Amanda Knox, speaking for the first time publicly since her conviction in the murder of Meredith Kercher was overturned in Italian court, from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Tuesday, said she felt "overwhelmed" to be home.
Flanked by her family and legal adviser, Knox said:
"They're reminding me to speak in English, because I'm having problems with that. I'm really overwhelmed right now. 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. My family's the most important thing to me right now, and I just want to go and be with them."
As the former University of Washington student spoke, wellwishers shouted out their support.
Knox, 24, had been serving a 26-year prison term after being convicted, along with her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, in the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, Knox's British roommate in Perugia, where both women were studying. Sollecito, who was serving a 25-year sentence, also had his conviction overturned on appeal Monday.
(GlobalPost reports: Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned)
The appeal court's decision, resulting from doubts over DNA evidence, stunned the Kercher's family. The prosecution, insisting that Knox was among three people involved of the sexual assault and murder of Kercher, 21, had pushed during the appeal process for a life sentence.
Meredith Kercher's half-naked body was found with more than 40 wounds and a deep gash in her throat in the apartment she shared with Knox.
According to Reuters, since Monday's stunning verdict:
The Italian prosecutor has announced he intends to appeal Knox's acquittal to Italy's highest appellate court, Corte Suprema di Cassazione, which can only review technical errors that occurred in the lower courts.
Knox and her family, however, flew out of London on the upper deck of British Airlines plane on Tuesday, having left Italy after a "boisterous sendoff" by Italian prisoners, CBS reports.
(GlobalPost reports: Amanda Knox heads back to Seattle)
A marquee at a record store in the West Seattle neighborhood where Knox grew up read "WELCOME HOME AMANDA." A bar offered half-price drinks to celebrate her acquittal.
Knox's grandmother Elisabeth Huff told The Associated Press outside her home in West Seattle, that the court's decision "was like the weight of the world had gone."
Theodore Simon, the Knox family's U.S. legal adviser who watched the verdict from his office in New York, told those gathered at Seattle airport not to forget about Meredith Kercher, the ABC reports.
"Let us not forget that Meredith was Amanda's friend, and I know Amanda and the family wants you to remember Meredith and to keep the Kercher family in your prayers," Simon said.
(GlobalPost reports: Media, entertainment industry race to tell (and sell) the Amanda Knox story)