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Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned today, free from prison

The case of American foreign exchange student Amanda Knox took an exhilarating turn today for her family and many supporters when an appeals panel overturned her murder conviction. Knox was convicted after a yearlong trial in 2009 of murdering her roommate while they were exchange students in Perugia, Italy.

The rape and brutal murder of Meredith Kercher occurred in the fall of 2007. Knox was convicted of the murder as were Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, a drifter from the Ivory Coast. Guede remains in jail, but Sollecito's conviction was also overturned today.

Knox has been appealing her conviction for the last ten months. She was under extreme stress today waiting for the moment when she would find out whether she would be released or spend many more years in jail.

The appeals panel agreed that the evidence in the case was flimsy and unreliable in many aspects. The DNA evidence used in the convictions has been shown to be scant and unconvincing. 

Knox had confessed that she had been in the apartment she shared with Kercher and had heard her scream on the night that she died, but the confession was retracted and said to be false. Knox had been interrogated by Italian police all night long while she was scared and following the news of her friend's murder. The police did not provide her with an attorney or with an English interpreter and Knox did not speak more than basic Italian at that time.

After four years in jail, she now speaks fluent Italian and appealed to the appeals panel in Italian. Her personal appeal and the other factors that have come to light since the conviction worked in her favor. She will now return with her family to Seattle.

Source: The Telegraph, "Amanda Knox: Guilty or innocent, five reasons why," Nick Squires, Oct. 3, 2011

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