An Italian appeals court convicted former exchange student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito on murder charges Thursday night. Prosecutors said the couple had killed Meredith Kercher in 2007. They were convicted two years later of murder, but those charges were overturned on appeal in 2011. It is unlikely Knox, who lives in Seattle, Washington, will return to Italy to serve additional prison time because U.S. law dictates that a person cannot be tried twice on the same charge, a legal expert tells CNN.
More than two years after they were acquitted of murdering a British exchange student, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito await another Italian court verdict Thursday as a jury decides whether the pair is guilty in the November 2007 killing. But the American student will not be in court to hear the decision. Instead, she will be thousands of miles away. Knox has been back home in Seattle since an appellate court acquitted her and ex-boyfriend Sollecito in 2011 of Meredith Kercher’s murder. The appellate court’s decision reversed Knox’s and Sollecito’s 2009 murder convictions.
Kercher, 21, was found partially naked in a pool of blood in the house she shared with Knox in the picturesque town of Perugia, where both women were exchange students.
Knox says she is afraid to return to Italy, where she spent four years behind bars. “I will become … a fugitive,” she told Italian daily La Repubblica this month.
Italy’s Supreme Court in March overturned the pair’s acquittals, saying that the jury did not consider all the evidence and that discrepancies in testimony needed to be answered. The case was then sent to a retrial in Florence.
Both have maintained their innocence. With little change in the case details over the years, it is not clear how presiding judge Alessandro Nencini will rule. Regardless of the decision, both sides will have the opportunity to appeal that verdict to Italy’s Supreme Court. That process could take months. If Knox is ultimately found guilty, Italy could request her extradition from the United States, but it is unclear what would then happen.
This is not a final conviction, Amanda has been persecuted long enough.