The crowd outside the courtroom in Perugia, Italy booed, shouting Murderer, as Amanda Knox was acquitted of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher and freed from Italian custody.

Knox, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, were freed after nearly four years in prison, though Knox was found guilty of slander for accusing bar owner Diya Patrick Lumumba of carrying out the crime. The judge set the sentence at three years (which she has already served) and ordered Knox to pay 22,000 euros.

Knox wept uncontrollably as she was led back to prison by security guards to collect her belongings.

The Kercher family appeared dazed as the verdict was read by the judge after nearly 11 hours of deliberations by the eight-member jury.

Outside the courtroom, members of both the Sollecito and Knox families issued statements.

Amanda Knox's sister Deanna spoke in both English and Italian in front of the court.

We are thankful Amanda's nightmare is over. She has suffered for four years for a crime that she did not commit. We are thankful to the court for looking for the truth.

We now respectfully ask you to give her family the privacy to recover from this horrible ordeal.

Raffaele Sollecito's father also made a statement.

The Kercher family lost their daughter in a horrible way, but my son has been freed tonight. The court has given me back my son, Francesco Sollecito, a well-known urologist, said.

And finally, I allow myself some tears, he added

Raffaele is very happy at this moment, Sollecito's lawer Giulia Bongiorno told the BBC.

 

About a dozen Knox supporters in Washington State burst into applause and cheers as they learned that the murder charge against the Seattle native was overturned.

The supporters, part of the group Friends of Amanda, were gathered at a downtown Seattle hotel to watch the proceedings on TV. As the verdict was read, they chanted, She's free! and We did it!

What now?

Prosecutors can appeal the acquittal to Italy's highest court, though there was no word late Monday if they planned to do so.

The Telegraph reports that Amanda Knox's American passport has expired during her time in prison.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, released a statement about the case:

The United States appreciates the careful consideration of this matter within the Italian judicial system. Our Embassy in Rome will continue to provide appropriate consular assistance to Ms. Knox and her family.

Knox will be processed and released from jail Monday, though there is no conformation on when she will return to the states. The details of that will likely remain a closely guarded secret for the safety of the Seattle native.

A statement from Knox's lawyer says she will be leaving Italy as soon as possible.

At 4:35 p.m. ET, a convoy of cars was seen returning to the prison, presumably with Knox inside.

CNN reports hearing cheers erupting from inside the prison, presumably on her arrival.

What's next? Most likely, we won't know in order to protect Knox until she is back on American soil.