- Associated Press - Monday, March 25, 2013

ROME (AP) — Amanda Knox was “very anxious” as Italy‘s top criminal court heard arguments Monday from prosecutors appealing her acquittal in the murder of her roommate, her lawyer said.

“She’s carefully paying attention to what will come out,” attorney Luciano Ghirga said as he arrived at Italy‘sCourt of Cassation. “This is a fundamental stage. The trial is very complex.”

Prosecutors are asking the high court to throw out the acquittals of Miss Knox, an American, and her Italian ex-boyfriend in the murder of 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher and order a new trial.

Miss Knox, now 25, and Raffaele Sollecito were arrested in 2007, shortly after Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood in her bedroom in the rented apartment she shared with Miss Knox and others in the university town of Perugia, where they were exchange students. Her throat had been slashed.


Miss Knox and Mr. Sollecito initially were convicted and given long prison sentences: 26 years for Miss Knox, 25 for Mr. Sollecito. But in 2011 the appeals court acquitted them, criticizing virtually the entire case mounted by prosecutors in the first trial. The appellate court noted that the murder weapon was never found, said that DNA tests were faulty, and added that Miss Knox and Mr. Sollecito had no motive to kill Kercher.

After nearly four years behind bars, Miss Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle and Mr. Sollecito resumed his computer science studies.

In the second and final level of appeal, prosecutors now are seeking to overturn the acquittals, while defense attorneys say they should stand.

“We’re here to defend that sentence,” said Mr. Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, who called the entire case “an absurd judicial process.”

Monday’s hearing began with one of the judges reading a summary of the gruesome case, including how Kercher essentially choked on her own blood from the stab wound. Neither Miss Knox nor Mr. Sollecito was in court, though Mr. Sollecito’s father attended.

If the court does throw out the acquittal and orders a retrial, Miss Knox wouldn’t have to return to Italy, as there is no requirement for defendants to be in court.

Defense attorneys said they were confident the acquittals would be upheld.

“We know Raffaele Sollecito is innocent,” Ms. Bongiorno said.

A verdict could come later Monday.

Miss Knox and Mr. Sollecito have both maintained their innocence, though they said that smoking marijuana the night Kercher was killed had clouded their recollections.

Prosecutors have alleged that Kercher was the victim of a drug-fueled sexual assault.

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