Amanda Knox found guilty
An Italian court upholds the guilty verdict against US student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.PT0M50S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-31qfq 620 349 January 31, 2014
The family of murdered British student Meredith Kercher have said they are still on a "journey for the truth" after Italian judges reinstated the convictions of Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito.
Speaking at a press conference in Florence, Ms Kercher's brother Lyle and sister Stephanie said they could not draw a line under her death while the process was going on.
Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito together in 2007 outside the house where British student Meredith Kercher was murdered. Photo: AP
They called for Knox to be extradited from the US and declined to comment on reports that Sollecito, her former boyfriend, had been arrested by Italian police close to the Austrian border.
"I think we are still on a journey for the truth and it may be the fact that we don't ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something we'll have to come to terms with," Stephanie said.
"You can't ever really get to a point where you just start to remember Meredith solely because it is following the case, coming over to Italy and everything associated with it.
Lyle and Stephanie Kercher, the sister and brother of Meredith Kercher, react as the verdict is read. Photo: AFP
"But the verdict has been upheld this time so we hope that ... we are nearer the end so that we can just start to remember Meredith for who she was and draw a line under it, as it were."
Knox, 26, lives in Seattle and has said she will only be extradited to Italy "kicking and screaming", after judges reinstated her murder conviction on Thursday for the death of Ms Kercher.
The appeals court sentenced her to 28 years and six months in jail. Sollecito, 29, was sentenced to 25 years.
Murdered British student Meredith Kercher. Photo: Getty Images
Ms Kercher, a 21-year-old Leeds University student from Surrey, was found half-naked with multiple stab wounds and her throat slashed in the bedroom of the house she shared with Knox in Perugia, central Italy, in November 2007.
Knox and Sollecito spent four years in prison after being found guilty in 2009 of murdering Ms Kercher.
The verdict was overturned by an appeals court in 2011. The pair were acquitted and freed from prison.
On March 26 last year, Italy’s highest court approved a prosecutor’s request to void the appeals court verdicts and to try the pair again. Italy does not have laws against double jeopardy – prosecuting someone for a crime of which he or she had been acquitted.
After nearly 12 hours of deliberations, the court reinstated the guilty verdict handed down in 2009.
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".
Frightened and saddened
Knox said she was frightened and saddened by what she called an "unjust" verdict.
She attacked the "overzealous and intransigent prosecution" and "prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation" and said she had been wrongfully prosecuted.
"Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," she said in a statement released by her spokesman, David Marriott.
"There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution," the statement said.
Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito announced they would appeal to Italy's highest court.
Experts doubt she could ever be extradited to Italy, but she may not be able to travel freely outside the United States if Italy issues a warrant for her arrest.
Gabriele Giambrone, managing partner of Anglo-Italian law firm Giambrone Law, said it was "very unlikely" Knox would be extradited to serve her sentence.
"The US will do everything to protect their own citizens; they will mount every challenge possible so I don't think she'll serve any time in an Italian jail," said Mr Giambrone, who is not involved in the case.
Legal experts estimate the case could continue until the end of 2015, although it could be brought forward.
Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said at the original trial that Knox had masterminded a drug-fuelled sex game involving Sollecito and Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native, who grew up in Italy, which turned violent, leading to the murder.
Guede was found guilty in a separate "fast-track" trial in 2008 and sentenced to 30 years in jail. His jail term was reduced to 16 years in an appeal in 2009. His trial found that he did not act alone because of the number and variety of Ms Kercher's more than 40 wounds.
Knox first told police she was inside the villa at the time of the killing and that screaming from Ms Kercher's room alerted her to the crime scene.
She also initially named the owner of a bar, where she had worked, as the possible killer.
The bar owner, Patrick Diya Lumumba, was arrested and later released after a witness confirmed his alibi.
Knox later altered her story and said the police had coerced her to give her original account.
In the latest hearing, prosecutor Alessandro Crini had requested a 30-year prison sentence for Knox, of which four were for slander, and 26 years for Sollecito, saying the murder may have been rooted in arguments about the house's cleanliness and sparked by a row over a toilet left unflushed by Guede that night.
As with Knox, Sollecito has always denied any wrongdoing, saying all he and his girlfriend wanted at the time was to be isolated in their "little fairy tale".
The original Knox trial in 2009 garnered global media attention and divided opinion along national lines, while failing to clarify what really happened on the night of the murder.
The New York Times argued for acquittal while British dailies portrayed Knox as a seductive temptress with a violent streak. Her family and friends described her as a creative and industrious student who, while eccentric, would never harm anyone.
Sollecito's lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said during the first appeals trial that Knox was more a "Jessica Rabbit" than a femme fatale, explaining that, like the cartoon-film character, she was not "bad, she's just drawn that way".
Sollecito did not act out of love for his girlfriend and was not Knox's "puppy", Ms Bongiorno told the court in defence arguments this month.
PA, Bloomberg and agencies