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Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned in Italy

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned in Italy

On October 3, 2011, in a decision that makes international headlines, an Italian appeals court overturns the murder conviction of Amanda Knox, an American exchange student who two years earlier was found guilty in the 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy. At the time of her 2009 conviction, Knox, then 22 years old, received a 26-year prison sentence, while her ex-boyfriend, Italian college student Raffaelle Sollecito, who also was convicted in the slaying, was sentenced to 25 years behind bars. The sensational, high-profile case raised questions in the United States about the Italian justice system and whether Knox, who always maintained her innocence, was unfairly convicted.

On November 2, 2007, the 21-year-old Kercher of Coulsdon, England, was found fatally stabbed in the bedroom of the home she shared with Knox and two other women in Perugia, the capital city of the Umbria region in central Italy. Investigators said the British exchange student had been slain the previous night. After questioning by police, Knox, a Seattle native and University of Washington student doing her junior year abroad in Italy, was arrested. She denied any wrongdoing, saying she was at computer science student Sollecito’s house the night the killing occurred. Police claimed Knox later gave them conflicting statements about her whereabouts at the time of the crime, and said she also accused her boss at the bar where she worked, who turned out to have a solid alibi, of Kercher’s murder. The American student, who was first questioned without an attorney or professional interpreter, said police coerced her into making the accusation as well as other incriminating statements. (The false accusation would later result in an extra year tacked on to Knox’s prison sentence.)

During the nearly yearlong trial that followed in 2009, Italian prosecutors charged that Knox, along with Sollecito and another man, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native, had viciously attacked Kercher in a sex game gone wrong. (Guede was convicted for his role in Kercher’s death in a separate, fast-track trial in 2008. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison, which was reduced to 16 years on appeal.) The prosecution’s main evidence against Knox included tiny traces of her DNA and that of Kercher’s on a knife discovered at Sollecito’s home. Traces of Knox’s DNA were also found on a bra clasp belonging to Kercher. Knox’s attorneys argued the bra clasp was found over a month after the murder at a contaminated crime scene, and that the knife blade couldn’t have made the wounds on the victim.

The case received extensive media coverage in the United States and Europe, where the attractive Knox was dubbed “Angel Face” and “Foxy Knoxy” by the tabloids. In the Italian and British press, Knox was painted as a promiscuous party girl. However, in America, she was often portrayed in the media as an innocent abroad, a young woman who had worked several jobs to earn money to study in Perugia, where she had been railroaded by an overzealous prosecutor.

Knox and Sollecito appealed their convictions, and at their subsequent trial court-appointed experts testified the original DNA evidence was unreliable and did not definitively link the young American and her former boyfriend to the crime. On October 3, 2011, an appellate court jury of two judges and six civilians in Perugia acquitted the two defendants of murder. (The court upheld Knox’s conviction on a charge of defamation for accusing her former boss at the bar of murdering Kercher. Knox was given time served along with a fine.) The 24-year-old Knox, who been jailed in Italy since her 2007 arrest, flew home to the United States the following day.

In 2013, Knox's acquittal was overturned and she was again convicted of murder in 2014. Her conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Italy in 2015.

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

ROME -- Amanda Knox, who maintained that she and her former Italian boyfriend were innocent in her British roommate's murder through multiple trials and nearly four years in jail, was vindicated Friday when Italy's highest court threw out their convictions once and for all.

"Finished!" Knox's lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova exulted after the decision was read out late Friday. "It couldn't be better than this."

The surprise decision definitively ends the 7 1/2-year legal battle waged by Knox, 27, and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, 31, to clear their names in the gruesome 2007 murder and sexual assault of British student Meredith Kercher.

The supreme Court of Cassation panel deliberated for 10 hours before declaring that the two did not commit the crime, a stronger exoneration than merely finding insufficient evidence to convict. Instead, had the court-of-resort upheld the pair's convictions, Knox would have faced 28 1/2 years in an Italian prison, assuming she would have been extradited, while Sollecito had faced 25 years.

Knox speaks in Seattle

"Right now I'm still absorbing what all this means and what comes to mind is my gratitude for the life that's been given to me," Knox said late Friday, speaking to reporters outside her mother's Seattle home.

The case attracted strong media attention due to the brutality of the murder and the quick allegations that the young American student and her new Italian lover had joined a third man in stabbing to death 21-year-old Kercher in a sex game gone awry.

Flip-flop guilty-then innocent-then guilty verdicts cast a shadow on the Italian justice system and polarized trial watchers on both sides of the Atlantic, largely along national lines.

Though it cleared Knox of murder, the supreme Court of Cassation upheld a slander conviction against her for wrongly accusing a Congolese-born bar owner in the murder. The court reduced the sentence to three years. Since Knox already spent nearly four years in Italian prison, she won't have to serve that time.

The decision to overturn the convictions without ordering a new trial amounted to a rebuke of another high court ruling two years ago that vacated Knox and Sollecito's 2011 acquittal, ordering yet another trial. Such a direct contrast in decisions by two high court panels is as rare as the double rainbow that arched over the monumental courthouse near the Tiber river during the deliberations.

The five-judge panel's reasoning will be released within 90 days.

Across the Atlantic, a shout of joy erupted from inside the Seattle home of Knox's mother as the verdict was announced. Several relatives and supporters filtered into the back yard, where they hugged and cheered.

Dalla Vedova said he called Knox to tell her the news, but said she couldn't speak through her tears.

"She was crying because she was so happy," he said.

Knox has sought to resume a normal life since returning to the United States three years ago, recently announcing her engagement and writing theater reviews and human interest stories for a weekly paper in her hometown.

Case dates back to 2007

Kercher, 21, was found dead Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment that she shared with Knox and two Italian lawyers-in-training. She was half-nude beneath a duvet soaked in blood with her throat slashed. Investigators determined she had been sexually assaulted.

DNA evidence in Kercher's room led police to arrest a man from Ivory Coast, Hermann Guede, who was convicted of the murder in a separate trial and is serving a 16-year sentence.

The court that convicted Guede ruled he did not act alone, citing the absence of defensive wounds on the victim and concluding that bruises on Kercher's arms indicating she was restrained while one or two others inflicted numerous stab wounds.

The Kercher family attorney, Francesco Maresca, was clearly disappointed by the decision.

"I think that it's a defeat for the Italian justice system," he said. `'Whoever was Guede's accomplice does not have a name."

Kercher's mother, Arline Kercher, told Britain's Press Association news agency that she was "a bit surprised and very shocked."

"They have been convicted twice so it is a bit odd that it should change now," she said.

Also disappointed by the decision was the bar owner, Diya `'Patrick" Lumumba, who was jailed for two weeks after Knox falsely accused him of the murder and is convinced of Knox's guilt.

`'It is a strange justice for me, long, uncertain, a little opaque, a lot of darkness," he said outside the courtroom. `'This is a judicial error in Amanda's case."

The couple maintained their innocence, insisting that they had spent the evening together at Sollecito's place watching a movie, smoking marijuana and making love.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted by a Perugia court in 2009, then acquitted and freed in 2011, and then convicted again in 2014 in Florence after the Cassation court overturned the acquittals and ordered a new appeals trial.

That Florence appeals conviction was overturned Friday.

In closing arguments, Dalla Vedova pounded away at the absence of any physical trace of Knox in the room where Kercher was found and highlighted doubts about the presumed murder weapon, a bread knife found in Sollecito's kitchen drawer that bore Knox's DNA -- which the defense said was from kitchen use.

The defense lawyer also said Knox's false accusation was coerced by police and obtained without being advised she was a suspect. He has challenged the slander conviction with the European Human Rights Court in Strausbourg.

Eight-year 'nightmare'

Sollecito's defense lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, argued there were errors of `'colossal proportions," in the guilty verdicts.

Sollecito, who turned 31 on Thursday, sat in the front row during hours of arguments during the Cassation Court over two days, a new girlfriend by his side. He returned to his home in southern Italy to await the decision followed by Italian police presumably ready to act in case his conviction had been upheld.

"You have your whole life ahead of you now, Raf," Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, told the Sollecito by cell phone from the steps of the courthouse under the glare of TV cameras. Sollecito has completed his computer science degree, but has said the notoriety surrounding the case has made it difficult to find a job.

Speaking to reporters, Maori added: "He almost couldn't speak. Eight years of nightmare over."

Amanda Knox makes a brief statement outside her family home on Friday, March 27, 2015.

Amanda Knox talks on a phone in the backyard of her mother's house Friday, March 27, 2015, in Seattle. (AP / Ted S. Warren)

Kercher family's lawyer Francesco Maresca, center, talks to the media as he leaves Italy's highest court building, in Rome, Friday, March 27, 2015. (AP / Andrew Medichini)

In this Oct. 4, 2011 photo Amanda Knox gestures at a news conference in Seattle, after returning home from Italy. (AP / Ted S. Warren)

Italy's top criminal court said Monday that it threw out the murder convictions of American student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend earlier this year because of "glaring errors" and a hit-and-miss hunt for a scapegoat to satisfy public opinion.

The stunning ruling in March — which wasn't explained until Monday's filing was published — marked one more twist in a years-long saga that boomeranged through the Italian criminal justice system, captivated two countries and left Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, to serve four years in jail.

At the center of the case was the brutal 2007 killing of Knox's 21-year-old roommate, Meredith Kercher.

Knox and Sollecito were arrested after Kercher was found dead in a pool of blood in the apartment the two women shared in the university town of Perugia, with as many as 40 knife wounds over her half-naked body.

Prosecutors argued that Kercher was killed as part of a sex game. Knox and Sollecito said they were alone together on the night in question, watching a movie, smoking pot and having sex, but they were convicted of the killing two years later.

In 2011, the convictions were overturned. Knox fled Italy for her hometown, Seattle, where she remained during a second trial and where she promised she would stay — even if she was convicted again.

"I will not willingly submit myself to injustice," she told TODAY in an interview last year.

In March, a conviction was once again overturned.

The latest decision, from the Court of Cassation, Italy's equivalent of the Supreme Court, slammed police and prosecutors for "stunning weakness" and "investigative bouts of amnesia."

Because no biological evidence from Knox or Sollecito was found at the house in Perugia where Kercher was murdered, the 52-page opinion said, their "participation" in the killing should have been "excluded."

"There was no shortage of glaring errors in the underlying fabric of the sentence in question," the court wrote.

The alleged murder weapon, a kitchen knife found at Sollecito's house, was kept in a cardboard box — "the kind that gadgets are wrapped up in for Christmas" — and a bra clasp said to have carried DNA evidence was left on the floor for 46 days.

The third person accused in the murder, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, who is serving a 16-year sentence after opting for a fast-track trial, left "copious" biological traces at the scene, the court said.

Avid media attention and the nationalities of the people involved led to "a spasmodic search for one or more guilty parties to offer up to international public opinion," the court concluded, which "certainly did not aid the search for the truth."

Further prosecution is barred under Italian law.

In a statement posted on her website Monday afternoon, Knox said that she was "grateful" that the court "forcefully declared my innocence."

"This has been a long struggle for me, my family, my friends, and my supporters. While I am glad it is now over, I will remain forever grateful to the many individuals who gave their time and talents to help me," she wrote.

"Today would not have been possible without your unwavering support. I will now begin the rest of my life with one of my goals being to help others who have been wrongfully accused."

Sollecito told the Italian news agency ANSA: "It is clear, it is definite, that I was the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice that will remain in history."

Sollecito's attorneys have said they are working on a claim for wrongful imprisonment.

Luca Maori, one of his attorneys, called Monday's explanation "no-nonsense" and "clear."

"All of our arguments have been accepted," Maori told ANSA. "In a few no-nonsense pages, the Supreme Court has clarified the whole affair: For Sollecito and Knox, there are no clues or evidence."

Amanda Knox belonged to a humble background. Knox needed a job to make ends meet and continue her degree in Italy. So Knox started working as a bartender at a nearby bar called Le Chic. A Congolese man, Diya Patrick Lumumba, owned the bar. Knox reportedly told her friends that Lumumba did not pay her, and she was about to quit working at Le Chic.

On 25 October 2007, Kercher and Knox decided to attend a concert. Knox met a computer geek in the concert named Raffaele Sollecito. Sollecito was a 23-year-old software engineering student who shared similar interests as Knox. Both connected well on their first meeting and started going out more. Knox now spent most of her time at Sollecito’s apartment that was a 5-minute walking distance from Knox’s apartment.

Amanda Knox: I'm Incredibly Grateful to Have My Life Back

Asked about Meredith Kercher, the woman who was stabbed to death, Knox’s voice caught as she searched for the right words.

"Meredith was my friend. She deserved so much in this life," Knox said. "I’m the lucky one."

Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009, then acquitted and freed in 2011. An appeals court overturned the acquittals in 2013 and ordered a new trial, and they were convicted again last year. Knox was sentenced in absentia to 28 1/2 years in prison. Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.

Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, attacked the 2014 decision Friday, saying there were errors of "colossal proportions," that resulted in the guilty verdicts, according to The Associated Press.

Friday’s decision was announced at 10:30 p.m. local time (5:30 p.m. ET). Judges started deliberating at noon local time after Sollecito's lawyers finished their closing arguments. Their reasoning will be released within 90 days. The verdict is the final ruling in the case.

Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher

Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been sensationally cleared of killing British student Meredith Kercher after a tortuous legal process that lasted more than seven years and saw five trials.

Judges in Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation dismissed murder charges against both late last night after deliberating for over 10 hours. The pair cannot be retried on the charges and thus ends one of the most controversial and highly-publicised murder cases of recent times.

Ms Knox was said last night to be “overjoyed” at the verdict and her spokesman in Seattle said, “The truth has won out.”

In Italy, her lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova declared exultantly, “Finished!” and added: “It couldn’t be better than this.”

Ms Kercher, a 21-year-old, was found murdered on 2 November 2007, in the apartment that she shared with Ms Knox and two other students in the central Italian town of Perugia. Her throat had been slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.


Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were arrested a few days later. Both have maintained their innocence ever since. However, they were initially convicted of the killing by a Perugia court in December 2009, before being acquitted and freed in 2011 at which point Ms Knox fled back to the US.

But they were convicted again in 2014 in Florence after the Supreme Court of Cassation court overturned the acquittals and ordered a new appeals trial.

Minutes after the verdict at 10.40 pm last night, Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said: “This is a very important day for both Sollecito and Italian justice.’’

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

1 /14 In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Amanda Knox 's lawyer arriving for the final verdict

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito's lawyer before the final verdict

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Amanda Knox on 'Good Morning America'

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Amanda Knox on 'Good Morning America'

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Amanda Knox on 'Good Morning America'

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito leaves the court

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito leaves the court

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Kercher's sister, Stephanie Kercher and brother Lyle Kercher

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Appeals Court Judge Alessandro Nencini reads out the verdict

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Layers of Raffaele Sollecito Luca Maori, Giulia Bongiorno and Amanda Knox's lawyer Carlo Della Vedova

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Amanda Knox on NBC News' 'Today' show

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Amanda Knox at a news conference at Sea-Tac International Airport

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Amanda Knox leaves the court

In pictures: The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Earlier in the day, Ms Bongiorno, in a last ditch bid to secure Sollecito’s acquittal, told the Supreme Court judges that the Florence appeals court had made mistakes and contradictions of “colossal proportions”.

She likened Mr Sollecito to the naïve fictional film character Forrest Gump, saying he was “someone innocent finding himself involved in spectacular events without being aware of what was happening”.

Supporters of Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito, and many independent observers say the prosecution has failed over a period of seven years to provide convincing forensic evidence of the pair’s involvement in the killing.

Ms Bongiorno said today that “only a dragonfly” could have moved around the blood spattered murder scene, without leaving substantial evidence behind.

Traces of Mr Sollecito’s DNA on Ms Kercher’s bra strap were ruled inadmissible as evidence due to crime scene contamination and shoddy practice by investigators.

There was no other DNA trace of Mr Sollecito in the room where Ms Kercher was stabbed to death.

Rudy Guede, a petty criminal has already been jailed for killing Ms Kercher. His DNA was found at the murder scene and inside Ms Kercher, who had been sexually assaulted.

Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were cleared on first appeal in 2011 when an independent expert review found that DNA evidence that figured in their initial conviction had been fatally flawed.

But in March 2013 the Supreme Court agreed with prosecutors that this acquittal was “contradictory and illogical”, partly because the lack of stab marks on the victim’s arms and hands suggested that she had been unable to defend herself because two other people had held her down, while she was attacked.

Ahead of yesterday’s verdict Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova, said she was on “tenterhooks”. “Amanda has not closed her eyes, she cannot sleep,” he said.

After returning to the US in 2011, Ms Knox declared that she would only be brought back to Italy “kicking and screaming”.

After the acquittal, the Kercher family’s lawyer, Francesca Maresca, expressed their surprise.

Italy Ordered To Pay Damages To Amanda Knox

Police officers lead Amanda Knox from the Court of Appeal in Perugia, Italy, in November 2010.

A top European court has found faults in how Italian police initially questioned Amanda Knox, an American who was imprisoned for nearly four years in Italy after her roommate was killed, and ordered Italy to pay her damages.

"Ms Knox had been particularly vulnerable, being a foreign young woman, 20 at the time, not having been in Italy for very long and not being fluent in Italian," the European Court of Human Rights said in a statement Thursday.


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The decision examines what happened on Nov. 6, 2007, when police questioned Knox at 5:45 a.m. about the death of Meredith Kercher, a British student studying in Perugia who had been found days earlier with her throat slashed in the apartment she shared with Knox.

A court later convicted Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, of sexual assault and murder.

The case dominated international headlines with every lewd and gruesome allegation. In 2015, Italy's highest court overturned Knox's conviction. But she also had been convicted of maliciously accusing a bar manager of Kercher's murder during the initial police questioning on Nov. 6, 2007 — and that was not reversed.

On Thursday, the court said that Knox's accusation "had been taken in an atmosphere of intense psychological pressure."

It said authorities had failed to assess the conduct of Knox's interpreter, "who had seen herself as a mediator and had adopted a motherly attitude" toward Knox.

Authorities also denied Knox her right to a lawyer, the court concluded, and did not prove that they "had not irreparably undermined the fairness of the proceedings as a whole."

The court ordered Italy to pay Knox nearly $21,000 (18,400 euros) in damages, costs and expenses.

Knox's lawyers first filed the complaint with Europe's human rights court in 2013.

It's not about the money, an Italy-based lawyer for Knox tells NPR. "We have a confirmation that the entire case and accusation for which she was imprisoned for four years has been recognized as a fundamental mistake, a violation of her fundamental rights," Carlo Dalla Vedova says.

"Amanda is not looking for anything," he says, adding that they had discussed the ruling over Skype. "For her today, it was like a relief, a finish of a saga of 11 years. She has already suffered from this situation, and I don't think we're going to go anywhere now."

Knox expressed gratitude for the court's announcement. "I was interrogated for 53 hours over five days, without a lawyer, in a language I understood maybe as well as a ten-year-old," she wrote on her blog.

"I trusted these people. They were adults. They were authorities. And they lied to me," she added.

Now 31, Knox has long insisted that she had no role in her roommate's death.

Instead, she said that she was subjected to inhumane treatment while in police custody — slapped twice on the head, deprived of sleep and forced to speak at times of extreme psychological pressure, according to the court's statement.

The European court did not uphold that complaint, finding "insufficient evidence" to show degrading treatment. But authorities failed to investigate her allegations of maltreatment, according to the statement.

The human rights court also described how Knox retracted her accusation against the bar manager, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, hours after speaking with the police.

Despite her repeated retractions in the ensuing days, Italian detectives accused her of trying to conceal her role in Kercher's killing by pointing the finger at someone else. Knox was charged with making a malicious accusation six months after the initial questioning.

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Ivory Coast-born Rudy Hermann Guede was convicted in Kercher's death after his DNA and a bloody footprint were linked by a forensic scientist to the British student. He is currently serving a 16-year sentence.

Dalla Vedova says that all 15 police officers involved in Knox's case remain at work today. "So it's possible the same mistakes could be repeated," he says.

Amanda Knox Wins Appeal, As Italian Court Overturns Murder Conviction

Amanda Knox weeps in an Italian appeals court as her murder verdict is overturned. In 2009, Knox was found guilty of charges stemming from the stabbing death of fellow student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy.

Amanda Knox has won her freedom after appealing her murder conviction, for which the American had been serving a 26-year prison sentence. In 2009, Knox, who came to Perugia, Italy, as an exchange student, was found guilty in the November 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

But the appeals court cleared Knox of the murder Monday evening, reportedly deciding that she was guilty only of "defamation" in the case. That charge was the first result the judge read aloud in court, drawing a stunned look from Knox, according to Bill Neely of ITV. The judge then continued to announce the findings on charges of murder and related crimes, of which Knox has now been found innocent, along with her co-defendant, Italian Raphaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend.

Tweeting from the courtroom, CNN's Geoff Hill wrote, "Amanda #Knox is free - some of the crowd outside court are cheering."

Earlier, Hill tweeted that Knox could be seen "fighting back tears" as she sat in court waiting for the judges and jury to return and deliver their verdict.

Update at 6:18 p.m. ET: Knox has left prison and will reportedly leave Italy Tuesday. The family of Meredith Kercher has scheduled a news conference for the same day.

Update at 5:15 p.m. ET: Details about the defamation verdict have emerged. Knox has been ordered to pay bartender Diya "Patrick" Lumumba 22,000 euros ($29,218) for accusing him of the murder.

Knox must reportedly renew her passport before she can return to her family's home in Seattle, Wash.

Italian prosecutors have not yet said if they plan to appeal the ruling that freed Knox and Sollecito. If they move forward, that case would go to Italy's highest court.

Update at 4:15 p.m. ET: Crowds outside the Perugia courtroom greeted the overturned verdict by chanting "Vergogna, vergogna!" — or "shame, shame!" according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. And according to CNN's Hill, they also chased Sollecito's lawyer. ITV's Neely says that Knox will now return to prison to collect her personal effects before being released. Our original post continues:

Knox addressed the court in Italian earlier Monday, making an emotional speech in which she said simply, "I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn't there." Those are the crimes prosecutors say Knox committed nearly four years ago, aided by Sollecito.

The pair were arrested days after Kercher's murder nearly two years later, they were found guilty and sentenced to prison.

"I just want to go home, go back to my life," Knox, 24, told two judges and a six-member jury in the appeals court Monday. At times during her speech, she broke down into tears as she insisted on her innocence, described her friendship with Kercher, and said that she had been betrayed by the police.

"Meredith was killed, and I have always wanted justice for her," Knox told the court. "I'm not fleeing from truth, and I have never fleed from it. I want the truth."

Knox's case became a sensation in Italy and Britain, as prosecutors painted a picture of a sex game gone violently wrong. Kercher was stabbed to death in her bedroom, in the apartment she shared with Knox. Knox has maintained that she spent the night elsewhere, with Sollecito.

But another suspect in the case, Ivorian man Rudy Hermann Guede, testified that he heard Knox and Kercher arguing that night. And in late 2009, Knox and Sollecito were convicted of murder. Guede was also convicted in the case.

Sollecito spoke to the court earlier Monday, insisting that he and Knox are both innocent.

Meredith Kercher's sister, brother and mother also spoke in Perugia Monday. They told reporters that they had faith in the court process, and that it was important for all the facts to come out. And mostly, they said, they were there to represent Meredith. Here's some of what Stephanie Kercher said:

I think that everyone needs to remember. the brutality of what actually happened that night and everything Meredith must have felt, everything she went through. The fear, the terror and not knowing why. And she didn't deserve it that. Nobody deserved that.

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

An Italian appeals court threw out Amanda Knox’s murder conviction Monday and ordered the young American freed after nearly four years in prison for the death of her British roommate.

A candle burns in front of a photograph of Meredith Kercher, the British roommate of Amanda Knox, at a private overnight vigil in Seattle, in the early morning hours of Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.

Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Media and people stand in front of the court as they wait for the verdict of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito appeals trial in Perugia, Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. Amanda Knox tearfully told an Italian appeals court Monday she did not kill her British roommate, pleading for the jury to free her so she can return to the United States after four years behind bars. Moments later, the court began deliberations.

Antonio Calanni Associated Press

Amanda Knox, center, listens to the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roomate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, Italy, Monday Oct. 3, 2011.

Pietro Crocchioni, Pool Associated Press

Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann reads the verdict verdict that overturns Amanda Knox’s conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, central Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. Knox, an American student, was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, her British roommate in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Knox’s boyfriend at the time of the 2007 murder, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 25 years. Both deny wrongdoing and have appealed the December 2009 verdict. (AP Photo / Pier Paolo Cito, POOL)

Amanda Knox breaks in tears after hearing the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, central Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. Italian appeals court threw out Amanda Knox’s murder conviction Monday and ordered the young American freed after nearly four years in prison for the death of her British roommate Knox collapsed in tears after the verdict overturning her 2009 conviction was read out. Her co-defendant, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, also was cleared of killing 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in 2007.

Pier Paolo Cito Associated Press

Supporters of Amanda Knox react as they watch a television news broadcast about her appeal verdict from a hotel suite in downtown Seattle Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

British student Meredith Kercher’s sister Stephanie looks on as she listens to the verdict in the Amanda Knox appeals trial, at the Perugia court, Italy, Monday Oct. 3, 2011.

Alessandro Bianchi, Pool Associated Press

Italian lawyer lawyer Maria Del Grosso, right, hugs Amanda Knox after the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, central Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.

Pier Paolo Cito Associated Press

Raffaele Sollecito smiles after hearing the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits him of murdering his British roomate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, Italy, Monday Oct. 3, 2011.

Oli Scarff, Pool Associated Press

Amanda Knox cries as she walks away after hearing the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roomate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, Italy, Monday Oct. 3, 2011.

Tiziana Fabi, Pool Associated Press

Amanda Knox’s mother Edda Mellas, center, cries after hearing the verdict that overturns Amanda Knox’s conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roomate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, Italy, Monday Oct. 3, 2011.

Oli Scarff, Pool Associated Press

Amanda Knox’s sister Deanna, right, hugs her mother Edda after hearing the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roomate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, Italy, Monday Oct. 3, 2011.

Alessandro Bianchi, Pool Associated Press

From left, Amanda Knox’s aunt Janet Huff, Amanda’s stepfather Chris Mellas, and Cassandra Knox, second wife of Curt Knox, the father of Amanda Knox react after the verdict that overturns Amanda’s conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court, central Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.

Pier Paolo Cito) Associated Press

Amanda Knox, left, leaves the Perugia court on a car following the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roomate Meredith Kercher, Monday Oct. 3, 2011.

Angelo Carconi Associated Press

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, center, leaves a court after hearing the verdict to Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.

Antonio Calanni Associated Press

Francesco Sollecito, second right, leaves a court after hearing the verdict to his son Raffaele and Amanda Knox at the Perugia court, Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.

Antonio Calanni Associated Press

A man shows a statuette portraying Amanda Knox outside the Perugia court, Italy, Monday Oct. 3, 2011.

9 Infamous Hollywood Murders, From Black Dahlia to Sharon Tate (Photos)

TheWrap takes a look back at some of the grisliest killings in L.A. history

1947: The brutal murder of Elizabeth Short, a 22-year-old woman nicknamed "Black Dahlia," remains one of Hollywood's most grisly unsolved crimes and has since sparked numerous TV, film and literary adaptations.

1969: Charles Manson, leader of the so-called "Manson Family," ordered the deaths of actress Sharon Tate writer Wojciech Frykowski and his partner, the coffee bean heiress Abigail Folger and celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring and several friends at the Beverly Hills home of director Roman Polanski.

1976: Sal Mineo, the star of "Rebel Without a Cause," was stabbed to death near the Sunset Strip. Pizza deliveryman Lionel Ray Williams was later arrested and convicted of the murder.

1978: The "Hogan's Heroes" star Bob Crane was found bludgeoned to death in his Arizona apartment. John Henry Carpenter was arrested and charged with the murder in 1992.

1994: Former NFL star O.J. Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman were found stabbed to death at her Brentwood home. The former football star-turned-actor was arrested and charged with the double homicide but found not guilty in a notorious trial.

1998: "Saturday Night Live" star Phil Hartman was shot and killed in his sleep in his Encino home by his wife, Brynn Omdahl, who then turned the gun on herself.

2003: Phil Spector, a music producer famed for his so-called Wall of Sound, was convicted in 2009 of the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his own home.

2010: The celebrated publicist Ronni Chasen was killed in an apparent robbery while driving home from the premiere of the Cher movie "Burlesque." The man who is believed by police to have killed her has since committed suicide.

2012: Nearly a year after his disappearance, former Fox executive Gavin Smith's car was found at a Simi Valley storage facility that was connected to John Creech, and Smith’s remains were discovered in a shallow grave in the Angeles National Forest. Creech was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Watch the video: Amanda Knox Julgamento na Itália assistir filme completo dublado (January 2022).