US national Amanda Knox has been found guilty in connection with the 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox's then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, was also convicted and imprisoned for 26 years.
AFP - American Amanda Knox was found guilty early Saturday of murdering and sexually assaulting her British housemate Meredith Kercher in 2007 and sent to prison for 26 years.
Knox's then-boyfriend and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito was also found guilty and imprisoned for 25 years.
Knox, 22, cried out "no, no" and began weeping when the judge began reading out the lengthy verdict, while 25-year-old Sollecito's face was blank as his sister called to him, "have courage".
Judge Giancarlo Messai cited extenuating circumstances for reducing the sentence from the maximum life terms sought by the prosecution.
Each defendant was ordered to pay one million euros to each of the victim's parents, plus 800,000 euros to each of her three siblings.
Knox's mother Edda Mellas was shaking with grief as her stepmother Cassandra Knox moved to comfort her.
The six jurors and two judges deliberated for some 12 hours before reaching the verdict.
The prosecution alleged that the three youths were high on drugs when they tried to engage Kercher, 21, in a sex game that turned violent, leaving her dead with stab wounds to the neck.
Knox and Sollecito, the Italian engineering student she fell in love with just a week before the grisly murder, went on trial in the central Italian university town of Perugia in January, more than a year after the murder on November 1, 2007.
Prosecutors say irrefutable DNA and other forensic evidence incriminated Knox, Sollecito and a third person, Rudy Guede of Ivory Coast, who was convicted separately after opting for a "fast-track" trial in exchange for clemency.
Guede, now 22, is appealing his 30-year sentence.
The defence insisted that Guede, described as a drifter who was taken in by a Perugia family who have since broken ties with him, was the sole killer.
Date created : 2009-12-05