A nearly eight-year ordeal for American Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito came to a stunning end Friday as Italy’s highest court reversed the pair’s convictions from an appellate court, effectively finding them both innocent of murder.
The two were originally charged with the 2007 murder of Ms. Knox’s 21-year-old British roommate, Meredith Kercher, after she was brutally stabbed 47 times in her Perugia apartment. The case became an international legal soap opera.
Ms. Knox, now 27, attended the trial in absentia, having been freed in 2011 from a four-year stint in an Italian jail after an appellate court reversed her earlier 2009 trial court conviction. Following a prosecutorial appeal, her acquittal was reversed in 2013.
That acquittal has now been restored by Italy’s highest court.
During final arguments, Mr. Sollecito’s attorney said last year’s ruling in Florence was problematic, reciting numerous holes in the prosecution case related to the number of stab wounds inflicted on Kercher’s neck and a bloody footprint that was initially described as belonging to a woman, when it actually belonged to a man.
“This is just a small taste of the mistakes that mean this verdict was a miscarriage of justice,” defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said.
Ms. Knox’s acquittal marks the fourth and final ruling from three different Italian courts — the trial court, an appellate court that ruled twice on the matter, and the Supreme Court of Cassation, successively.
Her legal battle began in Perugia, Italy, when she and Mr. Sollecito were jailed in 2007 shortly after the murder of Kerchner, her British flat-mate. Kerchner was sexually assaulted and brutally stabbed in the bedroom of her rental home. Her throat was also slashed.
The Italian high court’s decision also sidesteps what could have been a delicate extradition battle for the Obama administration.