Cheers and tears for Amanda Knox from Seattle
Friends and supporters of Amanda Knox erupted in cheers and raised fists Monday as the jury decision acquitting her of murder in Italy was read, in a tearful end to a tense vigil that had gone throughout the night.
"Guess what, guilters: We frickin' beat 'em, man!" one man shouted.
"I'm not surprised, but I'm hugely relieved, because anything could have happened," said John Lange, Knox's drama teacher at Seattle Preparatory School, where she attended before going to Italy as a college student.
"We knew there was no way she could have done this," he said. "She was sweet. She never did anything to harm anybody else. She was not conniving. She was not mean-spirited." His voice breaking, he pulled off his glasses and wiped back tears.
Exhausted but jubilant, about a dozen of nearly 30 supporters who had filled a suite at the tony Olympic Fairmont Hotel overnight leaped to their feet as the verdict was reported on a wide-screen television and began hugging one another. A few huddled together for a quick prayer.
"It was remembering Meredith," Margaret Ralph, an old friend of Knox's mother, said of victim Meredith Kercher, who was found stabbed to death in the apartment she shared with Knox in Italy in 2007.
"Meredith lost her life. And we never lost sight of that. Never ever. And it was a very senseless, brutal, horrendous murder."
Supporters were unsure when Knox might be returning home to Seattle, where she had attended the University of Washington, but were pledging to give the family time to regroup and Knox an opportunity to recover.
"This has been a terrible trauma, so they're going to have to have time to recover," said Susan Rosales, whose children attended school with Knox. "It's all been pretty intense."
-- Kim Murphy in Seattle
Photo: Kellanne Henry, Margaret Ralph and Joe Starr react in a Seattle hotel room as they watch a live television news report showing an Italian judge announcing that a jury ruled in favor of Amanda Knox. Credit: Anthony Bolante / Reuters