PERUGIA, ITALY - OCTOBER 04: Relatives of Meredith Kercher mother Arline Kercher and brother Lyle Kercher (L) attend a press conference at the Sangallo Hotel after the verdict in Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito's appeal against their murder convictions on October 4, 2011 in Perugia, Italy. American student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have won their appeal against their conviction in 2009 of killing their British roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy in 2007. The pair had served nearly four years in jail after initially being sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
The family of Meredith Kercher said today they still believe Amanda Knox took part in her murder and are in no mood to think about forgiveness.
Kercher's family spoke as the six jurors and two judges were deliberating whether to uphold or throw out the 2009 murder conviction of Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.
The Kerchers have stayed away from the nearly year-long trial in Perugia, Italy, until today when they arrived to witness the appeals verdict.
Meredith Kercher's mother Arline was joined by her sister Stephanie and her brother Lyle. When asked if they believe in the original guilty verdict, Stephanie Kercher said, "We were satisfied with the verdict… Nothing's changed."
The family spoke with dignity, but made it clear they are intent on justice for the family member the remember as "Mez." Lyle Kercher said their hurt has not been eased since the November 2007 murder.
"It's very difficult to talk about forgiveness at this time, with the [media] hype around the case. And the defendant is involved in that. The brutality of it has been forgotten," said Kercher's brother, Lyle. "There comes a point when we are just battling against what's essentially a PR machine."
Family of Meredith Kercher Not Willing to Forgive
Referring to the gruesome autopsy photos that were shown during the trial and appeal, the brother said, "If we had them all up here," he said pointing to the wall behind him, "you would find it hard to forgive someone who had done that to your loved one."
"I'm not sure we'll be looking for forgiveness for a while," he said.
The Kercher family, who traveled from their home in Britain, are wary about the current attention on Knox instead of Meredith Kercher.
"It's been four years now, and the focus has shifted for obvious reasons onto the proceedings at court at the moment, but Meredith has been forgotten in all of it," said Stephanie Kercher.
If the appeal is overturned, Knox and Sollecito will be freed from prison. If the conviction is upheld, Knox may have to serve out her 26 year prison sentence and Sollecito will have to complete his 25 year term. Those sentences could be reduced or increased to life, which is what the prosecution is seeking.
Kercher, a student at the University of Leeds, was studying abroad in Perugia for a year when she was killed. She had been sharing an apartment with Knox, an American student studying abroad, and two Italian women. She was found partially nude and with her throat slit in her bedroom on Nov. 2, 2007.
A third person, Rudy Guede, 22, was also convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in her murder.
"Her death was unreal in many ways," said Arline Kercher, Meredith's mother, "and still is. I still look for her."
During her final statement to the court in pleading for her freedom today, Knox said Kercher was her friend, someone she "shared my life with.. She cared for me."
Kercher's mother downplayed their friendship.
"I don't think they were that close... Amanda only got there in the beginning of October and Meredith was murdered on the first of November," Arline Kercher said. "I think they were friendly, but not that close."
The family remembered Meredith Kercher. "Mez was just a lovely girl ... she was always there for everyone," Stephanie Kercher said.
Arline Kercher cited a line in a story she read about the murder saying, "I think it happened to Meredith because she was all that they weren't."