Italian court appeal clears Amanda Knox with murder

Italian court appeal clears Amanda Knox with murder
Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend out of jail after four years on Monday, when an Italian appeals court cleared them of murdering British student in 2007 Meredith Kercher.

Seattle native Knox and Italian Raffaele computer student Sollecito, was challenged in 2009 verdict which found them guilty of murdering 21-year Kercher during what prosecutors said was drug-fueled sexual violence four years ago.

The cry of joy was heard in the court's ruling as overturning their sentences were read out, but the Knox broke down and brought her sobs, and with the support of the police officers.

"As you can see from the pictures, Amanda was nervous wreck that just collapsed. She could not say anything except" thank you "in tears," one of her lawyers, Maria Del Grosso, told reporters.

Speaking to a crowd outside the courtroom, Knox sister Dina thanked her legal team and supporters.

"We are thankful that the nightmare was over Amanda. She suffered for four years for a crime she did not commit," she said. "We are also grateful to the court for having the courage to seek the truth and abolish the conviction."

Sentence, severe embarrassment Italian justice system, came after an independent forensic experts sharply criticized the police scientific data in the original investigation, saying it was unreliable.

Half-naked body of Kercher, with more than 40 wounds and a deep gash in his throat, was found in 2007 in the apartment she shared with Knox in the Umbrian hill town of Perugia where both studied.

Both Knox and Sollecito, 27, has consistently maintained his innocence throughout the original investigation and trial. The Third Man, Ivory Coast drug dealer Rudy Guede, was jailed for 16 years for his role in the murder.

Knox returned briefly to jail in Perugia, where she was held for the completion of formalities before taken to an unknown destination in a black Mercedes with shaded windows.

It is expected to return to the U.S. Tuesday, although it was not immediately clear whether she will return to regular flight or on a private jet.

Sollecito, which was held in a separate prison near Perugia, and left guard, but his lawyer declined to say where he will spend his first night of freedom.

"It was obvious that he had nothing to do with the death of that poor girl," the father of Sollecito, a doctor, said after the verdict which in his words, "give me back my son."

The court upheld the guilty verdict against Knox for defamation after she falsely accused barman Patrick Lumumba of the murder. He sentenced her to three years imprisonment, a punishment that she is now left.


The verdict left many issues open and murder of family members Kercher Sat stunned the court long after the others left. Meredith's sister Stephanie was in tears.

"We respect the decision of the judges, but we do not understand how this decision from the first trial may be so radically reversed", Kerchers said in a statement released through the British Embassy.

"We continue to trust the Italian judicial system, and I hope that the truth will eventually come."

Knox's lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said his client will be marked with the case for life and memory of her friend Meredith, but he wanted to return to normal life.

"She's the girl who wants to live, she wants to return home, she wants to go to Seattle, she wants to be with his family, so I think it will take some time to get over those four years in prison," he said .

Appeal trial gripped the attention on both sides of the Atlantic, with the outpouring of sympathy and outrage from many in the United States, which saw an innocent girl trapped in an American abroad in the grip of the medieval system of justice.

Supporters celebrated in his hometown of Seattle, Knox, shouting in triumph, as the sentence was carried live on television.

"I'm very relieved," said John Lange, who taught high school drama class in Knox Seattle Preparatory School.

"When I knew her, she is kind, hardworking and a team player. There was no mean bone in her body," he said, wiping her tears with a handkerchief.

Press Secretary of the State Department, Victoria Nuland said the U.S. Embassy in Rome will continue to provide assistance to families Knox.

"The United States appreciates the careful consideration of the issue in the Italian judicial system," she said.

Powerful campaign of lobbying by her family played a big role in changing the ideas of Knox from promiscuous "Foxy Knoxy" early media reports, and cold-blooded, sex, "she-devil" is represented by attorneys.

But the sentence has not been universally welcomed by hundreds of people outside the court hissed, booed and shouted "Shame, shame" and "bastards" in the courtroom and in the American TV personalities.


During the appeals court position in Knox prison dominated much of the reporting, leaving the family feeling of Kercher that the real victim of the crime was pushed to one side.

"Metz had been almost forgotten in all this," her sister Stephanie to sentencing, because the family said that violent crime should not be forgotten.

Kercher, a student from Leeds University in Coulsdon Surrey, was on a year-long exchange program in Perugia, where she was killed, bringing unwanted attention to the flow of the medieval town in central Italy, her family said she loved me.

Murder investigations showed that she was pinned down and stabbed to death, and evidence suggests that Guede did not act alone, although the verdict on Monday left unclear who else may have been involved.

Prosecutors said they resisted attempts Kercher Knox, Sollecito and Guede to involve her in an orgy. Their case was weakened by the forensic experts, who dismissed the police evidence that traces of DNA belonging to Knox and Kercher was found in the kitchen knife identified as the murder weapon.

Experts also said the alleged traces of DNA on the clasp bra Sollecito Briton may have been contaminated.

Defense argued that there is no clear motive or evidence linking the defendants to the crime occurred, and said Knox was falsely implicated in the murder prosecution determined to convict her, regardless of the evidence.

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