Amanda Knox, the American college student convicted two years ago of the 2007 sexual assault and murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher, has had her conviction overturned by an Italian appeals court and her release has been ordered by the presiding judge. This acquittal frees Knox to leave the country on her own accord, even though the court's verdict will almost certainly be appealed to Italy's highest court.
The court's announcement came in the midst of a media circus of Italian OJ Simpson-like proportions. Hundreds of rubberneckers lined the streets. Media vans jammed local roadways, and a hundred reporters crowded into the courtroom before the verdict was announced live. Throughout the course of the trial, the Italian media speculated about Knox's sexual proclivities, and at one point an attorney called her a "satanic, diabolical she-devil." Stateside, hopeful supporters of Knox in her hometown of Seattle gathered to watch the live announcement.