana, watching a movie and making love.

A statement from Knox after the ruling appeared less aimed at persuading Italy's highest court to find her innocent in the upcoming appeal than at rallying supporters in the U.S. to resist a possible extradition request if the conviction is upheld.

Experts have said it's unlikely that Italy would request Knox's extradition before the verdict is final. If the conviction is upheld, a lengthy extradition process would likely ensue with the U.S. State Department ultimately deciding whether to turn Knox back over to Italian authorities to finish serving her sentence.

Mary Fan, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at the University of Washington Law School in Seattle, said any decision by the State Department is "a matter of both law and politics."

"The U.S. courts don't sit in judgment of another nation's legal system," Fan said. Nevertheless, "Many Americans are quite astonished buy the ups and downs in this case, and it's the U.S. that will ultimately be making the call about whether to extradite."

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Knox's home state of Washington, said she was "very concerned and disappointed" by the verdict and was confident the appeal would re-examine the decision.

"It is very troubling that Amanda and her family have had to endure this process for so many years," she said in a statement. "I will continue to closely monitor this case as it moves forward through the Italian legal system."

Knox's attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said he had called Knox by telephone and informed her that the Florence court had not only confirmed the guilty verdict, but had increased the sentence from the original 26 years.

"She was petrified. Silent," he said.

Sollecito was in court Thursday morning, but didn't return for the verdict. Sollecito's lawyers said they were stunned by the conviction and Sollecito's 25-year sentence and would appeal.

"There isn't a shred of proof," attorney Luca Maori said.

Attorney Giulia Bongiorno said she had thought the appeals trial had gone in her client's favor. "I don't think there can be a written ruling that justifies this verdict," she said.

Presiding Judge Alessando Nencini ordered Sollecito's passport revoked but made no requests for Knox's movements to be limited, saying she was "justifiably abroad."

Kercher's brother and sister were in the courtroom for the verdict, and said the outcome was the best they could have hoped for.

"It's hard to feel anything at the moment because we know it will go to a further appeal," said her brother, Lyle Kercher. Asked if he was satisfied, he said: "No matter what the verdict was, it never was going to be a case of celebrating anything."

In his closing arguments, Knox's lawyer, Dalla Vedova, had told the court he was "serene" about the verdict because he believes the only conclusion from the files is "the innocence of Amanda Knox."

"It is not possible to convict a person because it is probable that she is guilty," Dalla Vedova said. "The penal code does not foresee probability. It foresees certainty."

Dalla Vedova evoked Dante, noting that the Florentine writer reserved the lower circle of hell for those who betrayed trust, as he asserted that police had done to Knox when they held her overnight for questioning without legal representation and without advising her that she was a suspect.

Knox had returned to Seattle after spending four years in jail before being acquitted in 2011. In an email to this court, Knox wrote that she feared a wrongful conviction.

The first trial court found Knox and Sollecito guilty of murder and sexual assault based on DNA evidence, confused alibis and Knox's false accusation against Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner, which resulted in a slander verdict that has been upheld on final appeal. A Perugia appeals court dismantled the guilty verdict two years later, criticizing the "building blocks" of the conviction, including DNA evidence now deemed unreliable by new experts, and the lack of motive.

Italy's highest court ordered the third trial in a scathing dismissal of the appeals court acquittal, ordering the examination of evidence and testimony it said had been improperly omitted by the Perugia appeals court as well as addressing what it called as lapses in logic.

In Florence, the new prosecutor, Alessandro Crini, redefined the motive, moving away from the drug-fueled erotic game described by his colleagues in Perugia. Crini contended that the outburst of violence was rooted in arguments between roommates Knox and Kercher about cleanliness and was triggered by a toilet left unflushed by Guede, the only person now in jail for the murder.

Courts have held that Guede, a small-time drug dealer originally from Ivory Coast who had previous convictions for break-ins, did not act alone.

Italian Court Finds Amanda Knox Guilty Of Murder

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