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Timeline: Italian court clears Amanda Knox of murder

Knox, the U.S. student convicted of murdering her British flatmate Meredith Kercher in Italy in November 2007, looks on during her appeal tr
Knox, the U.S. student convicted of murdering her British flatmate Meredith Kercher in Italy in November 2007, looks on during her appeal tr

(Reuters) - Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were cleared and freed Monday after appealing a 2009 verdict that originally found them guilty of murdering British student Meredith Kercher.

Here is a timeline of the main events In the case:

November 2, 2007 - Kercher's body is found with a stab wound in the throat, in the apartment she shared with American student Knox in the central Italian town of Perugia.

November 6 - Knox, Sollecito, and bar owner Patrick Diya Lumumba are questioned by Italian police.

November 19 - Police say they are seeking a fourth suspect, named as Rudy Hermann Guede, from Ivory Coast. He is arrested the next day in the German city of Mainz. On the same day Lumumba is released without charge from prison in Rome.

April 1, 2008 - Knox, Sollecito and Guede lose their appeals to be released from prison and are told they will stay behind bars until they are charged or released.

October 28, 2008 - Guede is sentenced to 30 years in jail for taking part in Kercher's murder. His sentence is cut back to 16 years on appeal in 2009.

- Judge Paolo Micheli also orders Knox and Sollecito to stand trial on murder charges.

January 16, 2009 - Trial of Knox and Sollecito begins.

December 5 - A court sentences Knox to 26 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years after they are found guilty of murdering Kercher during a drunken sex assault.

- Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito say they will appeal the sentences and Knox's family denounces the verdict as a "failure of the Italian judicial system."

November 8, 2010 - An Italian court orders Knox to stand trial for slandering police officers during the murder investigation.

November 24, 2010 - Knox and Sollecito's appeal against their convictions starts and is adjourned. It resumes on December 11.

December 16 - Guede's conviction is confirmed by Italy's highest appeals court.

June 29, 2011 - An independent forensic report discredits police evidence used to help convict Knox.

July 25 - Two court-appointed experts, Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti, tell an appeal hearing the knife thought to have been used to kill Kercher carried no trace of blood but may have been contaminated with other DNA traces.

September 24 - Prosecutors ask the court to keep Knox and Sollecito behind bars for life.

September 26 - Patrick Lumumba's lawyer Carlo Pacelli calls Knox a "she-devil" and tells the appeals court she destroyed Lumumba's image by falsely accusing him of the murder, testimony that helps prosecutors attack her credibility. Knox has said she wrongly implicated Lumumba under pressure from police.

September 29 - Wrapping up the defense case, Knox's lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova points to errors in the probe by police and urges a panel of lay and professional judges to look beyond the image of Knox created by the media and the prosecution.

October 3 - Knox makes a tearful plea to be acquitted of murdering her British roommate, saying she was paying with her life for a crime she did not commit.

-- Two professional and six lay judges find Knox and Sollecito not guilty of murder.

-- The court upholds a conviction against Knox for slander, after she had falsely accused Lumumba of the murders. It sentenced her to three years in prison, a sentence which has now been served.

(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

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