crimesider

Amanda Knox Pleads With Jury: I'm No "Assassin"

(AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
Photo: Amanda Knox talks to a lawyer in Perugia, Italy, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009.

PERUGIA, Italy (CBS/AP) As her lawyers make their last efforts to convince a jury of her innocence, Amanda Knox also made a final statement to the court and swore she was not an "assassin" in the 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.

Knox addressed the court in Perugia, Italy Thursday, before the eight members of the jury go into deliberations.

Her voice breaking as she fought back tears, Knox said in Italian she is "scared of having the mask of an assassin forced" onto her.

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Photo: Amanda Knox's mother Edda Mellas in court Thursday Dec. 3, 2009.

She also said she is trying to remain calm even though she is "disappointed, sad and frustrated" over her two years in jail.

If convicted, Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who is also on trial for murder, could face life in prison. Both have mantained their innocence. A third man, Rudy Guede, who prosecutors have said murdered Kercher with Knox and Sollecito in a sex game gone wrong, has already been convicted.

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Photo: Raffaele Sollecito in court in Perugia, Italy, Thursday Dec. 3, 2009.

During her statement Knox thanked her family and friends who supported her. She also thanked the prosecutors who seek to put her behind bars for life, saying they were only seeking justice.

The Thursday session in the courtroom was set aside for rebuttals by prosecutors as well as by lawyers for Knox and Sollecito.

Sollecito also made a final statement to the court saying that he had no motive for the crime and that he was not a violent man.

(AP Photo/Stefano Medici)
Photo: Victim Meredith Kercher

"I ask you to give me my life back," he said to the jury, adding "I know that you will do it."

Meredith Kercher was found fatally stabbed in the neck in November 2007 in her bedroom at the rented home she shared with Knox in Perugia, Italy. Kercher, Knox and Sollecito were all students in the Umbrian university town.

Defense attorneys for Knox and Sollecito argue that the prosecutors have failed to produce conclusive forensic evidence and they believe they have countered every piece of DNA evidence presented.

Prosecutors have said that a knife found in Sollecito's house could be the murder weapon and that the blade has Kercher's DNA on it as well as Knox's DNA on the handle. But the defense argues that the knife in question is too big to have caused the wounds and that the amount of DNA found is too low to be attributed with certainty.

Prosecutors also maintained that Sollecito's DNA was found on the clasp of a bra said to have been ripped off of Kercher in the struggle, but his attorneys contend that the evidence may have been inadvertently contaminated during the investigation.

A bloody footprint was also found at the crime scene that investigators believe is Sollecito's but forensic experts testified for the defense that the footprint did not match Sollecito.

Francesco Maresca, a lawyer representing Kercher's family in their civil suit, also offered a rebuttal argument Thursday saying that the Briton was killed because she knew her murderers and would be a threat to them if she survived. "Meredith died because after she was attacked, threatened, wounded, and after a violent sexual approach, they needed her to remain silent," he said.

A verdict is expected Friday or Saturday, and Kercher's family is expected to be in court.

After the hearing Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, spoke with reporters and said "We all are hopeful and we trust these judges and the jury to know that they are going to not put two innocent kids in jail for a crime that they didn't commit."

TELEVISION
48 Hours Mystery looked at the case in a recent episode.

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
December 1, 2009 - Lawsuits Fly in Amanda Knox Murder Trial
November 24, 2009 - Amanda Knox: Sex-Game Murder Charge is "Pure Fantasy;" Italian Prosecutors Want Life Sentence
November 20, 2009 - Amanda Knox Trial: Convicted Killer Fingers Knox for Meredith Kercher Murder
June 19, 2009 - Knox's Mom Says Daughter, Victim Got Along
June 15, 2009 - "Always A Crescendo:" Amanda Knox Talks About Murder Investigation On Stand
June 12, 2009 - Knox's Alibi: Sex, Drugs And Sleep
June 12, 2009 - Amanda Knox Finally Tells Her Side Of The Story
June 8, 2009 - Amanda Knox Set To Testify In Italian Murder Trial
June 5, 2009 - Victim's Family To Testify In Amanda Knox In Italian Murder Trial

  • Carlin Miller

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.