Knox and Sollecito charged with Kercher murder
Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been found guilty of the murder of the British exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia in 2007.
Knox was sentenced to 28 years and six months in jail, while Sollecito received 25 years. The ruling was made in Florence just after 22.00 on 30 January following a four-month retrial of the case by Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation.
The conviction means that Knox and Sollecito's case will return to the supreme court. If the verdict is upheld, Italy could seek to extradite Knox to serve her sentence (a treaty exists between both countries) but her legal team is likely to challenge this. The process could take months, and until then Knox's legal future will remain in limbo.
Sollecito attended the final hearing voluntarily however Knox received the verdict from her home in Seattle. Both maintained their innocence. Also attending the final hearing were Meredith's brother and sister, Lyle and Stephanie Kercher.
Speaking to Italian press via Skype before the ruling, Knox said "If I am convicted I understand that I will be seen as a fugitive but I will continue to fight until the end."
Knox and Sollecito, her Italian boyfriend at the time, were originally found guilty in 2009 of the crimes and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. They were then acquitted in a retrial in 2011, after four years in custody, on the grounds that the DNA evidence produced at the first trial was flawed.
Prosecution lawyers subsequently appealed to the Court of Cassation to overturn the 2011 verdict on procedural grounds, requesting a 26-year jail sentence for Knox and Sollecito, with an additional four years for Knox for slander, for falsely implicating Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba in the murder. Prosecutors say this points to her guilt but Knox has said she was confused and spoke under duress.
Meanwhile Rudy Guede, from the Ivory Coast, who was convicted of the Kercher assault and murder in a separate trial, is serving a 16-year prison sentence. He is expected to be released on parole next year.