Nearly four years after she was arrested on suspicion of having killed her roommate in this picturesque Italian university town, Amanda Knox got one last chance Monday to persuade a jury she didn't do it.
"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 said, delivering her statement in Italian.
"I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal," she added. "I was not there."
Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito 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.
The case is now in the hands of two judges and six jurors, who retired together within minutes of Knox's statement to consider their ruling.
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.
Knox's words 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 told the court she always wanted justice for Kercher, her roommate at the university.
"I am innocent. Raffaele is innocent," she said.
At the conclusion of her statement, Knox put her hands on her face and wept.Â Before Knox addressed the court, Sollecito asked the court to set Amanda and him free.
Sollecito described the original investigation, the trial and the jailing as "living in a nightmare."FULL STORY