Florence court to rule at Knox, former boyfriend retrial Thursday
Both were convicted of British student Meredith Kercher's murder, later acquitted
Knox has opted not to travel to Italy for the trial after spending four years in jail
If found guilty, Knox said she would become "a fugitive"
It is the case that seems to have no end.
U.S. student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are waiting – once again – for a verdict from an Italian court.
Knox has been back home in Seattle ever since an appeal court acquitted her and Sollecito in 2011 of the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher. The 21-year old was found partially naked in a pool of blood in the house she shared with Knox in the picturesque town of Perugia, where both women were exchange students.
Knox says she is afraid to return to Italy, where she spent four years behind bars.
“I will become … a fugitive,” she told Italian daily La Repubblica this month, when asked what she would do if she was found guilty.
Italy’s Supreme Court in March overturned the pair’s acquittals, saying that the jury did not consider all the evidence and that discrepancies in testimony needed to be answered.
The case was sent to a retrial in Florence, where a verdict is expected Thursday.
Sollecito made it to the tribunal. Dressed in a purple jumper, sunglasses nestled on his collar, he waited for the start of a session that was going to be beamed around the world.
The retrial began last September, refocusing international attention on the case that grabbed headlines in Italy, Britain and the United States – but neither Knox or Sollecito were present in court.
Prosecutor Alessandro Crini has said both Knox and Sollecito should be convicted and handed a 26-year sentence for homicide, with an additional four years for Knox for slander.
Both have maintained their innocence.
With little change in the case details over the years, it is not clear how presiding judge Alessandro Nencini will rule.
Regardless of the decision… both sides will have the opportunity to appeal that verdict to Italy’s Supreme Court. That process could take months.
If Knox is ultimately found guilty, Italy could request her extradition from the United States
Knox, 26, and Sollecito, 29, were convicted in 2009 of killing Kercher, who was found with more than 40 stab wounds and a deep gash in her throat.
Knox has always denied murdering Kercher and again maintained her innocence in a written statement to the Florence court.
“I must repeat to you. I’m innocent. I did not rape, I did not steal … I did not kill Meredith,” Knox said a lengthy e-mail, which was presented by her lawyer.
Sollecito was in the Dominican Republic at the start of the retrial but returned to Italy.
In November he took to the stand to make a spontaneous declaration, saying the charges against him were “absurd.”
“For me, it’s a nightmare that goes beyond imagination,” he said of what he’s been through.
‘No one remembers Meredith’
A lawyer for the Kercher family said the victim’s brother and sister, Lyle and Stephanie, would attend court to hear the decision.
The Kercher family welcomed the retrial ruling, their lawyer, Francesco Maresca said in March, adding they believed the ruling that acquitted Knox and Sollecito was “superficial and unbalanced.”
The Kercher family believes more than one person was in the room when Kercher was killed, he said.
“No one remembers Meredith, while the two defendants write books, speak to the media and earn money,” Maresca told the court in closing remarks last month.
Ferguson advocates for Knox
One person who has been advocating for Knox is Ryan Ferguson – the Missouri man who walked free last November after being imprisoned for nearly a decade for murdering a newspaper editor. A state appeals court overturned his conviction.
“We kind of had this connection in the sense that we’ve been through this justice system … It’s relatively the same. We’ve been through this, and there’s not a whole lot of people” who’ve had the same experience, he told CNN’s “New Day.”
“So it’s cool and we can kind of just talk to each other. She wanted to reach out and say if you need to talk to anybody, if you need any help, I’m here for you. If not, I completely understand. So that’s how we began communicating.”
Asked about Knox’ current state of mind, he said she’s staying positive.
“She seems to be doing very well. I’m impressed with her. It’s so daunting at this time,” he said. “Within 48 hours she should know her fate. You can’t start living life until they actually clear you and until you’re free essentially. So I’m amazed how she’s doing. She’s working hard on school and continuing life the best she can. She believes the courts are going to do the right thing based on the facts. I agree.”