Italian police found Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend at a hotel near the Austrian border Friday after a court in Florence reversed their acquittal in the 2007 killing of her British roommate.
Raffaele Sollecito told police that he drove into Austria "to rest" while the jury deliberated, but then returned to Italy, according to a report by the Italian news agency ANSA. He was found in Venzone, about 25 miles from the border.
Sollecito’s lawyer, Luca Maori, told ANSA that his client never considered fleeing the county and willingly went with police to turn in his passport, as required by the court. He said Sollecito was visiting his girlfriend, who lives in the region, because he was stressed by Thursday’s court proceedings.
No arrest warrant had been issued for Sollecito, but the court ordered that he surrender his passport to prevent him from leaving the country while the case works its way through the legal system.
Knox, a student from Seattle, shared a house in the Italian town of Perugia with Meredith Kercher, then 21, who was found with her throat slashed in November 2007.
Knox, now 26, and Sollecito, 29, were convicted of the crime in 2009 and spent four years in prison before the verdict was reversed on appeal in 2011. Italy's supreme court ordered a second appeal last year, saying the decision was riddled with "shortcomings, contradictions and inconsistencies."
The appeals court Thursday sentenced Knox to 28 1/2 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years. Lawyers representing the two have said they will appeal the verdict back to the supreme court.
If the guilty verdict is upheld by the higher court, Knox, who is in the United States, could face extradition proceedings.
In an emotional interview Friday, Knox told Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America” that news of the Italian court reinstating her murder conviction hit her "like a train."
"I will never go willingly back to the place," she said. "I'm going to fight this until the very end. It's not right, and it's not fair."
She choked up when asked about Sollecito. "I don't know what I would do if they imprisoned him," she said. "It's maddening."
Kercher’s family welcomed Thursday’s verdict but acknowledged they may never know what happened to her.
“I think we’re still on the journey to the truth,” Kercher’s sister, Stephanie, told reporters at a news conference Friday in Florence. “But the verdict has been upheld again this time, so we hope that … come the end of the trial, we are nearer to the truth and an end, so that we can just start to remember Meredith for who she was and draw a line under it.”
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