ADKRONOS, AGI, CORRIERE DELLA SERA, LA REPUBBLICA, LA STAMPA (Italy), AP
ROME - Italy's highest court has overturned the acquittal of American exchange student Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder of Knox's roommate Meredith Kercher.
La Repubblica reports that the judges in Italy's Court of Cassation ruled Tuesday that a new appeal trial must be held in the case that divided opinion in the US, Italy and the UK, home country of the 21-year-old victim, who was stabbed multiple times in the apartment in the Italian city of Perugia that she shared with Knox, a native of Seattle.
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Amanda Knox leaves the prison in October 2011. Photo by Scott335
According to the AGI news agency, the judges said the acquittal “must be cancelled because of violations of laws and high inconsistencies.” A retrial has been ordered and will take place in Florence, no date has yet been announced.
Kercher was murdered in what prosecutors argued was a drug-fueled brutal sex game that went wrong, reports Corriere della Sera. Rudy Guede, from the Ivory Coast, was separately convicted of the murder and is serving a 16-year sentence.
Lawyers for the Kercher family said they were pleased with Tuesday's ruling, Adnkronos writes, noting that they viewed it as “a moral and legal victory.”
Knox returned to Seattle as soon as she was freed and Sollecito is now studying in Verona. “They’re continuing to not believe me,” Knox reportedly told her lawyers by telephone from her home, where she stayed up past midnight local time for the verdict, writes La Stampa.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Knox said: “It was painful to receive the news that the Italian Supreme Court decided to send my case back for revision when the prosecution's theory of my involvement in Meredith's murder has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair. The prosecution responsible for the many discrepancies in their work must be made to answer for them, for Raffaele's sake, my sake, and most especially for the sake of Meredith's family.”
Knox will not be forced to appear in the new appeal, which can be conducted in absentia. According to the AP, if she was convicted and it is upheld by the Supreme Court, Italy could seek her extradition from the US. Another lawyer for Knox, Carlo dalla Vedova said that it would then be up the the U.S. to decide whether to honor this, or seek a deal to keep Knox from having to return to Italy to serve out any eventual sentence.