Amanda Knox Set Free
Amanda Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Solecito were both found not guilty in the 2009 murder of British college student Meredith Kercher, in an Italian court Monday.
The jury upheld the previous guilty conviction for defamation, after Knox accused club owner Patrick Lumumba in the death Kercher.
"I am not what they say I am. I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal," Knox told the jury Monday. "In four years I've lost my friends in the most terrible and unexplainable way....I had to face charges that were totally unfair, without any basis."
Journalists from around the world flooded the Italian court in Perugia to await the verdict that was broadcast live Monday afternoon after a series of delays.
Knox had sought an appeal for the 2009 sentence which carried 26 years in prison and 25 years for former boyfriend Solecito.
The jury, composed of a presiding judge, a side judge, five female jurors and two male jurors, heard final pleas from Knox and Solecitio on Monday morning.
"She had her bedroom next to mine, she was killed in our own apartment. If I had been there than night, I would be dead," said an emotional Knox, 24, in her 10-minute address to the jury. "I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn't there."
"I never hurt anyone, never in my life," said Solecito, who claimed that he and Knox were having a romantic evening when Kercher was murdered.
Kercher's mother, brother, and sister traveled to Perugia to hear the verdict. They want justice for their daughter, whom they feel has gotten lost in all the media attention regarding the appeals trial.
"As long as they decide today based purely on the information available to them and they don't look into the media hype, I think justice will be found," said Stephanie Kercher, the victim's sister.
Knox's family, who was also present at the trial, hopes their daughter, who was attending the Univserity of Washington, will be able to return home, after spending the last four years in prison.
Knox and Solecito were largly convicted of murder based on DNA evidence. Prosecutors said Knox's DNA was found on a kitchen knife's blade that was allegedly used to kill Kercher; Solecito's DNA was found on Kercher's bra.
The defendants ordered an independent review of the DNA that revealed serious errors in the original DNA investigation, suggesting poor testing standards and possible contamination with the DNA that was found 46 days after the murder.
Related to this appeals trial is the conviction of drug-dealer Rudy Hermann Guede. Knox admitted to just being aquainted to Guede, who played basketball near her and Kercher's residence. However, she and Solecito blame him for the death.
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