30 Mar 2015 03:57 PM EST
-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Raffaele Sollecito in 2012 (Image Source: Anderson Live)
It's a new life for Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, her Italian beau who was accused along with her in the murder and sexual assault of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, seven years ago.
They have gone through several phases of the Italian justice system with both guilty verdicts and freedom being thrown at them. Now they have received the final judgement, acquittal, and Sollecito needs some more time to deal with the weight of it.
Knox and Sollecito were originally found guilty in the first phase of their Italian murder trial. The second phase decided against that in what equaled an acquittal. They were then tried in a higher court last year, and this court once again found them guilty. This led to Italy's top criminal court overturning the guilty verdicts from a year ago. The couple have now been acquitted for good.
Sollecito, now 31, is saying he needs to heal the wounds inside his heart and soul.
"I feel today like someone who was kidnapped, who after seven years and five months has returned to freedom," he said.
The young couple spent four years in Italian jail after their first conviction and last year received sentences, with him receiving 25 years and her receiving 28-1/2 years.
"Everyone was pointing a finger at me, like I was a murderer, without a shred of evidence," Sollecito said.
Still being treated like a murderer is Rudy Guede. He was convicted in a separate trial for the murder and sexual assault of Kercher and is serving 16 years in prison. Nothing has ever changed for him. He has never received reprieves or acquittals, just one guilty verdict that saw him get locked up.
Luca Maori, Sollecito's lawyer, said Guede is the person "who knows exactly what happened" and made an appeal to him to admit to what he knows about the night Kercher died. Her family has said they are disappointed and bewildered of the acquittals of Knox and Sollecito.
"I am very sorry that Meredith's family was disappointed and saddened by this verdict. This verdict represents the judicial truth, which this time coincides with truth in fact," Sollecito said. "I have nothing to do with this murder."
Sollecito admitted that he and Knox spoke on the phone while they were celebrating their acquittals with their families. They both "exchanged many good wishes for a new future," he said. They have no plans to see each other, and while he now has a new girlfriend, he refers to his relationship with Knox as a friendship.
As for further justice for a couple who now seems to have been wrongly convicted, attorney Giulia Bongiorno said the maximum compensation for wrongful imprisonment is 500,000 euros (approximately $550,00). There are no plans at this time to bring any lawsuits over the two convictions. "There are no feelings of revenge in Raffaele Sollecito's heart," she said.
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