October 3rd, 2011
05:10 PM ET

Live blog: Amanda Knox to go free after jury overturns murder conviction

For further updates please read the full CNN Wire story here.

[Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET] Business mogul Donald Trump told CNN’s Erin Burnett he hoped that Amanda Knox would somehow be able to rebound and make some “dividends” off her ordeal. “I”ve been supporting the family. I’ve been helping the family and will continue to help them,” he said.

“For her to have spent four years in a terrible jail is just outrageous,” he said. "I don’t think they [the Knox family] can leave [Italy] quick enough. She went to Italy to learn the language. Well, she learned the language,” he said.

[Updated at 6:54 p.m. ET] Rocco Girlanda, a member of the Italian parliament who became an advocate for Knox, said she was  "incredibly happy" upon leaving prison. He said Knox will leave Tuesday for Seattle, her hometown.

[Updated at 6:22 p.m. ET] Rocco Girlanda spoke briefly with the father of Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s former boyfriend and co-defendant.

The family had no plans to meet with Knox and were “driving towards our home,” he said, according to Girlanda. “Raffaele is very spaced out,” Girlanda said Sollecito's father told him.

Read: Italian jury clears Amanda Knox of murder

[Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET] Jeffrey Toobin, a CNN contributor and legal analyst, said the evidence against Knox was “somewhere between thin and non-existent.”

[Updated at 6:09 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox is in an undisclosed location with family and will take the next flight to Seattle, Washington, CNN’s Matthew Chance reported.

“She’s told everybody that she wants to get back home as soon as possible. She told the court that earlier today. She begged them. She pleaded with them," Chance said.

[Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET] CNN’s Matthew Chance described the courtroom scene as the ruling was read: “It was absolutely electric. There were whoops. There were tears.” Amanda Knox “was in hysterics, in a positive way,” he said. Quietly sobbing, she was quickly led out of the courtroom. “She could barely walk,” he said.

Also present were members of slaying victim Meredith Kercher’s family, including her mother and sister, who cried on a man’s shoulder as the ruling was read.

“These were very different emotions sort of circulating through that courtroom,” he said.

[Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET] CNN's Becky Anderson, reporting from outside the courtroom, said the crowd, comprised largely of young people, seemed divided. “Many of them are absolutely furious over what they heard today. ‘How could they [court officials] have gone this far andoverturned on appeal?” she said, summarizing a viewpoint of those milling around the building in Perugia.

“Others say this shows that the Italian justice system works," she said.

[Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET] Rocco Girlanda, Italian MP,  tells CNN and other media outside the jail that Amanda Knox is meeting her parents a few miles from the prison. Her first desire is to lie down on a green field, he said.

Knox enjoyed a measure of support inside the prison. She jumped for joy when other prisoners said  “Well done!” CNN's Paula Newton reported.

[Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox has left the Capanne prison where she has been held for four years.

Knox was in the back of a black tinted car and is officially a free woman, CNN's Paula Newton reported.

"That was her private escort out of here,” said Paula of a Mercedes sedan that exited the prison. “I did get a very short glimpse of her. It was her."

A book author and Italian parliamentarian who was friendly with Knox said she was very happy about the ruling but was anxious to see her family.

Rocco Girlanda told reporters that Knox's passport is okay and she will leave for Seattle, Washington on Tuesday morning from Italy.

[Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET] Meredith Kercher's family returned to their hotel and issued the following statement according to a spokesman:

"We respect the decision of the judges but we do not understand how the decision of the first trial could be so radically overturned," the statement said. "We still trust the Italian judicial system and hope that the truth will eventually emerge."

[Updated at 4:41 p.m. ET] A tinted van drove inside the Capanne prison compound but there has been no confirmation that it contained either Knox or her co-defendant Sollecito. Authorities at the prison have remained tight-lipped about the process of when or how Knox will leave the prison.

[Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET] A convoy of cars with sirens is returning to prison, likely with Amanda Knox inside.

If she is indeed back at the prison she will likely pick up her remaining belongings, sign a few papers and leave.

There is a heavy security presence in front of the prison gates, CNN's Paula Newton reported.

Newton said they believe Knox was inside the convoy because they could hear cheers erupting from inside the prison, presumably on her arrival.

[Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET] Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S.State Department said the following regarding the Knox verdict:

"The United States appreciates the careful consideration of this matter within the Italian judicial system. Our Embassy in Rome will continue to provide appropriate consular assistance to Ms. Knox and her family."

[Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET] An Italian court on Monday night ordered the immediate release of Amanda Knox after a jury overturned her murder conviction, Knox's lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova told CNN.

The prosecution can appeal the case to the highest court in Italy. Both will be freed and it will be up to Italy to make an extradition request to the United States should the high court overturn the appeals verdict.

[Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET] CNN's Becky Anderson reports that the crowd is continuing to mill about after the verdict.

"There are people who are protesting her decision here,” she said. ‘There have been shouts, screams.”

[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET] One of Amanda Knox’s lawyers, Carlo Dallas Vedova, said outside court that “we are satisfied" with the jury's ruling.

"Amanda is released," he said. "She wants to go back home. She has always confirmed that she was a friend of Meredith."

He said that she will be leaving Italy "as soon as possible."

"She really wants to go back home," he said.

[Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET] CNN's Matthew Chance said that before the verdict was read Amanda Knox “looked devastated. She was sitting on the chair sobbing, talking to her lawyer and the decision was delivered very quickly. What it means is that after four years in jail she can walk free tonight.”

[Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET] CNN's Richard Allen Greene reports that a mostly young and rowdy but cheerful crowd has converged on the square outside courthouse. There are at least hundreds filling the square, he reported.

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] Deanna Knox, one of Amanda's sisters, spoke outside the courthouse thanking those who supported their family throughout the case.

“Not only did [defense lawyers] defend her brilliantly but they also loved her ... and lastly we are faithful to the court for having the courage to look for the truth," she said.

There were cheers of approval from the crowd in as she spoke.

"She suffered for four years for a crime that she did not commit," Deanna Knox said of her sister.

She then praised the jury's ruling.

"We are thankful to the court for having the courage to look for the truth and overturn this conviction," Deanna Knox told reporters.

She then asked that Amanda Knox and the family be given the privacy to "recover from this horrible ordeal."

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] Meredith Kercher's family is still sitting inside the courtroom where two of the three people accused of murdering her have now had their convictions overturned.

Kercher's sister Stephanie is sitting stone-faced.

CNN's Matthew Chance reported that Kercher's mother appeared upset when the verdict was read.  The family was stunned and silent. Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister, began to cry.

He noted the family believed Knox and Sollecito were guilty of the crime.

[Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET] As one of Sollecito's lawyers left court a group outside the Perugia building began booing.

[Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET] There was an audible gasp outside the courthouse when the verdict was read in court.

Knox and Sollecito were swiftly taken out of the courtroom.

Knox's family hugged and celebrated inside the courtroom after hearing the news as Amanda Knox appeared to turn around and smile at them.

Knox and Sollecito will go back to prison to pick up their things and then will be free to leave.

[Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET] A jury has partially overturned the conviction of Amanda Knox.

The jury has overturned the murder conviction but upheld the conviction on the defamation charges after she accused club owner Patrick Lumumba of killing British college student Meredith Kercher in 2007 in Perugia.

The judge has called for silence in the courtroom as applause erupts.

The jury has also overturned the murder conviction of Raffaele Sollecito. Both will be free to leave. Knox will be given time served for the defamation charge.

[Updated at 3:44 p.m. ET] CNN's Matthew Chance tweets from inside the courtroom:

Matthew Chance @mchancecnn: Charged atmosphere inside court. The defendants, the families, the media all on edge. Silence!!

[Updated at 3:37 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have entered the courtroom to hear their fate.

Knox, who is wearing a hooded black jacket, is flanked by three female guards behind her. She appears slightly nervous, and is beginning to tear up as she sits at the defendant's table awaiting the jury's ruling.

[Updated at 3:29 p.m. ET] CNN's Hada Messia reports that prosecutors Manuela Comodi and Giuliano Mignini have arrived in court.

Mignini greeted the Kercher family, shaking their hands and then kissing Meredith Kercher's sister Stephanie on the cheek.

Lawyers for the defense and the prosecution have shaken hands and exchanged a few words as they await the jury's ruling.

CNN's Richard Allen Greene notes that more than a dozen plainclothes police officers are now inside the courtroom.

[Updated at 3:18 p.m. ET] The family of victim Meredith Kercher has arrived in court.

CNN's Becky Anderson asked Meredith's brother Lyle Kercher how he was feeling. His response: "Nervous."

Anderson reports the entire Kercher family looked very tired and very emotional.

[Updated at 3:17 p.m. ET] CNN's Matthew Chance tweets from inside the courtroom:

Matthew Chance@mchancecnn: More than dozen judicial police in plain clothes in court "in case of public disorder" #AmandaKnox

[Updated at 3:13 p.m. ET] Italian media outlet ANSA reports that the ruling has been pushed back to 3:45 p.m. ET.

[Updated at 3:12 p.m. ET] Carlo Pacelli, the lawyer for Patrick Lumumba who was first accused in the crime, is in court, apparently the first from the prosecution side to arrive.

Last week Pacelli called Knox satanic and Lucifer-like. He's smiling and chatting with journalists. He fought for defamation damages for the bar owner Knox was convicted of libelling.

[Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET] CNN's Matthew Chance tweets from inside the courtroom:
Matthew Chance

@mchancecnn: Tension intense inside court among handful of journos allowed in #AmandaKnox #meredithkercher

[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET] CNN's Richard Allen Greene reports from inside the courtroom: At least five plainclothes Carabinieri police in court in addition to the usual uniformed officers.

Defense attorneys Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova  have arrived at court as well. When asked about Amanda Knox's mood, Dalla Vedova smiles and says "I don't know. I haven't seen her for a few hours."

Sollecito's lawyer Giulia Bongiorno has also entered the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET] So, what will happen when the jury hands down their ruling?

There are three possible outcomes for the defendants:

1) Verdict is upheld: In this case, Knox and Sollecito will continue serving their respective 26 and 25-year jail sentences. However, prosecutor Manuela Comodi has called for their sentences to be increased to life.

2) Verdict is overturned

3) Verdict is partially overturned, with a decrease in sentence (verdicts can be upheld on some counts but not others, this may result in a decrease in their sentences).

[Updated at 2:44 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox's family have just arrived at the courthouse. Her mom and dad, her stepmom, stepdad and her sisters are the first to enter the courtroom after journalists were let in.

In about 45 minutes they will find out whether their daughter will remain in prison in Italy or return home with them after the four-year saga of the case.

[Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET] CNN's Antonia Mortensen reports that hundreds of onlookers have gathered around barriers places around the court entrance in hope of a glimpse of the families and Amanda Knox.

A young local Italian woman who is a student in Perugia told Mortensen this appeal ruling is like the event of the year in Perugia. She added that it has become a spectacle or a movie.

A middle aged Italian Perugian outside the court told Mortensen that he can't wait for this to be over so that the town can get back to normality. He calls this situation 'a circus'.

He added "the Italian legal system is very good and we should have faith in it."

Meanwhile, more police officers have arrived at the court, Mortensen reported, but so far neither Meredith Kercher nor Amanda Knox's relatives have arrived at the courthouse.

[Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET] A caravan of cars believe to have Knox and Sollecito inside has arrived near the courthouse in Perugia, Italy.

Two police vans have arrived with a police car escort, CNN's Richard Allen Greene reports.

Sirens are competing with clicks of dozens of photographers shutters, he said.

Onlookers appeared to rush after the vans to try and get a glimpse inside.

[Updated at 2:27 p.m. ET] A media vigil of sorts continues at the prison where Knox has been held for almost four years, CNN's Paula Newton reports.

Knox will return here no matter what happens - either to return to the same cell to finish out her sentence or to collect her belongings and officially leave Italy for Seattle, Washington.

We'll find out which of those scenarios it will be in about one hour when the ruling is read aloud in court.

[Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET] CNN anchor Becky Anderson reports there are barriers set up outside the entrance to the court holding back hundreds of camera crews and observers.

[Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET] The streets outside the court in Perugia, Italy are packed.

Journalists from hundreds of media outlets from around the world and members of the public have swarmed the area.

[Updated at 2:12 p.m. ET] When the ruling comes down it will be a decision made by eight jurors - six members of the public and two judges.

The judges take part and vote as part of the jury: their role is to guide but not to instruct the other jurors how to vote. The presiding judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who is also one of the jurors, will then read out the verdict.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m. ET] A van has left the prison where Amanda Knox an Raffaele Sollecito were being held while the jury deliberated.

It is believed Knox and Sollecito are in the convoy of vehicles that left the prison and en route back to the courthouse to hear the ruling.

Sollecito is normally not held in the same prison as Knox but was held there during the deliberations.

[Posted at 1:59 p.m. ET] An Italian jury has reached a decision on whether it will uphold or overturn the convictions of Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

The ruling will be read at 3:30 p.m. ET (9:30 pm local time), the court said Monday.

The jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours before reaching their decision.

Knox and Sollecito, who returned to prison after speaking in court Monday morning, are likely to begin heading  back to the court in Perugia, Italy, now to hear their fate.

Nearly four years after she was arrested on suspicion of having killed her roommate in this picturesque Italian university town, Amanda Knox stood up in court and pleaded with a jury Monday to overturn her conviction.

"I am not what they say I am. I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal," Amanda Knox said, her voice trembling with emotion. She was making perhaps the most important speech of her life, and it showed.

Knox and co-defendant Sollecito have been fighting to be acquitted of the murder. Prosecutors have called for the pair's sentences - of 26 and 25 years, respectively - to be increased to life.

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Filed under: Amanda Knox • Crime • Italy • U.S. • Washington state
soundoff (2,309 Responses)
  1. beut33

    she didn't do it let her free rudy did itttttt or the boyfriends!!!!!!!!!!

    October 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      Right, because women never do bad things, especially when there's a man around to blame.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • stef

      Oh beut, why do I have a horrible feeling that you're also a Casey Anthony supporter?

      October 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Seattle person 2 miles from Amanda's house

    Sadly, this whole charade hasn't been, and will never be about whether Amanda Knox is innocent. Only she and a select few know the answer to that.

    Instead this media circus continues to represent only scrutiny on the Italian legal system, which is considerably flawed based on "evidence" (or the lack thereof) brought under the microscope by this case. Even the above story states that "(the presiding judge is one of the jurors as well)", and it has been said more than once that to merely reach trial in Italy there is already believed to be an extremely heavy probability of conviction.

    Here in America, we have prominent cases like those of O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony, and while each of those are far more certainly "guilty" of "A" crime than is Amanda Knox, the cases against them were each poorly presented by the law, and it was the SYSTEM that allowed each to be free based, somehow, on uncertainty.

    Everybody within any reason at all 'knows' that O.J. Simpson murdered his wife and her companion, and everybody within any reason at all 'knows' that Casey Anthony was responsible in some way for the death of her daughter. HOWEVER, jurors in the Casey Anthony trial could not even ascertain in what county/jurisdiction the daughter's death took place. That is about the first item on the list when a jury gathers in "______ County" (Did this crime take place in "_______ County"?). Well, in Florida, they didn't even know THAT much for sure.

    As for O.J., it was likely the racial make-up of the jury that helped him to sail free(-for-a-while).

    But all of that is merely 'the system'.

    The Italian system is corrupt, as has long been obvious both in Italy and around the world.

    The huge lack of sound evidence against Amanda Knox has been such that she never even would have been brought to trial had this death happened in America.

    IF EVER sound evidence is recovered that would tie Amanda Knox to the commission of this crime, then she can be extradited and re-tried in one way or another (even if not directly, and for the same crime).

    For now... common sense would find only one outcome. Any other outcome merely underscores the poor system of justice in Italy.

    (written 25 minutes before the announcement)

    October 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      In America she would have gotten off after she blamed a man whether or not there was a mountain of evidence against her. She took the Italian system for a joke or thought she'd get off because she was American or female or both. Her continuous lies didn't help her either.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      You talk a load of rubbish. You list all this stuff and make excuses for a system that has gone as far as executing innocent people yet you don't make the same case for the Italian system. The US system is just as corrupt the problem is the US system often has 12 idiots making the decision (a lot of Americans are very stupid in general). Having 2 educated and reasonable people on a jury that can highlight both sides of the argument in an intelligent manner is only a bonus, rather than have potentially 12 idiots that can't spell their names, blinded by the color of someones skin, etc, etc, and expect them to make a rational judgement.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      PS. She is as guilty as O.J.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. upstate-ny

    Although I kind of paid attention while the first trial was going on, I really didn't have enough information to form an opinion of guilty/no guilty. After hearing the evidence or lack of evidence and after reading the history on the prosecutor in her first trial and again this trial...that guy is a demon. How he distorted, lied and set up people in the murder of the 64 girls in Perugia years ago. If the Italian people in Perugia truly want justice then they ought to do whatever means to remove him from any legal, investigative involvement.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. us1776

    The delusional Minnini, should be put in prison in the psych ward !!

    October 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. weixi

    At least we do not have the death penalty, here in the E.U.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Turbo

    I hope Amanda and Raffaelle are set free. The evidence that the prosecution provided is not nearly sufficient enough to convict these two of murder. A bloody footprint at the scene matched a pair of shoes Rudy owned – he did it.

    The DNA on the knife, the knife that doesn't match the wounds, is not evidence that Knox and Sollecito committed murder.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ROONEY

      I agree man . rudy did it.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 7TX

    Give those Italian lady cops a leash and a spiked collar and they can replace a pit bull.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tkessler45

    She's cute! Let her go free! 😀

    October 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. boo boo

    So the prosecutor wants to increase the sentence? wow, the Italian legal system sounds really sophisticated. Almost as sophisticated as a tree house court room.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cbozey

    You can't convict one guy for murder with one story, and then convict two others for murder on a whole different story. In one story one is innocent while the other guilty. They have already convicted Guede. So that means Knox is innocent.

    You people saying she is guilty have you read the story? Guede admitted to being there at the flat the night of the killing. That he was in the bathroom and when he walked out he saw a guy standing over her dead body. So he ditched town and didnt call police??? His bloody print was found at the scene how do you think they tied it to him. He was guilty. And if he killed her then knox is innocent.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Christine

    Free Amanda Knox. She's suffered for too long, least of all as a result of the brutal murder of her roommate. The Italian justice system needs to take a good look at itself and get itself together, and hopefully that's been the case for this verdict. Jailing innocent people is justice for no one.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Weird

    It is amazing how you guys continue to talk about no evidence pointing to Knox as the killer. American just executed Troy Davis without DNA evidence linking him to the crime he was put to death for. I'm am not saying that Knox and guilty or innocent. Why did she lie about her former boss being the killer?

    October 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. drc239

    Come on ... let's just remember: "Beyond a reasonable doubt ..." I hope this is not a witch hunt. Not another case of a justice system & it's players not wanting to admit they were wrong or determined to rail road someone. Maybe she's guilty, maybe she's not ... but I'm sorry, a bra clasp that laid on the floor for 6 weeks before being picked up? No, sorry. Should not be considered evidence. Not unless that room was undisturbed completely with only a couple of investigators carefully & gingerly moving around, wearing hair-nets, gloves, etc ... That was not the case here. And then not one, but two footprints (with shoe & barefoot) both attributed initially to the Sollecito and then realized to be that of Rudy Guede, the only man who's DNA is truly, without a doubt, in that room and on the victim. And the sad part is, they knocked Guede's sentence down from 30 yrs to 16 yrs when he appealed. So much evidence against him and the prosecutor couldn't uphold his original sentence? That's crap. I don't get it. If that was the case with Guede ... then there is enough reasonable doubt to set Knox & Sollecito free.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Debbie

    I can't believe that people get on here and say the awful things that you read.... Is there any morals anywhere with so many of you. We are talking about two people who are innocent of murder. DNA does not lie! They were not in that room, yet the guy that they also charged and admitted his role is the guilty party. His DNA was all over her and the room. You stupid people should realize that this could happen to your family or even yourself and would you want someone writing all these nasty things? Have some compassion for others. The United States needs to boycott ITALY for good, until they are released. We all think that corruption is bad in the US, try one of these foreign countries... FREE AMANDA and do the right she is NOT guilty of murder... I do feel sorry for Meredith who was killed and my heart goes out to her family. God knows the truth and will get all of them through this pain...

    October 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tomek

    The American tribalism is just ugly. For that reason alone, it would be very educational for Knox's compatriots to see her sentence upheld or, better still, increased.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
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