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. jmuhr

    Why does everyone here seem to think they are an expert on this case, yet opinions are completely contradictory? Someone brutally murdered an innocent victim and the only "winners" seem to be those cashing in on the media circus.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nixo

    who knows if she did it but they sucked at proving it, lesson learned! i think she knows who did it though...

    October 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Al Gustafson

    Drifter Rudy Guede has already been convicted in a separate trial of the murder of Meredith Kercher based on DNA. So the question is why are these two still being held?

    October 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • stephen 70

      Because one is american and the other one is rich, whereas Guede` is a poor african, unemployed, drug dealer...because victim of capitalistic imperialism....that` s the way the italians think!!!!

      October 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      Exactly! There is a black man to take the heat people! If you're American, female or rich, you should automatically go free regardless of your involvement as long as you can point your finger at a black guy!

      October 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • CHADD


      October 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Grace

    Where's the evidence? She had no blood on her... there were no shoe prints that belonged to her. The other guy has already admitted to the crime. She must be freed... then she can go on and make millions off her story and pay her family back for all the money they have spent on her defense. It's such a sad story for all involved!

    October 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. michael

    Mignini had better hope Anthony Hopkins isn't in Italy

    October 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kev

    It's probably in the human nature to be defensive in situations like this but this is pretty sad.
    A group of Americans are defending this lying girl under false patriotism similar to all the black people that defended Michael Vick for his obvious wrong doings.
    I wonder what these "true" Americans think of OJ's case and Casey Anthony's case.
    Sure it is going to be hard to prove a murder case, but c'mon.. you guys really think this lying girl is not guilty?
    I would defend my country and my citizens, but there comes a point when you just have to give up and shake your head.
    I'm mad at this girl for making "TRUE" Americans look bad.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      What "true" Americans think of the OJ case? How about that the prosecution FAILED to establish he committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Same thing in the Casey Anthony fiasco. The whole point is you have to PROVE someone committed the crime and if there's even an inkling of a doubt, then the case, by definition, fails. Same thing here – just because you speculate that Amanda Knox is a liar doesn't equate with her being found guilty. I have NO idea what the jury here will do, but there is clearly NOT evidence of her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt here.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael

      It's NOT sad that in my country, one is presumed innocent. May she's not entirely innocent. But there isn't proper evidence or adequate truth from the questionable ethics of the prosecution to convict her.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ace

      Nice to bring black people into a murder story that has nothing to do with them...racist much?

      October 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kev

      Yea, you're right Bill.
      The case may get dismissed due to the many errors made by the Italians, and that's just part of how the system works.

      I'm just pointing out the fact that there are a group of people that are defending this girl just because she's American. Why didn't OJ or Casey Anthony – the persons – receive the same kind of love? And how did our fellow American prosecutors screw up so badly there? Were they Italian Americans?
      This girl may not receive a guilty "verdict", but she's a killer to any sensible person out there.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kev

      I was just making a point. I was specifically referring to the black people that defened Vick, not all black people.
      And I'm very certain that most black people didn't approve of Vick's actions.. Geeesh.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. stephen 70

    There is a delay in delivering the sentence. Well in Italy you have coffe break, aperitive time, happy hours at all the time, break to check one of your fancy cellular phone and so on...well if the economy goes kaput...there is always an american to blame!

    October 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. r-hope

    Not Guilty or No Evidence... Same thing. She will be free in minutes

    October 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ellen Sherman NVI

    that is never visiting Italy – your justice system is archaic and scary. I will not spend a dime in your country ever for any reason. I will not purchase anything made in your country.
    she is innocent and you know it.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • r-hope

      Do you seriously think that that would hurt Italy??

      October 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adrienne

      How open minded of you..............Judge a whole country based on this..................Sounds somewhat extremist to me, like countries judging America on certain things...........

      October 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dudestski

    Guilty until proven innocent. These are the rules of the info-tainment media!

    October 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bev Hollingshead

    The Italian justice system might be under pressure by its' own country to uphold the original verdict. In this country, we require absolute proof – which is why she would have been acquitted in the U.S. This is a 50/50 to me.....we'll see.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wendy

    looks like she is pleading for her life! she looks pretty innocent to me.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jojo

    From what I've read the lack of DNA evidence in the room leads me to believe Amanda did not actually kill Meredith. With that said I am not convinced she is completely innocent. There is something or lack of something (expression) in her eyes that bothers me. I just don't fully believe her.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. morbus gravis

    she said she was there in a recorded phone call with her dad, her dad told her to shut up very fast and not to talk to anyone. or write anything down. this was entered as evidence. she confessed to being there and heard meredith scream.
    2 confessions she was there. thats pretty good evidence she was there

    October 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bayousara

    Amanda and her boyfriend weren't even there. The guy already in jail was quite capable of killing this woman singlehandedly. It happens all the time. Remember the Kansas guy "BTK?" He was a one-man killilng/raping/torturing machine and he isn't that big of a guy. Flash a weapon like that knife, that is all it takes to subdue a woman. If there was so much blood at the scene, no one could clean it all up and not leave a trace! Amanda's past doesn't indicate being a murderer or anything else. She hardly dated in school, just worked many jobs to earn money for travel and school.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      it was already proved that more then one person killed meredith. there was no possibility one person did it. she was strong atheletic played football, practiced KARATE, yet there was not one defensive wound on her. which means she was motionless the whole time. some of the wounds and things would of required the attacker to use two hands, and just holding the knife would left her able to defend her self.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
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