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Italy police find Amanda Knox ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito near Italy border, take passport day after guilty verdict

FLORENCE, Italy -- Police found Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend near Italy's border with Slovenia Friday, a day after he and the American student were convicted for a second time in the death of British student Meredith Kercher.

The cabinet chief of the Udine police station, Giovanni Belmonte, said police showed up at about 1 a.m. Friday at a hotel in Venzone, about 25 miles from the Slovenian border, where Raffaele Sollecito and his current girlfriend were staying. They took him to the Udine police station, took his passport and put a stamp in his Italian identity papers showing that he cannot leave the country. He was to be freed later, Belmonte said. 

A police officer in Udine told CBS News that Sollecito was stopped so that police could "remind him that he cannot leave Italy," and take  possession of his passport.

The court in Florence on Thursday upheld the conviction against Knox and Sollecito. It did not immediately order Sollecito's arrest, but it did order him to remain in Italy, where he remains free to move about the country.

Knox was sentenced to 28 years and six months in prison, and Sollecito to 25 years.

Lawyers for both Knox and Sollecito vowed to appeal to Italy's highest court, a process that will take at least another year. Italy is not expected to seek Knox's extradition until the appeals process is over and a guilty verdict is finalized.

It was Knox and Sollecito’s third trial for Kercher’s brutal murder and the latest trial spanned four months. Deliberations over the verdict lasted more than 11 hours.

Knox, 26, learned of the verdict half a world away in Seattle, where she returned after spending four years in an Italian prison and then being acquitted of the murder on appeal in 2011. In Italy, defendants are not required to appear at their trials.

Knox said she was "frightened and saddened" by her second conviction. In a statement released following the guilty verdict, Knox called the second conviction "unjust," and said she "expected better from the Italian justice system." 

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper just before the verdict was announced, Knox vowed never to return to Italy voluntarily, saying the Italian justice system would have to "pull me back to Italy kicking and screaming."

Speaking in Italy on Friday, Kercher's sister said the new guilty verdict was "just the next step" for her family. Stephanie Kercher said the drawn out case had been "incredibly difficult" for her family, and they remained on "the journey to the truth" about what happened to her sister.

Meredith Kercher's brother Lyle, left, and sister Stephanie arrive for the final hearing before the third court verdict for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, in Florence, Italy
Meredith Kercher's brother Lyle, left, and sister Stephanie arrive for the final hearing before the third court verdict for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, in Florence, Italy, Jan. 30, 2014.
AP

Stephanie Kercher said while the protracted Italian legal process had been painful, her family did not view it as a symptom of an inherently "bad system," but rather a "system strong enough to look at itself and say let's double check and triple check."

Asked whether she or other family members were inclined to meet with Knox, Stephanie Kercher said it was "not something we'd want to do at the momnemnt, and I can't say that we ever will."