Amanda Knox vowed Friday morning on Good Morning America to fight her second conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher “until the very end” and said she will “never go willingly”.  Knox said that the news of the guilty verdict hit her “like a train.”

“I did not expect this to happen. I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system,” she said. “They found me innocent before. How can they say that it’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?”

“…It’s not right, and it’s not fair and I’m going to do everything that I can,” she said.

The Kercher family is publicly urging the United States to agree to extradite Knox if it is requested, if the conviction is upheld.

“It would set a difficult precedent if a country such as the U.S. didn’t choose to go along with laws that they themselves uphold when extraditing convicted criminals from other countries,” Meredith’s brother Lyle Kercher said, “It…leaves them in a strange position not to.”

However, many legal experts point to the conflict between U.S. laws and Italian laws with respect to double jeopardy, as a reason the U.S. should not extradite Knox.  Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito must wait until the court issues its reasoning in writing before appealing.  The court has 90 days.

In 2007, Meredith Kercher was found stabbed to death in the apartment she shared with Knox and two other women, both were studying abroad in Italy.  Five days later, Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were arrested and charged with murder.  In 2009, they were both convicted of sexual assault, murder, and simulating a burglary (staging a break in).  According to Italian law, a person is not officially convicted, and thus retains the presumption of innocence, until the verdict is confirmed on appeal.  At the “second level” trial, in 2011, the original conviction was overturned and Knox and Sollecito were declared innocent and released.  The court had three choices in verdict:  not proven, guilty, or not guilty (innocent).

The court wrote that the verdict of guilty “was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence,” they criticized the police interrogation of Knox, and said that her self-incriminating statements were made as the result of “great psychological pressure.”  In addition, the DNA evidence used against Knox in the first trial, was retested and yielded different results.  A knife with Knox’s DNA on it was said to be the murder weapon in the first trial actually had none of Meredith Kercher’s blood or DNA on it.  The judges also noted that there was no evidence that Knox and Sollecito knew Rudy Guede, the other person convicted of the rape and murder.  

Guede was a known burglar and had been found with a knife after breaking into a school just days before Kercher’s murder.  His fingerprints, DNA, shoe print, and his bloody handprint (underneath Kercher’s body) were found at the scene of Kercher’s murder.  Guede told the court at his trial that he had gone on a date with Kercher, but witnesses disputed seeing him with Kercher that night.  He said that they went back to Kercher’s house and “made out”, but he developed stomach pains so he went to the bathroom.  There, he heard Kercher scream and he saw a shadowy figure standing over her.  The figure fled, but speaking in Italian said, “found black, found guilty, let’s go.”  The court found his version of events to be incompatible with the evidence.  He was found guilty in 2008 of murder and sexual assault, but acquitted of theft, and sentenced to 30 years. The court ruled that they did not believe he acted alone based upon the number of wounds Kercher received, leaving open the possibility for the prosecution to try others.  On appeal, his conviction was confirmed, but he was resentenced to 16 years and is eligible for release this year.

Knox returned home to the United States after spending 4 years in an Italian jail.  However, Italy does not have double jeopardy protections, so in 2013, after the prosecution appealed the verdict, the Italian Court of Cassation overturned the acquittal and ordered a new trial.  The ruling was criticized, with many saying that the court went outside the law and instead provided a roadmap on how the lower court should convict Knox and Sollecito.

The retrial began in September of last year.  On Thursday, the Italian court reversed the not guilty verdict after 12 hours of deliberation.  Knox was convicted and given 28 1/2 years in prison, a 2 1/2 year increase from her sentence in the first conviction.  Sollecito’s original sentence did not change and he was sentenced again to 25 years.

Police revoked Sollecito’s passport and he was ordered not to leave the country, but will be released awaiting a final appeal.  The final appeal process could take an additional year.


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