Italy's highest court has thrown out Amanda Knox's 2009 murder conviction, meaning the now 27-year-old will not have to stand a third trail for the 2007 murder of her British roommate.
In a short statement released after the ruling was announced, Knox thanked her supporters, both those she knew and those she has never met. "I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy. The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal."
Knox's family also thanked those who "have spoken about her innocence" in a separate statement."We are thrilled with and grateful for today's decision from the Supreme Court of Italy. And we are grateful beyond measure for all that so many of you have done for her."
Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito were originally convicted in 2009 for the murder of Knox’s British roommate, Meredith Kercher, and both served four years in an Italian prison. That conviction was overturned on appeal in 2011, freeing the pair. The acquittal was then thrown out in 2013. Last year, a second trial upheld Knox and Sollecito’s original murder convictions, sentencing Knox to 28 ½ years and Sollecito to 25 years. Both then appealed the decision to Italian's highest court.
Several other outcomes were possible from today's hearing, including a confirmation of the 2014 guilty verdict or the ordering of a third trial. This latest acquittal means the end to the saga that has captivated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Meredith Kercher was found dead on November 2nd, 2007 in the apartment she and Knox shared in the Italian university town of Perugia. Kercher's body was found in a pool of blood, her throat had been slashed and she had been sexually assaulted. Prosecutors alleged Knox and Sollecito acted in concert with Rudy Guede who is currently serving a 16-year sentence for his role in the murder.
The case attracted international attention, spawning countless lurid headlines about drug-fueled sex games gone wrong. It has been covered intensively by British tabloids, which tend to portray Knox as a twisted seducer with a deceptively innocent appearance. A picture of Knox and Sollecito cuddling near the crime scene — an apartment the once University of Washington student shared with Kercher — and shopping for underwear shortly after the murder added fuel to the fire.
After her release in 2011, Knox returned to the United States and currently resides in Seattle Washington and works as a freelance journalist for the West Seattle Herald. She is recently engaged to someone she has known since middle school, and has stated in several interviews she will never return to Italy willingly. Knox has always maintained her innocence and both her and Sollecito wrote books about their ordeals.