November 21, 2009 in Nation/World

Seattle woman’s trial for murder nears end

Marta Falconi Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Murder suspect Amanda Knox looks back between police officers during a break in the trial for the murder of her British roommate in Perugia, Italy, on Friday.
(Full-size photo)

PERUGIA, Italy – An American student accused of fatally stabbing her British roommate in Italy had a growing hatred for the victim and killed her in retaliation during a drug-fueled sex game, a prosecutor contended Friday in closing arguments at her murder trial.

Lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini argued that Amanda Knox, together with her ex-boyfriend and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito and a third man convicted in a separate trial last year, killed Meredith Kercher under “the fumes of drugs and possibly alcohol.” Knox and Sollecito tried to cover up their crime by staging a burglary, he contended.

Knox, of Seattle, wanted to get back at Kercher for saying she was not clean and for calling her promiscuous, Mignini argued.

“Amanda had the chance to retaliate against a girl who was serious and quiet,” Mignini said. “She had harbored hatred for Meredith, and that was the time when it could explode. The time had come to take revenge on that smug girl.”

Knox, who has denied wrongdoing, appeared to be weeping as Mignini described the wounds on Kercher’s body. Her lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, sitting next to her, at one point held her hand. Looking discouraged and keeping her head down, she was hugged and comforted by lawyers during breaks.

Knox and Sollecito are charged with murder and sexual violence in the 2007 killing in the central Italian town of Perugia. Sollecito also maintains he is innocent.

Ivory Coast citizen Rudy Hermann Guede is appealing his conviction and 30-year sentence handed down after the fast-track trial he requested.

Prosecutors were expected to make their formal sentencing requests to the eight-member jury today, while a verdict is expected in early December. They are expected to request life in prison – Italy’s stiffest punishment.

The 22-year-old Knox maintains she spent the night of the murder at Sollecito’s house in Perugia.

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