An appeals court in Perugia, Italy on Monday acquitted former University of Washington student Amanda Knox of murder and ordered that she be set free after spending the past four years in prison.
In an appeal to the court earlier Monday, Knox, from Seattle, had insisted she was innocent of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, and asked that she be set free to resume her life. She collapsed in tears as the verdict was read.
"We are thankful that Amanda's nightmare is over," Knox's family said in a statement, read outside the court by one of Amanda's sisters. They also expressed thanks for support Amanda received "from all over the world."
The judge upheld Knox's conviction on a slander charge for accusing bar owner Diya "Patrick" Lumumba of the killing, but sentenced her to three years and resitution, meaning time served. She was also acquitted of charges of sexual assault, burglary and theft.
King County Executive Dow Constantine soon afterward applauded the verdict.
"Today’s acquittal is a dramatic vindication for Amanda and her family and friends here in West Seattle. I cannot be more pleased at this emotional outcome in the Italian court. Her family has been unrelenting in their pursuit of justice. After so much agony, their four-year ordeal can now come to an end."
For more of the story, see this Associated Press account in the Seattle Times.