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Italian court orders retrial for murder case involving American Amanda Knox

Nicole Lafond Contributor

The Italian Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that American Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, will have to stand trial again for the murder of Knox’s former roommate, which occurred in Italy on Nov. 2, 2007.

In October of 2011, an appellate court overturned the murder conviction against Knox and Sollecito because of a lack of evidence against the two. They spent four years in prison in Italy before the decision to overturn was made, CNN reported.

Knox said it was “painful” to hear the news of a retrial, but that she planned to continue to fight to prove her innocence, according to a statement released by her family’s spokesperson.

Sollecito’s father told CNN that their family was not happy about the decision, but that they could do “very little in this situation.”

The pair, along with a man named Rudy Guede, were tried for the murder of British college student Meredith Kercher in 2007, after she was found dead with her throat cut in a room Kercher shared with Knox in Perugia, Italy. Knox was in Italy studying at the University of Foreigners of Perugia at the time.

The two were immediately detained for questioning, and Knox admitted to being home when the murder occurred. She said she was abused by Italian police and was allegedly forced into making a confession.

During initial questioning, she implicated a man named Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar. Lumumba was detained, but released two weeks later after producing an alibi. He sued Knox for damages and won $54,000.

In December, Guede was caught and taken into custody. He was linked to the trial after a vaginal swab taken from Kercher revealed a match to his DNA. He said he had sexual relations with the young student, but was in the bathroom when she was murdered.

Months later, in July of 2008, the three — Knox, Guede and Sollecito, were formally charged with murder by Italian prosecutors, according to a timeline of the trial compiled by CNN.

Guede asked for a hearing separate from Knox and Sollecito, as he feared the two would form a pact against him. He was found guilty of murder in October of 2008 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In January of 2009, the murder trial for Knox and Sollecito began. Almost a year later, in December, the two are found guilty of murder in all counts. Knox was given a 26-year sentence and Sollecito a 25.

In June of 2010, Knox returned to court to face slander charges for saying she was abused by Italian police during her initial interrogation. Officials denied these claims.

The murder appeal process for Knox and Sollecito began in December of 2010 as forensic experts took a second look at the evidence used to convict the two — a knife and a clasp from Kercher’s bra.

Guede was brought to the pair’s appeal trial in June of 2011 where he refused to say that Knox was not involved in the murder. He claimed that he thought Knox and Sollecito had killed Kercher together. Defense attorney claimed his accusations were not based on facts or events, rather subjective feelings.

Two days later, the forensic experts that took a second look at the evidence told the court there was no sound forensic evidence linking Knox to the murder weapon. Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the knife, but Kercher’s DNA had been allegedly cleaned from the knife, making the link unreliable.

The forensic experts also contended that the metal clasp from Kercher’s bra, which allegedly contained Sollecito’s DNA, had been contaminated as it had not been collected until six weeks after the murder.

Between July and September of 2011, several court hearings took place, arguing the validity of the DNA testing used during the trial. On Sept. 26 and 27, lawyers for the civil parties in the case and defense attorneys made their final statements, and on Oct. 3, an Italian jury overturned the 2009 murder conviction.

Knox was declared guilty of defamation against Lumumba that same day, but was allowed to return to the United States after the hearing.

In February of 2012, Knox agreed to write a book about her experiences while on trial, convicted and acquitted for murder.

U.S. officials may reject the request of the Italian Supreme Court, as holding a retrial denies Knox of her constitutional right to be protected from double jeopardy — trying a criminal defendant after they have been acquitted of a charge.

Despite the order for a retrial, Knox is confident in the Italian legal system and hopes to return to Italy as a free woman one day, according to one of Knox’s lawyers, Luciano Ghirga.

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