- (Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)
Amanda Knox has been acquitted of murdering Meredith Kercher, her British roommate, Monday. A jury of six, along with two judges, overturned Knox’s 26-year jail sentence for the 2007 murder. The appeals court ruled that the 24-year-old was free to leave Capanne prison, after serving four years after being convicted of the murder in the original trial.
Knox has overcome a tremendous hurdle today, but mental health experts say she still has a long road ahead of her.
"She still has had a horrific experience and her sense of trust in police and in people is gone," said Ann Rosen Spector, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University, ABC News reported. "Some people may still believe she did it and will treat her differently. Her name is well-known.”
Spector, a clinical psychologist who specializes in depression, stress, and anxiety issues, said, “It will take time to get back to normal. She lost four years of her life.”
Amanda Knox had tearfully pled her innocence in the murder Kercher earlier today.
“I am innocent,” Knox declared. “I have paid with my life for things I did not commit.”
She added, “I did not kill, I did not rape, I did not steal. I was not there at the time."
Knox stressed that she was not the person prosecutors painted her to be.
"I am not who they say I am, the perversion, the violence, the lack of respect for life, and I did not do the things they say I did,” Knox stated.
Amanda Knox was found guilty in 2009 for the murder of Meredith Kercher, who was killed during a drug-influenced sex game that went awry. Knox’s Italian boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, was also jailed for his involvement in Kercher’s death.
Knox’s attorneys argued that the DNA evidence against the 24-year-old is highly flawed, following a forensics review which cast a shadow of doubt on the traces of DNA found on a kitchen knife and Kercher’s bra clasp.
“If you have any doubt about the DNA evidence, you must set her free,” Knox’s lawyers urged the judges and six jurors last week.
“I want to go back home,” Knox addressed the court in Italian. “I want to go back to my life. I do not want my life taken away for something that I did not do because I am innocent.”
Knox and Sollecito arrived in court around 9:30 p.m. local time Monday to hear their verdict. Both Knox and Sollecito have been acquitted of the murder charges.