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    Showing posts with label Amanda Knox Trial 2011. Show all posts

    Amanda Knox Appeal: Italian Prosecutors Ask To Uphold Murder Conviction

    Italian prosecutors sought to persuade an appeals court to uphold the murder conviction of Amanda Knox, saying during closing arguments Friday that "all clues converge toward the only possible result" of finding the young American woman and her co-defendant guilty.

    Speaking for two hours in a packed room, Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola urged the jury to keep in mind the family of the victim, British student Meredith Kercher, who was Knox's roommate at the time of the slaying. His fellow prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, urged the jurors to ignore the media hype and what he said was a pro-defendant slant surrounding the case.
    A verdict in the appeals trial of Knox and her co-defendant and one-time boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is expected at the end of September or early next month.


    Costagliola denounced what he said was "an obsessive media campaign that makes everyone feel like the parents of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito."

    "As you make your decision, I wish that you jurors feel a little bit like the parents of Meredith Kercher, a serious, studious girl whose life was taken by these two kids from good families."

    Mignini claimed that the prosecution was "subjected to systematic denigration of a political and mediatic nature" and urged the jury to forget the pressure of an international press he said was overwhelmingly in favor of the defendants.

    "The trial must be held here, in this courtroom," Mignini said. "This lobbying, this mediatic and political circus, this heavy interference, forget all of it!"

    Mignini showed graphic photos from the murder, and said he will never forget seeing Kercher's eyes wide open as he went to inspect the crime scene. As if to emphasize the contrast, he also showed the court a photo of the two defendants kissing in the immediate aftermath of the killing outside the house that was being inspected by police. The move led Knox's lawyer to object.

    Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher on the night of Nov. 1, 2007 in the house Knox and Kercher shared while exchange students in Perugia.

    Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison; Sollecito to 25. Both deny wrongdoing and have appealed the verdict, which was issued by a lower court in December 2009.

    The prosecutors argue that the 21-year-old Kercher was the victim of a drug-fueled sex assault. In the original trial, the prosecutors had sought life sentences - Italy's stiffest punishment. Like the defendant, they have also appealed the lower court's verdict, as they can in Italy.

    Costagliola, at the start of closing arguments expected to last two days, summed up what he said were the clues that point to the defendants: bloody footprints found in the house that are compatible with those of the defendants, cell phone activity and witness testimony that appear to contradict the defendant's alibi that they spent the night at Sollecito's house and stayed there until about 10 a.m. the day after the murder, a staged burglary at the house of the murder aimed at sidetracking the investigation.

    This all pointed to ascertaining the defendants' presence at the scene of the crime, he said, adding: "All clues converge toward the only possible result of finding the defendants guilty."

    Knox, 24, appeared tense during the session. Her mother, Edda Mellas, said it was hard for her "as she has to listen to people saying horrible and untrue things about her."

    Costagliola also talked of an independent review of DNA evidence that cast doubt on much of the genetic evidence used to convict Knox will help his daughter overturn the conviction. He challenged the results of the independent review and defended the findings of the original investigation.

    In the first trial, prosecutors maintained that Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon, and that Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. They said Sollecito's DNA was on the clasp of Kercher's bra as part of a mix of evidence that also included the victim's genetic profile.

    The independent review challenged both findings. It said police had made glaring errors in evidence collecting and that below-standard testing raised doubts over the attribution of DNA traces, both on the blade and on the bra clasp, which was collected from the crime scene several weeks after the murder.

    The review boosted Knox's chances of being acquitted and freed after four years behind bars, and gave hope to her family.

    Curt Knox, the defendant's father, said he was hopeful and grateful to the appellate court for having granted the review.

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