US student Amanda Knox appeals murder conviction in Italy
Amanda Knox, the American student convicted in Italy of the 2007 murder of her British housemate Meredith Kercher, appeared at a brief first court hearing at the start of an appeals trial Wednesday, DPA reported.
Also present at the hearing in Perugia, was Knox's former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito. Both are appealing against their respective 26 and 25 year sentences.
The hearing lasted 15 minutes and the case was adjourned until December 11.
Kercher was found with her throat slit and her body semi-naked in the Perugia house she shared with Knox.
According to the prosecution's reconstruction of events on the night of the murder, Sollecito held down Kercher while Knox attacked her with a knife.
The trial also heard how the pair had cornered Kercher after starting a sex game with an Ivorian drug dealer Rudy Guede.
Guede who initially fled to Germany, but was extradited to Italy, was jailed for 30 years for the murder in a separate fast-track trial.
His sentence was later reduced to 16 years on appeal.
Knox's and Sollecito's defence teams are disputing DNA evidence found on the knife the prosecution said was the murder weapon and on a clasp on Kercher's bra.
Defence lawyers argue that the DNA may have been contaminated when analysed.
They also say the original verdict was based on mere hypotheses and that the prosecution had failed to present a valid motive for Knox and Sollecito's involvement in the murder.
The case has attracted a lot of international media attention particularly in Britain and in the United States.
While Kercher's family and many British commentators welcomed the initial conviction of Knox and Sollecito, most commentators in the United States have slammed what they say are gaping holes in the prosecution's case against Knox.
"Raffaele has been waiting a long time - three years for justice, the real justice," Sollecito's lawyer Luca Maori said after Wednesday's adjournment.
In Italy, both defendants and prosecutors have the right to lodge two appeals before court verdicts become definitive.