The Associated Press reports that an Italian appeals court in the university town of Perugia has overturned the Amanda Knox murder conviction and ordered her free. The ruling – which aired live on television and the World Wide Web – was read at approximately 12:48 p.m. Pacific Standard Time today. Knox and two others had been convicted of murdering British exchange student and fellow flatmate Meredith Kercher. The trio had also been convicted of sexual assault and theft-related crime in relation to Kercher.
A night of passion, gone horribly wrong
Amanda Knox and boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito were convicted of Meredith Kercher’s murder, sexual assault and related crimes in December 2009. The third person convicted, Rudy Guede, admitted to a sexual relationship with Kercher, but denied killing her. Knox and Sollecito’s appeal of the conviction focused on DNA evidence found on a knife and the clasp of a bra that belonged to the victim.
Meredith Kercher’s semi-naked body was found in the house she shared with Knox and Sollecito. Kercher’s throat had been slashed. Prosecutors and police said Kercher’s DNA was on the knife blade and Knox’s was on the handle. The bra clasp found at the scene reportedly had Sollecito’s DNA.
The defense argued in the appeal that the DNA testing process was flawed, and that results should be inadmissible in court.
‘I am not what they say I am’
Knox, who has been called everything from “Foxy Knoxy” to “Angel Face,” made an impassioned plea in fluent Italian for her freedom.
“I am not what they say I am. I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal,” Knox told the Perugia jury. “People always ask ‘who is Amanda Knox?’ I am the same person that I was four years ago, exactly the same person. The only thing that now separates me from four years ago is my suffering… I am paying with my life for something I haven’t done.”
Prosecutors wanted life for Knox, Sollecito
The presiding judged had sentenced Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively. However, prosecutors – in addition to Meredith Kercher’s family – had called for life sentences.
The victim’s mother, Arline Kercher, felt the overall slate of evidence was overwhelming. Meredith’s sister Stephanie had expressed satisfaction with the initial conviction, although she felt that the ongoing “Foxy Knoxy” media circus did Meredith a disservice.
“I think Meredith has been hugely forgotten in all of this,” said Stephanie Kercher.
Sollecito dreamed of a future
Before Knox addressed the court of appeals, Raffaele Sollecito made his own plea.
“I hope this is part of history and that Amanda and I have a future… I have never hurt anybody,” he said.
Guede’s 30-year sentence reduced to 16 on appeal
Rudy Guede’s original sentence was also reduced. Throughout the appeals process, he refused to deny the involvement of Knox and Sollecito. A handwritten note in which Guede professed to belief in their guilt was among the evidence, yet Knox denied ever being in the same room with Guede before they met in court.
According to The Telegraph, Sollecito was also cleared of all charges.
Recap of Amanda Knox case
Associated Press: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/national_world&id=8376991
Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-111003amanda-knox-verdict,0,7326366.story
The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/8804833/Amanda-Knox-cleared-of-the-murder-of-Meredith-Kercher.html
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