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Timeline: Meredith Kercher murder case

By CNN Staff
updated 12:56 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Key events in Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito's trials for Meredith Kercher's murder
  • Kercher was found dead in the flat she shared with Knox, in Perugia, in November 2007
  • Knox and Sollecito were convicted of murder in 2009 but freed on appeal in 2011
  • In 2013 judges ordered Knox and Sollecito to face a retrial, which began that September

(CNN) -- British college student Meredith Kercher was found dead in November 2007, her throat slashed in an Italian villa she shared with American student Amanda Knox. Knox, her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and a drifter named Rudy Guede were tried for murder.

Here is a timeline of key events from the case:

November 2, 2007

Meredith Kercher is found dead in the house in Perugia, Italy, that she shared with Amanda Knox. Police say her body is partially clothed, with her throat cut.

November 5, 2007

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Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are detained for questioning. Knox allegedly confesses to being at her home when Kercher was killed and implicates Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar where she worked. Lumumba is also detained.

November 20, 2007

Lumumba is released after two weeks in prison when his alibi is corroborated. He spent the night of the murder talking to a customer in his pub in Perugia, police say. He later sued Knox for libel, winning 40,000 euros ($54,000) in damages.

November 22, 2007

The text of a note Knox wrote on November 6, while in police custody, is published by CNN and other media outlets. Knox addresses an alleged confession, saying: In regards to this 'confession' that I made last night, I want to make clear that I'm very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn't remember a fact correctly.

December 2007

After being caught without a train ticket in Germany, Rudy Guede, a drifter originally from the Ivory Coast, is extradited to Italy. A vaginal swab taken from Kercher matches DNA from Guede. Guede admits to police that he had sexual relations with Kercher but says another man killed her while he was in the bathroom.

July 11, 2008

Italian prosecutors formally charge Knox, Guede and Sollecito with murder.

September 6, 2008

Rudy Guede asks for a separate fast-track trial, fearing that Knox and Sollecito had formed a pact against him. In asking for the trial, his defense attorney says, "In recent weeks a lot of poison has been spread by the defense teams, and we feel the necessity to find some form of serenity in a separate hearing."

October 28, 2008

Knox and Sollecito are indicted on murder charges. Guede is found guilty of murder in his fast-track trial and sentenced to 30 years. (The sentence is reduced to 16 years on appeal in December 2009.)

January 16, 2009

Knox and Sollecito's murder trial begins. Reporters from all over the world attend, and some sit at the defense table because of limited space in the courtroom.

June 12, 2009

Knox testifies that during police interrogations she was confused and that interrogators pressured her, called her a "stupid liar" and hit her in the head. Officials have denied beating Knox. She also says some of her actions that made her look bad when described by the press were taken the wrong way. She adds that she was in shock after the murder, and that caused her strange behavior.

September 27, 2009

Final witnesses are heard in the trial.

December 4, 2009

The jury finds Knox and Sollecito guilty on all counts in the stabbing death of Meredith Kercher. Knox gets a 26-year sentence; Sollecito gets 25 years.

June 1, 2010

Knox appears briefly in Italian court to face slander charges for saying that Italian police beat her during an interrogation. She said police used the threat of physical violence to intimidate and pressure her, which led her to falsely accuse Lumumba of Kercher's murder, but officials deny these allegations.

The case officially goes to trial in November.

November 24, 2010

Knox and Sollecito's murder appeal process begins. The hearing lasts about 15 minutes before the judge adjourns until December 11 because one of the lawyers is not present. Knox's lawyer Luciano Ghirga tells reporters that rather than prosecutors having to prove she is guilty, "we have to prove her innocence, which is more difficult to do."

December 11, 2010

Knox speaks for about 15 minutes and breaks down in tears. She says that she and Sollecito are innocent and unjustly accused.

"I've been condemned for the crime I did not commit," Knox says, adding that court has made "a huge mistake."

January 22, 2011

Two forensic experts from Rome's La Sapienza University are sworn in and will retest crucial forensic evidence used to convict Knox. They will take a second look at a knife and clasp from Kercher's bra, which was cut from her body after her murder. Results from the tests are expected in May.

February 15, 2011

Amanda Knox's parents are indicted for allegedly libeling police in Perugia, Knox's mother and the family's attorney say. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas are accused of defaming the police in comments to the Sunday Times of London in a 2009 interview. A hearing in the case is set for July 4.

May 21, 2011

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A jury of two judges and six citizens is scheduled to hear Knox's appeal starting in late May.

June 18, 2011

Two prison inmates testify during Knox's appeal that the American student was not actually involved in the killing of her roommate. But they offer two different accounts on who the actual killers were. Prosecutors say they doubt the credibility of the witnesses.

June 27, 2011

Guede refuses to say during testimony that Knox was not involved in the murder. The prosecutor reads a letter saying Guede thought Knox and Sollecito had killed Kercher.

Defense attorneys argue that Guede's letter was based on "a feeling" and that his accusations are not based on facts or events he witnessed. Knox takes the stand for emotional testimony after Guede speaks, saying she is "shocked" at what he said.

"The only time that Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito and I were in one room together was in a courtroom. ... He knows what the truth is. I don't know what happened that night," she says.

June 29, 2011

Forensic specialists tell the court that DNA evidence linking Knox to the alleged murder weapon is unsound, giving a boost to her appeal. Specialists say that while they agree Knox's DNA was present on the knife handle, tests for Kercher's DNA were unreliable. The prosecution contends that the knife was used to stab Kercher in the neck and that it had been cleaned.

The sample, however, was so small that forensic scientists were not able to double-test it in accordance with international forensic science norms, which Knox's legal team says raises doubts about its validity. Defense lawyers also say the tiny metal clasp from Kercher's bra may have been contaminated because it was not collected as evidence until nearly six weeks after the killing. Prosecutors had said there was DNA from Raffaele Sollecito on the clasp.

July 4, 2011

The judge in the libel case against Knox's parents resigns because he was involved in the trial of Knox and Sollecito. Paolo Micheli says he will recuse himself.

July 25, 2011

Court-appointed experts testify that police forensic scientists involved in the murder case made a series of glaring errors during their investigation.

In a point-by-point deconstruction, the experts say that because of the errors made by police during the original investigation, the evidence against Knox and Sollecito should be considered "inadmissible."

September 5, 2011

Prosecutors fighting to keep Knox behind bars defend the DNA tests. As the appeal nears its end, Kercher's sister urges people not to get caught up in the details but to "please remember our beautiful Meredith."

September 6, 2011

Italian state police forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni defends the methods and equipment used in DNA tests for the investigation. She says the machine used for the DNA examination was clean and rejects suggestions that Meredith Kercher's bra clasp had been contaminated.

September 7, 2011

Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman rejects a prosecution request for new DNA testing. He also turns down prosecution requests to introduce newly found records about the DNA tests and to hear a new witness. Knox's father, Curt, hails the rulings as "very good news for Amanda." The hearing is adjourned until September 23.

September 23, 2011

Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola begins final arguments by urging jurors to put themselves in the shoes of the parents of Meredith Kercher, "a serious, studious girl whose life was taken away by these two kids from good families." Another prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, questions why defense lawyers did not raise concerns about how evidence was collected during the original trial.

September 24, 2011

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi wraps up the prosecution summary by attacking the independent experts who questions the DNA evidence, calling their review "embarrassing, inappropriate and presented in a hostile way." She calls for Knox and Sollecito's sentences to be increased to life.

September 26, 2011

Lawyers for the civil parties to the case, including Kercher's family and falsely accused bar owner Lumumba, present their final statements. Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca presents the jury with photos of the murder victim's body that "show you the pain of Meredith." Knox avoids looking at the photos. Lumumba's lawyer Carlo Pacelli accuses Knox of having two sides one of which is "angelic, good, compassionate" and the other "Lucifer-like, demonic, Satanic."

September 27, 2011

Sollecito's lawyer Giulia Bongiorno attacks media portrayals of Knox as a femme fatale, comparing her to the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit, who protests, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way," in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" She says there is no physical evidence placing Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime, attacks the credibility of DNA evidence and says Knox's statements to police the night of the murder should be discounted because of hostile questioning by police.

October 3, 2011

An Italian jury overturns the 2009 murder conviction of Amanda Knox and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito. Knox is, however, judged guilty of defamation against Patrick Lumumba, an early suspect in the case. She had accused club owner Lumumba of killing Kercher. She leaves Italy straight after the ruling, and returns to her home city of Seattle.

February 17, 2012

Knox signs a deal with HarperCollins to write a memoir about her trial, conviction and acquittal for murder. The book, based in part on journals she kept, will give never-before heard details about her "harrowing experience" while in custody there, the publisher says.

March 26, 2013

Italian Supreme Court judges rule that American Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito should stand trial again for the death of her former roommate in Italy. Knox's lawyer said the 25-year-old was "upset and surprised because we thought that the case was over" but was ready to fight to prove her innocence.

September 30, 2013

Retrial begins without either Knox or Sollecito present in the Florentine court.

November 6, 2013

Sollecito takes the stand, describing the charges against him as "absurd" and the evidence against him as "an illusion."

"There was not a basis to charge me, to put me in jail ... I don't wish anybody on Earth to go through what I went through," he says.

November 26, 2013

An Italian prosecutor says Amanda Knox should receive a 30-year sentence for the 2007 killing.

Prosecutor Alessandro Crini also calls for a 26-year sentence for Sollecito.

December 17, 2013

Knox again maintains her innocence in a written statement presented to the court by her lawyer.

"I must repeat to you. I'm innocent. I did not rape, I did not steal ... I did not kill Meredith," she says in a lengthy email, written in Italian.

January 30, 2014

Court due to give verdict in retrial.

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