Italy’s Court of Cassation has delayed a decision on whether to uphold the convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
The top court will hear from Raffaele Sollecito’s defense team on March 27 before the judges give their verdict.
Former lovers Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted for the second time in 2014.
They have maintained their innocence throughout and have already served four years in prison.
The Court of Cassation in Rome is due to confirm the guilty verdict or overturn it – either ordering another trial or effectively bringing about an acquittal.
A definitive conviction would trigger complicated attempts to extradite American Knox, who lives in Seattle in the US.
Raffaele Sollecito, from Bari, southern Italy, has remained in the country, and attended the court with his new girlfriend on March 25.
Speaking before the hearing, the Kercher family’s lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said they hoped the court’s decision would bring an end to the judicial process.
“It’s a case that has gone on for so many years now,” he said.
“They hope that this will be the final stage of this judicial process and they will at last… be able to remember Meredith outside of the court room [process].”
Leeds University student Meredith Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, south London, was found dead in the flat she shared with Amanda Knox, now 27, in Perugia, central Italy, where both women were studying.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, 30, were convicted of the murder by a trial court in Perugia in 2009.
They were freed in 2011 after an appellate court overturned the convictions.
The Court of Cassation rebuked the appellate judge’s reasoning and last year an appeals court in Florence sentenced Amanda Knox to 28 years and Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years.
The latest ruling could confirm that conviction or overturn it – and either order yet another trial or effectively acquit the pair, although legal experts say the last option is unlikely.
Rudy Hermann Guede, born in the Ivory Coast, who opted for a fast-track trial, is serving a 16-year sentence for his role in the murder of Meredith Kercher.
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Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s Italian ex-boyfriend, has told of their “intense” relationship claiming he felt he had been “hit by a thunderbolt” when they first met.
Speaking to reporters in New York, where he and Amanda Knox were reunited earlier this week, Raffaele Sollecito said he was horrified by the Italian Court’s decision to reopen the case into the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were found guilty of murdering 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in 2009 and were jailed for 25 and 26 years respectively.
They were freed on appeal in 2011, but Italian judges have now ordered them to return to court for retrial.
Raffaele Sollecito told The Sun: “Meeting Amanda was like being hit by a thunderbolt. Our relationship got very intense, very quickly.”
He said he felt great sorrow over the death of Meredith Kercher and added that he would one day like to visit her grave in Mitcham, Surrey.
Raffaele Sollecito said: “I will never forget Meredith. It was terrible what happened. But I am not responsible for her death.
“It makes me sad when her family say they still believe other people were involved. Rudy Guede is in prison for her murder and his DNA was all over the scene.”
He described the reopening of the trial as like a “horror movie where they keep making sequels”, and continues to deny having anything to do with Meredith Kercher’s death.
The court ruled that Meredith Kercher’s death was a “s** game gone wrong” and have ordered Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox back for trial.
This has resulted in Raffaele Sollecito launching a desperate $500,000 online appeal for donations to fund his retrial.
The computer studies graduate said he was hard up and needed the cash for “legal expenses” but added he would donate anything raised above the target “to a research foundation”.
In an appeal posted on his Facebook page, Raffaele Sollecito wrote: “Well Guys, the problem for me now is pretty though.
Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s Italian ex-boyfriend, has told of their “intense” relationship claiming he felt he had been “hit by a thunderbolt” when they first met
“I’m deeply concerned not just for the issue I’m facing and most of you already know about, but also because I don’t have resources anymore to fight this injustice.
“I badly need to be able to hire experts, when needed, or pay my attorney fees, documents fees, and so on when the new appeal will start.
“I hope to not bother you, but I need your collaboration to face this ordeal. Otherwise I don’t want to forced to give up just for financial reason.
“I hope you will understand. I’m just asking if you, buddies, know how to build up a non-profit raising funds foundation. Big Hugs, Raffaele Sollecito.”
Raffaele Sollecito is thought to have been paid $1million for U.S. TV news interviews and an advance on his book Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox, which was published last year.
However, a sizeable proportion of that was swallowed up in legal fees to his team of lawyers including Italy’s high flying Giulia Bongiorno who is said to have the highest fees in the country.
On Tuesday, the High Court issued its written reasoning for doing so. Meredith Kercher’s body was found in November 2007 in her bedroom of the house she shared with Amanda Knox in Perugia, a central Italian town popular with foreign exchange students.
Amanda Knox, now 25, and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, were initially convicted and sentenced to long prison terms, but a Perugia appeals court acquitted them in 2011, criticizing virtually the entire case mounted by prosecutors.
The appellate court noted that the murder weapon was never found, said that DNA tests were faulty and that prosecutors provided no murder motive.
A young man from Ivory Coast, Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate proceeding and is serving a 16-year sentence.
In the 74-page Cassation ruling, the High Court judges said they “had to recognize that he [Rudy Guede] was not the sole author” of the crime, Italian news agency LaPresse reported. The judges though said he was the “main protagonist”.
They said the new appeal process would serve to “not only demonstrate the presence of the two suspects in the place of the crime, but to possibly outline the subjective position of Rudy Guede’s accomplices”.
The high court faulted the Perugia appeals court for “multiple instances of deficiencies, contradictions and illogical” conclusions.
The new court must conduct a full examination of evidence to resolve the ambiguities, it said.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito denied wrongdoing and said they weren’t even in the apartment that night, although they acknowledged they had smoked marijuana and their memories were clouded.
Raffaele Sollecito was given a 25-year jail term while Amanda Knox was given 26 years but in 2011 the verdicts were overturned and they were released on appeal.
However, three months ago Italy’s highest court ruled there should be a fresh trial for both of them.