ROME — Amanda Knox and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have had their acquittals for killing Briton Meredith Kercher in 2007 overturned and face a re-run of their appeal, Italy’s top court has ruled.
The pair spent four years in jail but were freed on appeal in 2011 largely on the grounds DNA evidence was flawed.
Knox said the news was “painful” but Kercher’s sister said she was happy with the decision.
Italian law cannot compel Knox to return from the US for the review.
The American student lives in Seattle but, if convicted, Italy could seek her extradition.
The decision took longer than expected – two days. The prosecution argued successfully that the appellate court’s decision to quash the original convictions had been made by a judge who had “lost his bearings”.
Sloppy forensic investigations by police are frequently cited in Italian murder trials and some high-profile cases like the murder of the British student are never fully solved.
Argument for retrial
The reasons for the latest decision will not be made public for another three months. The clinching argument for a retrial appears to revolve around another accused, Rudy Guede, who is serving 16 years for the murder.
“He didn’t have an ectoplasm for an accomplice,” the prosecutor argued.
In a statement, Knox said: “It was painful to receive the news that the Italian Supreme Court decided to send my case back for revision when the prosecution’s theory of my involvement in Meredith’s murder has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair.”
She added: “No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity.”
A lawyer for Sollecito, Giulia Buongiorno, said: “We are hopeful. We know Raffaele Sollecito is absolutely innocent.”
Kercher’s older sister, Stephanie, welcomed the decision as a step forward.
“Whilst we are not happy about going back to court, and it will not bring her back, we have to make sure we have done all we can for her,” she said.
Knox, now 25, and Sollecito, 29, were originally sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison for killing and sexually assaulting Meredith Kercher. (BBC)