Italy's highest court overturns Amanda Knox murder conviction

RAW VIDEO: Amanda Knox issues statement after Italy’s highest court overturns murder conviction
Italy's highest court has overturned  Amanda Knox's murder conviction, as well as the conviction of her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.

ROME — Italy's top criminal court  took up the appeal again Friday  in the brutal 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate.

Lawyers for Sollecito  made a final appeal to Italy's top criminal court, urging it to overturn the pair's murder conviction, saying there were errors of "colossal proportions" in the guilty verdicts.

Content Continues Below

Attorney Giulia Bongiorno dissected the 2014 Florence appeals court decision to show what she said were numerous errors of fact and logic that resulted in prison sentences of 28 1/2 years for Knox and 25 years for Sollecito in the death of student Meredith Kercher.

Judges at the high Court of Cassation began deliberating shortly after noon while Knox awaited the decision at home in Seattle.

In her closing arguments, Bongiorno said even Knox's original statement to police — which was never entered as evidence and was later changed — exonerated her client.

Knox released a statement Friday in regards to the decision:

I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy. The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal. And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends, and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.

Knox's family also released a statement:

We want to express our profound gratitude to all of those who have supported Amanda and our family. Countless people - from world-renowned DNA experts, to former FBI agents, to everyday citizens committed to justice - have spoken about her innocence. We are thrilled with and grateful for today's decision from the Supreme Court of Italy. And we are grateful beyond measure for all that so many of you have done for her.

Knox, who along with Kercher had been studying in the university town of Perugia, had initially accused a Congolese bar owner of the murder. She also told investigators that she was home the night that Kercher was killed and had to cover her ears to drown out her screams.

Bongiorno said she believed Knox's statement was coerced — but that even if the high court chooses to consider it, Sollecito figures nowhere in her story.

"My heart is crying because I think she was pressured by an intermediary," Bongiorno said, apparently referring to the person who served as Knox's unofficial translator during police questioning. But within that statement, Bongiorno added, Knox "rules out Sollecito."

Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Britain, was found dead Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment that she shared with Knox and two other students. Her throat was slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.

Knox and Sollecito were arrested a few days later. They both have maintained their innocence.

Initially Sollecito said he was working on his computer all night, and that he couldn't remember if Knox had stayed the whole night with him. Police said there was no sign he used the computer that night.

The couple later said they had spent the evening together at Sollecito's place watching a movie, smoking marijuana and making love.

Knox said her initial statement was forced under duress during late-night questioning by Italian police without a lawyer present and in a language she barely spoke. Her false accusation against Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, who owned the bar where Knox occasionally worked, resulted in a slander conviction against Knox that has been upheld on appeal.