PERUGIA, Italy – An Italian jury convicted American college student Amanda Knox of murdering her British roommate. The 22-year-old was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her 25-year-old Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also convicted and sentenced to 25 years.
According to the Associated Press, "as soon as the judge read the verdict after some 13 hours of deliberations, Knox began weeping and murmured, 'No, no,' then hugged one of her lawyers."
Knox and Sollecito were put inside police vans and driven back to jail.
Prosecutors were looking to get life imprisonment, which is Italy's stiffest sentence possible. Yet Italian courts often give less severe punishment than what prosecutors demand.
The American's father, Curt Knox, said "Hell, yes," when asked if he would continue fighting on his daughter's behalf. Stepmother Cassandra Knox, said, "This is just wrong" immediately after the verdict was read.
According to police, Meredith Kercher's body was found in her bedroom in a pool of blood with her throat slit on Nov. 2, 2007. Prosecutors argued the 21-year-old Leeds University student was murdered the previous night when she refused to take part in an alocohol- and drug-feuled?orgy.
Knox, from Seattle, has spent the last two years in prison. It took an entire year before officials brought an indictment against her.
The AP reports: "The prosecution maintains that a 6 1/2-inch knife authorities found at Sollecito's house could be the murder weapon; they say Kercher's DNA was found on the blade and Knox's on the handle. However, defense lawyers argue the knife was too big to match Kercher's wounds and the amount of DNA collected was too small to determine with certainty whose it was.
Knox gave contradictory versions of the night of the slaying, saying at one point she was home and had to cover her ears to block out Kercher's screams and accusing a Congolese man of the killing. The man, Patrick Diya Lumumba, owns a pub in Perugia where Knox worked. He was jailed briefly but was later cleared and is seeking defamation damages from Knox. Knox later contended that police pressure led her to initially accuse an innocent man."
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