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Amanda Knox murder verdict overturned on appeal


Summary of story from New York Times, October 3, 2011

An Italian appellate court in Perugia on Monday overturned the conviction of Amanda Knox, the 24-year old American student who was, along with her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, serving a jail sentence for murdering British student Meredith Kercher.

The acquittal overturns a verdict handed down in December 2009, sentencing Knox to 26 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years for stabbing to death Knox’s room mate in what prosecutors described as a sex game gone wrong.

The appeal began in November 2010, based on the unreliability of DNA evidence that prosecutors had relied on for the case against Knox in the original trial.

Defence lawyers argued that the DNA collected from the crime scene could have been contaminated and could not be decisively linked to Knox.

While the appeals court overturned the murder conviction, they upheld a charge of slander whereby Knox had accused bar owner Diya Lumumba of committing the crime.

The court set Knox’s sentence at three years in prison and a $29,000 fine.

However, since she had already served four years in jail, she walked free very soon after the verdict and could be back in Seattle by Tuesday.

Knox’s attorney, Maria Del Grosso, said of her client upon hearing the verdict: “She’d been terrified; if I hadn’t held her up she would have crumbled.  All she could say was thank you.”

While Knox and her supporters were jubilant, Kercher’s family was deeply disappointed.

Lyle Kercher, brother of Meredith said “in any case, no one will give us Meredith back, but we are very upset.”

Similarly, many of the hundreds of people gathered outside the courtroom cried out on hearing the verdict: “for shame, for shame.”

Speaking in her own defense during the appeal, Knox spoke to the court in Italian: “I did not kill.  I did not rape, I did not steal.  I was not there.  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.”

Deanna Knox, sister of the defendant said in a statement after the verdict, “We’re thankful to the court to have the courage to acknowledge the truth and overturn the conviction, and grateful for the support we have received from all over the world.”

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