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Knox makes emotional return to Seattle

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed October 5, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Amanda Knox returns home after four years
  • She says spending time with her family is a priority
  • Charges against Knox are overturned
  • Knox was convicted of murder and other charges in 2009

Check out CNN affiliates KOMO-TV and KIRO-TV in Seattle for more information

(CNN) -- Amanda Knox will wake up at home in Seattle on Wednesday for the first time in four years as she enjoys her new-found freedom after an Italian appeals court threw out her murder conviction.

Knox and her family arrived on a British Airways flight Tuesday evening.

"I'm really overwhelmed right now," a tearful Knox told cheering supporters at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. "I was looking down from the airplane, and it seemed like everything wasn't real."

"What's important for me to say is just thank you, to everyone who has believed in me, who has defended me, who has supported my family," she said, her voice shaking. Being with her family, she said, is "the most important thing to me right now."

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"Thank you for being there for me," she said.

Before beginning her remarks, Knox smiled and said, "They're reminding me to speak in English, because I'm having problems with that."

An Italian appeals court on Monday overturned Knox's murder conviction in the 2007 death of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher. Knox initially was sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Knox's mother and stepfather, Edda and Chris Mellas, also thanked those who have supported their family, as well as the Italian attorneys who fought on her behalf.

"Meredith was Amanda's friend," said Philadelphia attorney Theodore Simon, who spoke at the news conference. Knox wants the Kercher family to be remembered, Simon said as Knox nodded and appeared to fight tears.

Ahead of her arrival, Knox supporters in Seattle said they planned a rousing welcome.

"To Amanda herself, we say, 'Way to go, kid,' " Tom Wright, founder of the group Friends of Amanda Knox, said Monday night.

Knox was convicted in 2009 of murder, sexual assault, possession of a weapon, interfering with a crime and theft. The jury cleared Knox of those charges, freeing her. The court also cleared her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

But the jury Monday upheld her conviction on the charge of defamation against Patrick Lumumba, whom Knox accused of killing Kercher.

Lumumba was arrested, but released after his alibi checked out. He later sued Knox, winning 40,000 euros ($54,000) in damages. Knox was sentenced Monday to three years on the defamation charge, but received credit for the years she spent behind bars, her attorney said.

A third person, drifter Rudy Guede, was convicted separately of involvement in the killing and is serving 16 years. Defense teams for Knox and Sollecito have suggested Guede could have been the sole killer.

CNN's Josh Levs and Sandra Endo contributed to this report.

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