01/30/2014 05:05 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2014

Amanda Knox 'Saddened' By Guilty Verdict

Amanda Knox said Thursday she is "frightened and saddened" by the guilty verdict handed down Thursday in the 2007 death of Meredith Kercher.

"Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system," Knox said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post by her spokesman, David Marriott.

"The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," the statement continues. "Rather, nothing has changed. There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution."

Knox said it's also important to recognize that there is no consolation for the Kercher family. "Their grief over Meredith's terrible murder will follow them forever," she said. "They deserve respect and support."

Thursday's verdict followed a four-month trial, the result of prosecutors' request for a new trial after a prior guilty verdict against Knox was overturned.

Anne Bremner, a Seattle attorney and spokesperson for the Friends of Amanda Knox organization, said she is shocked. "I and the Friends of Amanda Knox are confident that if the facts had been fairly viewed, [she would have] been acquitted. There is no justice ... in Italy in this case."

Moments after the verdict was announced by an Italian court, thousands took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the matter.

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Knox, 26, did not travel from her home in Seattle to appear for the trial. Raffaele Sollecito, 29, Knox's former boyfriend, who was also charged in Kercher's murder, was in court for the proceedings. Like Knox, he also was found guilty Thursday. Following the verdict, the Italian court said Knox is "illegally in her own country."

The case against the pair was centered on the November 2007 slaying of Kercher, 21-year-old British exchange student who was Knox's roommate. At the time, Sollecito was an Italian engineering student. Rudy Hermann Guede, who was an acquaintance of Knox and Kercher, Knox and Sollecito were charged with murder, sexual violence and robbery. Each pleaded not guilty.

Authorities suggested Kercher was killed by the trio during a sex game that went wrong. The prosecution alleged Knox tortured Kercher with a knife before cutting her throat, while Sollecito held Kercher down and Guede sexually assaulted her.

In October 2008, Guede was found guilty of assaulting and murdering Kercher, and was ultimately sentenced to 16 years in prison. Fourteen months later, Knox and Sollecito were also found guilty. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison for murder, sexual assault and obstruction of justice. Sollecito received a 25-year sentence for murder and sexual assault.

Sollecito and Knox remained jailed until October 2011, when their verdicts were overturned by the Italian Supreme Court at a second-level trial. In an official statement overturning the convictions, the judges wrote that there was a "material non-existence" of evidence to support their guilty verdicts. Afterwards, Knox moved back to the United States.

However, in Italy, a defendant who has been acquitted can be re-tried. Prosecutors appealed, and the Italian Supreme Court ultimately set aside the judgment of the appellate court in March 2013, granting the new trial. With the latest verdict, the fallout for Knox remains unclear. According to Bremner, Italian authorities will need to request a hearing before a federal judge in the United States.


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