CNN Rome Bureau Chief
It's a crime story with characters that could have been plucked from a best-selling international mystery. Meredith Kercher, a British student murdered in a small medieval town 2 hours north of Rome. And three suspects: Amanda Knox, an American student from Seattle, Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian who at the time of the murder was her two-week old boyfriend and Rudy Guede, an African born in the Ivory Coast but raised in Italy.
Investigators claim they killed Kercher when she refused to take part in a drug fueled sexual orgy. All three have denied the charges . But now Italian court has ruled there is enough evidence to send Knox and Sollecito to trial. Guede had opted for a fast track trial, and has now been convicted.
Kercher was murdered last November. The suspects have been in jail since then. It took investigators and judges almost a year to indict them.
It may seem inconceivable that a suspect can be kept in jail for a whole year before facing trial (judges turned down several requests to allow house arrests instead). But the Italian legal system is notoriously slow.
Of course time never goes by quickly when you sit in a prison cell. Italian media write that Knox has spent this past year learning Italian and Chinese. She reportedly hopes one day to walk the Pacific Crest Trail and to visit India.
In correspondence monitored by prison officials and leaked to the Italian media, Knox says she had to fend off sexual advances from other inmates. But she also writes that Kercher's parents "have suffered more than anybody else."
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