Amanda Knox was found guilty in the murder of Meredith Kercher. The verdict was announced this afternoon in a Florence courthouse. Six jurors and two judges deliberated for 12 hours before reaching their decision. Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s former boyfriend, was also found guilty.
One of the judges announced that Knox is sentenced to 28 years and six months in prison. Sollecito is sentenced to 25 years. BBC reports that both defendants were further ordered to pay restitution to Kercher’s family.
On November 1, 2007, Kercher was found stabbed to death inside her Parugia, Italy, home. Authorities said she had at least 40 stab wounds, including a deep slash across her throat. Within hours, authorities began questioning her roommate Amanda Knox.
Although it appeared that someone broke into the home, police later determined someone altered the scene before they arrived. Authorities said evidence collected at the scene suggests Kercher, Knox, and Sollecito, were involved in a sexual game that ultimately led to Kercher’s death. They believe both suspects tampered with the scene to cloak their involvement.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were eventually arrested and charged with tampering with evidence, sexual assault, and murder. They both denied any involvement in Kercher’s death.
In 2009, an Italian court found Knox and Sollecito guilty on all charges. Although the case was sent to a higher court for the final verdict, both defendants spent nearly four years in an Italian prison. In 2011, the original verdict was overturned. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were both determined to be not-guilty. Knox was released and allowed to return to the United States.
Although she tried to move on with her life, Italian authorities were not willing to let the case go. In March 2013, the Italian Supreme Court ordered a retrial for both defendants.
The re-trial began in September 2013. However, Knox refused to return to Italy. She said she feared for her freedom and her safety. She maintains that she was wrongfully accused and spent years in prison for a crime she did not commit.
As reported by CNN, both defendants have an opportunity to appeal the verdict. The appeals process will likely continue for months.
Fearing more time in prison, Knox has suggested that she will become a fugitive if convicted. With the guilty verdict, Italy may order Amanda Knox’s extradition. However, it is unclear whether the United States government will comply with the order, as the second trial violates US laws preventing “double jeopardy.”
[Image Via ABC News]