29th January 2005
This has been a rather heated topic in Italy, due to perceptions over the the defendant and her legal status as an American citizen.
Amanda Knox Freed After Appeal in Italian Court By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO PERUGIA, Italy — A court here overturned the homicide convictions of the American college student Amanda Knox and her Italian co-defendant on Monday and ordered them freed after nearly four years in prison, ending a sensationally lurid trial of murder and rough sex that had made Ms. Knox notorious on both sides of the Atlantic.
An appellate court jury of eight Italians, which included two judges, delivered their verdict after more than 11 hours of deliberations. Ms. Knox and her supporters packing the court let out whoops of joy and relief as the verdict was read on live television, prompting court officials to shout for silence. Ms. Knox broke down in tears.
The decision overturns the December 2009 ruling that convicted Ms. Knox to 26 years in prison and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, a former boyfriend, to 25 years in prison for the 2007 stabbing murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, a Briton who shared an apartment with Ms. Knox. The case was built largely on DNA evidence that legal experts called flimsy and suspect.
Ms. Knox, 24, from Seattle, was returned to prison to collect her possessions and left less than a few hours later.
All three figures in the trial were young, promising students in the picturesque central Italian city of Perugia, a fact that largely ignited the media hype that surrounded the case from the start. The unprecedented international attention in a murder trial in Italy was fueled by looming question marks over means and motive that made the case a classic whodunit.
“We’re thankful Amanda’s nightmare is over,” Ms. Knox’s sister, Deanna, read in a statement after the verdict. “We’re grateful for the support we have received from all over the world.” A lawyer for Mr. Sollecito, Giulia Bongiorno, said, “We’ve been waiting for this for four years.”
Earlier in the day, Ms. Knox read a tearful statement in fluent Italian beseeching the court to overturn the verdict, claiming her innocence. “I did not kill, I did not rape, I did not steal. I was not there," she said. “I want to go back home. I want to go back to my life. I don’t want to be punished. I don’t want my life and my future to be taken away for something I didn’t do.”
The elation at the acquittal extended to Ms. Knox’s circle of friends and supporters in Seattle, who had rented a fancy hotel suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel to watch the verdict broadcast on television. They cried with joy as the news was read shortly before 4 p.m. Eastern time. “There was no ways she did this,” said John Lange, Ms. Knox’s theater teacher at Seattle Preparatory, a Jesuit high school. “She never did anything to hurt anyone. She was not conniving. She was not mean-spirited.”
The joyful reaction of the defendants and their families and friends contrasted sharply with the looks of ashen disappointment by relatives of Ms. Kercher.
The British media had openly sympathized with the tragic figure of Ms. Kercher and her family, which backed the prosecution in seeking to uphold the original trial’s outcome. “The lower court found the defendants guilty,” said a lawyer for the family, Francesco Maresca, said at a news conference earlier Monday, as deliberations were under way. He said the Kercher family wanted to “have the verdict confirmed.”
Hundreds of people had massed outside the courtroom before the verdict was read. Many cheered as the acquittal news filtered out to the crowd, but some shouted “shame!” in apparent sympathy with the murder victim’s family.
The trial and retrial of Ms. Knox attracted widespread attention partly because of its sensational details and the starkly differing portraits of the main defendant, who was alternately described as a hard-working college student caught up in an arcane foreign justice system and a marijuana-smoking criminal.
Ms. Kercher was found stabbed in her room on Nov. 2, 2007, in what prosecutors described as a game of rough sex involving Ms. Knox and her boyfriend that went horribly wrong. Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito were arrested a few days later.
The appeal, which began last November, was dominated by the re-examination of the DNA evidence.
Court-appointed independent experts said that the DNA had been collected in a way that could have allowed for contamination and that the genetic information on two main pieces of evidence could not be matched to the defendants with certainty. Ms. Bongiorno argued that the evidence collected 46 days after the police first went through the scene should have been thrown out.
In their closing arguments, prosecutors dismissed the findings of the independent experts, calling them inept and inexperienced. They also reiterated other evidence from the first trial, including eyewitness evidence placing Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito at the scene.
The appeals court upheld Ms. Knox’s conviction on a charge of slander for accusing a bar owner, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, of committing the murder. The court set the sentence for that conviction at three years — meaning time served — and a fine of 22,000 euros, or about $29,000.
A third defendant, Rudy Guede, 24, was also convicted of Miss Kercher’s murder in a separate trial and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. His conviction was upheld on appeal but his sentence was shortened to 16 years.
Isolde Raftery contrbuted reporting from Seattle.
This may end some of the sensationalism over the trial on both sides of the ocean though obviously the process itself isn't over yet.
7th December 2003
I never read the details about this trial but it was hard not to notice the media reporting about it every so often. It looks like there isn't a whole lot of substantial evidence to implicate anyone, just some sloppy police work and a really cheesy prosecution.
So when is the movie coming out?
Hallelujah! Glory to God!
18th March 2008
Theres always been alot of coverage over this here in the UK, as the girl killed was British. Sorry to put it bluntley, but why do so many of these Southern European nations seem to suffer from inadequate Police work?, they seem to make so many blunders and never get correct evidence, etc. I know this is a broad comment, but It seemed the same the the Potugal Police when that Madeline McCann want missing. Also I always remember When I was in Italy, two Police motorcycle racing each other down the street and doing "wheelies"
16th August 2008
Crusader;5568029Also I always remember When I was in Italy, two Police motorcycle racing each other down the street and doing "wheelies"
Every police force has its flaws. :clueless:
29th January 2005
Crusader;5568029 Sorry to put it bluntley, but why do so many of these Southern European nations seem to suffer from inadequate Police work?, they seem to make so many blunders and never get correct evidence, etc. I know this is a broad comment, but It seemed the same the the Potugal Police when that Madeline McCann want missing.
I don't see the way Italy runs its legal system as a unique factor in why or why not certain decisions were made. There's displeasure and room to be improved in every nation's police force. I think anyone can look within their nations and see dodge work by the police and legal system pursuing a case or decisions handed down.