Italy High Court Overturns Knox Acquittal

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It is unclear what would happen if she was convicted in a new appeals trial.

“If the court orders another trial, if she is convicted at that trial and if the conviction is upheld by the highest court, then Italy could seek her extradition,” Dalla Vedova said Monday.

It would then be up to the United States to decide if it honors the request. U.S. and Italian authorities could also come to a deal that would keep Knox in the United States.

Knox, now 25, and Sollecito, who turned 29 on Tuesday, were arrested shortly after Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood.

The appeals court that acquitted them in 2011 criticized virtually the entire case mounted by prosecutors. The appellate court noted that the murder weapon was never found, said that DNA tests were faulty and that prosecutors provided no murder motive.

It’s not clear what part of the appeals sentence was faulted by the high court in ordering a new trial.

Kercher’s family attorney, Francesco Maresca, said after Tuesday’s ruling: “Yes, this is what we wanted.”

Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, noted that Tuesday’s ruling was not a determination of guilt but merely a need for further study of the appeals court ruling.

“It’s a decision that cancels a verdict and orders a retrial,” she said. “I’m not concerned about a deeper reading of the documentation, because I know the documentation.”

She acknowledged that perhaps the appeals court ruling had been “too generous” in ruling that the pair simply did not commit the crime, but was confident that Sollecito’s innocence would be affirmed.

In her statement, Knox took the Perugia prosecutors to task, saying they “must be made to answer” for the discrepancies in the case. She said “my heart goes out to” Kercher’s family.

After nearly four years behind bars in Italy, Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle after the 2011 acquittal and Sollecito resumed his computer science studies, following the degree he earned while studying in prison.

Italy’s judicial system allows for two levels of appeals, and prosecutors can appeal acquittals.

Although the court on Monday heard gruesome details, including how Kercher choked on her own blood, it wasn’t ruling on the guilt or innocence of the defendants. Its sole task was to decide if the appellate trial was properly conducted.

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