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Knox defends herself as hundreds await verdict

Danielle Olipra

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox gives final plea to appeals court in Italy.

On Monday morning, Amanda Knox begged an appeals court in Perugia, Italy to overturn her conviction and 26-year jail sentence for the 2007 murder of her British roommate.  The New York Times reports Knox is hoping to return to the United States and get her life back.

Meredith Kercher’s half-naked body was found in her apartment, her throat slit, the scene determined to be a sexual assault that spun out of control.  Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollectio were arrested four days later on Nov. 6, 2007.   Monday, Knox maintained her complete innocence, stating “I did not kill; I did not rape; I did not steal; I was not there.”  She also defended Sollecito, pleading “I am innocent, Raffaele is innocent and we deserve our freedom because we didn’t do anything wrong.”  Following her statement, the court composed of two judges and six jurors retired to deliberate.

Over 400 journalists from Italy, the United States, and Britain swarmed the courtroom Monday morning to await the verdict of a 10-month long appeals trial.  While an Ivorian man named Rudy Guede was convicted to 16 years in prison during a separate trial for the same crime, the media has been focused on Knox.  The attractive 24-year-old student from Seattle has been painted as a both a drug-taking partier, and an innocent woman in the throws of a legal nightmare.  The case has sparked more than a dozen books, one made-for-TV movie, and a feature film which is currently in development.

Presiding Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, aware of the media’s scrutiny and attention of the public, announced “let’s remember that a marvelous girl died and that the lives of two young people are on the line,” hoping that any ‘fans’ will respect the seriousness of the case.  In her final plea, a teary Knox said, “I lost a friend in the most brutal and inexplicable manner possible, my faith in the police was betrayed, I had to cope with unjust accusations and I am paying with my life for things that I did not do.”

The court could choose to acquit Knox and Sollecito, to confirm the sentences, or to increase them.  There will also be a decision made on a slander charge in the case of Amanda Knox.

Read more about the trial here.

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