Shelby: After four years behind bars in Italy, twenty-four-year-old Amanda Knox is now free to return home to the U.S.
“Both are acquitted…”
Shelby: The world watched as an Italian judge cleared Knox of the murder of her roommate. It was an emotional moment for the American student and her family. It was also the end of a long legal battle that has drawn a lot of international attention.
In 2009, Knox was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison. The sentence triggered a media frenzy and ignited a debate about whether or not she was guilty. But Knox appealed and insisted she was innocent. The appeal hearing came to an end yesterday as Knox made an emotional plea to the jury. Holding back tears and speaking fluent Italian, she begged them to set her free. The jury also set another man free, Knox’s former boyfriend, who was also convicted of murder.
Knox’s murder trial drew a lot of attention and criticism worldwide because of the way the Italian justice system works. That is because Italy has something called an inquisitorial judicial system, and unlike in the U.S., the judge is ultimately responsible for deciding what the truth is and what charges should be brought.
Some say this led to a major flaw in the Knox trial. When questionable DNA evidence was presented to the court in 2009, the judge did not challenge or dismiss it. Later, independent experts testified that the DNA evidence was unreliable and possibly tainted, giving Knox’s case a big boost.
“We’re thankful this nightmare is over.”
Shelby: As for Knox and her family, it has been a long journey, but one that will end with Knox back in the U.S. a free woman.
Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.