Rome

Appeal ruling postponed on Knox murder acquittal

Decision expected Tuesday

Appeal ruling postponed on Knox murder acquittal

Rome, March 25 - Italy's highest Court of Cassation on Monday postponed until Tuesday its ruling to either uphold or overturn the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia. A decision was expected to be announced at 10:00 Italian time. Knox, now 25, and Sollecito, now 29, both students along with Kercher, were convicted of her murder in 2009 and served two years in prison before their convictions were overturned in 2011. Neither Knox, who has returned to her family in Seattle, nor Sollecito, who lives in the northern Italian city of Verona, were expected in court Monday as the top judges weighed whether to accept the appeals court prosecutors' demand for a new trial. Riello complained of "a fair amount of snobbery" in the original trial, as well as a disorganization of evidence. The judgement of Perugia's appeals court was "a rare concentration of violations of the law and of a lack of logic and I think (the acquittal decision) must be undone," Riello concluded. Rudy Guede, now 26, a native of the African nation of Ivory Coast, was convicted separately and sentenced to 16 years in jail for killing Kercher, who was 21. Guede opted for a fast-track trial separately from Knox and Sollecito and was given a 30-year sentence, later cut to 16 years on appeal, a sentence confirmed by Italy's court of last instance, the Cassation Court. In the final verdict against Guede, whose DNA was detected all over the murder house, he was found to have committed the crime "with others", identified at the time as Knox and Sollecito, during an alleged sex game that got out of hand. Kercher's family issued a statement following the initial acquittal ruling reiterating their confidence in Italian justice but asking "who are the other people responsible" for the death of Kercher, 20 when she was found stabbed to death on the night of November 1-2 2007. "Our family is not interested in seeing Amanda or Raffaele in jail, or anyone else who has shown they aren't guilty," Meredith's sister Stephanie told reporters. "But there's still the question mark over who else (committed the murder) as well as Rudy. "It's not a time for forgiveness," she added, while her mother Arline said: "I'm not interested in Amanda having her show. Either way, my daughter's not coming home". Meredith's father John told the Daily Mirror that the acquittal had been "grotesque". "We're all in shock. We would have understood a reduction (in the sentence) but not freeing them". The Kerchers said they could "not understand" how a 1,000-page case built up at the original trial had been overturned, despite a key DNA report that found earlier evidence unreliable. In a detailed explanation of why it acquitted Knox and Sollecito, the Perugia appeals court said the evidence against the pair "does not allow us to come to the conclusion that guilt has been in any way proven". They noted that the evidence was largely circumstantial and prosecutors had been unable to prove motive. The judges said they could not say how the murder took place, whether "one or more" people killed Kercher, or whether other leads had been "neglected".

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