Latest update: 24/09/2011
Italian prosecutors seek life for Knox at appeal hearing
US citizen Amanda Knox may face life in prison after Italian prosecutors defended evidence tying her to the 2007 murder of her university housemate at an appeal hearing Saturday, asking that Knox, who maintains her innocence, get a harsher sentence.
By News Wires (text)
AP - Italian prosecutors asked an appeals court on Saturday to uphold the conviction of Amanda Knox for the murder of her British roommate and to sentence her to life in prison.
The 24-year-old American sat motionless as Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola made his request. The prosecutor also sought the same sentence for Knox’s co-defendant, former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, at the end of two days of closing arguments by the prosecutors.
A verdict could come as soon as defense teams and a lawyer for the victim’s family have their final chance to address the jury.
Both defendants had been convicted by a lower court of the 2007 slaying in the university town of Perugia, central Italy. The lower court had sentenced Knox to 26 years and Sollecito to 25 years for the slaying of Meredith Kercher.
The two deny wrongdoing.
Life imprisonment is Italy’s harshest sentence. Earlier on Saturday, another prosecutor in the trial, Manuela Comodi, defended the forensic evidence that had been used to convict Knox of the murder, firing back at an independent review that criticized the investigation and the work of police in the case.
The defendants appealed the 2007 convictions. Prosecutors in Italy also can appeal, and they did so in the Knox case, using this latest trial to try for the harsher penalty.
Comodi tried to keep the jurors interested in the highly technical discussion about DNA testing and forensic science by using down-to-earth expressions and simple language. At one point, to explain DNA testing, she made references to ingredients used in pasta dishes; at another she pulled out a bra from her bag, seeking to illustrate how she thought the garment was cut from the victim’s body.
The DNA is crucial in the case, where no clear motive for the brutal killing has emerged.