Life requested for US suspect in Italy murder case

Last Updated: Saturday, November 21, 2009 - 20:59

Perugia, Italy: Prosecutors on Saturday asked an Italian court to hand down life sentences to an American student and her ex-boyfriend for their alleged roles in the fatal stabbing of a young British woman during a drug-fuelled sex game.
In their closing arguments, prosecutors said Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito should be convicted on charges of murder and sexual violence for the 2007 slaying of Meredith Kercher. They deny wrongdoing.

Knox, who is from Seattle, took a deep breath when Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini requested life imprisonment — Italy`s stiffest punishment. She then addressed the court, saying that the accusations against her were "pure fantasy."

"Meredith was my friend, I didn`t hate her," she said in Italian, fighting back tears.

The Briton`s body, her throat slit, was found in a pool of blood on Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment she shared with Knox in the central Italian town of Perugia.

Prosecutors argued that Knox resented her British roommate and killer her together with Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede, of Ivory Coast, under "the fumes of drugs and possibly alcohol."

They said Knox hit Kercher`s head against a wall, then tried to strangle her, as Sollecito held her and Guede sexually assaulted her. Guede was sentenced to 30 years in prison last year for the killing after a fast-track trial he had requested. He also denies wrongdoing and is appealing his conviction.

"The murder and the sexual violence were carried out for futile reasons," Mignini said. "Meredith will never come back."

He requested nine months of daytime solitary confinement for Knox and two months for Sollecito. A verdict is expected in early December. Mignini also asked the court to convict the defendants on lesser charges, including staging a break-in and the theft of euro300 (US$444) and Kercher`s cell phones. He said Knox and Sollecito staged a burglary in the apartment by breaking a window in a bedroom in an attempt to sidetrack the investigation.

The 22-year-old Knox maintains she spent the night of the murder at Sollecito`s house in Perugia. The 25-year-old Sollecito has said he was home working at his computer that night. He said he does not remember if Knox spent the whole night with him or just part of it.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, November 21, 2009 - 20:59

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