Amanda Knox Released From Prison, Returns Home
Amanda Knox, 24, the young American woman accused of killing her British roomate Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007, had her conviction overturned late Monday in Perugia, Italy, after an emotional and lengthy appeals process. After the judge read the verdict that acquitted Knox and her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, of the crime, Knox was immediately escorted from the packed court to the prison where she had spent the last four years to gather her belongings and fill out some paperwork before being released less than two hours later.
"We've been waiting for this for four years," said Giulia Bongiorno, one of Knox's lawyers, following the defense's victory, reports CBS News. The mob that had gathered outside the courthouse during the reading of the verdict was more divided, however. While some were shouting "victoria," or "victory" in Italian, others were chanting, "shame, shame." Even after the DNA evidence that was originally thought to link Knox and Sollecito to the crime was debunked in the recent proceedings, the original popular sentiment about the duo seemed hard to dismiss.
Only the charge of defamation against Knox was upheld, for implicating bar owner Diya "Patrick" Lumumba of having some involvement in the crime. The sentence for the charge was set at paying a fine and Lumumba's legal fees, plus three years in prison, to which time served was applied, making Knox, who broke down in tears as the verdict was announced, immediately free to return to her family and go home.
From completing the paperwork to release her, Knox then headed from Perugia to Rome, where she could fly out of Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport with her family to London, where she will connect on a flight and return home to Seattle. "She was just very, very happy to get on that flight," her friend Giulia Alagna, told The Early Show.
In a letter to the Italy-US Foundation, which helps foster diplomatic relations between the two countries and had been pulling for Knox throughout the duration of the appeal, Knox thanked all those "who shared my suffering and helped me survive with hope." To "those who wrote, those who defended me, those who were close, those who prayed for me," Knox wrote, "I love you."
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