Amanda Knox Verdict: Murder Conviction Overturned
An Italian court has overturned the conviction of 24-year-old American Amanda Knox. Knox was found not guilty of killing her British roommate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, in 2007, and will be freed from jail.
Knox collapsed in tears after the verdict overturning her 2009 conviction was read out.
Earlier Monday, Knox tearfully told the court she did not kill her roommate. Knox frequently paused for breath and fought back tears as she spoke in Italian to the eight members of the jury in a packed courtroom, but managed to maintain her composure during the 10-minute address.
After the morning court session, Knox relaxed in the prison chapel, playing guitar and singing as she awaited the verdict, according to an Italian lawmaker who visited her in prison Monday.
Knox's co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, also was cleared of the murder after a court-ordered review of the DNA evidence cast serious doubts over the main DNA evidence linking the two to the crime.
Convicted in separate proceedings was Rudy Hermann Guede, a small-time drug dealer and drifter who spent most of his life in Italy after arriving here from his native Ivory Coast. Guede was convicted in a separate fast-track procedure and saw his sentence cut to 16 years in his final appeal.
The Kercher family looked on grimly and a bit dazed as the verdict was read out by the judge after 11 hours of deliberations by the eight-member jury. Outside the courthouse, some of the hundreds of observers shouted "Shame, shame!"
Yet inside the frescoed courtroom, Knox's parents, who have regularly traveled from their home in Seattle to Perugia to visit the 24-year-old over the past four years, hugged their lawyers and cried with joy.
"We've been waiting for this for four years," said one of Sollecito's lawyers, Giulia Bongiorno.
The judge upheld Knox's conviction on a charge of slander for accusing bar owner Diya "Patrick" Lumumba of carrying out the killing. He set the sentence at three years, meaning for time served. Knox has been in prison since Nov. 6, 2007.
Prosecutors can appeal the acquittal to Italy's highest court. There was no word late Monday if they planned to do so.
In Seattle, about a dozen Knox supporters were overjoyed that she has been cleared of the murder conviction.
"She's free!" and "We did it!" they shouted at a hotel where they watched the court proceedings on TV. Huffington crime post