ITALY: Closing arguments in Amanda Knox trial
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REPORTING FROM LONDON -- Prosecutors argued Friday against a bid for acquittal by Amanda Knox, the 24-year-old American student convicted in the brutal murder of British fellow student Meredith Kercher, who died of stab wounds and a slashed throat one night in November 2007.
Speaking for the Kercher family, Giuliano Mignini told a Perugia courtroom during Knox’s appeal of her 26-year prison sentence that should she and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s boyfriend at the time of the murder, be acquitted, there was “the risk of their flight abroad which would be impossible to remedy.”
He accused Knox and Sollecito, 27, who also has been convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for the crime, of forming a trio with Rudy Guede, an immigrant casual laborer from the Ivory Coast now serving a 16-year sentence for the murder.
“They want us to believe that Rudy Guede, 21, is the only guilty one, but we don’t believe in fairy tales,” Mignini told the court. “This is a trio … two young people from good families and that poor unfortunate, abandoned by his father ... who has to pay for all of them.”
The prosecution maintains Kercher was murdered in a sex game that went disastrously wrong, which Knox and Sollecito tried to stage as a robbery. Launching their appeal, Knox’s lawyers told the court this week they found subsequent police investigations were flawed, and evidence on a bloodstained knife and bloody footprints from the scene of the crime, attributed to Knox and Sollecito, discredited.
Media attention on the trial and on Knox herself had caused his client to be “crucified, impaled in the public piazza,” said defense lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova, addressing the court Thursday. She more than anyone “had been overwhelmed by a media tsunami,” and respect for the death of Kercher should not mean the court should “commit the error of keeping two innocent young people in prison.”
The president of the appeals court in Perugia, Claudio Pratillo Hellman, said the verdict would be announced Monday.
-- Janet Stobart