Raffaele Sollecito, the ex-boyfriend of Amanda Knox whose name was recently cleared by an Italian court in the 2007 death of Knox's roommate, says he will "never be the same."
"At times, I realize that I do not yet feel a complete sense of freedom," the 31-year-old told PEOPLE. "I was trapped in this for so long that now I won't be able to switch back to how my life was before. Part of me will never be the same. Part of me is destroyed."
In a surprise ruling on Friday, the Italian Supreme Court reversed the sentencing of Sollecito and Knox, who were previously found guilty in the death of Meredith Kercher, a British student. The decision ended a nearly eight-year legal battle that included four years in prison, a successful appeal that was later overturned by the Supreme Court, a retrial and a second guilty verdict by another appellate court.
Another man whom forensic evidence linked to the crime scene, Rudy Guede, was convicted separately and is still in jail.