The Perugia court hearing Amanda Knox ‘s appeal of her conviction for murdering roommate Meredith Kercher four years ago issued its verdict today: Amanda Knox is free, her murder conviction and 26-year sentence reversed. Her co-defendant Rafaelle Sollecito was also freed by today’s decision.
Knox was found guilty of false accusation against Patrick Lumumba and sentenced three years and required to pay 22,000 euros. She has already served more than three years so will be allowed to leave the country immediately.
The DNA evidence that was the cornerstone of the prosecution’s case was discredited during the appeal by court-appointed experts.
Freedom for Knox is bittersweet as evident from her closing plea to the court.
“I’ve lost a friend in the worst, most brutal, most inexplicable way possible,” she said. “I’m paying with my life for things that I didn’t do.”
Winning her appeal will not erase the trauma of her experience. Nor will it make up for the time she lost. What did Knox miss during her four years in jail?
* Four birthdays. Her family plans to celebrate every one.
* Acquiring the freedoms that come with legal adulthood. Knox passed her 21st birthday behind bars and has been there for three years since.
* Completing her education and graduating from college. Members of her class who went on to graduate school would have completed their studies this year.
* The dynamic 2008 election and the Obama presidency.
* The emergence of the Tea Party as a political force in the United States.
* At the movies: the final three Harry Potter movies, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” Parts 1 and 2; she missed all three movies in the “Twilight” series; “Inception;” Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland;” “TRON: Legacy;” “Julie and Julia”; “The Princess and the Frog;” “Avatar;” “Up;” “The Dark Knight;” “Iron Man;” “Slumdog Millionaire;” and many more.
* On TV: “The Sarah Jane Adventures,” “Greek,” “Chuck,” “Mad Men,” “Glee,” “Running Wilde,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Person of Interest,” “Terra Nova,” “Modern Family,” “Cougar Town,” “The Mentalist,” “True Blood,” “Life on Mars,” “Hellcats,” “Nikita,” “Hawaii 5-0,” “Raising Hope,” “My Generation,” and “Outsourced.”
Knox will return home to an experience void. Undoubtedly some of her friends at home will have changed considerably during her absence, perhaps gotten engaged or married, or moved from one relationship to another, from one job to another, one school to another. They will have met new friends and made new connections while Knox’s life stagnated. They will have shared a common cultural experience as they watched the news, went to movies, and lived through the four years she withered in jail. Amanda Knox will be playing catch-up for a long time.