After twelve hours of deliberations, an Italian appeals court convicted former exchange student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito on murder charges, Thursday night.
They were found guilty for the second time of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, in a retrial that reversed an earlier appeal judgment and confirmed Knox and Sollecito’s original 2009 conviction.
Knox, who has no intention of returning to Italy, had her sentence increased to 28 years and six months, while Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.
“I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system,” she said in a statement.
Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno confirmed that her client would appeal to Italy’s highest court, and Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said he was “stunned”. The court will publish the reasons for its verdict in 90 days.
For Kercher’s family, who had pushed to have the appeal verdict overturned, the reaction was equally raw.
“We didn’t know what to expect. We are still in shock,” said Stephanie Kercher, Meredith’s sister, after the ruling was read.
If final appeals are heard, neither Knox nor Sollecito, who was banned from leaving Italy, would face arrest or jail time until a final verdict by the highest court.
Knox, who is in the United States and would have to be extradited to serve her sentence, attacked the “overzealous and intransigent prosecution” and “prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation” and said she had been wrongfully prosecuted.