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ITALY: Amanda Knox leaves Italy for U.S.

October 4, 2011 |  3:22 am

Amanda-knox
REPORTING FROM LONDON -- Amanda Knox boarded a plane Tuesday morning that will take her back to the U.S. and her home in Seattle for the first time in more than four years.

Knox, 24, reached Rome’s Fiumicino Airport surrounded by her family and friends at 9:30 a.m. Central European Time and was ushered through the departure gate and boarded a British Airways flight bound for London. The flight took off at 11:52 a.m., reported Sky Italia. (Link in Italian.)

Knox is expected back in the U.S. late Tuesday night.

Photos: Amanda Knox

For four years, Knox, an American exchange student in Italy, was behind bars after the slaying of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. On Monday, an appeals jury in the central Italian town of Perugia overturned Knox's 2009 murder conviction. Knox's alleged accomplice, former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, was also exonerated by the appellate panel.

After her acquittal, Knox expressed her thanks in a letter to her supporters and to the Italy-USA Foundation that promotes relations between the two countries.

“To whoever wrote to me, defended me, stayed close to me, prayed for me. I will always be grateful. I love you. Amanda,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, Sollecito has returned to his family home in the Puglia region of southern Italy, where he will stay away from press and public appearances, according to press reports.

Prosecutors have pledged to appeal the case against the two to Italy's high court.

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-- Janet Stobart

Photo: Amanda Knox at Fiumicino Airport on Tuesday. Credit: Reuters

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