SEARCH

Entries in Convicted (1)

Monday
Oct032011

Amanda Knox Acquitted of Murder, to Be Released from Prison

Amanda Knox sobs with relief as she is removed from the courtroom after her acquittal. ABC News(PERUGIA, Italy) -- A jubilant Amanda Knox was cleared of murder charges Monday by an Italian appeals court, ending her four-year prison ordeal and clearing the way for the American student to return home to Seattle.

The tension of the moment was so acute and full of dread for Knox that she looked pale and physically ill when she was brought into the courtroom for the verdict. When the judge cracked the tension by announcing that she was acquitted, Knox nearly collapsed. She was rushed out of the courtroom, barely able to walk, stumbling while being hauled along by court officers.

The former exchange student was crying and doubled over, her head occasionally coming up for big breaths of air.

Left behind in the courtroom was the family of Meredith Kercher, Knox's British roommate who she was accused of killing. Kercher's mother, Arline Kercher, sat stoically long after the elated Knox family hugged each other fiercely and streamed out into the street.

In the street, the family was greeted with cheers and boos, with some shouting "disgrace."

Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in December 2009 of killing Kercher in a 2007 attack that left the British exchange student partially nude and bleeding to death from a slashed throat.

Sollecito's conviction was also overturned.

Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, have spent the last four years in an Italian prison and faced the prospect of a life sentence depending on the appeals court ruling.

The court's six jurors and two judges deliberated for hours after listening in the morning to impassioned pleas by Knox and Sollecito to throw out the guilty verdict and set them free.

Knox struggled through tears and, at times, a shaking voice, as she addressed the court in Italian.

"I want to go home. I want to go back to my life. I don't want to be punished... I don't want my future taken away from me for something I didn't do because I am innocent," she said.

"I didn't do what they say I did. I didn't kill. I didn't rape. I didn't steal. I was not there," Knox insisted.

In encouraging the six jurors and two judges to set her free, Knox said, "I am not escaping truth. I am not fleeing from justice. I insist on the truth."

Lawyers for the prosecution called Knox a sex obsessed "she devil" and a liar. Twice they showed the court grisly photos of Kercher's nude and bloodied body, along with close-ups of the gash in her neck.

Knox's defense countered, saying that she wasn't a "she devil," but was more like Jessica Rabbit, the voluptuous cartoon character who was tender and loving. "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way," was her trademark line.

Knox's lawyers told the court she had been "crucified" by the media during the investigation and trial, a reference to the often lurid coverage of the case in tabloid papers, as well as seven books and a movie.

Forensics may have played a bigger role than rhetoric in the court's verdict. Much of the appeal revolved around whether the DNA on two key pieces of evidence were credible.

Two court appointed experts looked at the prosecution's evidence and delivered a damning assessment that the manner in which the DNA was collected, stored and analyzed was below international standards.

The prosecution defended their evidence and dismissed the experts' conclusion as the shoddy work of people with little experience in genuine investigations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio