On Thursday, in Florence, Italy an appeals court found Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend guilty of murdering British girl Meredith Kercher in 2007; Knox, who lives in the U.S. could be sent back to Italy after the guilty verdict was reached. The 26 year-old student and her ex boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito had both been convicted of the murder, which was then overturned in 2011.
Both Raffaele and Amanda had served a total of four years in prison after their 2009 conviction and both were released after the 2011 retrial where they were acquitted. This acquittal was then overruled by the Italian Supreme Court in 2013 which meant the case was submitted once again for retrial.
Their trial and conviction followed the murder of Meredith Kercher during an alleged sex and drugs party that went wrong. Originally there were a total of four suspects, one of which was Knox’s boss who was cleared before the case came to trial. A third suspect was tried and convicted in 2008 of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher. Rudy Guede had opted for a “fast track” trial and he is currently serving out his sentence in prison.
Initial reports from the U.S. State Department said that Knox would most likely not be extradited as by the American legal system, what the Italian court has done is considered Double Jeopardy; being tried for the same crime twice after having been acquitted of the charges in court.
It now appears that Amanda Knox could be sent back to Italy after the retrial returned a verdict of guilty. The Seattle resident has a large number of supporters who believe that she was convicted in a miscarriage of justice. It has been pointed out, by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, that if Amanda were unattractive it is doubtful that she would have such a large following of those who think that she is innocent.
Another law academic has lent his expertise on the issue; Julian Ku a transnational law instructor at Hofstra University, has said that many of Knox’s supporters have forgotten that out of the two, Sollecito and Amanda, she was convicted first.
Amanda’s Lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, revealed that he contacted his client after the verdict was reached. Vedova said that he told Knox not only had the Florence court reinstated the guilty verdict; they also increased the original sentences. When Amanda was convicted in 2009, the sentence was 26 years in prison, the recent court finding of guilty actually increased the time to be served to 28 and a half years.
In a released statement from Knox, who currently resides in Seattle, she revealed that she was sad and “frightened.” The statement also revealed that she felt the new conviction was overzealous and based on “narrow-minded” investigation by the prosecutor’s team. She finished the statement by saying that she was disappointed by the verdict and that she had expected much more of a fair result from the “Italian justice system.”
Vedova confirmed that his client was “petrified” at the verdict. Her former boyfriend and co-defendant Sollecito has been said to be “stunned” by this new turn of events. His lawyer has said that there is not a “shred of proof,” and that they would be appealing the latest verdict.
After initially stating that Knox would most likely not be extradited, the U.S. State Department have done an about face and revealed that if Italy request an extradition of Amanda that they will most likely comply. Politically speaking, it would make sense. The U.S. asks for more extraditions than any other country in the world.
Apart from the political aspects of the issue, a State Department source stated that there was an extradition treaty between the two countries. The presence of this treaty alone means that Amanda Knox could be sent back to Italy after the recent guilty verdict to serve out her sentence. The same source refused to speak about Thursday’s trial and the final guilty verdict.
By Michael Smith