Posted at 03:53 PM ET, 10/03/2011

Amanda Knox acquitted, judge orders immediate release (live video)

(Skip to video of the verdict here and live updates here.)

The court has overturned Amanda Knox’s murder conviction and ordered her immediately released from prison.

The verdict was announced at 3:50 p.m. Eastern.


Amanda Knox cries after hearing the verdict as she is led out of the court. (Image via YouTube)
Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty in 2009 of the 2007 sexual assault and stabbing of student Meredith Kercher.

Knox, who broke into tears when the verdict was read, was swiftly removed from the courtroom along with Sollecito. Her family hugged and celebrated upon hearing the news. Knox and Sollecito will return to prison to pick up their things and then be free to leave.

Watch Knox’s reaction to the verdict:

Knox’s sister reacted to the verdict outside the courtroom, thanking the lawyers and people all over the world who followed the case:

While the court overturned Knox’s murder conviction, it upheld the conviction of defamation charges, which Knox received for accusing club owner Patrick Lumumba of killing Kercher.

Earlier Monday, in a final plea for her life, Amanda Knox tearfully told an Italian appeals court that she did not kill her British roommate and asked them to free her so she could return to the U.S. after four years behind bars.

During the 10-minute address, Knox spoke in Italian to the six members of the jury and two judges in the packed, 14th-century courtroom in Perugia.

“I've lost a friend in the worst, most brutal, most inexplicable way possible,” Knox said, struggling to maintain her composure as she spoke about the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher. “I'm paying with my life for things that I didn’t do.”

Watch the video of Knox from inside the courtroom:

Knox and Sollecito had repeatedly declared their innocence.

“I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there at the crime,” Knox has said.

“I never hurt anyone, never in my life,” Sollecito echoed Monday.

The family of Meredith Kercher was in court when the highly anticipated verdict was announced this afternoon.

Watch a live broadcast of the verdict from outside the courtroom:

Follow live updates, via Storyful, below:

By  |  03:53 PM ET, 10/03/2011

Tags:  World, Amanda Knox, crime, Meredith Kercher, murder trial, Italy

 
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