From the Calgary Herald today: Italian prosecutors on Friday made a final plea to keep Amanda Knox in prison for life, urging a court to ignore a "million dollar" public relations campaign as they wrapped up their case, painting her as a senseless killer who murdered her housemate in an erotic game.
Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are fighting their convictions for the murder of Briton Meredith Kercher, whose bruised, half-naked body was found in a pool of blood in the Umbrian university town of Perugia in 2007.
In final rebuttals to closing arguments, prosecutors urged the court to uphold Knox's sentence for murdering Kercher during a sex game gone wrong and warned the Seattle native would flee Italy if freed. The defence hit back by saying the case was deliberately constructed around Knox rather than the evidence.
A verdict in the case, which has gripped public attention on both sides of the Atlantic, is due on Monday.
"They were young but they killed for no reason," said prosecutor Manuela Comodi. "They killed for no reason and for this they should be given the maximum sentence, which luckily in Italy is not the death sentence."
If the guilty verdicts are overturned, both would be freed immediately. Speculation has been rife that Knox would be whisked home to the United States if she is released from the Umbrian prison where she has been held for nearly four years.
Any subsequent appeal by prosecutors or any re-trial might then have to take place in Knox's absence.
"We know that if the verdict is overturned, there will be an immediate escape overseas," prosecutor Giuliano Mignini told the court in rebuttals after closing arguments.
"As a result, even if this is the second of a three-step legal process in Italy, it is up to you to ensure justice."
Rather than a victim of media "crucifixion" as her defence alleges, Knox was backed by a "never before seen public relations campaign that cost over a $1 million," he said.
Knox's lawyers later fired back saying the prosecution's case had been like a movie where the Seattle student had been picked to play the role of a "protagonist," with her guilt assumed right from the start.
If her conviction is upheld, Knox would have one more chance to appeal.