Knox and Sollecito have guilty verdicts reinstated

Sister of murdered British student Meredith Kercher admits the family ‘may never know what happened that night’ after Knox and Sollecito have guilty verdicts reinstated

  • Stephanie Kercher said the family is ‘still on a journey for the truth’
  • She was speaking at a press conference in Florence with brother Lyle
  • Amanda Knox has refused to return to Italy after being found guilty again of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher
  • Knox, 26, sat in silence at home in Seattle, U.S. with her family for the verdict, which sentenced her to 28 years and six months in prison
  • Her parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, said the verdict has stunned them
  • Knox’s ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito received a sentence of 25 years but will remain free and must surrender his passport
  • Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito vowed to appeal to Italy’s highest court, a process that will take at least a year and start a length extradition battle
  • Harvard law professor says if appeal fails the US will have to extradite her
  • Meredith’s siblings were present for the verdict in Florence at court

 

Stephanie, Lyle and lawyer Francesco Maresca during the Florence press conference

Stephanie, Lyle and lawyer Francesco Maresca during the Florence press conference

 

Awaiting the verdict: Amanda Knox, pictured today in Seattle, is with her family in America while Italian judges deliberate in Florence on the latest Meredith Kercher murder trial

Raffaele Sollecito faces being jailed for a second time if found guilty of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher

Guilty: Amanda Knox, pictured in Seattle, US today was with her family in America when the guilty verdict was announced, and right, her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito talking to lawyers this morning

Meredith Kercher

‘No relief’: Meredith (pictured) lived in Coulsdon, Surrey. Tonight her mother Arline Kercher was at home watching the developments in Florence on live television and said she felt no relief at the verdict

‘I think we are still on a journey for the truth and it may be the fact that we don’t ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something we’ll have to come to terms with,’ Stephanie said.

‘You can’t ever really get to a point where you just start to remember Meredith solely because it is following the case, coming over to Italy and everything associated with it.

 

‘But the verdict has been upheld this time so we hope that … we are nearer the end so that we can just start to remember Meredith for who she was and draw a line under it, as it were.’

When asked if Knox should be extradited, Mr Kercher said: ‘If somebody is found guilty and convicted of a murder and if an extradition law exists between those two countries, then I don’t see why they wouldn’t.

‘I imagine it would set a difficult precedent if a country such as the US didn’t choose to go along with laws that they themselves uphold when extraditing convicted criminals from other countries.

‘It probably leaves them in a strange position not to.’

Questioned about reports that Sollecito had been held by police in Udine, he replied: ‘I’ve not heard that. I couldn’t comment… that could be pure speculation for the sake of news for all I know.’

Sollecito was taken into custody by officers from the Flying Squad and is being held at police headquarters, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Amanda Knox told Italian authorities that ‘they’ll have to catch me and pull me back kicking and screaming’ following her guilty verdict for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Her defiance raises the spectre of a long drawn-out extradition battle after the decision of judges in Florence to overrule her previous acquittal and sentence her to 28 years and six months in prison.

Knox’s ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 29, was also found guilty and given 25 years in jail. But their lawyers vowed to appeal to Italy’s highest court – a process that will take at least a year and drag out the legal wrangling.

Speaking of her hope that the US government would support her, Knox, 26, warned that she will not be returning to Italy willingly and will continue to fight for her innocence.

The American, nicknamed Foxy Knoxy, risks immediate arrest if she leaves the country, and could be seized if she sets foot in the EU.

Trying times: Family members of Amanda Knox, including her father Curt Knox, leave her parents' home on January 30, 2014 in Seattle, Washington

Trying times: Family members of Amanda Knox, including her father Curt Knox, leave her parents’ home on January 30, 2014 in Seattle, Washington

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said that if the supreme court in Italy turns down her appeal, the United States will have little choice but to extradite her.

‘The United States seeks extradition of more people than any country in the world. We’re trying to get NSA leaker Edward Snowden back and we’re not going to extradite someone convicted of murder?’ he told NBC News.

Professor Dershowitz doubted that even double jeopardy will protect Knox because she was initially found guilty and her acquittal was heard at an intermediate appeals level.

‘If that happened in the U.S., it wouldn’t be double jeopardy,’ he said.

However, a legal expert told CNN that Knox is not likely to serve any more prison time in Italy.

Sean Casey, from Kobre & Kim in New York, said: ‘She was once put in jeopardy and later acquitted. Under the treaty, extradition should not be granted.’

This is the third time that American Knox and Sollecito have faced trial over the murder of Kercher, who died in Perugia in 2007.

Speaking to the Guardian for a series of interviews that were filmed before Thursday’s verdict, Knox said that ‘I’m definitely not going back to Italy willingly. They’ll have to catch me and pull me back kicking and screaming into a prison that I don’t deserve to be in. I will fight for my innocence.’

In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s ruling she told ABC News ‘I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict’.

Back in Seattle and still reeling from the decision, Amanada Knox’s parents told ABC News on Thursday evening that their daughter sat in stunned silence as the verdict was announced, saying only, ‘guilty, 28 years.’

Admitting they were furious with the decision of the Italian court, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas said that as the crushing blow was announced, Knox seemed more concerned with the fate of former boyfriend, Sollecito.

‘Amanda’s upset, we were all shocked and upset, but we’re all ready to fight too,’ said Knox’s mother Edda Mellas.

‘Everyone in the family, everyone in the extended family are all ready to continue to fight for truth and fight for her freedom and it’s not going to stop.’

Distressed: Amanda Knox's mother, Edda Mellas in blue sweater & red coat exit their family home in Seattle as her father curt Knox in black shirt and trousers get into a black town car for their journey to be interviewed by ABC News

Distressed: Amanda Knox's mother, Edda Mellas in blue sweater & red coat exit their family home in Seattle as her father curt Knox in black shirt and trousers get into a black town car for their journey to be interviewed by ABC News

Distressed: Amanda Knox’s mother, Edda Mellas in blue sweater & red coat exit their family home in Seattle as her father curt Knox in black shirt and trousers get into a black town car for their journey to be interviewed by ABC News

 

In the exclusive interview with ABC News, Knox’s parents said that they simply can not understand why the court has returned a guilty verdict – in spite of what they see as all the evidence to the contrary.

‘If you look at common sense, you look at evidence, you look at the fact that Amanda is nowhere in that room, then no, I wasn’t expecting this, absolutely not,’ said Mr Knox.

‘They got it right in the first appeals trial where they found her innocent and allowed us to bring her home. And this is totally wrong.’

‘Everything they’ve looked at now has come out strongly for Amanda and so for them to rule this way is just mind boggling, but not all that surprising,’ Mrs Knox added. 

‘They get it, they’ve gotten it wrong, and they continue to get it wrong.’

Although he has been ordered to surrender his passport Sollecito, who had attended the lengthy hearings, will remain free to move about in Italy, pending the outcome of the appeal.

During the course of the interview with The Guardian, Knox said that she has been in touch with Sollecito during the course of the re-trial – but denied any truth in the rumors that she had offered to marry him.

It had been reported that he had asked her to be his wife in order to obtain US citizenship and escape Italian justice, but Knox refuted these suggestions.

Verdict: The judge in the courthouse of Florence reads the final guilty verdict after 11 hours of deliberations

Verdict: The judge in the courthouse of Florence reads the final guilty verdict after 11 hours of deliberations

 

‘It is not true. I don’t know where that came from,’ said Knox to the Guardian.

Speaking of her fears for her former lover, Knox said that ‘He’s really scared’ and ‘really vulnerable.’

WILL DOUBLE JEOPARDY SAVE AMANDA KNOX?

The ruling is set to spark a diplomatic tug-of-war between Italy and the US for Amanda Knox. Knox, who denies killing Meredith Kercher, has said she would rather become a fugitive than return to Italy and place her fate ‘in the hands of people who very clearly want me in prison’.

But although she has attracted huge support from the American public, some legal experts believe the US would be reluctant to turn down an extradition request from Italy – especially as it makes so many requests itself.

She could be rescued by Ameria’s double jeopardy rule, under which nobody can be tried twice for the same crime. The rule is explicity mentioned in the country’s extradition treaty with Italy as an example of when the US may not co-operate.

However, double jeopardy in the US usually covers trials by jury, and Knox had been acquitted by appeal court judges. The Italians could use this to argue that her case is not covered by the rule.

The US State Department, which would have to decide whether to forcibly send Knox back to Italy, has refused to comment.

If the United States approves the extradition request then it is most likely that Knox will then begin a whole separate legal battle within the United States to stay and not be sent to Italy to serve her sentence.

Knox said that if Sollecito is imprisoned while she remained free she hopes there will be an ‘outcry’.

Knox’s attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said he had called Knox by telephone and informed her that the Florence court had not only confirmed the guilty verdict, but had increased the sentence from the original 26 years.

‘She was petrified. Silent,’ he said.

Members of Meredith’s family were there to hear the verdict.

Meredith’s brother Lyle, speaking in the immediate aftermath on Thursday, said that the verdict was never going to be ‘a case of celebrating’, but it was ‘the best we could have hoped for’.

‘It’s hard to sort of feel anything at the moment because we know realistically it’s going to go to a further appeal by the defendants, probably sometime in spring, so I think we were already prepared for that before this evening’s decision,’ Lyle said.

When asked whether the family were satisfied with the verdict he added: ‘Satisfaction inasmuch as this is what the prosecution’s been working for and we’ve supported what they’ve been doing throughout.

‘As we’ve said in the past, no matter what the verdict it was never going to be a case of celebrating anything.

‘That’s probably the best we could have hoped for. This is what we’ve been working towards.’

In an interview with Sky, Lyle said he would not be able to forgive those responsible for his sister’s death.

Stephanie, the sister of murdered British student Meredith Kercher

Meredith Kercher's brother Lyle, left, and sister Stephanie talk

Meredith’s sister Stephanie, left, and her brother Lyle, right, are pictured after the verdict this evening

 

Lyle Kercher said that following the verdict is was 'hard to feel anything' as the family suspected there would be a further appeal from the defendents

Lyle Kercher said that following the verdict is was ‘hard to feel anything’ as the family suspected there would be a further appeal from the defendents

 

Although Meredith's siblings were able to raise a slight smile following the verdict, both had red eyes and were clearly emotional

Although Meredith’s siblings were able to raise a slight smile following the verdict, both had red eyes and were clearly emotional

 

 

 

source : Daily Mail

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