An appeals court in Italy has overturned the murder conviction of Amanda Knox, CNN reports.
Knox, 24, and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 27, were convicted in December 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy in 2007. Knox was then sentenced to 26 years in prison. At the time of the murder, Kercher and Knox were roommates.
Sollecito’s conviction was also overturned, CNN reports. The jury upheld Knox’s seperate conviction on defamation charges.
The New York Times reports that hundreds of journalists were in the courtroom on Monday, to witness the end of a 10-month appeals trial that has received worldwide attention. The court had a choice to acquit both Knox and Sollecito, to confirm the sentences or even to increase them.
Prosecutors had asked that both sentences be increased to life imprisonment.
From the Times:
In a final address to the court on Monday morning, Luciano Ghirga, one of Ms. Knox’s lawyers, made repeated references to the findings of court-appointed experts that challenged key evidence in the prosecution’s case – DNA on a knife and a bra clasp that prosecutors say place Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito at the scene of the crime. The independent review suggested that the DNA samples might have been contaminated and in any case could not be definitely linked to the defendants.
Earlier on Monday, Knox had declared her innocence and pleaded for her freedom in court.
“I am not what they say I am. I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal,” Knox said, according to CNN.
“People always ask ‘who is Amanda Knox?’ I am the same person that I was four years ago, exactly the same person. The only thing that now separates me from four years ago is my suffering,” she also said, in Italian. “In four years, I’ve lost my friends in the most terrible and unexplainable way. My trust in the authorities and the police has been damaged. I had to face charges that were totally unfair, without any basis. And I am paying with my life for something I haven’t done.”