Associated Press – The verdict in the appeal of Amanda Knox’s murder conviction was announced Monday, declaring the 24-year-old not guilty of murder. She will be released from prison.
Earlier in the day Knox pleaded for freedom during an emotional 10-minute address to an Italian appeals court.
“I’ve lost a friend in the worst, most brutal, more inexplicable way possible,” she said tearfully. “I’m paying with my life for things that I didn’t do.”
Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were originally convicted of sexually assaulting and killing 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher, Knox’s roommate, in November 2007. Knox was sentenced 26 years in prison, Sollecito was given 25.
Both Knox and Sollecito have maintained their innocence.
“She had her bedroom next to mine, she was killed in our own apartment. If I had been there that night, I would be dead,” Knox said. “But I was not there.”
Also convicted in separate proceedings was Rudy Hermann Guede, a small-time drug dealer and drifter. Guede was convicted in a separate fast-track procedure and saw his sentence cut to 16 years in his final appeal. Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito say that they believe Guede was the sole killer.
During the original trial prosecutors stated that Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of a knife believed to be the murder weapon, and that Kercher’s DNA was on the blade. They also said that Sollecito’s DNA was found mixed with the victims’s on the clasp of her bra.
Two independent experts were later appointed by the appeals court to go over the evidence at the defense’s request. One of the experts questioned Monday said that a number of genetic profiles could be extracted from the data because it was so mixed and it just depended on how one combined the data.
Kercher’s mother, sister and brother were in attendance when the verdict was read. The family has said that they were satisfied with the original verdicts and were troubled at the thought of an acquittal.