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Friday 31 January 2014

Breaking News: Amanda Knox retrial: Raffaele Sollecito stopped near Italian border.

Italian authorities stopped Raffaele Sollecito -- convicted with ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox of the murder of Meredith Kercher -- near the border with Austria and Slovenia, Italian police told CNN on Friday. 
Sollecito, who is not allowed to leave Italy while the legal process continues, was halted in the northern Italian town of Udine, police said. The Slovenian border is less than 20 miles east of Udine, and the border with Austria lies about 55 miles to the north.

 An appeals court in the Italian city of Florence convicted Sollecito and Knox, who remains in the United States, on Thursday night after a retrial. Prosecutors said the couple killed Kercher, a British student, in November 2007. Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years in prison and Knox, also convicted of slander, was sentenced in absentia to 28½ years in prison. Both deny murder and can still appeal. Kercher, 21, was found partially nude in a pool of blood in the house she shared with Knox in the picturesque town of Perugia, where both women were exchange students. But despite years of courtroom battles over her death, many aspects of the crime still remain unexplained.

 'Journey to the truth'

 On Friday morning, Kercher's siblings spoke in Florence about their family's long ordeal. Her sister, Stephanie Kercher, said the family might never know exactly what happened on the night of her death. "I think we are still on the journey to the truth," she said. "I think it may be the fact that we don't ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something we will have to come to terms with." Lyle Kercher, Meredith's brother, said the family may have to wait until spring 2015 for a final resolution, since the verdicts reached Thursday can still be appealed at Italy's Supreme Court. "Nothing is going to bring Meredith back, nothing will take away the horror of what happened to her," he said. "The best we can hope for is finally bringing this whole case to a conclusion, having a conviction, and everyone can move on with their lives." If the Supreme Court upholds the murder conviction, he expects to see Italian authorities make an extradition request to the United States so that Knox serves her sentence in Italy, he said. Stephanie Kercher said that she had been told of a letter written by Knox to the Kercher family but that she had not seen it. She also appeared to rule out meeting with Knox in the future, despite the American's overtures to the family and whatever the final outcome of the case. 

"We've asked to have our wishes respected in that we would like to be together as a family to remember Meredith," she said. "A lot has happened over this length of time. It would be very difficult to meet someone having had all that happen." Read more: Six things to know about Amanda Knox retrial verdict 'Frightened and saddened' Knox and Sollecito were first convicted in 2009, but those charges were overturned on appeal in 2011 and the pair were freed, having spent four years in prison. In March of last year, Italy's Supreme Court overturned the pair's acquittals, leading to the retrial that resulted Thursday night in their convictions for murder being reinstated by a Florence appeals court. Knox's lawyer said his client would appeal the conviction at Italy's Supreme Court. Knox, who remained at home in Seattle, Washington, while the retrial was held, said her conviction would bring no consolation to the Kercher family. "I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict," the 26-year-old said in written remarks. "Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. 

The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. ...There has always been a marked lack of evidence." Presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini has 90 days to write his arguments behind the jury's ruling. Once that is out, lawyers have 90 days to appeal. Knox's attorney, Ted Simon, said there will certainly be an appeal and cautioned that extradition shouldn't yet be a part of the conversation about the case. "It's really not in play right now, because first of all, she has another appeal to the Supreme Court of Italy," he told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." "In Italy, under their system, you're still actually presumed innocent until that third, final stage.

" Simon said that if extradition does become an issue, Knox has "very substantial defenses" that can be used. "But I think we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves," he told CNN. "The bottom line is, there is no evidence. There was no evidence, and there never will be any evidence, and that's why this is such a gross miscarriage of justice." Source:CNN

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