Top News America
Friday, December 4, 2009
New!! Hot Amanda Knox Verdict Video
The prosecutor in the Meredith Kercher murder trial wept after listening to the US student Amanda Knox make an ardent protestation of her innocence, the defendant's father said today. His version of events was immediately denied by the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, who has asked for life sentences for Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.
Speaking just before the judges in Perugia retired to consider their verdict, Curt Knox, from Seattle, said his young daughters by his second marriage, aged 14 and 11, had seen Mignini leave the courtroom hurriedly yesterday. Under Italian law, the two girls are not allowed to be present at the hearing because they are under 18.
"My daughters were waiting outside and they said they saw tears," Curt Knox said. "He went into the bathroom to wash his face. I have no reason to doubt my daughters."
Mignini admitted that he had left soon after Knox made a statement to the court. But, he said, "it was terribly hot, so I went to rinse my face".
The incident gave a new twist to an already searingly emotional trial that is building towards its climax in this central Italian university city. One of the few relaxed-looking people in court as the case entered its final stage was Knox herself.
She arrived to hear her fate looking composed in a lime-green jacket, beige trousers and turquoise trainers. Her former boyfriend sat a few feet away in a black roll-neck pullover and beige trousers. The pair, who contradicted each other on key elements in their statements to investigators, have scarcely exchanged a glance since the trial began.
Knox and Sollecito are accused of murdering Kercher, a 21-year-old Leeds university student from Coulsdon, Surrey, in November 2007. They, along with an Ivory Coast man, Rudy Guede, are alleged to have stabbed the British woman to death.
Guede, who fled to Germany after Kercher's body was found, opted for a fast-track trial that ended last year. He is currently appealing against a 30-year sentence for the killing.
Knox and Sollecito, who both deny the charges, have been on trial for eight months.
The final speech to the court fell to the most junior member of Sollecito's team, who attacked the prosecution for failing to follow Italian legal procedure.
"In our system, the prosecutor has an obligation to collect evidence that favours the defendant," said Daniela Rocchi. Instead, she told the judges, Mignini had "upheld his theory, full stop".
At 10.35am local time, the judge declared the hearing to be at an end and left the courtroom with the other professional judge, wearing robes and a ruffed neckband, and the six lay judges, some sporting sashes in the Italian national colours of red, green and white.
According to court sources, their deliberations will last for upwards of 10 hours, so a verdict is not expected before this evening at the earliest. All of Knox's close relatives were in court today: Curt Knox and his wife, Cassandra; his ex-wife, Edda Mellas, and her second husband, Chris Mellas, and Knox's younger sister, Deanna.
"We are obviously very hopeful, but we're trying to kind of guard our hopes in case something goes wrong," Curt Knox told the Guardian. "If the verdict is based on what we've seen and heard in court, I'd be looking forward to an innocent verdict. But we're trying to hold our optimism in check."