Story Summary

Meredith Kercher murder

(CNN) — British college student Meredith Kercher was found dead in November 2007, her throat slashed in an Italian villa she shared with American student Amanda Knox. Knox, her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and a drifter named Rudy Guede were tried for murder.

Here is a timeline of key events from the case:

November 2, 2007

Meredith Kercher is found dead in the house in Perugia, Italy, that she shared with Amanda Knox. Police say her body is partially clothed, with her throat cut.

November 5, 2007

Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are detained for questioning. Knox allegedly confesses to being at her home when Kercher was killed and implicates Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar where she worked. Lumumba is also detained.

November 20, 2007

Lumumba is released after two weeks in prison when his alibi is corroborated. He spent the night of the murder talking to a customer in his pub in Perugia, police say. He later sued Knox for libel, winning 40,000 euros ($54,000) in damages.

November 22, 2007

The text of a note Knox wrote on November 6, while in police custody, is published by CNN and other media outlets. Knox addresses an alleged confession, saying: In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly.

December 2007

After being caught without a train ticket in Germany, Rudy Guede, a drifter originally from the Ivory Coast, is extradited to Italy. A vaginal swab taken from Kercher matches DNA from Guede. Guede admits to police that he had sexual relations with Kercher but says another man killed her while he was in the bathroom.

July 11, 2008

Italian prosecutors formally charge Knox, Guede and Sollecito with murder.

September 6, 2008

Rudy Guede asks for a separate fast-track trial, fearing that Knox and Sollecito had formed a pact against him. In asking for the trial, his defense attorney says, “In recent weeks a lot of poison has been spread by the defense teams, and we feel the necessity to find some form of serenity in a separate hearing.”

October 28, 2008

Knox and Sollecito are indicted on murder charges. Guede is found guilty of murder in his fast-track trial and sentenced to 30 years. (The sentence is reduced to 16 years on appeal in December 2009.)

January 16, 2009

Knox and Sollecito’s murder trial begins. Reporters from all over the world attend, and some sit at the defense table because of limited space in the courtroom.

June 12, 2009

Knox testifies that during police interrogations she was confused and that interrogators pressured her, called her a “stupid liar” and hit her in the head. Officials have denied beating Knox. She also says some of her actions that made her look bad when described by the press were taken the wrong way. She adds that she was in shock after the murder, and that caused her strange behavior.

September 27, 2009

Final witnesses are heard in the trial.

December 4, 2009

The jury finds Knox and Sollecito guilty on all counts in the stabbing death of Meredith Kercher. Knox gets a 26-year sentence; Sollecito gets 25 years.

June 1, 2010

Knox appears briefly in Italian court to face slander charges for saying that Italian police beat her during an interrogation. She said police used the threat of physical violence to intimidate and pressure her, which led her to falsely accuse Lumumba of Kercher’s murder, but officials deny these allegations.

The case officially goes to trial in November.

November 24, 2010

Knox and Sollecito’s murder appeal process begins. The hearing lasts about 15 minutes before the judge adjourns until December 11 because one of the lawyers is not present. Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga tells reporters that rather than prosecutors having to prove she is guilty, “we have to prove her innocence, which is more difficult to do.”

December 11, 2010

Knox speaks for about 15 minutes and breaks down in tears. She says that she and Sollecito are innocent and unjustly accused.

“I’ve been condemned for the crime I did not commit,” Knox says, adding that court has made “a huge mistake.”

January 22, 2011

Two forensic experts from Rome’s La Sapienza University are sworn in and will retest crucial forensic evidence used to convict Knox. They will take a second look at a knife and clasp from Kercher’s bra, which was cut from her body after her murder. Results from the tests are expected in May.

February 15, 2011

Amanda Knox’s parents are indicted for allegedly libeling police in Perugia, Knox’s mother and the family’s attorney say. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas are accused of defaming the police in comments to the Sunday Times of London in a 2009 interview. A hearing in the case is set for July 4.

May 21, 2011

A jury of two judges and six citizens is scheduled to hear Knox’s appeal starting in late May.

June 18, 2011

Two prison inmates testify during Knox’s appeal that the American student was not actually involved in the killing of her roommate. But they offer two different accounts on who the actual killers were. Prosecutors say they doubt the credibility of the witnesses.

June 27, 2011

Guede refuses to say during testimony that Knox was not involved in the murder. The prosecutor reads a letter saying Guede thought Knox and Sollecito had killed Kercher.

Defense attorneys argue that Guede’s letter was based on “a feeling” and that his accusations are not based on facts or events he witnessed. Knox takes the stand for emotional testimony after Guede speaks, saying she is “shocked” at what he said.

“The only time that Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito and I were in one room together was in a courtroom. … He knows what the truth is. I don’t know what happened that night,” she says.

June 29, 2011

Forensic specialists tell the court that DNA evidence linking Knox to the alleged murder weapon is unsound, giving a boost to her appeal. Specialists say that while they agree Knox’s DNA was present on the knife handle, tests for Kercher’s DNA were unreliable. The prosecution contends that the knife was used to stab Kercher in the neck and that it had been cleaned.

The sample, however, was so small that forensic scientists were not able to double-test it in accordance with international forensic science norms, which Knox’s legal team says raises doubts about its validity. Defense lawyers also say the tiny metal clasp from Kercher’s bra may have been contaminated because it was not collected as evidence until nearly six weeks after the killing. Prosecutors had said there was DNA from Raffaele Sollecito on the clasp.

July 4, 2011

The judge in the libel case against Knox’s parents resigns because he was involved in the trial of Knox and Sollecito. Paolo Micheli says he will recuse himself.

July 25, 2011

Court-appointed experts testify that police forensic scientists involved in the murder case made a series of glaring errors during their investigation.

In a point-by-point deconstruction, the experts say that because of the errors made by police during the original investigation, the evidence against Knox and Sollecito should be considered “inadmissible.”

September 5, 2011

Prosecutors fighting to keep Knox behind bars defend the DNA tests. As the appeal nears its end, Kercher’s sister urges people not to get caught up in the details but to “please remember our beautiful Meredith.”

September 6, 2011

Italian state police forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni defends the methods and equipment used in DNA tests for the investigation. She says the machine used for the DNA examination was clean and rejects suggestions that Meredith Kercher’s bra clasp had been contaminated.

September 7, 2011

Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman rejects a prosecution request for new DNA testing. He also turns down prosecution requests to introduce newly found records about the DNA tests and to hear a new witness. Knox’s father, Curt, hails the rulings as “very good news for Amanda.” The hearing is adjourned until September 23.

September 23, 2011

Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola begins final arguments by urging jurors to put themselves in the shoes of the parents of Meredith Kercher, “a serious, studious girl whose life was taken away by these two kids from good families.” Another prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, questions why defense lawyers did not raise concerns about how evidence was collected during the original trial.

September 24, 2011

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi wraps up the prosecution summary by attacking the independent experts who questions the DNA evidence, calling their review “embarrassing, inappropriate and presented in a hostile way.” She calls for Knox and Sollecito’s sentences to be increased to life.

September 26, 2011

Lawyers for the civil parties to the case, including Kercher’s family and falsely accused bar owner Lumumba, present their final statements. Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca presents the jury with photos of the murder victim’s body that “show you the pain of Meredith.” Knox avoids looking at the photos. Lumumba’s lawyer Carlo Pacelli accuses Knox of having two sides one of which is “angelic, good, compassionate” and the other “Lucifer-like, demonic, Satanic.”

September 27, 2011

Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno attacks media portrayals of Knox as a femme fatale, comparing her to the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit, who protests, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way,” in the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” She says there is no physical evidence placing Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime, attacks the credibility of DNA evidence and says Knox’s statements to police the night of the murder should be discounted because of hostile questioning by police.

October 3, 2011

An Italian jury Monday night overturns the 2009 murder conviction of Amanda Knox and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito. Knox is, however, judged guilty of defamation against Patrick Lumumba, an early suspect in the case. She had accused club owner Lumumba of killing Kercher. She leaves Italy straight after the ruling, and returns to her home city of Seattle.

February 17, 2012

Knox signs a deal with HarperCollins to write a memoir about her trial, conviction and acquittal for murder. The book, based in part on journals she kept, will give never-before heard details about her “harrowing experience” while in custody there, the publisher says. The book has yet to be published.

March 26, 2013

Italian Supreme Court judges rule that American Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito should stand trial again for the death of her former roommate in Italy. Knox’s lawyer said the 25-year-old was “upset and surprised because we thought that the case was over” but was ready to fight to prove her innocence.

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(CNN) — An Italian appeals court convicted former exchange student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito on murder charges Thursday night.

Prosecutors said the couple had killed Meredith Kercher in November 2007. They were convicted two years later of murder, but those charges were overturned on appeal in 2011.

A judge said Thursday that Knox was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison. Sollecito’s sentence was 25 years.

It is unlikely Knox, who lives in Seattle, Washington, will return to Italy to serve additional prison time because U.S. law dictates that a person cannot be tried twice on the same charge, a legal expert told CNN.

The lead judge has 90 days to write his arguments behind the jury’s ruling. Once that is out, lawyers have 90 days to appeal.

Kercher, 21, was found partially naked in a pool of blood in the house she shared with Knox in the picturesque town of Perugia, where both women were exchange students.

Knox has said she is afraid to return to Italy, where she spent four years behind bars.

“I will become … a fugitive,” she told Italian daily La Repubblica this month, when asked what she would do if she was found guilty.

Italy’s Supreme Court in March overturned the pair’s acquittals, saying that the jury did not consider all the evidence and that discrepancies in testimony needed to be answered.

The case was sent to a retrial in Florence.

Dressed in a purple sweater with sunglasses nestled on his collar, Sollecito made it to the tribunal for the morning session and was expected to return for the verdict, but his attorney, Luca Maori, said Thursday evening that Sollecito would not be coming back to court.

Ruling unclear

The retrial began last September, refocusing international attention on the case that grabbed headlines in Italy, Britain and the United States — but neither Knox nor Sollecito were present in court.

It has renewed questions about the effectiveness of Italy’s justice system given widespread doubts over the handling of the investigation and key pieces of evidence.

Prosecutor Alessandro Crini has said both Knox and Sollecito should be convicted and handed a 26-year sentence for homicide, with an additional four years for Knox for slander.

Both have maintained their innocence.

With little change in the case details over the years, it is not clear how presiding judge Alessandro Nencini will rule.

Regardless of the decision, both sides will have the opportunity to appeal that verdict to Italy’s Supreme Court. That process could take months.

If Knox is ultimately found guilty, Italy could request her extradition from the United States, but it is unclear what would then happen.

‘Fugitive

Knox, 26, and Sollecito, 29, were convicted in 2009 of killing Kercher, who was found with more than 40 stab wounds and a deep gash in her throat.

Prosecutors say she was held down and stabbed after she rejected attempts by Knox, Sollecito and another man, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, to involve her in a sex game. Guede is the only person still in jail for the murder and many aspects still remain unexplained.

Speaking on Thursday, Knox’s defense team asked for an acquittal.

Lawyer Carlo Della Vedova said the team was “serene” about the verdict because they believe the only conclusion from the case files is an acquittal.

Knox has always denied murdering Kercher and has maintained she is not guilty in a written statement to the Florence court.

“I must repeat to you. I’m innocent. I did not rape, I did not steal … I did not kill Meredith,” Knox said in a lengthy e-mail presented by her lawyer to the court in December.

Sollecito was in the Dominican Republic at the start of the retrial but returned to Italy.

In November, he took to the stand to make a spontaneous declaration, saying the charges against him were “absurd.”

“For me, it’s a nightmare that goes beyond imagination,” he said of what he’s been through.

‘No one remembers Meredith

A lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, said the victim’s brother and sister, Lyle and Stephanie, would attend court to hear the decision.

The case has dragged on for more than six years, frustrating attempts by Kercher’s family to discover the truth about her death. The three trials have done little to clear up mysteries surrounding the details of the murder.

“They are tired of this long trial and they want justice,” Maresca said.

The Kercher family welcomed the retrial ruling, Maresca said in March, adding they believed the ruling that acquitted Knox and Sollecito was “superficial and unbalanced.”

They believe more than one person was in the room when Kercher was killed, he said.

“No one remembers Meredith, while the two defendants write books, speak to the media and earn money,” Maresca told the court in closing remarks last month.

Ferguson advocates for Knox

One person who has been advocating for Knox is Ryan Ferguson — the Missouri man who walked free last November after being imprisoned for nearly a decade. He was wrongly convicted of murdering a newspaper editor, and a state appeals court overturned his conviction.

“We kind of had this connection in the sense that we’ve been through this justice system … It’s relatively the same. We’ve been through this, and there’s not a whole lot of people” who’ve had the same experience, he told CNN’s “New Day.”

“So it’s cool and we can kind of just talk to each other. She wanted to reach out and say if you need to talk to anybody, if you need any help, I’m here for you. If not, I completely understand. So that’s how we began communicating.”

Asked about Knox’ current state of mind, he said she’s staying positive.

“She seems to be doing very well. I’m impressed with her. It’s so daunting at this time,” he said. “Within 48 hours she should know her fate. You can’t start living life until they actually clear you and until you’re free essentially. So I’m amazed how she’s doing. She’s working hard on school and continuing life the best she can. She believes the courts are going to do the right thing based on the facts. I agree.”

From Hada Messia, Ben Wedeman, and Laura Smith-Spark, ROME (CNN) — American Amanda Knox vowed Tuesday to fight with her head “held high” to prove her innocence after Italian Supreme Court judges ruled Tuesday she should stand trial again for the death of her former roommate in Italy.

Knox spent four years in prison before an appellate court overturned her murder conviction in the 2007 death of Meredith Kercher in Perugia.

Knox, who returned to the United States in 2011 and has been living in Seattle, was not in court for Tuesday’s ruling.

The Supreme Court judges in Rome also ordered that her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, face a new trial over Kercher’s death.

Knox said it had been “painful” to hear the news that the court had ordered a retrial, in a statement issued through the family’s PR spokesman, David Marriott.

The prosecution’s case against her “has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair,” she said, and an “objective investigation” and “capable prosecution” are needed if any questions remain about her innocence.

“The prosecution responsible for the many discrepancies in their work must be made to answer for them, for Raffaele’s sake, my sake, and most especially for the sake of Meredith’s family. Our hearts go out to them,” she said.

“No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity.”

‘Psychological impact’

Knox’s attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, earlier told CNN that Knox was “upset and surprised because we thought that the case was over.”

But, he added, “at the same time, as she’s done in the last five years, she’s ready to continue and we are ready to fight.”

Dalla Vedova said he did not expect his client to leave Seattle for Italy “for many reasons,” although she is free to travel.

“She’s a very young girl and she’s looking to have her life,” he said. “This has a psychological impact on her.”

Prosecutors have argued that despite the appellate decision, they still believe Knox and Sollecito are responsible for the death.

A lawyer for Kercher, Francesco Maresca, said the British girl’s family was satisfied with Tuesday’s ruling.

The Kercher family had wanted a retrial because they believed the ruling that acquitted Knox and Sollecito was “superficial and unbalanced,” he said.

The Kercher family believes more than one person was in the room when Meredith, 21, was killed, he said.

Another man, Ivorian drifter Rudy Guede, was convicted separately of Kercher’s killing. Guede admitted having sexual relations with Kercher but denied killing her.

Judge Saverio Chieffi told the court he would publish the reasoning behind his decision within 90 days, after which the parties would have 45 days to present their case. The retrial is not expected until sometime early next year.

Knox may be ordered to return to Italy for the retrial, to be heard in an appellate court in Florence.

If she refuses, the Italian government could appeal to the U.S. government for her extradition.

But even if it does, Knox still not might end up before an Italian court.

Double jeopardy?

U.S. officials might reject such a request because it violates the U.S. legal principle that a criminal defendant can’t be tried twice on the same allegation, said Joey Jackson, a contributor for HLN’s “In Session.”

Italy lacks the absolute prohibition present in U.S. law preventing authorities from retrying a criminal defendant who has been acquitted of a charge.

“We have principles that are well-founded within our Constitution, one of which is double jeopardy,” Jackson said. “So as a result of that, I think it would be highly objectionable for the United States to surrender someone to another country for which justice has already been administered and meted out. So I don’t think or anticipate that that would happen.”

Another lawyer for Knox, Luciano Ghirga, said Monday that her client was confident in the Italian legal system and hoped one day to return to Italy as a free woman.

The Supreme Court judges did not order her retrial Tuesday on a charge of defamation.

Knox’s conviction for defaming Patrick Lumumba, a club owner whom she accused of killing Kercher, was upheld in October 2011 by the same appeals court that cleared her of murder.

The case began in 2007, after Knox moved to Perugia to study at the University for Foreigners of Perugia for one year

Knox, then 20, shared a room with British student Kercher.

That November, Kercher’s semi-naked body was found at the home, with her throat slashed.

Police arrested Knox and Sollecito, who was her boyfriend at the time.

Two years later, they were convicted of murder, but they were cleared when they appealed the verdicts in 2011.

‘Lack of evidence’

In legal paperwork published in December 2011, the judge in the case wrote that the jury had cleared the pair of murder for lack of evidence proving they were guilty.

Knox’s family said last year the appeal was unwelcome, but no cause for concern.

“The appeal of Amanda’s acquittal by the prosecution was not unexpected as they had indicated from the day of the verdict that they would appeal,” a family statement in February 2012 said.

Knox has spent the last year and a half trying to resume a normal life, studying at the University of Washington in Seattle, her hometown.

She has written a book on her ordeal, titled “Waiting to be Heard,” which will be published next month.

Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele, told CNN in a phone interview last year that the family was “not happy about the decision (to appeal). My son is trying to get back to normal life.”

“We can do very little in this situation,” he said, but as Italian citizens, they would have to accept the court’s decision.

“We hope that the high court will finally put the words ‘the end’ to this story.”

CNN’s Ben Wedeman, Hada Messia and Livia Borghese reported from Rome, and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. Karan Olson, Ed Payne and Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

Amanda KnoxItalian Supreme Court has ruled that American, Amanda Knox, should stand trial again for the death of her ex-roommate. Knox is accused of killing her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, back in 2007. She spent four years in prison until her conviction was overturned on appeal in October 2011.

(CNN) — Amanda Knox issued a statement after Italian Supreme Court judges ruled Tuesday she should stand trial again for the death of her former roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy, saying any questions to her innocence “must be examined by an objective investigation and a capable prosecution.” “It was painful to receive the news that the Italian Supreme Court decided to send my case back for revision when the prosecution’s theory of my involvement in Meredith’s murder has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair … No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity.”

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