March 5, 2010 in Nation/World

Judges give reasons for convicting Knox

Seattle woman is serving 26-year sentence in Italy
Alessandra Rizzo Associated Press
 

ROME – The brutal murder of a British college student in Italy by American Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend was not premeditated, the judges who convicted them said in a document released Thursday.

Instead, the killing occurred spontaneously after what began as a sexual assault on Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old Briton, the judges said.

In fact, Knox – Kercher’s roommate – and Raffaele Sollecito had felt no resentment toward the victim. After the murder, they showed a “sort of repentance” for their crime when they covered Kercher’s naked dead body with a duvet.

The judges also said they found no holes or inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case against Knox and Sollecito, largely supporting forensic evidence that had been disputed by defense lawyers. Therefore, the guilty murder verdict was a “necessary and strictly consequential outcome” of the trial, the document said.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted in December by a court in Perugia, the central Italian town where the slaying took place in 2007. The Seattle woman was sentenced to 26 years in jail, while Sollecito received a 25-year sentence. The two, who were dating at the time of the killing, have insisted they are innocent. They remain in jail.

On Thursday, the judges released the reasons behind their ruling in a 427-page document that reconstructed the night of the murder and detailed evidence and testimony heard during the roughly yearlong trial. Once the document is released, defense lawyers can launch their planned appeals.

Kercher’s body was found on Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment she shared with Knox. The judges said she was murdered the night before by Knox, Sollecito and another man, Rudy Hermann Guede, who was convicted of murder in a separate trial. Guede sexually assaulted Kercher with the help of Sollecito and Knox, the document said.

Knox, 22, has said that she and Sollecito smoked pot the night of the murder. However, she maintains she spent the night at Sollecito’s house and was shocked to learn of her roommate’s slaying the following morning.

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