American Student Amanda Knox Found Guilty

An American student, who along with her former Italian boyfriend, was accused of killing her British roommate, has been found guilty of murder by a court in Italy. Amanda Knox was found guilty on all charges and received 26 years in prison.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

The American student, Amanda Knox, has been found guilty of murder by a court in Italy. Know and her Italian ex-boyfriend were both accused of murdering Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher. And today, both were convicted.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli has been following the trial and joins us now from Perugia. Sylvia, it's been a long and dramatic trial with lots of emotional testimony. Tell us how it ended today.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Well, we've been waiting for hours for the - as the jury was deliberating. They entered the deliberations early this morning and after 13 hours, we all piled back into the press room of the courthouse. And the jury decided to give 26 years of prison to Amanda Knox and 25 years to her one-time boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

They were also sentenced to pay large damages to the family, the parents and brothers and sisters of the victim, Meredith Kercher, and to the Congolese national, Patrick Lumumba, whom Knox had originally falsely accused of having committed the murder.

As soon as the judge began reading the verdict, Amanda Knox began crying. She murmured, no, no. And she hugged one of her lawyers. And she immediately left the courtroom without looking back at her family members, many of them were also crying. We heard the - the next thing we heard, the last we saw of her was she was taken away in a police van with the sirens sounding.

NORRIS: The families of the two accused, and also the family of the victim, Meredith Kercher, all of them were present in the courtroom today. You noted that there were lots of tears there. Any other reaction from them? Have they spoken to the media at all?

POGGIOLI: Very little. Just one remark. Curt Knox, Amanda Knox's father was asked if he would fight on for his daughter. And he, in tears, he said, hell yes. And her stepmother Cassandra Knox said: This is wrong. But they basically wanted to stay among themselves. They were pursued by reporters and cameramen, but they did not want to speak. And we understand the Kercher family will speak tomorrow in a press conference here in Perugia.

NORRIS: The prosecution's case was built largely on circumstantial evidence, did that influence the final verdict?

POGGIOLI: Well, you know, it's a very interesting thing. In a sense it's a very strange verdict. The prosecution had asked for life in prison for both of them. And instead, they were given 26 and 25 years. I think the jury essentially did not completely agree with the prosecution's claim that the crimes were committed for futile motives.

Yes, it was a case primarily based on circumstantial evidence, but at the same time, the two defendants were also probably, in the end, convicted by their own lies. There were so many different stories told at the very beginning. The truth of what really happened that night, I'm not sure that it has it all come out in this trial. It's still very elusive exactly what happened that night.

NORRIS: Will there be an appeal?

POGGIOLI: Definitely. And, in fact, the fact that they were given 26 and 25 years, much less than what the prosecution had asked, has led a lot of people to believe that probably in the appeal, where in Italy it is common that in the appeal the convictions are slashed. And usually it's pretty - it happens pretty soon, probably within a year there will be an appeal and it's very likely that their sentences will be substantially reduced then.

NORRIS: Sylvia, thank you.

POGGIOLI: Thank you.

NORRIS: That was NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Perugia, Italy, where American student, Amanda Knox, has been found guilty of murder.

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