After spending years in jail for crime in which she claimed innocence, Amanda Knox has been acquitted on appeal in an Italian courtroom.
24-year-old Knox and 27-year-old ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito will be allowed to return to jail and collect personal effects before they are freed later today. The pair have been jailed in connection with the murder of Meredith Kercher, but several inconsistencies in the case have led to massive outcry and accusations that Knox and Sollecito had not been given a fair trial.
Although the murder convictions for both Sollecito and Knox have been overturned, a defamation charge for Knox remained due to her incorrect identification of a suspect in the murder originally. As the verdict was handed down, the family of Knox visibly rejoiced in the courtroom- while the family of Kercher appeared somber and sad at the developments. (Earlier, the Kercher family spoke out and said they felt that Meredith had been forgotten in all the discussion of the plight of Knox and her family throughout the appeals process.)
Before the acquittal, Knox tearfully addressed the court, again denying involvement in Kercher’s killing. She said:
“I’ve lost a friend in the worst, most brutal, most inexplicable way possible,” . I’m paying with my life for things that I didn’t do.
“She had her bedroom next to mine, she was killed in our own apartment. If I had been there that night, I would be dead… But I was not there. I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there at the crime.”
Knox and her family have indicated the former student intends on leaving Italy at the soonest possible opportunity.