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Pattaya Daily News

03 October 2011 :: 09:10:25 am 58764

Verdict looms in Amanda Knox sex-murder appeal

American Amanda Knox's future hangs in the balance on the eve of a verdict in her appeal against murder and sexual assault convictions for the brutal killing of her British housemate in Italy.
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Prosecutors have asked for her 26-year sentence to be increased to life because they say that she, her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and local drug dealer Rudy Guede killed Meredith Kercher in November 2007 “for nothing”.

Knox says she is innocent and was at Sollecito’s house on the night of the murder in the university town of Perugia where Knox and Kercher were studying.

If the verdict is overturned on Monday, her family has said they will take her back to Seattle immediately even though prosecutors say they would appeal.

The jury can also uphold the verdict and keep the sentence the same, increase it to life in prison or reduce it to a minimum of 16 years in prison.

Under Italian law, appeals are decided by a jury made up of eight people.

Knox’s jury is led by main judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann and includes another judge and six jurors from the general public — five women and one man.

They will have to stay in chambers until they can reach a verdict.

Overturning a verdict on first appeal is relatively rare in Italy. If it is upheld, Knox would have one more chance in Italy’s highest appeals court.

Her alleged accomplice, Guede, was tried separately and sentenced to 30 years in prison on the same charges. The verdict was upheld but then reduced to 16 years on first appeal after he appeared to show some contrition.

The verdict was upheld on Guede’s second and final appeal last year.

Kercher was found almost completely naked in a pool of blood with 43 knife wounds and heavy bruising all over her body. Forensic tests determined that she had been sexually assaulted, possibly even while she was being stabbed.

The exchange student from Leeds University in Britain was 21 years old.

Reporter : AFP   Photo : AFP   Category : Crime News

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