Prosecutor demands guilty verdict for Amanda Knox

FLORENCE, Italy — An Italian prosecutor on Tuesday demanded that an appellate court find Amanda Knox guilty of the 2007 murder of her British roommate and sentence her to 26 years for the killing.

Prosecutor Alessandro Crini made the demand after more than 10 hours of closing arguments over two days during which he argued that Knox and her co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito acted in concert with a third man, who was convicted separately, in an explosion of violence sparked by tensions between the roommates over cleanliness.

Meredith Kercher’s 2007 murder in the idyllic hillside town of Perugia is getting its third trial after Italy’s highest court annulled an appellate ruling overturning the guilty verdicts against Knox and her co-defendant and former boyfriend Sollecito. They were convicted in the first trial, and sentenced to 26 years and 25 years, respectively.

Crini demanded 26 years for Sollecito, and also urged a four-year sentence for Knox for slander, for falsely blaming Kercher’s murder on a Congolese-born bar owner, Diya ”Patrick” Lumumba. Knox’s slander conviction has been upheld by the high court.

Knox returned to the United States a free woman in 2009 after the appellate court ruling, having already served four years during the investigation and earlier trials, and remained there for this trial. Sollecito, who is also free, has attended two hearings to date.

Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood in her locked bedroom on Nov. 2, 2007. Her throat was slit and there were signs of sexual aggression. Crini departed from past scenarios, saying the crime was not so much sexually fueled — or as the lower court prosecutor described it a sex game gone out of control — but an act of physical aggression with a sexual expression.

Kercher, 21, was stripped naked during the attack, and prosecutors allege that her bra was removed with a knife that tore off a clasp, one among the most-disputed pieces of evidence in the case. Guede was convicted in the murder on evidence that included physical evidence on the victim’s vagina. He is serving a 16-year sentence after a fast-track trial.

Crini alleges that Guede may have sparked anew tensions over cleanliness after he defecated in a toilet inside the hillside apartment and left it unflushed. Crini said Guede, who was friendly with young men living in a neighboring apartment, had done the same thing the previous week.

”It is an absolutely disgusting and incongruous habit that he evidently had,” Crini said.

Testimony in previous trials had cited tensions between Kercher and Knox over the level of cleanliness in the house they shared with two Italian roommates.

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