PERUGIA, Italy (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) — Amanda Knox, the college student from Seattle, Washington, was studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, when her roommate was murdered; charged in Meredith Kercher’s murder, Amanda continues to declare her innocence; she says she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life in prison as an innocent.
Amanda was emotional Saturday, her eyes tearing and her voice cracking, when she briefly addressed the appeals court in Perugia at the end of the session. She and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were charged in Meredith’s murder.
On Saturday the appeals court set June 30 as the deadline for a key review of DNA evidence by independent forensic experts, and allowed five new witnesses sought by the defense. All are inmates in Italian prisons claiming they have information that will clear Amanda and her co-defendant Raffaele.
More on the issue of DNA testing and other evidence in upcoming article.
“I don’t want to spend my whole life in prison as an innocent,” 23-year-old Amanda said Saturday.
“I’ve spent three-and-a-half years in prison as an innocent person, and this for me is very frustrating and mentally exhausting,” Amanda said. “But nothing is more important than finding the truth after prejudices and many mistakes.”
Amanda and Meredith shared a flat while the two studied abroad. Amanda was from Seattle, Washington, Meredith from England.
Amanda and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were arrested on Nov. 6, 2007 – a few days after Meredith’s body was found with her throat slit in the apartment she shared with Amanda – and have since been behind bars in Perugia, Italy. In 2009 Raffaele was sentenced to 25 years in prison and Amanda was sentenced to 26 years.
Their appeal trial is under way in Perugia and a lot hinges on the review of DNA evidence used to convict them, KING 5 News reports.
Independent experts are looking at DNA traces on two pieces of evidence that allegedly linked them to the crime. One was a kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon, and the other was a clasp of Meredith’s bra.
Prosecutors have long maintained that DNA found on the knife was Amanda’s and that DNA found on the bra clasp was Raffaele’s. However, the defense continues to argue that those DNA traces were inconclusive and that they might have been contaminated when they were collected and analyzed.
The two court-appointed experts cannot retest the tiny traces and are now in the process of assessing the reliability of the tests originally conducted.
The experts are set to report their findings in court on July 25.
Pending the review, the trial will resume June 18 with new testimony.
Unlike courts in the United States, if the court in Italy finds Amanda guilty during the appeal process her sentence could be increased to life in prison.
Both Amanda and Raffaele have from day one denied any wrongdoing. Amanda’s parents have stood by her side, and have done everything they could to help prove her innocence. They firmly believe Amanda is not capable of murder.
For more on this story read:
Stark contrast; judges say no animosity or premeditation in killing (Part 1)
Amanda Knox; Details the public may not know about Rudy Guede (Part 2)
Amanda Knox, prosecutors change theory multiple times during trial (Part 3)
The media paints picture of Amanda Know (Part 4)
Amanda Knox’s family copes best they can (Part 5)
Amanda Knox’s teacher shares the Amanda she knows (Part 6)
Rudy Guede tells cellmate Amanda Knox & boyfriend weren’t at the crime scene (Part 7)
Source: KING 5 News