04-19-2018  9:59 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

April 24 is Voter Registration Deadline for May 15 Primary Election

Tuesday, April 24, is voter registration and party choice deadline for May 15 Primary Election ...

Portland Libraries Celebrate National Poetry Month

April poetry events and recommended reading from Multnomah County libraries ...

PCRI Launches the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan

Pathway 1000 a bold and ambitious 10-year displacement mitigation initiative ...

AG Rosenblum Launches New Resource on Oregon’s New Gun Safety Laws

One-page handout aims to educate Oregonians about the new law ...

Ethos Music Center Honors Portland Attorney Dave Baca with Annual Resonance Award

Founder Charles Lewis to receive first-ever Ethos Visionary Award at the May 2 event ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

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Julianne Malveaux questions HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s ability to enforce the Fair Housing Act ...

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Reggie Shuford on the daily indignities African-Americans face in Philadelphia and around the country ...

Black People Must Vote or Reap the Consequences

Jeffrey Boney on the importance of voting in the Black community ...

Civil Rights Community Doesn’t Need to Look Farr for Racism in Trump Court Nominees

Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, explains organization's opposition to Trump's nomination of Thomas Farr ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

CNN





Amanda Knox's former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito took the stand in an Italian court Wednesday, defending himself at a retrial in the 2007 killing of British exchange student Meredith Kercher.

"I would like to make you understand that these charges against me are absurd," he said. "There was not a basis to charge me, to put me in jail. ... I don't wish anybody on Earth to go through what I went through."

He said that evidence against him -- a knife that was a key part of the prosecution's case -- was "an illusion."

"I ask you ... to really look at reality," he implored the judges.

"For me, it's a nightmare that goes beyond imagination," Sollecito said of what he's been through.

"Right now, I don't have a real life."

Sollecito, 29, is not testifying in the case, which is being heard in an appeals court in Florence. But he made a spontaneous declaration, which is the right of any defendant in an Italian trial, and he is not under oath.

He and Knox were convicted in 2009 of killing Kercher, 21, who was found stabbed in November 2007 in the villa that she and Knox rented in the central Italian university town of Perugia.

Their convictions were overturned in 2011 for "lack of evidence." But Italy's Supreme Court decided last year to retry the case, saying the jury that acquitted them didn't consider all the evidence and discrepancies in testimony needed to be answered.

Both Knox, 26, and Sollecito have maintained their innocence.

Afraid to return

The retrial began on September 30 without either of them present in court. The presiding judge, Alessandro Nencini, read out the details of the case, including the conviction of Ivory Coast citizen Rudy Guede for his role in Kercher's murder.

Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle after her acquittal and has been living there since. She says she is afraid to return to Italy, where she spent four years behind bars.

Sollecito was in the Dominican Republic at the start of the retrial but returned to Italy.

He and Knox made several spontaneous declarations throughout the original trial and first appeal. But only Knox testified.

DNA tests

The court hearing Wednesday is expected to address new DNA tests of the knife that prosecutors say was used to kill Kercher. The knife was a critical piece of evidence in the original trial.

The tests involve a small portion of the knife. According to recent Italian media reports, the tests rule out the possibility that Kercher's DNA is present in the sample. That would support Knox and Sollecito's case.

The results are expected to be revealed in court Wednesday. Written conclusions by forensic experts have already been filed in Florence.

The Italian authorities who examined the spot on the knife are expected to present their report. They will then be questioned by all parties.

Knox isn't the only person watching the retrial from afar.

Citing health reasons, Kercher's relatives said in September that they had decided not to return to Italy for the retrial. The family said it would follow closely from Britain and remain in close contact with lawyers.

CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.

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