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Sollecito to appear in Florence court for new sentence

Knox to watch verdict in Kercher case from home

29 January, 15:58
Sollecito to appear in Florence court for new sentence (ANSA) - Perugia, January 29 - Raffaele Sollecito will appear in a Florence court to await a possible new sentence in a trial for the 2007 death of British student Meredith Kercher, Sollecito's father told ANSA on Wednesday.

The Florence court is expected to rule Thursday on accusations of murder against Sollecito and his American ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox, marking their fourth verdict concerning the November 2007 stabbing death of Knox's roommate while they were students in the medieval city of Perugia.

"I asked him to accompany me, and so we will be in the courtroom," Francesco Sollecito told ANSA, adding that it had not yet been decided if his son will make any statements before the panel of judges withdraws to the council chamber. "We will be there because once more we have faith in the justice system," the father said, and "out of respect" for the middle appeals court of Florence.

Knox, who has been living in her native United States and has not attended this trial, announced that she will watch the sentencing from home in Seattle with her mother. Sollecito's family had previously said the 29-year-old would watch the verdict from his home as well.

Kercher's sister may also be present in the courtroom to hear the judgment in the case where prosecutors have requested a 26-year prison term for Sollecito and 30 years for Knox.

Both Sollecito and Knox served a total of four years in prison, including pre-trial custody, after they were initially convicted in 2009. Last week, during their closing arguments, prosecutors asked that "precautionary measures" be taken if Knox and Sollecito are found guilty.

In practice, such measures would likely be applied only to Sollecito, because Knox, 26, has said she is too "afraid" to return to Italy. Measures could range from house arrest to being stripped of his passport.

If the pair are found guilty, it would not be the final word, as they would have the right to appeal to the country's supreme court.

Both Knox and Sollecito have denied the charges against them, and in 2011 were acquitted on appeal two years after their first conviction.

Then, the supreme court subsequently overturned the appeal ruling and ordered a new appeals-level trial in 2013 over aspects of the evidence it argued had not been properly examined before.

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