Italian jury clears Amanda Knox, ex-boyfriend of murder

Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 4:32 PM
Last updated 4:35 PM
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PERUGIA, Italy -- An Italian court cleared 24-year-old American Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend of murdering British student Meredith Kercher in 2007 and ordered them to be set free today after nearly four years in prison for a crime they always denied committing.

Seattle native Knox and Italian computer student Raffaele Sollecito had appealed against a 2009 verdict that found them guilty of murdering 21-year-old Kercher during what prosecutors said was a drug-fueled sexual assault four years ago.

Looking pale and tense as the sentence was read out in a packed Perugia courtroom, Knox was led away in tears -- and close to collapse -- by police officers.

The court quashed the convictions against Knox, who had been sentenced to 26 years in jail, and against Sollecito, who had been sentenced to 25 years, after independent forensic investigators sharply criticized police scientific evidence, saying it was unreliable.

Kercher’s half-naked body, with more than 40 wounds and a deep gash in the throat, was found in 2007 in the apartment she shared with Knox in the Umbrian hill town of Perugia where both were studying.

Both Knox and Sollecito, 27, had consistently maintained their innocence throughout the original investigation and trial. A third man, Ivorian drug dealer Rudy Guede, was imprisoned for 16 years for his role in the slaying.

The court upheld a conviction against Knox for slander after she had falsely accused barman Patrick Lumumba of the murders. It sentenced her to three years in prison, a sentence which has now been served.

Knox’s good looks and the salacious details of the murder helped make a global media sensation of the trial, which attracted hundreds of reporters from around the world to the packed Perugia courtroom.

Expectations were running high before the verdict that Knox and Sollecito would walk free after the forensic review discredited DNA evidence used to convict them.

In a tearful address to the court earlier on Monday, Knox pleaded with the panel of two professional and six lay judges to free her, saying she was paying for a crime she did not commit.

“I did not do the things they say I did. I did not kill, rape or steal. I was not there,” she said in the fluent Italian she has learned in prison.

OUTRAGE

The appeal trial gripped attention on both sides of the Atlantic, with an outpouring of sympathy and outrage from many in the United States who saw the American as an innocent girl trapped abroad in the clutches of a medieval justice system.

A powerful lobbying campaign by her family played a big part in changing perceptions of Knox from the promiscuous “Foxy Knoxy” of early media reports and the cold-blooded, sex-obsessed “she-devil” portrayed by prosecutors.

In the process, her plight in jail dominated reporting of the trial, leaving Kercher’s family feeling the real victim of the crime had been pushed to one side.

“Mez has been almost forgotten in all of this,” her sister Stephanie told a news conference as the family emphasised that the brutality of the crime must not be forgotten.

Kercher, a Leeds University student from Coulsdon in Surrey, was on a year-long exchange programme in Perugia when she was murdered, bringing a flood of unwelcome attention to the medieval town in central Italy that her family said she loved.

The murder investigation showed she was pinned down and stabbed to death. Prosecutors said she resisted attempts by Knox, Sollecito and Guede to involve her in an orgy.

But their case was weakened by forensic experts who dismissed police evidence that traces of DNA belonging to Knox and Kercher were found on a kitchen knife identified as the murder weapon.

The experts also said alleged traces of Sollecito’s DNA on the Briton’s bra clasp may have been contaminated.

The defense argued that no clear motive or evidence linking the defendants to the crime have emerged, adding that Knox was falsely implicated in the killing by prosecutors determined to convict her regardless of the evidence.

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curly123053
5343
Points
curly123053 10/03/11 - 04:35 pm
0
0
I have mixed feelings about

I have mixed feelings about this verdict. To many times we see the mainstream media stir up sympathy for those convicted of murder. They try to portray the suspect as a victim in an effort to garner public support against the conviction and the punishment that was rendered. Even when a suspect has failed appeal after appeal in retrials the mainstream media still keeps attacking the judicial system for doing it's job.
In the meantime. the true victims of the crime are almost completely forgotten. The true victims of the crimes are the surviving family members who are forced to see their loved one's murderer/s raised up like a celebrity by the mainstream/lamestream media, while the true victims get very little mention.
I find it hard to get excited because I do not believe that every person convicted of murder and sentenced to harsh sentences up to death are victims of their conviction. Due to the sensationalism of the Knox case we will never know the real truth. There is way to much sympathy for the criminals in these cases than the actual victims of crimes, and to me that is the real tragedy taking place in the US and around the world. People need to be held accountable for their crimes and quit making it seem like the authorities are picking on them.

corgimom
38230
Points
corgimom 10/03/11 - 04:24 pm
0
0
Who cares about Amanda Knox?

Who cares about Amanda Knox?

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 10/03/11 - 05:31 pm
0
0
This was a botched frame up

This was a botched frame up by the Italian investigators from the start. They locked in on Knox and the boyfriend and that was it. No real evidence was ever presented.

writerrick
0
Points
writerrick 10/03/11 - 06:17 pm
0
0
You would care about Amanda

You would care about Amanda Know if she were your daughter Corgimom! Or do you just care about dogs make that Corgi dogs. I mean really?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 10/03/11 - 07:39 pm
0
0
I do, I am glad she is free.

I do, I am glad she is free.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 10/03/11 - 07:45 pm
0
0
Lots of 'botched frame ups'

Lots of 'botched frame ups' both here in the states and abroad. Just wish others could receive equal justice when being falsely accused of crimes.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 10/03/11 - 08:36 pm
0
0
Patty........I just wish
Unpublished

Patty........I just wish those convicted and proven guilty of their crimes would receive the justice they deserve.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 10/03/11 - 08:47 pm
0
0
Pu239....I agree, only when

Pu239....I agree, only when PROVEN guilty.

shrimp for breakfast
5578
Points
shrimp for breakfast 10/03/11 - 11:50 pm
0
0
I have no idea whether she is

I have no idea whether she is guilty or not.
I can tell you that the police work was shoddy and the prosecution failed to prove their case and that is why she was set free.
Let us not forget that at least in this country it is totally up to the prosecution to prove to a jury that a person is guilty of his or her crime.
The defense does not have to prove a thing.
The jury in Italy decided that there was not enough evidence to convict her.
Case closed.

Dixieman
17214
Points
Dixieman 10/04/11 - 03:38 am
0
0
Who. Cares?

Who.
Cares?

justthefacts
24891
Points
justthefacts 10/04/11 - 07:37 am
0
0
Knox fabricated some pretty

Knox fabricated some pretty big lies (of which she was convicted) around the murder. I wonder why?

Cynical old woman
1111
Points
Cynical old woman 10/04/11 - 08:48 am
0
0
This should be a wake-up call

This should be a wake-up call of citizens of the USA and especially teens/young folks. When you're in another country you best be VERY careful. Sex,drugs, rock n roll, can be even more deadly in foreign countries.

TrickMe
37
Points
TrickMe 10/04/11 - 07:32 pm
0
0
Her bloody foot prints at the

Her bloody foot prints at the scene meant nothing. Completely innocent. Yeah, right........

dotherightthing
75
Points
dotherightthing 10/04/11 - 08:39 pm
0
0
Agreed, TrickMe!! Why is it

Agreed, TrickMe!! Why is it when the evidence is there, the guilty go free, and then no evidence (Troy Davis) and they are executed??? Is it because she is a woman?? Should I even bring up Casey Anthony?? When did this society start feeling so sorry for these women who think they are victims?? By the way, I am a middle-aged woman and am sick and tired of these women. It is time they stand up, take responsibility and act like a freaking grown-up and stop trying to throw men under the bus!!

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