News / USA

Knox Back on Trial for Meredith Kercher Murder in Italy

Amanda Knox during an interview on the 'Today' show in New York, Sept. 20, 2013.
Amanda Knox during an interview on the 'Today' show in New York, Sept. 20, 2013.
Reuters
A fresh appeal by American Amanda Knox and her Italian ex- boyfriend against their convictions for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher started in their absence on Monday with defense lawyers pointing to a lack of DNA evidence.

Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of killing 21-year-old British student Kercher in what was described as a drug-fuelled sexual assault.

After winning an appeal in 2011 quashing the guilty verdict, both were freed from prison. But Italy's supreme court overturned the acquittals in March, citing “contradictions and inconsistencies”, paving the way for the new appeals trial.

Defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno told the court there was no DNA evidence that Knox had been at the murder scene, while there was plenty of proof that Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, the only person still in jail for the murder, had been there.

“How is it possible to find enormous quantities of traces of Guede and not a trace of Amanda,” she asked the court, adding that the only trace of Sollecito was on Kercher's bra clasp, which the defense say was due to contamination.

Kercher was found with more than 40 wounds, including a deep gash in the throat, in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia, a picturesque town in central Italy's Umbria region that attracts students from around the world.

Knox, 26, has always denied involvement in the killing. She told U.S. television this month that “common sense” told her not to return to Italy for the new appeal. She is not obliged to attend and can be represented by her lawyers, who said she is watching the retrial closely from home in Seattle.

“I was imprisoned as an innocent person and I just can't re-live that,” she told NBC television.

Sollecito, 29, who has also always protested his innocence, plans to attend some of the hearings, his father Francesco said, adding he was confident his son's innocence would be confirmed.

“Deeper examination can only demonstrate what we already know, that is that Raffaele Sollecito has nothing to do with what that poor girl had to suffer,” he told reporters.

EVIDENCE REVIEW

The defense team called for further investigations such as tests of semen stains found on a pillow and an examination of a very low DNA trace found on the alleged murder weapon - a kitchen knife found in Sollecito's house.

Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the Kercher family, argued there was already sufficient evidence stacked against Knox and Sollecito and the supreme court's decision to throw out their acquittals had reinforced his view.

“We have always maintained that they are guilty and that they were present at the crime scene,” he told reporters.

Knox has said she wants to visit Kercher's grave in England, but the Leeds University student's family said in a statement at the weekend that this was Meredith's “safe place” and that they hoped “that is respected by all”.

Nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” in many tabloid headlines, Knox was initially portrayed as a sex-obsessed she-devil by prosecutors but a lobbying campaign by her family helped modify perceptions.

In a memoir published this year, she painted herself as a naive young woman and a victim of Italy's snail-paced justice system, which drew heavy criticism for its handling of the case.

If found guilty, she could appeal again to Italy's supreme court. If that failed, Italy could request her extradition.

The supreme court said in June that the appeals court that freed Knox and Sollecito had not taken all the existing evidence into consideration. It said Guede, who is serving a 16-year sentence, was unlikely to have committed the crime alone.

Prosecutors said Kercher was held down and stabbed after she resisted attempts by Knox, Sollecito and Guede to involve her in an orgy. The supreme court said the theory of a sex game that spiraled out of control should be re-examined.

The prosecution's case was weakened in the last trial by forensic experts who undermined the credibility of DNA evidence provided by police and sharply criticized their initial response procedures at the scene of the killing.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid