U.S. student Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend from Italy, Raffaele Sollecito, were proved to be guilty on Thursday for the second time of murder their flatmate Briton Meredith Kercher back in 2007, in a retrial that reversed an earlier appeal judgment.
It took judges 12 hours of deliberations to decide that Knox and her boyfriend’s original 2009 conviction was the right one. American student’s sentence was was prolonged to 28 years and six months while Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.
As Reuters writes, Amanda did not attend the latest trial, however, having gone home to the United States after the previous appeal.
“I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system,” Knox said in a statement.
Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno revealed to reporters that her client intends to appeal to Italy’s highest court, and Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said he was “stunned”. The court is not set to publish the reasons for its verdict in three months.
Meanwhile Kercher’s family, who had pushed to have the appeal verdict overturned, the reaction was equally raw.
“We didn’t know what to expect. We are still in shock,” said Stephanie Kercher, the sister of the killed girl, after the ruling was announced.
Her American murdere, who is in the United States now and is scheduled to be extradited to serve her sentence in Italy, attacked the “overzealous and intransigent prosecution” and “prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation” and insisted that she had been wrongfully prosecuted.
Gabriele Giambrone, managing partner of Anglo-Italian law firm Giambrone Law, suggested that it was “very unlikely” Amanda would be extradited to serve her sentence.
“The U.S. will do everything to protect their own citizens, they will mount every challenge possible so I don’t think she’ll serve any time in an Italian jail,” said Giambrone, who is not involved in the case.
Meredith Kercher, 21, was found dead in her bedroom in the apartment she shared with Amanda in Perugia seven years ago, where the girls were students.
Investigators quickly found out the alleged murderes: Knox and her boyfriend Sollecito, building a narrative that the two killed Kercher in a sex game gone awry. The killers were convicted in 2009 and spent four years in prison.
Their guilt was not proved on appeal, but Italy’s highest court last year quashed the previous decision due to “inconsistencies” and ordered to set one more appeal trial.
While the case was going, it has been highly discussed by bloggers and journalists who tried to deliver their own verdict, judging by given evidence and weighing in for or against Knox and Sollecito.
The U.S. student, who was accused of murdering, was initially portrayed as a sex-obsessed party girl, but later was named the victim of a faulty and unfair justice system.