Key events in Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito's trials for Meredith Kercher's murder
Knox and Sollecito were convicted of murder in 2009 but freed on appeal in 2011
They were found guilty again in 2014; A court overturns the conviction the next year
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
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 also is detained.
November 20, 2007
Lumumba is released after two weeks in prison when his alibi is corroborated. He spent the night of the killing 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.”
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. 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 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 the 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
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
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 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 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 question 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 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 Knox and Sollecito. Knox is, however, judged guilty of defamation against Lumumba, an early suspect in the case. She had accused 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
The Italian Supreme Court rules that Knox and Sollecito should stand trial again. 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 Knox should receive a 30-year sentence for the 2007 killing. Prosecutor Alessandro Crini 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
An Italian appeals court convicts Knox and Sollecito of murder charges. Knox, who is living in the United States, had her sentence increased to 28 years and six months. Sollecito, who returned to Italy during the trial, was sentenced to 25 years.
February 3, 2014
Sollecito says he has returned to Italy to fight his new murder conviction. Knox has said that she “will never go willingly” back to Italy. But Sollecito said he came back “as soon as I understood the verdict.”
April 29, 2014
An Italian court says it convicted Knox and Sollecito of murdering her onetime roommate in part because of evidence showing that more than one person killed the British student. In a more than 300-page document, the court said that the third person convicted in the murder, Rudy Guede, did not act alone, and cited the nature of the victim’s wounds.
May 1, 2014
If she had been at the scene of the crime, forensic evidence would prove her guilt, but Knox says there is nothing – no DNA, no hair, no footprints, no handprints – to show she was there. “I did not kill my friend. I did not wield a knife. I had no reason to,” Knox said.
July 1, 2014
Sollecito distances himself from his ex-girlfriend. “This has been a real tragedy,” he says. “I’m not a criminal.”
It’s a dramatic departure from the past seven years, where the tactic has been to “stick together” and be “tried” together.
March 27, 2015
Italy’s Supreme Court overturns the murder convictions of Knox and Sollecito. The case is now closed, the court says, and the two are free to go.
Thus ends an eight-year legal saga that gripped the United States, Britain and Italy.