(CBS News) In Florence, Italy, on Monday, the re-trial of Amanda Knox is underway. The Seattle woman spent four years behind bars, convicted of murder, but Knox and her Italian boyfriend were later acquitted in the killing of her roommate.
It's been a six-year legal ordeal for the accused and for the family of the victim, and it's starting all over again. Knox has decided not to go back to Italy for the re-trial. She's older and wiser now -- wise enough, CBS News' Mark Phillips pointed out -- to stay far away from the clutches of the Italian legal system. Knox has said in recent interview: "Nothing to fear? I have plenty to fear because I was already in prison wrongfully, I was already convicted wrongfully, and this is everything to fear."
Knox's new fear comes from a courtroom in Florence, where a panel of judges will again decide her fate. It will be her fourth trial for the murder of Knox's British college roommate, Meredith Kercher, in the Italian city of Perugia in 2007.
It's been a tortured legal trail. Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were first found guilty of the murder. Knox was sentenced to 26 years, and Sollecito to 25. But an appeals court controversially overturned the verdict, largely on the grounds of bungling by police investigators and the prosecution. The victim had had her throat cut, but a murder weapon was never found, and the DNA evidence was inconclusive.
Yet, if anyone thought the ordeal for Knox -- and for the Kercher family -- was finally over, it wasn't. After a further appeal, Italy's highest court ordered a retrial for what it called "deficiencies, contradictions and illogical" conclusions of the appeals court ruling.
From the safety of Seattle, Knox is still protesting her innocence, but says the wheels of Italian justice can grind on slowly without her. She will not go back to Italy.
"I'm doing everything I can to prove my innocence," Knox said. "I just think that it's very sad that that is what it has come to. The justice is about the prosecution proving the guilt of someone, and it shouldn't be up to me whether or not I have to live my life free."
There's no real risk in Knox's decision, Phillips reported on "CBS This Morning." The Italian court can hold her in contempt for not returning, but that wouldn't increase the sentence if she's found guilty this time. For the victim's family, they too have to live through the ordeal all over again. And they still have no legal closure on who killed Kercher.
Watch Mark Phillips' full report above.