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. Hasher Iva

    Amanda, get your passport and get on the first plane, train automobile out of Italy! Then get back to the US and behave yoursefl.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • MsKira

      Yea no more disorderly conduct arrest or murder charges... that shouldn't be too hard.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Katrice

    More INNOCENT Americans are freed. Been a good couple of weeks. Italy and Iran did the right thing FINALLY.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. misslala1983

    Her family is in deep debt from support her and lawyers. I honestly don't believe she or her boyfriend did it. I think they were easy to accuse, because Knox lived in the house. But of course her DNA would be all over, She live in the house. The police were to focus on trying to make her fix the crime and not busy enough on letting the evidence lead them. Two different Judges and a jury listen to the story and felt that mistakes were made. The man who got 16 years is the one who commit the murder.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Doug

    She obviously did it. You all have selective memory and you're basing your judgment on your own pathetically biased media. Nobody outside of the US would trust US news and neither should you.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peggy

      What is so obvious? What was her motive? What was the concrete proof? Oh right there WASN'T andy Makes a good story though eh Doug.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gre

      Crawl back under your rock. You have no facts, just a repugnant opinion.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Obviously did it? What evidence do you have to support such a infallible statement? Why did you not submit whatever evidence you seem to have that anyone directly involved in the case didn't know? The only thing that is obvious is people like you that jump to conclusions based on your own personal opinion in a ignorant fashion.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • M Coenen

      If there was proof she did it, the court would have said so. There was no proof, so what you believe isn't the issue.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Apple

      A convicted thief and crackhead left his DNA all over the room and inside the victim, he acted alone and had already been arrested for numerous break ins when the crime occurred. The prosecutor had already arrested the kids BEFORE finding out that the evidence proofed the crackhead Guedde committed the crime. At that point instead of letting the kids go the prosecutor fabricated a wild story of witchcraft to put them all in the same room, and the police wiped the kids' computer so that the evidence of them being connected to the internet miles away at the time of the crime would be lost.

      The original verdict was fueled by ignorant lies. Ignorance and stupidity may win in the short term, but truth will always out.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michelle

    She was proven innocent from two separate independent investigations, the DNA did not match her or her boyfriend. People who think she is guilty get your facts straight!!!! The person who is responsible for the murder is already convicted and in prison and didn't win in his appeal case. They have justice for Meridith Kercher, her killer is in prison, stop trying to convict someone else who it proves by DNA, didn't kill Meridith.

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

    I am so happy that justice was served in this courtroom today. I pray that Amanda and her Mr Sollecito realize the gift that they've been given today and take full advantage of it.

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

    Welcome home Amanda!

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

    Now she can go on talk shows and become a millionaire..

    October 3, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gre

      You think she would rather not have those four years back. So what, mr cynical bob. you want to change places.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rrock

    Why does the news insist on talking about what people are wearing or their expressions or what they ate for breakfast. This is irrelevant garbage. Where are the facts of the case?

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

    Congrats Amanda!

    October 3, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. M Coenen

    It's not about what we believe who is guilty or not, what we think is proof or is not. It's the law, and the court stated that Amanda Knox was not guilty. Period, we can all cheer or object, but the court made a decision based on the facts, the proof that was presented and that's it. If there is no good solid proof she did it, she is not guilty. Maybe it was someone else, maybe she was. We can't know, we were not there.

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

    Different jurisdictions have processes very different from the American justice system. In many countries, there is no such thing as innocent until proven guilty. This is something to keep in mind if you are an American abroad. The test of any system is procedure relative to that country's law. In this particular case, the question isn't whether or not she was guilty, but rather whether or not the police and prosecutor's office did their jobs correctly. It was immediately apparent that they did not. Furthermore, the actions of the judge and the original jury were not consistent with a Italy's own expectations of a fair trial. The verdict in this case was not so much a confirmation of innocence, but rather a condemnation of the Italian legal system.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • shivermetimbers

      agreed. travelers should be informed

      October 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    A sociopath par excellence just got away with murdering an innocent young girl. Great...

    October 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • M Coenen

      You must have proof as you say she did it. So what is the proof? You don't have any I guess so you're only pointing your finger without knowing any facts about the crime. What made her guilty? Based on what? Stick to the facts instead of talking rubbish.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Facts

      Chris, did you know that the evidence proved a drifter and crackhead who'd been on a crime spree left his DNA all over the victim and the crime scene, including his blood handprint? Did you know that Guedde was friends with Kerchner's downstairs neighbors? DId you even know the victims name, Chris? If you know the first simple facts of the case then you would know there is no way anyone but Guedde did the crime. That is why the verdict was overturned. Educate yourself before you run your mouth online.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gre

    finally a just verdict, and the defamation was probably the result of a forced confession. This prosecutor should be replaced by the citizens of perugia. What a near tragic result. No DNA, no evidence of their participation. A four year mistake by the Italian justice system.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Facts

      So true, it stinks that Amanda will have to pay defamation charges; those charges should be paid by the original prosecutor who lied in order to get a more sensational trial.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Peggy

    Let's thank the appeals court and the lawyers of these two young people. A horrible crime was committed but not by them.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
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