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Knox convicted, sentenced to 26 years in Italy

PERUGIA, Italy — A jury in Italy convicted American college student Amanda Knox of murdering her British roommate and sentenced her to 26 years in prison shortly after midnight Saturday.

Her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also convicted and sentenced to 25 years.

As soon as the judge read the verdict after some 13 hours of deliberations, Knox began weeping and murmured, “No, no,” then hugged one of her lawyers.

Minutes later, the 22-year-old Knox, who is from Seattle and the 25-year-old Sollecito, were put in police vans with sirens blaring and driven back to jail.

Prosecutors had sought life imprisonment, Italy's stiffest sentence. Courts often give less severe punishment than what prosecutors demand.

The American's father, Curt Knox, asked if he would fight on for his daughter, replied, with tears in his eyes: “Hell, yes.”

“This is just wrong,” her stepmother, Cassandra Knox, said, turning around immediately after hearing the verdict. Her family had insisted she was innocent and a victim of character assassination.

Knox and Sollecito were charged with murder and sexual assault in the slaying of Meredith Kercher more than two years ago. All three were studying in Perugia in Italy's central Umbria region at the time.

Ms. Kercher's body was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit on Nov. 2, 2007, in the bedroom of the house she shared with Knox. Prosecutors contended the 21-year-old Leeds University student was murdered the previous night.

Knox, who is from Seattle, and Sollecito, had been jailed since shortly after the slaying.

The prosecutors contend on the night of the murder, Knox and Sollecito met at the apartment where Ms. Kercher and Knox lived. They say a fourth person was there, Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivory Coast citizen who has been convicted in the murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Guede, who is appealing his conviction, says he was in the house the night of the murder but did not kill Ms. Kercher.

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