Amanda Knox, the American college student at the center of a high-profile international murder trial, will walk free after an Italian court overturned her murder conviction Monday (Oct. 4). Knox’s co-defendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also freed from charges stemming from the 2007 death of British foreign exchange student Meredith Kercher.
As a panel of two judges and six jurors announced their decision, Knox wept audibly while the courtroom erupted before being hushed by the judge. Both Knox and Sollecito were then quickly rushed out of the courtroom by law enforcement.
The case dates back to late 2007, when a 21-year-old Kercher was found sexually assaulted, robbed and murdered in the apartment she shared with Knox, a University of Washington student. In the first trial, which concluded in 2009, the jury found Knox and Sollecito guilty, sentencing them to 26 years and 25 years respectively.
After the initial guilty verdict, Knox and Sollecito filed for appeal questioning the credibility of some of witnesses as well as DNA and forensic evidence.
While Knox and Sollecito were hoping for, and received, acquittal on murder charges, prosecutors were looking to have their sentence increased.
The third person charged with the Kercher’s death, Rudy Guede, was tried separately and ultimately sentenced to 16 years in prison.
The only count Knox was found guilty of was defamation, for which she received a three year sentence and must pay legal costs. However since she’s already served four years in an Italian prison, there will be no additional prison sentence.
Knox made one last gasp effort to convince the jury of her innocence. In an impassioned closing statement to the jury, Knox said, “I had to face charges that were totally unfair, without any basis. And I am paying with my life for something I haven’t done.”
It appears that the jury felt the same way. Amanda Knox is now a free woman.