Investigators: Prosecutors asking appeals court to give Knox life sentence



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Posted on April 15, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 15 at 6:11 PM

SEATTLE - Prosecutors in Italy have filed an appeal, asking to toughen the sentence against Amanda Knox to life in prison.

Trial rules in Italy are unlike anything you'd see in the United States. Prosecutors won their murder case, but they feel Knox got too light a sentence. So, they’re using their right to appeal.

Knox and her family were devastated when the Italian jury convicted her and sentenced her to 26 years in prison. Knox's former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, received a 25 year sentence.

In a 15 page request filed in Perugia, Italy Thursday, prosecutors say the murder of Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher, was particularly brutal and horrendous, a callous sex murder caused by drinking and drugs. Prosecutors say the punishment of life in prison fits the crime.

During closing arguments in December, lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini portrayed Knox as a ruthless sex killer with the face of an angel and the heart of the devil.

But in the 400-plus page written explanation for a lesser sentence, jurors cited Knox's clean record and young age. They also noted that Knox and Sollecito showed remorse by covering the body after the murder.

Knox, a University of Washington student, arrived in the fortress hilltown of Perugia in the fall of 2007 to study languages. In November, Kercher was found murdered and sexually assaulted in the house the women shared. 

Knox , Sollecito and a third man were convicted of killing Kercher. But Knox says she is innocent and was forced to confess to crime she did not commit.

Her defense team is preparing a lengthy challenge to her conviction, arguing that she should be freed.

Knox's parents say they're not surprised, but they are disappointed at the prosecutor's decision. A family spokesman says they are planning to file their appeal this weekend seeking to have Knox's conviction overturned. They will have more to say once that's done.

It's expected to be 200-plus pages, challenging some of the jury's assumptions and pointing out contradictions in the jury's written explanation.

All of the appeals must be submitted by next Tuesday. Then the court will set hearing dates and pick a jury.

The appeal will take place in Perugia and the jurors will be selected from that town as well. It probably won't get underway until late September. It could be 2011 before there's a decision.