Amanda Knox Case: Italy's High Court Orders New Trial
UPDATED: Knox, who has a new book and Diane Sawyer interview coming in April, was charged with the murder of her college roommate in 2007, sparking one of the biggest media circuses in years.
ROME – Italy’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a retrial in the case of Amanda Knox, the Seattle college student accused of murdering her 21-year-old British roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007.
The grisly crime sparked a media circus in Italy and across the world when it occurred, as hundreds of journalists and cameramen descended upon the Umbrian hilltop university town of Perugia, where the murder took place. The story led U.S. and U.K. newscasts for months, due to the mysterious and sensational nature of the events, and the nationalities of the key players involved.
Knox is said to have stayed up until 2 a.m. Seattle time, where she is now a student at the University of Washington, to hear word of the verdict from Italy.
Shortly after the announcement was made, Knox issued a statement through a family spokesman, saying she was disappointed but confident the truth would eventually come out.
"It was painful to receive the news that the Italian Supreme Court decided to send my case back for revision when the prosecution's theory of my involvement in Meredith's murder has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair," the statement said.
Knox said the case must now be handed over to a "capable prosecution" and re-explored by an "objective investigation."
"No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity," she added.
Knox's latest legal imbroglio comes just weeks before the rollout of her high-profile memoir, Waiting to Be Heard, which is set for an April 30 release. In February of 2012, HarperCollins, a subsidiary of News Corp., paid $4 million for rights to the "tell-all" first-person account of her ordeals in Italy.
And in February of this year, ABC News announced that Diane Sawyer had landed the coveted first televised interview with Knox, which is scheduled for broadcast at 10 p.m. in a primetime special on the same day as the book's release. Portions of the interview will also be aired on Good Morning America, World News and Nightline, ABC said.
So far, neither HarperCollins nor ABC has said whether the Italian Supreme Court decision will alter their plans.
The new trial will mark the third time Knox's case is heard. The prosecution alleges that Knox and her Italian boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, killed Kercher during a night of drug-taking and dangerous sex games. Kercher was found with her throat slit in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox.
Sollecito and Knox were both sentenced to at least 25 years behind bars in a 2009 lower court ruling in Perugia. But the conviction was overturned in 2011, and Knox and Sollecito both returned home.
But last year, Kercher’s family appealed that decision to the Italian Supreme Court, whose rulings cannot be appealed.
Italian legal experts told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday that the Supreme Court decision means the appeal that produced the acquittal two years ago has been disallowed, so that the 2009 conviction now stands again until it is reexamined by the court.
Sollecito lives in Italy and can be compelled to appear in court. But it was not immediately clear what the ruling means for Knox: She is unlikely to return voluntarily for the new trial, and if she is not in Italy, the trial could still proceed without her. If the 2009 conviction is upheld in absentia, Italy could request her extradition.