Photo of crowd viewing acquittal on TV by Steve Shay
Supporters and reporters at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle view and record the acquittal of West Seattle-raised Amanda Knox one year ago today, Oct. 3, 2011.

Amanda Knox freed one year ago today


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One year ago today, Oct. 3, 2011, it finally happened. It was 12:55 p.m. Seattle time, 9:55 p.m. Perugia, Italy time when the jury's verdicts were read by Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann in the appeal trial, and West Seattle-raised Amanda Knox, then 24, was free to leave the Italian courtroom, free to pick up her tooth brush and other effects at Capanne Prison, her home for three years and 11 months, and free to return to her parents' Arbor Heights home.

She and then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito had been convicted of the brutal Nov. 1, 2007, murder of her British college roommate, Meredith Kerscher, along with a local drifter and serial thief, Rudy Guede. Knox and Sollecito were acquitted of the murder. Guede, considered by the courts to be the lone killer, remains in prison.

Upon Knox's return to Seattle the following late afternoon, news helicopters flew low from SeaTac Airport over West Seattle, tracking the car she was in to her parents' house, trying to catch a glimpse for the evening news. While her family made an official statement to the press requesting privacy to allow her to adjust, her family and friends had the chore of chasing away the paparazzi, ironic considering the term was coined in the Italian 1960 Federico Fellini film "La Dolce Vita".

The West Seattle Herald covered the trial, publishing over 40 articles on Amanda Knox. Despite legal threats from her Italian prosecutors and false accusations by bloggers from Manchester to Melbourne that our news organization was paid by Amanda's family and their public relations firm, we pressed on with our reporting of the trial from the local perspective of her ordeal as seen through the eyes of her family, friends, school teachers and others within our tight-knit community.

According to, in an article they wrote about Knox one year ago, The fate of Amanda Knox has galvanised people in this city. Steve Shay, a reporter with the West Seattle Herald newspaper, first learned of Miss Knox's plight when he was sent to cover a fundraiser for her family (...) "The more I talked to her schoolteachers and her friends, the less likely it seemed to me that she was capable of doing what she was accused of doing. I couldn't find any evidence she was promiscuous or took drugs or was the sort who would break the law. The portrayal of her in the tabloid press just didn't add up."

Several area fundraisers were held to raise money for Knox's family to help with their legal and travel costs to and from Italy while Amanda was in jail. Three were organized by Al Semple who was born and raised in West Seattle, with his friend Julie Rogers, of Sammamish, including one at Shadowland Bar in West Seattle, and another at the West Seattle Bowl.

Sollecito was just in town promoting his memoir,"Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox", now ranked #9 in Amazon's Crime & Criminals category.

Amanda Knox is expected to release her book about her ordeal in prison early next spring.

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