NEW: Prosecutor urges jurors to put themselves in the shoes of the dead girl's parents
Defense attorneys for Knox and Sollecito will sum up their arguments next week
The defense is seeking to overturn the pair's 2009 convictions for murder
Meredith Kercher was found with her throat cut in 2007 in the villa she shared with Knox
A prosecutor in the appeal by American Amanda Knox against her murder conviction urged the jurors to put themselves in the shoes of the parents of the murder victim, as the case entered its final phase Friday in Italy.
Prosecutors in the case are presenting their concluding arguments as to why the appeals court in the Italian town of Perugia should uphold the convictions for Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Rafael Sollecito, after a lengthy appellate process.
Addressing the jurors, appeals court prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola said: “I hope when you make your decision, you feel a little bit like the parents of Meredith Kercher, a serious, studious girl whose life was taken away by these two kids from good families.”
Defense attorneys for Knox and Sollecito are expected to present their final arguments early next week, as they fight to overturn the convictions.
Knox and Sollecito were found guilty in 2009 of killing Kercher, Knox’s British housemate, two years earlier. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, while Sollecito got 25.
Summing up the prosecution case Friday, Costagliola focused on evidence given by witnesses.
He said defense efforts to discredit the testimony of Antonio Curatolo, a homeless man who testified during the criminal trial that he saw Knox and Sollecito near the crime scene the night of the murder, had failed.
Costagliola also sought to pick holes in the testimony of two defense witnesses, convicted child killer Mario Alessi and jailed mafia member Luciano Aviello, who had each given conflicting accounts of who killed Kercher.
The prosecutor then reviewed the circumstantial evidence put before the court, including the contradictory statements given by the accused and DNA evidence.
Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who investigated the case, spoke Friday of how he would never forget seeing Kercher’s face when he first saw the body, as he defended the prosecution case made in the original trial.
He urged the jurors to make their decision on the basis of what they had heard in court, not in the overwhelming media coverage.
Mignini also questioned why the defense lawyers had not previously raised concerns over the way evidence was collected.
“Why didn’t they say anything then? Were they distracted? Or didn’t they find anything wrong?” he asked the court.
Attorneys for Knox and Sollecito have in recent weeks sought to undermine their convictions by scrutinizing DNA evidence found on the knife used to kill Kercher and on her bra clasp.
Two independent forensic experts argued this summer that the Sollecito DNA allegedly found on the bra clasp should be “inadmissible” because the clasp had not been properly handled. Prosecutors rejected that claim.
Knox’s father, Curt, told CNN earlier this month that prosecutors have “no case left,” after a review of evidence, and that he hoped to be able to take his daughter home within weeks.
Knox and Sollecito are appealing their convictions together, having been convicted in a joint trial. A third defendant, Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate fast-track trial.
CNN’s Hada Messia contributed to this report.