American tells Italian court she’s no killer

Associated Press / December 4, 2009

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PERUGIA, Italy - American student Amanda Knox tried one last time yesterday to convince the Italian court trying her for murder that she is not a killer, urging jurors not to brand her with “the mask of an assassin.’’

Knox, a 22-year-old student from Seattle, spoke at the end of a trial that has exposed some of the most intimate details of her life, with prosecutors depicting her as a promiscuous and manipulative she-devil who brutally murdered her British roommate in Perugia, Meredith Kercher.

The trial, in which Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito figures as a codefendant, is wrapping up after almost a year. Yesterday’s session was devoted to rebuttals by defense lawyers and the prosecution, and the eight members of the jury are expected to begin deliberations as early as today.

Standing up, her voice breaking as she fought back tears, the 22-year-old told the court she feels “vulnerable’’ and fears losing herself after two years in jail.

“I have written on a piece of paper . . . that I was afraid of losing myself,’’ she said, speaking Italian. “I am scared of being branded what I am not,’’ she said. “I am scared of having the mask of an assassin forced onto me.’’

Knox and Sollecito, an Italian, are charged with murder and sexual assault in the 2007 slaying. Prosecutors are seeking life sentences.