Verdict in Knox murder trial expected in December
Florence court sets timetable for new trial in Perugia murder13 September, 17:54
The new appeal trial is scheduled to begin on September 30 on murder charges against Knox and Sollecito in the death of British student Meredith Kercher in the university city of Perugia in 2007.
The pair were convicted and later acquitted on appeal before Italy's high Court of Cassation last spring sent the case back to the appeals stage.
The court timetable says that the present case about to begin in Florence will be concluded with a final session on Nov.
26, leading to suggestions that a verdict will be reached before Christmas.
At the court's first hearing, a work program will be established including resolving such issues as what elements of the investigation to revisit.
Italy's high court had suggested a closer investigation into a knife that had been seized in Sollecito's house at the time of the original investigation.
The courtroom in Florence is designed to accommodate no more than 300 people, and will likely be packed with journalists, the public and other observers. Kercher, who has returned to the United States, is not expected to attend the Florence hearings.
The Cassation in March scrapped the 2011 decision of Perugia's appeals court, which had quashed the 26-year and 25-year sentences Knox and Sollecito were handed respectively at the original trial in 2009.
The top court said the appeals court dismissal of forensic evidence was flawed and found that the original prosecution theory, of a sex game gone wrong, might be the best explanation of what happened on the night of November 1-2, 2007.
Ivorian Rudy Guede has been definitively convicted of the murder but the Cassation Court found it unlikely he acted alone.
Kercher's family welcomed the case being sent back to appeal while Knox and Sollecito reaffirmed their innocence.