The judge who presided over Amanda Knox's acquittal in Perugia, Italy earlier this year has criticized the original investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher -- Knox's roommate -- and said that the 2009 guilty verdict was based neither in fact nor on real evidence.
Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, part of the three-judge panel in Knox's year-long appeals trial, released a 143-page explanation of the jury's decision in October to overturn Knox' 26-year prison sentence.
Even taken all together, [the evidence doesn't] prove in any way the guilt of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the crime of stabbing Kercher in the Perguia flat they shared, the judge wrote.
Much of the evidence used against Knox in the first trial consisted of inferences based on Knox's behavior in the days following the crime. After being interrogated by police, Knox was seen doing cartwheels and kissing Sollecito which police interpreted to mean that the American student didn't have any compassion for her slain friend.
Judge Hellmann called the conviction the result of flawed police work. Aside from the destruction of Knox's character, police investigators allegedly moved evidence around Kercher's room and used unscrupulous interrogation techniques.
What matters in reaching the ruling is only the lack of proof of guilt of the two defendants, the judge wrote.
[The Verdict] was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence and in itself was not, in fact, probable: the sudden choice of two young people, good and open to other people, to do evil for evil's sake, just like that, without another reason.
Investigators and prosecutors also jumped to seemingly-wild conclusions, including theories that Kercher had been killed in a drug-fueled orgy or that Knox had sacrificed Kercher in a demonic sex ritual.
The Judge's report is standard procedure and required by Italian law. With the document now released, the Italian prosecutors who fought to keep Knox is prison will be able to appeal the acquittal, possibly sending Knox back to Perugia for another hearing. Under Italy's legal code, both sides are allowed to appeal a verdict, and Knox's acquittal occurred at the first of two appeals that were granted to her.
We've always said that there was no evidence, that the first court ruling was based on probabilities and not facts, Knox's attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, told CNN. The first ruling was a mistake, which has now been corrected, so we are very satisfied with it.
Amanda and we are satisfied with the motivations and take heart in the strength of the judge's words and proclamation of her innocence, the Knox family said in the statement.
After the original guilty verdict, Knox spent two years at the Capanne prison outside of Perugia. Although both Knox and Sollecito have been deemed innocent, the exact events of the night of Nov. 1, 2007 are still unknown. Another man, Rudy Guede, was also convicted of murdering Kercher and senteced to 16 years in prison, but investigators are still wondering if there was more than one killer.
It is not this court's role to suggest how the crime actually unfolded - nor whether there was one perpetrator or more than one, or on whether other scenarios were overlooked (by investigators), the judge wrote.
Knox is currenty at home in Seattle and is preparing to move into a new apartment with her boyfriend. Sollecito is currently living with his father in Italy.