Italy's high court began hearing the appeal of Amanda Knox's murder conviction Wednesday as it considered the fate of the "very worried'' American student and her former boyfriend in the brutal 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate.
Dozens of journalists and camera crews were on hand for the final arguments and deliberations of the Court of Cassation in the death of Meredith Kercher.
The judges could decide to confirm the convictions and 28 1/2 -year sentence for Knox and 25-year sentence for her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, which would then raise extradition questions for Knox, who is in the U.S.
The court could decide to throw out the convictions and order a third appeal trial. Less likely, it could overturn the convictions without ordering a retrial, tantamount to an acquittal.
To date, the high-profile trials of Knox and Sollecito have produced flip-flop guilty-then innocent-then guilty verdicts, polarizing observers in three nations. Knox has been portrayed alternately as a victim of a botched investigation and shoddy Italian justice, or a promiscuous predator who falsely accused a Congolese bar owner of the murder.
Knox was awaiting the ruling in her hometown of Seattle, and was "worried, very worried,'' her attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said before the hearing began.
Dalla Vedova said a decision is expected late Wednesday or Thursday. Asked if he would call Knox with the court's decision even if it came in the middle of the night in the U.S., Dalla Vedova said: "I don't think she's sleeping much.''
Television crews mobbed Sollecito as he made his way into the courthouse, and he huddled with his attorney before the hearing began.
"I'm here all day, also tonight,'' he said.
Also on hand for the hearing was Diya "Patrick'' Lumumba, the Congolese owner of the pub where Knox occasionally worked whom Knox falsely accused of the murder.
Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Britain, was found dead Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment that she shared with Knox in the idyllic hillside town of Perugia where both women were studying. Her throat was slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.