Meredith Kercher's family awaits an appeals verdict expected Monday against former roommate Amanda Knox, of Seattle, who was convicted in Perugia, Italy, along with her Italian ex-boyfriend of murdering Kercher in 2007.
PERUGIA, Italy — Meredith Kercher would have been 25. The British student would have finished her degree at Leeds University and perhaps been preparing for another Halloween, a day she loved.
Instead, her family awaits an appeals verdict expected Monday against former roommate Amanda Knox, of Seattle, who was convicted along with her Italian ex-boyfriend of murdering Kercher in 2007.
To her family’s frustration, Kercher has been eclipsed in the public’s eye by the 24-year-old Knox, as supporters of the University of Washington exchange student mount a high-profile campaign to free her.
By contrast, Kercher’s family has chosen to remain largely silent during the years of trial and appeal, quietly honoring her memory on the Nov. 1 anniversary of her death and her birthday on Dec. 28. But they are growing increasingly agitated as the next verdict approaches.
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“In this whole case — going on four years — Meredith has been forgotten,” said her sister, Stephanie Kercher, in a recorded interview on RAI public television this month.
Meredith fought hard for approval from her university to study in the medieval town of Perugia, arriving in September 2007. She was excited to have found a room with a view of the Umbrian landscape, court records show. She shared the apartment with two young Italian women and Knox.
Within weeks, Kercher had a small group of British friends with whom she went dancing or watched films, and she was dating a young Italian living downstairs.
Giacomo Silenzi has said they fell in love quickly, and has been left to wonder what the future might have held.
Meredith was 21 when she was found sprawled naked on the floor of her locked bedroom, throat slashed, body covered in a blanket.
Prosecutors claim that she was murdered when a drug-fueled sexual encounter with the two defendants and a third man went awry. Rudy Guede, an Ivorian who lived in Perugia, is serving a 16-year sentence for his role in the murder.
Meredith loved ballet and gymnastics, and had an orange belt in karate. She wrote poetry and stories. People remembered her as being warm and generous, full of hugs, lending class notes to anyone who asked, and rushing to help anyone who needed it.
During rebuttals on Friday, the Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, urged the jury to “confirm the truth” in front of the victim’s mother, sister and a brother, who would make the journey to Italy for the verdict.
“You will look Meredith’s family in the eyes only once,” Maresca said. “They could not always be here in court due to the mother’s health problems and siblings’ economic problems.”
Earlier, Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said acquitting Knox would mean forever losing a chance at justice.
The Kerchers have no doubts about whether Knox is guilty.
“To many, she seems an unlikely killer,” Meredith’s father, John Kercher, wrote in The Daily Mail in December. “Yet to my family she is, unequivocally, culpable.”