Italy appeals court clears Amanda Knox of murder

  • Amanda Knox talks with her lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova upon arrival for an appeal hearing at the Perugia court, central Italy, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. A tearful Amanda Knox has told an appeals court in Italy that accusations that she killed her British roommate are unfair and groundless. Knox fought back tears as she addressed the court Monday, minutes before the jury went into deliberations to decide whether to uphold her murder conviction. A verdict is expected later in the day. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

PERUGIA, Italy — An Italian appeals court threw out Amanda Knox's murder conviction Monday and ordered the young American freed, a stunning reversal four years after she was jailed for the death of her British roommate.

Knox, 24, collapsed in tears after the verdict overturning her 2009 conviction was read out, her lawyers draping their arms around her in support. Her co-defendant, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, also was cleared of killing 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in 2007.

It wasn't clear how soon Knox could leave Italy but nothing in Italian law would prevent her from returning home, even if prosecutors appeal the acquittal to Italy's highest court, legal experts say.

One of Knox's lawyers, Carlo della Vedova, said he didn't know when Knox would leave Italy. Knox had an outdated passport that had to be renewed, but it's not clear how quickly that could be done or if the paperwork was already completed.

The eight-member jury acquitted both Knox and Sollecito of murder after a court-ordered review of the DNA evidence cast serious doubts over the main DNA evidence linking the two to the crime.

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