Seven and a half years after her implication in the stabbing death of Meredith Kercher—a 21-year-old Briton studying in Perugia, Italy—turned Amanda Knox into an international media sensation, her long, lurid, public saga is finally over. On Friday, Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation overturned the conviction of Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her then-boyfriend, in a decision that surprised both the prosecution and defense. The verdict concluded a wrenching judicial seesaw for the two defendants, who were first found guilty in 2009, then freed in 2011, and found guilty by a separate court last January.
In a statement released through her attorney, Knox expressed elation and vowed to put the ordeal behind her.
"I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy," she said. "The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal."
The discovery of Kercher's dead body on the morning of November 2, 2007, began a story whose tawdry details—and the ineptitude of the Italian justice system—overshadowed the crime itself. Much of this attention focused on Knox, who shared an apartment with Kercher and two Italian women. Described as intelligent but naive by her stepfather, Knox's behavior in the immediate aftermath of her arrest elicited widespread scorn. Photographers spotted Knox and Sollecito kissing while police investigated the crime scene. Later, she engaged in calisthenics while under questioning by the police. Knox tried to defend herself against her critics by explaining that she was under considerable shock and distress. But her behavior conveyed a sense that she was, as The Atlantic's Olga Khazan wrote last year, too "loose and bouncy" for a woman whose roommate had just been murdered.