Amanda Knox murder conviction thrown out - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Amanda Knox murder conviction thrown out

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PERUGIA, Italy -- An Italian appeals court has thrown out Amanda Knox's murder conviction and ordered the young American free after nearly four years in prison for the death of her British roommate.

Knox collapsed in tears after the verdict was read out. She will be heading back to Seattle Monday.

In its ruling, the court also cleared Knox's co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, of murder.

The Kercher family looked on grimly as the verdict was read out by the judge after 11 hours of deliberations by the eight-member jury. Outside the courthouse, some of the hundreds of observers shouted "Shame, shame!"

Amanda Knox has said she just wants to go home, restart her life and "win back her happiness," according to a friend who accompanied her as she left prison.

Corrado Maria Daclon, the secretary general of a foundation that has championed Knox's cause, drove with Knox as she left Perugia's Campanne prison after an appeals court overturned her 2009 conviction for the sexual assault and stabbing death of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.

Daclon quoted Knox as telling him as she left prison that she just "wanted to go home, reconnect with her family, take possession of her life and win back her happiness."

Italian lawmaker Rocco Girlanda, who is close to the American, says she and her family will leave Italy on Tuesday aboard a commercial flight from Rome.