College Student Amanda Knox Returns to US

Posted October 4th, 2011 at 9:00 pm (UTC-5)
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American college student Amanda Knox has returned to the United States as a free woman, one day after an appeals court in Perugia, Italy overturned her conviction for murder in the death of her roommate.

A British Airways plane carrying the 24-year-old Knox and her family landed Tuesday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Washington. At a news conference at the airport, Knox said she was “really overwhelmed right now” and thanked her family as well as those who believed in and defended her. Knox also said her family was most important to her right now.

The prosecution in the case has voiced disbelief over the controversial ruling and vowed to appeal the verdict to Italy's highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation.

Knox was appealing her 26-year prison sentence on charges of murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. A court-appointed independent forensic expert said the DNA used to convict Knox was unreliable and possibly contaminated by police.

Knox's former Italian boyfriend and co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, also was exonerated and freed from prison.

The verdict also stunned the disappointed Kercher's family members, who said they are still trying to absorb the decision. They say the search for Kercher's killer will go on.

A third suspect, former drug dealer Rudy Guede, was given a 30-year prison sentence, which has since been reduced to 16 years. Guede also has pleaded innocent but was not part of Monday's court decision.