ITALY: Family of Meredith Kercher is back to 'square one'
REPORTING FROM LONDON -- The family of slain British exchange student Meredith Kercher expressed resignation and disappointment Tuesday over the reversal of the murder conviction of Amanda Knox, saying the verdict puts them back to "square one."
"While we accept the decision that was handed down ... we are now left obviously looking at this again and thinking how a decision that was so certain two years ago has been so emphatically overturned now," Lyle Kercher, the victim's brother, told reporters in the town of Perugia, Italy. "For us, it feels very much almost like back to square one, and the search goes on really to find out what truly happened."
Meredith Kercher, 21, was found dead in November 2007 in the Perugia apartment she shared with Knox, an American exchange student from Seattle. Kercher was found dead in her room, her throat slashed and her body bearing more than 40 stab wounds and signs of sexual assault.
Knox, 24, and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 27, were arrested days later and convicted of murder in 2009. Authorities allege that they killed Kercher as part of a sex game gone wrong, but the pair have always maintained their innocence. Both were set free from prison shortly after their convictions were thrown out Monday evening.
Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister, said that the appeals verdict was "a bit of a shock," but that her family remained hopeful of justice. Prosecutors have pledged to take the case to Italy's high court, a process that could take a year.
"We don't want the wrong people put away for a crime they didn't commit," Stephanie Kercher said. "It may be a case of waiting another year now to get the truth. And we can't decide that. We have to leave that up to police and the forensics and the courts."
Knox is reportedly flying back to the U.S. on Tuesday.
A small-time drug dealer, Rudy Hermann Guede, remains in prison for Kercher's murder, but Italian authorities insist that there was more than one attacker.
-- Henry Chu
Photo: Meredith Kercher's mother Arline, left, sister Stephanie, middle, and brother Lyle hold a news conference in Perugia. Credit: Tiziana Fabi / Getty Images