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Amanda Knox: Amanda Knox, exonerated for murder in Italy, returns only to be...

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Published Time: 05.06.2024 - 13:13:58 Modified Time: 05.06.2024 - 13:13:58

Earlier in this week's hearing, Knox had asked the eight Italian judges and civil jury members to clear her of the slander charge. In a soft and sometimes breaking voice, Knox had told the court that she wrongly accused Patrick Lumumba under intense police pressure. Amanda Knox


Knox had written on social media ahead of the hearing that she hoped to "clear my name once and for all of the false charges against me. Wish me luck."

The slaying of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in the idyllic hilltop town of Perugia in 2007 fuelled global headlines as suspicion fell on Knox, a 20-year-old exchange student from Seattle, and her new Italian boyfriend of just a week, Raffaele Sollecito.

Flip-flop verdicts over nearly eight years of legal proceedings polarized trial watchers on both sides of the Atlantic as the case was vociferously argued on social media.

Knox's retrial was set by a European court ruling that Italy violated her human rights during a long night of questioning days after Kercher's murder, in which Knox was deprived of both a lawyer and a competent translator.

Earlier in this week's hearing, Knox had asked the eight Italian judges and civil jury members to clear her of the slander charge. In a soft and sometimes breaking voice, Knox had told the court that she wrongly accused Patrick Lumumba under intense police pressure.

"I am very sorry that I was not strong enough to resist the pressure of police,'' Knox told the panel in a nine-minute prepared statement, sitting alongside them on the jury bench. She told them: "I didn't know who the murderer was. I had no way to know."

The case continues to draw intense media attention, with photographers massing around Knox, her husband, Christopher Robinson, and their legal team as they entered the courtroom an hour before the hearing.

A camera knocked her on the left temple, her lawyer Luca Luparia Donati said. Knox's husband examined a small bump on her head as they sat in the front row of the court.

Knox, now a 36-year-old mother of two small children, was imprisoned for four years before being freed in October 2011. A Perugia appeals court overturned the initial guilty verdict in the murder case against both Knox and Sollecito.

She remained in the United States through two more flip-flop verdicts before Italy's highest court definitively exonerated the pair of the murder in March 2015, stating flatly that they had not committed the crime.

Last fall, Italy's highest Cassation Court threw out the slander conviction that had withstood five trials, ordering a new trial, thanks to a 2022 Italian judicial reform allowing cases that have reached a definitive verdict to be reopened if human rights violations are found.

This time, the court has been ordered to disregard two damaging statements typed by police and signed by Knox at 1:45 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. as she was held for questioning overnight into the small hours of Nov. 6, 2007.

In the statements, Knox said she remembered hearing Kercher scream, and pointed to Lumumba for the killing. Hours later, still in custody at 1 p.m., Knox asked for pen and paper and wrote her own statement in English, questioning the version that she had signed.

"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 pressure of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion," she wrote.

Due to the notoriety in the case, Lumumba has left Italy and is living in eastern Europe with family. Lumumba has joined the current prosecution as a civil party, as is allowed by Italian law, and continues to believe Knox had a role in the murder.

Rudy Guede, a drifter originally from the Ivory Coast but raised in Perugia, was sentenced to 16 years in jail for the killing of Kercher, in a ruling that said he acted with unnamed other culprits.

Guede had no apparent connection to the victim but had been accused by police of other break-ins, and left the country for Germany just a few days after Kercher's killing.

Guede was granted early release in 2021, but months later was accused by an ex-girlfriend of physical and sexual abuse. Guede, ordered to wear a monitoring bracelet and report to police any time he leaves his residence in Viterbo, in central Italy, is said to deny the allegations.

With files from

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