PERUGIA, Italy, Oct. 4 (UPI) — Amanda Knox landed in Seattle Tuesday on her first day of freedom in four years, after an Italian court overturned her conviction in the murder of her roommate.
Speaking briefly to reporters and onlookers at Sea-Tac Airport, Knox said she was “really overwhelmed right now. I was looking down from the airplane and it seemed like everything wasn’t real.”
“Thank you to everyone who’s believed in me, who’s defended me and who has supported my family,” she said. “My family is the most important thing to me right now and I just want to go be with them.”
Witnesses in the Fiumicino Airport, where Knox and her family were preparing to board a flight for London then on to her home in Seattle, said she looked “very tired, worn out,” Italian news agency ANSA reported.
An Italian appeals court Monday tossed the murder convictions of Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and their respective 26- and 25-year sentences in the 2007 slaying of Knox’s British roommate, Meredith Kercher.
Before leaving, Knox left a letter with an Italian-American association that supported her court battle to prove her innocence and thanked her Italian supporters.
“There were Italians who held my hand and offered me support and respect across the barriers and controversies,” she told the association in the letter. “There were Italians who wrote to me, defended me, sympathized with me, prayed for me.”
“I will always be grateful to you. I love you. Amanda,” Knox said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by ANSA.
Prosecutors said they will appeal the decision.
Knox and Sollecito successfully appealed their convictions, challenging the original DNA findings as unreliable.
Sollecito was home in Puglia Tuesday.
A third person, Rudy Guede of Ivory Coast, was convicted of murder and sentenced. Observers told ANSA Guede may seek a retrial based on Monday’s decisions for Knox and Sollecito.
In a statement Tuesday, Kercher’s family repeated their confidence in the Italian justice system and appealed to those “who are the other people responsible” for Kercher’s death in 2007.
“Our family is not interested in seeing Amanda or Raffaele in jail, or anyone else who has shown they aren’t guilty,” the statement said. “But there’s still the question mark over who else [committed the murder] as well as Rudy.”
Kercher’s brother, Lyle, said the family believes they’re “to square one” in trying to determine what happened, CNN reported.
He said the Kerchers are cool to any reaching out by the Knox family since another appeal remains.
Knox and Kercher were students at a university for foreign students in Perugia when Kercher’s semi-nude body was found stabbed and her throat slit in the house they shared.
When the appeal reaches Italy’s High Court, the hearing likely would be brief and focus on key technical issues and arguments, not a review of the actual trial itself, said Nicola De Mario, a law professor at Luiss University in Rome.
The appeals court upheld Knox’s conviction on a slander charge for accusing bar owner Diya Lumumba, who goes by the name Patrick, of committing the murder. The court set the sentence for that conviction at three years — meaning time served — and a $29,000 fine.