An American college student and her former boyfriend were ordered Tuesday to stand trial in last year’s slaying of her roommate, while the judge also convicted an Ivory Coast man in the killing, lawyers said.
The judge indicted Amanda Knox, 21, of Seattle, and Raffaele Sollecito, of Italy, on charges of murder and sexual violence in the stabbing death of Meredith Kercher, of England, said Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the victim’s family. Trial for the two, who deny wrongdoing, will start Dec. 4.
A third suspect, Rudy Hermann Guede, of the West African nation of Ivory Coast, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted on the same charges in a fast-track trial requested by his defense, Maresca said.
Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito, who were jailed shortly after the slaying last Nov. 2, had asked that their clients be granted house arrest if indicted. Lawyers leaving the courthouse said the judge did not rule on the request and a decision was expected in the coming days.
Prosecutors allege Kercher died during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito holding her by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife and Guede tried to sexually assault her. Prosecutors say Knox then fatally stabbed Kercher in the throat.
Mexican Congress approves oil reform
Mexico’s Congress passed a watered-down energy industry reform Tuesday that enables private contractors to participate in the state-owned oil business but won’t likely draw enough investment to reverse declining production in the third-largest oil supplier to the United States.
The lower house overwhelmingly approved the reforms despite protests by leftist lawmakers who stormed the podium to block a bill they said was a stealth privatization of an industry that was nationalized in 1938. The Senate approved the reform last week.
Falling oil prices and output threaten to slash Mexico’s state oil income, which makes up 40 percent of the federal budget, just as the country sees falling remittances from U.S. migrants and a plunging peso rattles the long-stable economy.
State oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, lacks the technology and expertise for deep-water exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, believed to hold many of the country’s unproven reserves. But experts say the reform bill has few incentives for private companies to take on the risk and expense of such exploration.