By: Courtney Harrington
On November 2, 2007, Meredith Kercher’s body was found in her bedroom inPerugia,Italy. Four days later, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were arrested and accused of Kercher’s murder. Knox, a 24-year-old fromSeattle,Washington, was Kercher’s roommate and Sollecito was Knox’s former boyfriend during the time of the crime. Prosecutors claimed to have found Knox’s DNA on the handle of a kitchen knife and Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade. Sollecito’s DNA was also found at the crime scene on the clasp of the victim’s bra.
When it came time for the pair’s trial, they begged the jury to set them free. They pleaded not guilty of such a crime. “I’m not violent. I have not killed, I have not raped, I was not there, I was not present,” Knox stated while holding back tears. “I want to go home, I want to go back to my life, I don’t want to be punished and have my life taken away from me for something I have not done, because I am innocent.” While Knox was speaking to the jury one last time, one of the jurors was holding back tears herself. Then when it came time for Sollecito to confront the court, all he had to say was, “I never hurt anyone. I have been in this nightmare and never, ever woken from it.” When he brought his speech to a close, he showed the jury a bracelet he was wearing that said “Free Amanda and Raffaele,” proceeding to claim he wanted this all to be in the past.
After four years behind bars, Knox and Sollecito were acquitted this past Monday. The jury decided that the two did not commit the crime, however, the family of the victim was disappointed with the verdict. “We respect the decision of the judges, but we do not understand how the decision of the first trial could be so radically overturned. We still trust the Italian justice system and hope that the truth will eventually emerge,” Kercher’s family expressed. Originally, Knox and Sollecito were sentenced to 25-26 years in prison. However, in 2009 the jury weighted whether or not the verdict would stand, be dismissed or altered. The conviction was soon after altered.
When Knox left the courthouse Monday morning, hundreds of followers of the case greeted her with a chant “Shame, shame!” She was said to have made her way to a convoy. Knox’s plan was to leaveItalyand return to theUnited Statesthis past Tuesday. With the media in Knox’s personal life after returning to theUnited States, what will be next for the newly found innocent American?