ROME - The prosecution in the new trials of U.S. exchange student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher is asking the court in Florence to hand down a guilty verdict and sentences of 26 years in prison for both. The prosecutor argued Knox should also spend an additional 4 years behind bars for slander.
In his closing argument, prosecutor Alessandro Crini insisted the couple was responsible for Kercher's killing in November 2007 in Perugia. He said they both struck the victim repeatedly with two knives while another man, Rudy Guede, held her with one hand and abused her sexually with the other. Guede is serving 16 years in prison after opting for a fast-track trial.
The prosecution's theory is that Sollecito used a smaller knife to cut Kercher’s bra while Knox held a larger knife, which caused the deeper wounds. Crini stressed her DNA was found between the knife’s handle and blade and that this was significant evidence of “improper use.
The requests made by the prosecution went beyond the sentence issued when the couple was first convicted in 2009. At the time, Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison plus one year for slander, and Sollecito to 25 years in prison.
Both Knox and Sollecito spent 4 years in prison in Italy before their murder convictions were overturned in 2011.
Knox was convicted of slander for falsely accusing a local bar owner of involvement in the murder. On Monday she filed an appeal of her slander conviction to the European Court of Human Rights.
Unlike Monday, Sollecito was not in court for Tuesday's arguments. But his father was, and reacting to the requests made to the court, he simply stated that he was “speechless.”
Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the Kercher family, said the requests made by the prosecutor were balanced and in line with his precise closing arguments.
Knox spoke to her lawyers after the requests made by the prosecution and reiterated her position that she was not in the apartment when Kercher was murdered. Lawyer Luciano Ghirga said she was “upset” and that she asked her team to fight against such a decision by the court as they have done until now.
Filed by CBS Radio News correspondent Sabina Castelfranco