Rome

Court says unanswered questions remain in Kercher murder

New appeals trial for Knox, Sollecito expected in the autumn

Court says unanswered questions remain in Kercher murder

(see related stories) Rome, June 18 - Unanswered questions, from the precise time of death to the actions of the accused, must be answered at a new appeals trial into the 2007 murder of student Meredith Kercher, Italy's supreme Court of Cassation said Tuesday. In a document explaining its motives for overturning the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Kercher's murder, the high court said the death could have been the result of an erotic game. It also raised several other questions that it said must be dealt with when the new appeals trial in Florence is held - likely in the fall, to provide a few months' preparation time, the court said. Judges questioned the precise time of death of Kercher - three women in the area said they heard a "heartbreaking" scream somewhere between 11 pm and 11:30 pm, although other witness said it was much earlier. And they questioned if the murder was the work of one or more people. Only one man, Rudy Guede, was convicted of the slaying in a separate proceeding and is serving a 16-year sentence. The judges also pointed out testimony that Knox was seen buying detergent a few hours after Kercher's murder, although she testified she was at Sollecito's house until 10 a.m. the morning after her roommate's death. Knox, now 25, and Sollecito, now 29, both students along with Kercher, were convicted of her murder in 2009 and served nearly four years in prison before their convictions were overturned in 2011. In March, a top prosecutor argued in Italy's highest appeals court that justice was somehow lost when the pair's murder convictions were overturned. 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," prosecutor-General Luigi Riello said at the time.

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