Guilty... again! Amanda Knox convicted of murder

NEED TO KNOW
  • An Italian court found Amanda Knox guilty Thursday for a second time in slaying of her British roommate
  • Knox had been convicted, later acquitted in Meredith Kircher's death
  • In statement, Knox says she's 'frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict'
  • Knox told Italian newspaper she will become a 'fugitive' if found guilty
Guilty... again! Amanda Knox convicted of murder

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An Italian court found Amanda Knox guilty of murder Thursday for a second time in the murder of her British roommate.

After nearly 12 hours of deliberations, a panel of six jurors and two judges reached a guilty verdict, sentencing Knox to 28 years and six months in prison. Her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Sollecito’s passport has been confiscated.

In a statement from Amanda Knox through her attorney, she said she's "frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict."

"Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, nothing has changed. There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution," the statement read.

The statement goes on to say, "Clearly a wrongful conviction is horrible for the wrongfully accused, but it is also terribly bad for the victim, their surviving family, and society."

Thursday’s ruling is not the final word in the legal battle. The court has up to three months to write the decision before it goes before Italy’s Supreme Court. The defense is expected to appeal Thursday's ruling.

If Italy’s Supreme Court ratifies the ruling, the country could request Knox’s extradition from the U.S., where she is currently located. Knox had said she was scared of returning to Italy and recently told Italian daily La Repubblica she will become a "fugitive" if found guilty.

Knox and Sollecito were facing a retrial in the 2007 stabbing death of 21-year-old Meredith Kircher in Perugia, Italy. Police said at the time that Kircher was found partially dressed in her bedroom, with her throat slashed.

Prosecutors said Kircher was stabbed after she declined to participate in a sex game with Knox, Sollecito and a third person, Rudy Guede. Guede, an Ivory Coast citizen who said he was intimate with Kercher, was later convicted of her murder. He is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence.

Read more: Your questions answered: The Amanda Knox retrial

Knox and Sollecito, who have proclaimed their innocence since the beginning, were found guilty of murder in the first trial in 2009. They each spent four years in jail -- including time leading up to the trial -- before an Italian appeals court overturned their convictions, citing "lack of evidence." 

They were acquitted of murder charges on October 3, 2011, and Knox returned home to Seattle, Washington, shortly after her release. In 2013, she published a book about her incarceration called "Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir."

In March 2013, the Italian Supreme Court ruled Knox and Sollecito should stand trial again, saying the jury that acquitted them didn't consider all the evidence and discrepancies in testimony needed to be answered.

Read more: Amanda Knox's ex: I am not guilty

The retrial in Florence, Italy, began September 30, 2013. Prosecutors are seeking 26-year prison sentences for Knox and Sollecito. They are also seeking an additional four years for Knox for a related libel conviction. 

Knox did not return to Italy for the retrial, but she maintained her innocence in a written statement presented in court by her lawyer. 

"I must repeat to you. I'm innocent. I did not rape, I did not steal ... I did not kill Meredith," Knox wrote.

CNN Wires contributed to this report.

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