ROME - The retrial of Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend for the sexual abuse and murder of a British student in 2007 begins in Florence on Monday, amid fierce questioning of Italy's justice system.
Knox and Raffaele Sollecito spent four years behind bars for the murder of Meredith Kercher, who was found half-naked in a pool of blood in the house she shared with Knox , her body riddled with stab wounds.
An appeals court overturned their convictions in 2011 and Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle, but Italy's Supreme Court in March ordered a retrial following an appeal by prosecutors against the ruling.
Supreme court judges cited glaring inconsistencies in the ruling that freed the former lovers in dramatic court scenes in the university town of Perugia as a crowd of locals outside shouted "Shame!" and "Killers!"
A third person, Ivory Coast-born drifter Rudy Guede, who like the other two has always denied the murder, is the only person still in prison for the crime.
Knox, 26, has decided not to return for the retrial, saying her stint in prison aged her by 40 years and she suffers from panic attacks and depression.
"I was wrongly imprisoned for four years and... cannot bring myself to return," she told one interviewer.
She has said she feels "betrayed" by Italian justice.
"I was manipulated. I am not who they say I am."
If she is convicted again and if she loses another Supreme Court appeal, experts say there is a remote chance that she could be extradited and imprisoned.
Sollecito, 29, has been living in the Dominican Republic but his family has said he will attend court later on in the trial, which could last months.