PERUGIA, Italy – An American college student and her former boyfriend were ordered Tuesday to stand trial in last year's slaying of her roommate, while the judge also convicted an Ivory Coast man in the killing, lawyers said.
The judge indicted Amanda Knox, 21, of Seattle. and Raffaele Sollecito. of Italy. on charges of murder and sexual violence in the stabbing death of Meredith Kercher. of England, said Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the victim's family. A trial for the two, who deny wrongdoing, will start Dec. 4.
A third suspect, Rudy Hermann Guede, of the West African nation of Ivory Coast, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted on the same charges in a fast-track trial requested by his defense, Maresca said. Prosecutors asked for life in jail.
Knox's attorney, Luciano Ghirga, said his client "was quite disappointed" by the ruling. "She is ready to start again," Ghirga told reporters. "The (first) hearing is very close, we have to reorganize our defense line in time."
Judge Paolo Micheli emerged with his rulings after almost 12 of hours of deliberations. The entire proceedings were held behind closed doors.
Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito, who were jailed shortly after the slaying last Nov. 2, had asked that their clients be granted house arrest if indicted. Lawyers leaving the courthouse said Micheli did not rule on the request and a decision was expected in the coming days.
Kercher, a 21-year-old student from England, was found dead in the apartment she shared with Knox. She had been stabbed in the neck.
Prosecutors allege Kercher died during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito holding her by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife and Guede tried to sexually assault her. Prosecutors say Knox then fatally stabbed Kercher in the throat.
Guede admitted being in the house, but denied any part in the killing. He said that he was in the bathroom when Kercher was attacked and that he rushed into the bedroom to try to rescue her. He said he fled Italy after the slaying because he was frightened.
Sollecito, 24, has said that he was in his own apartment in Perugia at the time of the killing and that he doesn't remember if Knox spent part or all of that night with him.
Knox initially told investigators she was in the apartment when Kercher was killed and covered her ears against the victim's screams. Later, Knox said she wasn't in the house.
Prosecutors say Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a knife that might have been used in the slaying, while Kercher's DNA was found on the blade.
They say they found Sollecito's DNA on the victim's bra, although Sollecito's defense team says the bra bore multiple DNA traces and argue the evidence might have been inadvertently contaminated during the investigation.