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U.S. student has her day in Italian court over sex-murder

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American student Amanda Knox exuded confidence Friday as she rejected charges that she helped kill her British housemate after group sex play turned violent in an Italian university town.

Accusing police of hitting and bullying her to force her to make false statements, Knox said she had spent the night of the November 2007 sex-murder at the home of her Italian boyfriend of two weeks, Raffaele Sollicito.

"The declarations were taken against my will," said Knox, 21, taking the stand for the first time since the trial began in January, asserting that her interrogators repeatedly called her a "stupid liar."

"Everything I said was said in confusion and under pressure and because they were suggested by the (investigators)," she added.

Asked whether police had hit her before she stated that the victim, Meredith "Mez" Kercher of Coulsdon, England, had been raped, she replied "yes."

Knox also said harsh questioning had pushed her to state that she was at home at the time of the murder and could hear Kercher scream, and to accuse her part-time boss of the crime.

Instead, Knox said Friday, she spent the night with Sollecito at his flat, where they smoked marijuana, had sex and watched a movie.

The two, who face 30 years in prison if convicted, have been held since a few days after Kercher was found semi-nude with her throat cut in the house in the walled medieval town of Perugia that she shared with Knox.

The lurid headlines in Britain and Knox's hometown of Seattle, Washington, sparked fears that she would not have a fair trial.

Prosecutors allege that the 22-year-old victim was murdered after refusing to join in an orgy on the night of Nov 1, 2007, along with 20-year-old Rudy Guede, from Ivory Coast.

While claiming innocence, Guede, who worked as a casual laborer here, opted for a "fast-track" trial and has already been convicted and sentenced to 30 years for his role in the murder.

In the prosecutors' scenario, Guede held Kercher down while Sollecito and Knox stabbed her.

Guede was quoted in Friday's Italian press as saying from his prison cell: "You were there, Amanda, tell the truth."

Testifying in a clear, confident voice in fluent Italian, sometimes laughing or gesticulating, Knox explained her nickname "Foxy Knoxy" as a reference to her skill at football, which she said she had played since she was a child.

Knox, dressed in white with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, said her relationship with Sollecito was "very special," and that she had fallen in love with him just two weeks before the murder.

Asked about a red area on her neck shown widely in newspaper close-ups after her arrest, she laughed and said it was a "hickey, a love bite from Raffaele."

Knox said her questioners had led her to accuse bar owner and musician Patrick Lumumba, for whom she worked twice a week, of murdering Kercher.

"In my confusion I started to imagine that maybe I was traumatized, like what they said," she told Lumumba's lawyer Carlo Pacelli.

The Congolese Lumumba, who was held for two weeks before being released without charge, is suing Knox for defamation and was present at the hearing.

The defendant said she was "very sorry, gutted, (when she learned) that Patrick was still in jail because of me."

Pacelli later said: "She is a very good actress."

Knox's early statement that she covered her ears so as not to hear Meredith's screams "was true," Pacelli said, insisting that her questioners could not have suggested that scenario.

Also Friday, Knox said that when she heard that Guede was arrested, "I thought they would let me go... I felt great relief, but then they kept me in custody."

Kercher's family are seeking 30 million euros ($40 million) from the alleged killers.

Their lawyer Francesco Maresca dismissed assertions of a bungled investigation, saying: "The probe was perfect, very good work."

He was confident of a conviction in the long-running trial. "All the necessary elements are in place to arrive at a conviction... probably in October."

Both Kercher and Knox had arrived in the normally quiet Umbrian university town in September 2007.

© Wire reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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Group sex parties? Man, why cant I ever get to a college where stuff like that is the norm?

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This case was a joke from the beginning. From evidence fabrication to police misconduct to deriding the defendant's character in the Italian press (re: Foxy Knoxy, wild sex parties, etc.), it' s been tainted from the very beginning. All Americans need to have a full understanding of the legal system of the country they're residing in. Take the Knox case as a wake up call and a warning.

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Her DNA is on the murder weapon. Her excuses never made sense. The stories of the three accused taken separately did not match. The Italian police has been able to reconstruct the events of the murder from evidence including evidence from Kercher's body. It doesn't get clearer than that.

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Of course her DNA was on the murder weapon, it's a kitchen knife in her house. Her "excuses" make perfect sense, she was smoking pot with her bf, which is a completely reasonable and likely alibi. Or are you referring to her accusations against her boss as her excuses? If that's so, I'll agree with you there, that made no sense. However, who are we to say we wouldn't falsely accuse someone of a crime if we've been interrogated for umpteen hours, hit and threatened with further acts of violence? The Italian police are committing a grave act of injustice here. Of course the stories of the three accused don't match! The only person who committed the crime is Rudy Guede, the other stories came from 2 innocent kids who just wanted the interrogations to stop. Some of the evidence they obtained from Kercher's body is Rudy Guede's DNA, they didn't find anything to prosecute either Amanda Knox or her bf there. Their case rests on the word of a man who has prior rape convictions and was clearly at the scene. Not only that, but it's probably one of the most ridiculous scenarios I've ever heard. A sex party gone bad? How often does that happen? This case is a joke!

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Ahhhh.....Italia.

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Two people restrained Kercher while a third slit her throat. Knox's DNA is on that knife. Explanation?

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Again, it's a kitchen knife from the house that Miss Knox lived in, of course it had her DNA on it. Secondly, you don't need 2 people to hold most women down to stab them. If you're a well-built man you can usually stab a woman all by yourself. Please explain why her DNA isn't on the victim's body if she was holding her down.

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Now you are dismissing evidence. I do suppose there is a nationalistic motivation behind your argument. You are free to think as you please, of course. We'll see how this case turn out in time, anyway.

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As long as we're throwing out theories here, how about this one: Guede goes to Knox's home, finds the roommate alone, enters the house, perhaps he gets a little flirtatious, maybe the roommate gets wary, asks him to leave, angering him. He then proceeds to rape her and realizing what he's done, decides to kill her to avoid a rape conviction. He goes to the kitchen, grabs a knife that Miss Knox recently washed and stabs and crushes the windpipe of Miss Kercher (something that most women, especially college co-eds most assuredly could not do).

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Please tell me what evidence I'm "dismissing". I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that most thinks in your home, especially ones that you use on a daily basis, are going to have your DNA on them.

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its not scientific of course but from facial expressions this woman wears,i would not believe anything she said. The pair of them have no alibi..they were with each other doing something illegal(classic attempt to be believed by admitting to a lesser crime perpetrated elsewhere) However these assumptions hardly make their guilt watertight..i predict a lengthy trial with a not guilty verdict as the facts get progressively muddied by the defense team. They should be being tried together, a much better chance of breaking their story down would have existed.

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Pseudo science should never be used in a murder trial, especially if it's something as ridiculous as judging guilt by "facial expressions". As far as their drug use is concerned, while I can't agree with it and find it offensive, I certainly hope she won't be convicted over her poor character and personal decisions. As for assumptions making them guilty, I sincerely hope not.

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I hope they send that lying, murdering bitch to prison. I can't believe she would only get 30 years. She deserves 60 to life. She got tripped up on her lying so many times. She had to constantly change her story when she was caught lying. She did it and she needs to serve a very long prison term. I have seen an in depth program of the evidence against her on a 2 hour show quite a while back. I remember she was guilty as sin. The program was very balanced because I remember her parents had well over 20 minutes to speak on her behalf and they let her attorneys present there side of the story also. The bitch is guilty as sin.

Some of the evidence they obtained from Kercher's body is Rudy Guede's DNA, they didn't find anything to prosecute either Amanda Knox or her bf there.

then

Of course her DNA was on the murder weapon, it's a kitchen knife in her house.

Sounds like someone does not know what the hell they are talking about.

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Well it's a kitchen knife, so obviously she accidentally spilled some of her own DNA on it while cooking or something. Yeah, that's it.

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It was Mr. Plum in the Library with the rope that did it. Sounds to me like things got out of hand and they are all guilty, hang em high

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One thing I learned when i was a young brat living overseas with my ma and pa... When you're in another country, do not commit any crimes! You never know how the laws work over there.

She was doing drugs in a country she was not a citizen of... dumbest thing to do and now finds herself implicated with a murder and saying "She can't remember" what happened cos she was high. Doing one thing wrong can open you up pandora's box to a whole load of trouble.

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How come there are so many forensic experts on JT that don't know how forensics work? Her DNA on the murder weapon is only conclusive if it were not her house, or the weapon was foriegn- brought in for the murder. A kitchen knife in her house would definitely have her DNA. Skin cells, oil from one's hands and of course blood have DNA in them. Any of these that match her could be on the knife simply because it belonged to her. Her inconsistencies in story could simply be her wanting the interrogations to stop. We all know how that guy who was released here in Japan because of new evidence said he was abused until he told them what they wanted to hear. Or do we think that police brutality is exclusive to Japan? As for facial expressions or behavior, her friend and roomate was killed and she's being charged in her murder. How would anyone react in a situation like that? I imagine it does strange things to a person. There are just too many question marks to be making any kind of judgement yet.

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Bungled police case, reasonable doubt, international media attention on a US citizen....

I bet she get's off.

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