Knox Departs Italy a Free Woman
Published: October 5, 2011 (Issue # 1677)
PERUGIA, Italy — Amanda Knox headed home to the United States a free woman Tuesday, the morning after an Italian appeals court dramatically overturned the American student’s conviction of sexually assaulting and brutally slaying her British roommate.
Back in Perugia, the family of slain British student Meredith Kercher remained stunned by the verdict and searching for answers.
Lyle Kercher, the victim’s brother, said the family has been left to wonder who is guilty in the 21-year-old Kercher’s death after the release of Knox and her one time boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito on appeal. A third man has been convicted in the brutal slaying, but his trial concluded he did not act alone.
“If the two released yesterday were not the guilty parties, we are obviously left to wonder who is the other guilty person or people. We are left back at square one,” Lyle Kercher said.
Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini expressed disbelief at the verdict, and vowed an appeal to Italy’s highest criminal court.
“Let’s wait and we will see who was right. The first court or the appeal court,” Mignini told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
“This trial was done under unacceptable media pressure. The decision was almost already announced; this is not normal,” he said.
Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher, a 21-year-old British student who shared an apartment with Knox in Perugia. Knox was convicted to 26 years, Sollecito to 25. Both had been in prison since Nov. 6, 2007, four days after Kercher’s body was found at the apartment.
But the prosecution’s case was blown apart by a court-ordered DNA review that discredited crucial genetic evidence.
On Tuesday, Knox thanked those Italians “who shared my suffering and helped me survive with hope,” in a letter to the foundation.
“Those who wrote, those who defended me, those who were close, those who prayed for me,” Knox wrote.
Sollecito, meanwhile, arrived back home near the southern Italian city of Bari before dawn on Tuesday. He was quoted by Italian news agencies on Monday night as saying he was looking forward to seeing the sea, but he declined to make any appearances after reaching home.
Prosecutors said they would appeal to the nation’s highest criminal court, after reading the court’s reasoning due out within 90 days.