Knox, Sollecito retrial for Kercher murder begins
First hearing in Florence30 September, 12:59
The former American student and her Italian ex-boyfriend are being retried on murder charges for the death of Kercher, who was found dead on the floor with stab wounds to her throat on November 1, 2007, in Perugia. Kercher was 21.
The first hearing was expected to try to establish what elements of the investigation need to be revisited. A verdict could be reached by Christmas.
Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009 and later acquitted on appeal in 2011.
Then in March this year Italy's supreme Court of Cassation sent the case back to the appeals stage.
The Cassation court 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.
The Cassation said the previous appeals court's dismissal of forensic evidence was flawed.
Sollecito's father, Francesco Sollecito, on Monday repeated his belief in his son's innocence. "We spoke to each other yesterday and exchanged best wishes. He is very worried, but I am confident," Sollecito's father said while entering the court, adding that his son was not present at today's hearing, but would be at the end of October.
"Statements made by the supreme Cassation Court are wrong, because the judges did not have complete access to the papers.
The deeper we dig, the more elements emerge demonstrating Raffaele's complete innocence," Francesco Sollecito added.
Amanda Knox told the newspaper Corriere Fiorentino in an interview that "I will not return to Italy, in part because my presence has always been an element of distraction in court".
"I'm not coming back to avoid that circus," Knox added.
Knox returned to the US after her release from prison on appeal.
A lawyer representing Kercher's family said he was convinced that the two defendants are guilty.
"We are convinced of the guilt of Amanda and Raffaele, of their presence on the scene of the crime," said Francesco Maresca upon entering the Florence court.
The final hearing of this new appeals trial is expected in November, according to a court-released timetable, paving the way for a possible verdict in December.
Ivorian Rudy Guede has been definitively convicted of the murder but the Cassation Court found it unlikely he acted alone.