Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were acquitted of murder by Italy’s highest court on Friday (Mar. 27), overturning their guilty verdicts for killing British student, Meredith Kercher, in 2007.
The Supreme Court of Cassation’s ruling to vacate Ms. Knox, 27, a former exchange student from Seattle, and her Italian co-defendant’s convictions ends an eight-year courtroom drama that was headline fodder in Italy, Britain and the United States.
Knox, who was here in the U.S. when the decision was announced in Rome, released a statement saying that she was “relieved and grateful” that she will no longer be facing a 28-year prison sentence.
"The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal," Knox said. "And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person."
Knox was originally prosecuted after 21-year old Kercher’s body was found in November 2007 with her throat slashed in the apartment that they lived in together. Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009 and ordered to serve substantial prison sentences.
Following the re-examination of evidence, Knox and Sollecito, who had served almost four years in Italian jails, were both set free due to lack of evidence.
Both were retried and their acquittals were overturned two years later. Knox was given 28 ½ years in absentia and her ex was given 25.
"This is truly a very important day, not just, I believe, for Raffaele Sollecito, but I believe also for all of those who believe strongly in justice," Sollecito's attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, told reporters.
“We finally got the right decision,” Knox’s Italian lawyer, Dalla Vedova, added. “Right now she has to stay with her family and recover from this very bad experience.”
Her long legal saga now behind her, Knox can try to regain a normal life in her native Seattle.
“We want to express our profound gratitude to all of those who have supported Amanda and our family,” Knox’s family said in a statement. “Countless people—from world-renowned DNA experts to former FBI agents to everyday citizens committed to justice—have spoken about her innocence. We are thrilled with and grateful for today's decision from the Supreme Court of Italy. And we are grateful beyond measure for all that so many of you have done for her."