- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 6, 2009

PERUGIA, Italy | Amanda Knox sought comfort from visiting family members Saturday on her first day in prison since being convicted of murdering her British roommate.

The family of victim Meredith Kercher said the verdict brought a measure of justice. However, they said, it was not a time to celebrate.

Knox, a college student from Seattle, was tired and upset following the midnight verdict and sentence of 26 years in prison, according to family members and an attorney who saw her.

“Amanda, like the rest, is extremely disappointed, upset about the decision,” Knox’s mother, Edda Mellas, said after the visit to the prison just outside Perugia. “We told her that she’s gonna get out of here. It’s gonna take a little longer.”

Knox’s and Kercher’s families came to this central Italian town for the verdict, which was announced at around midnight after 13 hours of deliberations. The court also convicted Knox’s co-defendant and former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, and gave him a 25-year jail term for the murder.

Knox and Sollecito are appealing the verdicts.

Attorney Luciano Ghirga, who spent an hour with Knox at her jail just outside Perugia on Saturday morning, said Knox was kept under strict surveillance. He denied reports that she had been put under suicide watch, which is the standard practice in such cases.

Kercher, 21, was Knox’s roommate while they studied in Perugia.

Her body was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit on Nov. 2, 2007, at the apartment they shared. Prosecutors said the Leeds University student was killed the previous night.

“Meredith still leaves a big hole in our lives, and her presence is missed every time we meet up as a family,” John Kercher Jr., one of her brothers, told a press conference in Perugia.

The victim’s sister, Stephanie, said the verdict “does bring a little bit of justice, for us and for her.” But she added: “Life will never be the same without Mez.”

Prosecutors say that on the night of the killing, Knox and Sollecito met at the apartment where Kercher and Knox lived. They say a fourth person was there, Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivory Coast citizen who has been convicted in the killing and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Guede, who is appealing his conviction, says he was in the house the night of the murder but did not kill Kercher.

The prosecution says Knox and Kercher started arguing, and the three brutally attacked and sexually assaulted the Briton. They were acting, according to the prosecution, under “the fumes of drugs and possibly alcohol.”

As part of the ruling, Kercher’s parents were awarded $1.5 million each in compensation, while an award of $1,200,440 was granted to Kercher’s sister and to each of her two brothers, said the family’s attorney, Francesco Maresca. Kercher’s family, however, stressed that they were not expecting to receive any money, but the high compensation was a symbol of the gravity of the crimes.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide