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. panthro23

    Please Haters in Europe, we Americans would like our privacy after going through this terrible ordeal with Amanda and fighting the anti American statements and comments.... to recover and celebrate this just conclusion.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • f11

      keep fighting so lolol

      October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trudy

    I am overjoyed for Amanda and Raphaele! You were innocent and I'm so glad you get a second chance. Welcome home!

    October 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. relieved

    I understand the need to – make people pay for terrible crimes- however I am glad some discretion and wisdom was used here. it much worse to make a person suffer for the rest of there lives when they are innocent, then to let them go
    if they are guilty. Life is full of trespasses and wrong doings- and have to come to terms with them and heal and move on. It's better than living in a place, where you can be scooped up and put away by the all mighty state- and can't be escape the situation. people who committ terrible crimes, will pay whether they are inprisoned or not- laws of nature and morality work that way- regardless of what the states decides.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |

    Is it innocent till proven guilty under italian law?

    October 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    Only 1 fact mattered all along. There was NO trace of Knox' or Sollecito's DNA ANYWHERE in Meredith Kerchers room. Only the DNA of Guede, and that was everywhere. How dumb or driven is the Italian justice system?

    October 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big5perm

      Extremely! Corrupt and unjust. Prejudice and filthy.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Craig

    Amanda was very good at playing innocent I wish her the worst life possible

    October 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • M Coenen

      Based on what made her guilty? Her eyes? Her tears? That's no proof of any crime. What are the facts that you use to say she did it?

      October 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane F

      Well Amanda, you're lucky to be tried for murder (and found originally gulity) in Italy. In the United States,

      October 3, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane F

      Well Amanda, you're lucky to be tried for murder (and found originally gulity) in Italy. In the United States, you'd go to the chair. So for all those people bleating about the 'Italian justice system' and how 'unfair' it is, think again. I still think Amanda knows alot more than she is telling; accordingly I think she is guilty to some degree; she was involved in this murder

      October 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Junebug

      Well, if anyone knows she's guilty, it's you.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Morrison

      Yes – another sick killer back on the street. Proof positive that you can admit to being there as the crime was committed, change your story many many times, attempt to frame an innocent man, and STILL walk. It shows you the real power of a million dollar PR campaign. Money will buy your innocence, if you've got enough of it.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • John777

      What evidence are you basing your claim of guilt? The murder weapon did not have blood on it but it did have vegtables on it. The bra clasp was found six weeks after the murder. The bloody footprint was not even close to knox or her boyfriend. People love to think with their gut instincts, unfortunately they're gut insticts are often wrong.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      What evidence is there to support your conclusion? The court didn't think there was enough. You are a sour person to wish ill on anyone.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • B. Cicirelli

      I agree w/u 100%; this girl & her 'boyfriend' are guilty as sin - anyone who followed the case from the beginning could not help but conclude their guilt. How do these monsters get away w/these horrific crimes? I feel so sorry 4 Meredith Kercher's family. What a shame. B. Cicirelli (How 'wonderful' 2 know Amanda Knox is returning 2 America, NOT!)

      October 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caesar

      Craig, you are one sick individual that I hope gets help. Thankfully justice prevailed and Amanda and boyfriend are free. The true killer is still in prison. The killer's DNA was all over the room as well as on and inside the poor victim's body. The only way that Amanda and friend could have been involved was to have worn biohazard suits and also cleaned up only traces left by them and leaving the true killers behind. Um, I don't think that is possible even with the most sophisticated of killers out there. The so called evidence was contaminated. The trace of DNA on knife blade was reported as a starch most likely from rye bread. The Italian prosecuter is good at one thing, having a vivid imagination, and that should be kept to writig books, not ruining innocent lives.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cecilia

    Now there should more investigation on Rudy Guede.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    She's an American so she must be innocent.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh ref!

      Sorry Mike you do not get a pass for the ignorance in your comment.... Even as a non-American, your tasteless comment deserves censure

      October 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • MelB

      Wow ~ your certainly have issues!

      October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    Good I believe Casey Anthony is innocent anyways. I just never understood why people are flaming her too.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wanda

    Thank God!! I am very happy for her and her whole family. They have suffered enough and hopefully when they get back to the states she can have a somewhat normal life. If anyone deserves some peace, it is her and her family. I would never set foot back over to a country that is so bound and determine to put someone away just to save face and not to admit that a mistake was made. If it happened once, it can happen again. God bless the Knox family!!

    October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan Calloway

      Then you should never come to America. ex: Troy Davis

      October 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MaRiNeMoM101

    I disagree with all these people saying it is all about race. They were wrongly convicted and had no evidence against them. But they did have evidence against Guede. Amanda is free!!

    October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Amalina

    My god are you people not reading what happened. They didin't do it Gede already confessed and his DNA is all over the place. Gede's DNA is in Kercher on top of her around her and around the apartment and the murder weapon. Plus he's a thief and likes to rob people at knife point. He likes knives..people get a life and read the facts. Amanda and Raffaele are INNOCENT! You simply cannot convict someone because of the way they look and the prosecution stating she is a "shedevil" come on! You cant judge a book by its cover.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Vince

    Great...can't wait until her book comes out!

    October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Toni

    Finally .... the truth comes out. She isn't guilty ... never ever thought she was. No DNA ... a witness who is a herion addict who has testified at two other trials for money ... now there's a reliable witness! No motive, no evidence, goodness, what do you people who say she's guilty need to see before you realize she is INNOCENT?? Thank you God for the jury doing the right thing ...............

    October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JimL

    I do wish Wolf Blitzer would be quiet while members of the family and attorneys are speaking. I used to be in television and did live coverage. I know it's hard. But sometimes the easiest thing to do is just shut up and let the action tell the story.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
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