'Grateful to have my life back': Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned by Italian court, surprising the mother of victim Meredith Kercher
Amanda Knox addresses the media after being acquitted of Meredith Kercher's murder.
Speaking through tears outside her mother's Seattle home, Amanda Knox shared her relief hours after Italy's highest court overturned her murder conviction.
"I am so grateful for the justice I have received," Knox told local media outside her mother's Seattle home. "I am so grateful to have my life back."
The ruling by the Supreme Court of Cassation ended a years-long legal drama that brought two convictions and an acquittal for the 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.
Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted from afar last year after two previous flip-flops on the verdict.
Kercher’s mother, Arline Kercher, told Britain’s Press Association news agency that she was “a bit surprised and very shocked.”
“They have been convicted twice so it is a bit odd that it should change now,” she said.
When the verdict was read aloud, Vedova exclaimed: "Finished!"
“It’s a victory of justice,” Vedova said outside the courtroom. “This was a mistake from the beginning.”
Knox first thanked supporters in a short statement after the verdict was announced.
Both Knox, who was awaiting the verdict in her hometown of Seattle were she works for a local newspaper, and Sollecito have long maintained their innocence.
“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy,” she said. “The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal.”
Speaking briefly to media Friday night, with her family and fiance at her side, Knox wouldn't comment on who she believes killed Kercher.
"She deserved so much in this life," Knox said. "I'm the lucky one."
The judges’ decision will be released within 90 days, according to authorities.
Knox, who was awaiting the verdict in Seattle, and Sollecito have both long maintained their innocence.
Knox spent the past few years working as a freelance reporter for her hometown newspaper, the West Seattle Herald, and recently got engaged to former New York musician Colin Sutherland, who now lives in Seattle.
Kercher was found with her throat slashed in the apartment she shared with Knox and two other students in Perugia, Italy, on Nov. 2, 2007. She had also been sexually assaulted.
Knox and Sollecito were arrested days later and first convicted in 2009 after prosecutors argued the murder was part of a ritualistic sex party gone wrong.
The pair claim they were not at the apartment the night of the murder, but at Sollecito’s home smoking pot and having sex.
Stefano Medici/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Amanda Marie Knox, left, and Raffaele Sollecito, stand outside her rented house on the day 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher was found dead, in Perugia, Italy.
In 2011, an appellate judge overturned the conviction and Knox returned to the U.S. after four years in behind bars.
Eventually another man, Rudy Guede, from Ivory Coast, was arrested, tried and convicted of the murder in a separate trial and sentenced to 16 years in jail.
But Italy’s high court threw out the Knox acquittal last year and ordered new trials for her and Sollecito at a Florence appeals court.
Knox was sentenced to 28 ½ years and Sollecito to 25 years in prison before Friday’s decision.
Sollecito’s lawyer, Luca Maori, called the young man with the good news from the steps of the courthouse.
“You have your whole life ahead of you now, Raf,” he told Sollecito.
“He almost couldn’t speak," Maori said after the call. “Eight years of nightmare over.”
Francesco Maresca, an attorney representing the Kercher family, was clearly disappointed by the ruling.
“I think that it’s a defeat for the Italian justice system,” he said.
With News Wire Services