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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid