Italian prosecutors launch Rome appeal against Amanda Knox acquittal
ITALIAN prosecutors launched today against the acquittal of Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend for the brutal murder of British student Meredith Kercher in the university town of Perugia.
Prosecutors in Perugia filed the 111-page appeal to Italy's highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation in Rome on Tuesday afternoon, more than four months after Miss Knox had her guilty verdict and 26-year prison sentence overturned on appeal.
Raffaele Sollecito, her ex-boyfriend, also had his guilty verdict and 25-year jail sentence quashed.
Miss Kercher, 21, of Coulsdon, Surrey, was found stabbed to death in the house she shared with Miss Knox and two other women in the Umbrian hill town in Nov 2007. Her body bore more than 40 injuries and lay in a pool of blood on the floor.
Prosecutors claimed that she had been killed during a drug-fuelled, frenzied sex attack by Miss Knox, Mr Sollecito and a third attacker, a local drifter named Rudy Guede.
Guede, originally from Ivory Coast, is serving a 16-year sentence – reduced on appeal from 30 years – and is the only person in jail for the crime.
The convictions of Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito were thrown out by an appeals court in Perugia in October, with the judges and jury deciding that the DNA evidence and witness testimony used to convict them was unreliable.
But Giovanni Galati, a Perugia prosecutor, insisted on Tuesday that the acquittal contained "omissions and many mistakes" and said he was "convinced" that Miss Knox, 24, and her then boyfriend carried out the killing.
Their acquittal was "contradictory and illogical", Mr Galati said.
The Court of Cassation is expected to make a ruling on the case, which has inspired books, films and worldwide interest, towards the end of the year.
The court is not authorised to summon new evidence – it will make its decision purely on the evidence that has already been presented in court.
If the court's panel of senior judges accept prosecutors' arguments then a retrial could be ordered.
Prosecutors would then request Miss Knox's extradition from the US under a 1984 extradition treaty between the two countries.
It would be up to the discretion of American authorities as to whether they approved the extradition.
Mr Sollecito said through his lawyer that the prosecutors’ decision to appeal his acquittal would ensure that the “living hell” he had experienced over the last four years would drag on.
“It’s a story that never finishes,” he told his lawyer, Luca Maori.
The appeal to the Court of Cassation is the third and final judicial stage of a saga that has gripped public interest on both sides of the Atlantic for more than four years.
Miss Knox is living in her native Seattle and was photographed recently cycling round the city on a mountain bike.
Drawing on the diaries she kept behind bars, she is writing a book about her experiences, which is believed to be the subject of a multi-million dollar bidding war by American publishers.
She is represented by a Washington-based lawyer who has overseen book deals for President Barack Obama, former Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton and the singer Elton John.
Mr Sollecito is also reported to be writing a book, though he has employed a ghost writer to help him with the project.