Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Check out CNN affiliates KOMO-TV and KIRO-TV in Seattle for the latest on Amanda Knox's expected arrival home.
(CNN) -- In brief remarks to the media just after returning to her hometown of Seattle, an emotional Amanda Knox thanked those who believed in her and supported her fight to overturn her murder conviction in Italy.
"I'm really overwhelmed right now," said a tearful Knox, who arrived to cheering supporters at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. "I was looking down from the airplane, and it seemed like everything wasn't real."
"What's important for me to say is thank you, to everyone who has believed in me, who has defended me, who has supported my family," she said, her voice shaking. Being with her family, she said, is "the most important thing to me right now.
"Thank you for being there for me," she said.
Knox and her family were on a British Airways flight that landed in Seattle about 8:12 p.m. ET.
Before beginning her remarks, Knox smiled and said, "They're reminding me to speak in English, because I'm having problems with that."
An Italian appeals court on Monday overturned Knox's murder conviction in the 2007 death of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher. Knox initially was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Knox's mother and stepfather, Edda and Curt Mellas, also thanked those who have supported their family, as well as the Italian attorneys who fought on her behalf.
"Meredith was Amanda's friend," said Philadelphia attorney Theodore Simon, who spoke at the news conference. Knox wants the Kercher family to be remembered, Simon said as Knox nodded and appeared to fight tears.
Knox supporters in Seattle said they planned a rousing welcome.
"To Amanda herself, we say, 'Way to go, kid,' " Tom Wright, founder of the group Friends of Amanda Knox, said Monday night.
"We look forward to welcoming you home with open arms and open hearts," Wright said, reading a statement. "You have well deserved, and will well deserve, all the joy and warmth and fun of your normal life returned to you."
The statement also said that it was "primarily a sad occasion," and that the group's "deepest sympathies" were with Kercher's family.
CNN affiliate KOMO-TV reported that Wright was among a group of more than a dozen supporters who gathered at a hotel suite to watch the jury return its decision about Knox more than 5,000 miles away.
Afterward, Margaret Ralph was among those crying tears of joy. Asked what she'll say when she sees Knox, Ralph told KOMO, "I won't say anything. I'll just give her a big hug and kiss."
"It was incredible," fellow supporter Kellanne Henry told KOMO, adding that it took a minute to absorb the news. "They finally got it right," she said.
Many Seattle residents took to social media to post messages.
"I am so happy this nightmare is over for you," Seattle resident Jenn Whitney wrote in a posting on one of several Facebook pages devoted to Knox. Whitney said she "cried with joy" when Knox's conviction was overturned. "I pray that God brings you home safely," she added.
"If I had the chance to greet her when she lands back here in Seattle, the only thing I would do is hand her a rose, give her a hug and say 'welcome home!' " Jeff Bamby posted.
On another Facebook page, Tamara Slater wrote, "Amanda you have been in the prayers of so many people, it must be heart warming to know you were never forgotten. Welcome home!"
CNN affiliate KIRO-TV reported that when staff went out to gauge reactions to the news out of Italy on Monday, "We met just a few people in West Seattle who disagreed with Monday's ruling and thought that Knox was guilty."
Jordan Adams said he thought Knox was guilty, but he was willing to accept the decision to overturn the conviction. "I did think she was guilty, but I guess, good luck to her since she's been freed and cleared," he told KIRO.
Early Tuesday morning, a jogger who spotted a CNN crew in Seattle's Queen Anne Hill neighborhood stopped and yelled, "Yay Amanda! Welcome home!"
But later, another resident walked up to a CNN crew to say that she could not "care less about Knox returning home" and that she believed Knox committed the crime.
CNN's Josh Levs and Sandra Endo contributed to this report.