Amanda Knox pleads for her freedom as murder appeal ends

Perugia, Italy (CNN) — American Amanda Knox, her voice trembling, made an emotional plea to an Italian court to overturn her murder conviction, saying she was paying with her life for something she has not done.

“People always ask who is Amanda Knox? I am the same person I was four years ago. But I have lost a friend. I have lost my faith in Italian police. I am paying with my life for something I have not done. Four years ago I didn’t know what suffering was,” Knox told the court, delivering her statement in Italian.

“I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal,” she added. “I was not there.”

Before Knox addressed the court, her co-defendent Raffaele Sollecito said he never hurt anybody.

Sollecito described the original investigation, the trial and the jailing as “living in a nightmare.”

“Amanda and I have spent 1,400 days in prison, more than 20 hours a day in a very small space,” he told the court.

Knox did not look at Sollecito as he addressed the court, though Sollecito detailed his relationship with her.

“We just wished to be together. Nothing else,” he said. “We just want to be able to overcome this thing now.”

His comments followed closing arguments by his and Knox’s defense attorney Luciano Ghirga, who railed against the murder investigation. Girga said his client’s conviction must be overturned because the case is based on “erroneous” evidence.

After the defendants spoke, the two judges and six jurors retired together to consider their ruling.

The two are fighting to be acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. Prosecutors have called for the pair’s sentences — of 26 and 25 years, respectively — to be increased to life.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the killing and related crimes in December 2009. Their appeal has focused largely on DNA evidence found on a knife and on a bra clasp belonging to the victim.

Her words and Sollecito’s capped a dramatic week of closing arguments by the host of lawyers battling over the outcome, from the lawyer for a man falsely accused of the crime, who called Knox “Lucifer-like, demonic, Satanic,” to the Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno, who insisted that like the buxom cartoon temptress Jessica Rabbit in the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” Knox is not bad, just “drawn that way.”

Knox addressed this jury at least once before, telling them in June she was “shocked” at the testimony of the third person convicted of the crime, Rudy Guede, a drifter originally from the Ivory Coast. Guede admitted having sexual relations with Kercher but denied killing her.

Guede was sentenced separately to 30 years behind bars for the murder, a sentence that was reduced to 16 on appeal.

In June, he refused to tell the court hearing Knox and Sollecito’s appeal that they had not been involved.

A prosecutor then read a letter Guede had written to a newspaper from prison, saying he thought they had killed Kercher.

“The only time Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito and I were in one room together was in a courtroom,” Knox told the court in June.

Her defense dismissed Guede’s letter as based on “a feeling,” not facts or events he witnessed.

Before the hearing began Monday, Knox’s stepfather told CNN he was optimistic about the outcome of the appeal. He made his way into the court through a throng of reporters, ignoring shouted questions from journalists.

Knox was 20 and Kercher was 21 years old, studying at Perugia’s university for foreign students, when Kercher’s semi-naked body was found in the house they shared.

Sollecito, 23 at the time, was Knox’s boyfriend, studying computer science at another university in Perugia.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the killing and related crimes in December 2009. Their appeal has focused largely on DNA evidence found on a knife and on a bra clasp belonging to the victim.

Prosecutors and police say Kercher’s genetic material was on the blade and Knox’s was on the handle, and that a Kercher bra clasp found at the crime scene had Sollecito’s DNA.

Defense lawyers and independent experts argued strenuously during the appeal that the DNA testing process was badly flawed and the results should be inadmissible.

Either side can appeal this court’s ruling to Italy’s High Court, but such an appeal will be on narrow technical grounds only.


About Nick S

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One Response to Amanda Knox pleads for her freedom as murder appeal ends

  1. If anybody wants to understand the reasons why Amanda Knox was convicted of murder, I recommend reading the translation of the official sentencing report. It can be downloaded from the Perugia Murder File website:

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