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April 30, 2014

Italy court: Knox struck mortal blow in killing

MILAN — The Italian appeals court that reinstated the conviction against Amanda Knox in her British roommate's 2007 murder said in a lengthy reasoning made public Tuesday that Knox herself delivered the fatal blow out of a desire to "overpower and humiliate" the victim.

Presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini concluded in a 337-page document that the evidence "inevitably leads to the upholding of the criminal responsibility" against Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in a hillside villa occupied by students in the university town of Perugia.

The judge said the nature of Kercher's wounds, which he said were inflicted by two knives, and the absence of defensive wounds indicated multiple aggressors were to blame, also including Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian man convicted separately and serving a 16-year sentence.

Nencini presided over the Florence-based panel that reinstated the first trial guilty verdicts against Knox and Sollecito in January, handing Knox a 28 ½ year sentence including the additional conviction on a slander charge for wrongly accusing a Congolese bar owner. Sollecito faces 25 years.

The release of the court's reasoning opens the verdict to an appeal back to the supreme Court of Cassation. If it confirms the convictions, a long extradition fight for Knox is expected.

The University of Washington student has been in the United States since 2011, when her earlier conviction was overturned. Knox, 26, has vowed to fight the reinstated conviction, saying she would "never go willingly" to Italy to face her judicial fate.

In a statement Tuesday, Knox said the reasoning "is not supported by any credible evidence or logic. There is simply no basis in the record or otherwise for this latest theory." She said she remained "hopeful the Italian courts will once again recognize my innocence."

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