Amanda Knox guilty of Perugia slaying

PERUGIA, Italy, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Amanda Knox, a U.S. exchange student in Italy, and her Italian ex-boyfriend were convicted Saturday of murdering her British housemate.

In a case that garnered intense worldwide attention, Knox, 22, was sentenced to 26 years and Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.


As a judge read the verdict, Knox broke down and was removed from the courtroom, The Times of London reported. She was later heard sobbing and crying, "No, no!"

Asked if the family plans to appeal, Knox's father, Curt, said, "Hell, yes."

The families of Knox, Sollecito and the victim, Meredith Kercher, were in Perugia for the verdict. Kercher, 21, was a University of Leeds student from the London suburb of Coulsdon who was studying in Perugia.

The verdict came just after midnight local time after a long day of deliberations by a jury of two judges and six citizens.

The jury also found Knox and Sollecito guilty of sexual assault, and Knox was convicted of defaming Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, a Perugia bar owner briefly suspected of the killing.


In addition to their prison terms, Knox and Sollecito were ordered to pay 2.5 million euros ($3.5 million) each to the Kercher family, and Knox must pay nearly $60,000 to Lumumba.

Both defendants were university students in Perugia when they were arrested two years ago, Knox as a foreign-exchange student from the University of Washington.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the November 2007 stabbing death of Kercher, 21, during what prosecutors called a drug-fueled sex game at the house the two young women shared in the medieval university town.

Lawyers for the two defendants argued the killing was the work of Rudy Guede, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast, who was found guilty in a fast-track trial of murdering and sexually assaulting Kercher and sentenced to 30 years. Guede has appealed.

Prosecutors said Sollecito and Guede raped Kercher as Knox watched, and Knox cut her housemate's throat.

Knox and Sollecito plan to appeal, their attorneys said.

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