Knox's ex-lover in court for Italy murder trial

6th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

US student Amanda Knox's former Italian lover Raffaele Sollecito arrived in court in Florence on Wednesday for the ex-couple's appeal trial for the murder of a British student in 2007.

The results of new DNA testing on a kitchen knife found in Sollecito's house were due to be presented at the hearing. Prosecutors allege it was one of the weapons used to kill Meredith Kercher in the home she shared with Knox.

It was the first time Sollecito attended the trial, which began in September.

He has been on an extended holiday in the Dominican Republic, which has no extradition agreement with Italy, and only landed back in Italy this week.

"He has come to show that he is not running away," Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, told reporters before the start of the hearing.

Sollecito was expected to address the court later on Wednesday.

Italian media reported that testing had found a trace of Knox's DNA between the blade and the handle of the knife but the result is inconclusive, with the defence saying it clears the couple and prosecutors saying it implicates them.

"I think that this court has all the elements to take its decision. Another court has determined why that knife was in Knox's hands," said Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the Kercher family, who were not in court.

A ruling is expected later this month or next month but there is in any case one more appeal possible by either the prosecution or the defence.

Knox has lived in the United States ever since an appeals court in the university town of Perugia where the gruesome murder took place acquitted her and Sollecito of the murder in 2011 -- after four years in prison.

The supreme court overturned that acquittal earlier this year, sending the case back to the appeals court for a retrial, which has so far focused on re-examining some of the DNA evidence in the case.

A third person, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, is serving a 16-year sentence in prison for the murder but prosecutors say the evidence shows that he could not have been the only one to carry out the killing.

Kercher was found half-naked in a pool of blood on the morning of November 2, 2007 in the university town where she was on an education exchange.

Prosecutors believe that the murder may have been the result of a sexual assault on Kercher involving Knox, Sollecito and Guede.

All three deny involvement in the crime, although Guede has admitted he was in the house at the time of the killing.

© 2013 AFP

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