Amanda Knox, the American convicted of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, declared her innocence to an Italian appeals court Monday.
According to CNN, she addressed a jury of six citizens and two judges in Italian, saying:
"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."
She reportedly added:
"I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I was not there."
Knox, 24, and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted in December 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher, who was found dead in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia, a central Italian university town. Kercher, who was 21, was found semi-naked with her throat slashed.
The two have always insisted they are innocent and pressed forward with an appeal of the conviction. Knox was sentenced to 26 years and Sollecito to 25.
Sollecito also appealed for his freedom Monday:
Defense lawyers have sought to discredit DNA evidence linking Knox and Sollecito to the killing, and the judge at an appeals trial granted an independent review of the evidence, CNN reports.
The prosecution has in response sought to increase Knox’s sentence, asking for life in prison instead of 26 years.
(GlobalPost reports: Amanda Knox life sentence requested by prosecutors)
According to KiroTV, as the appeal process ends the verdict for the murder charge will be read first, and:
There are three main words to listen for. Confirma means the original verdict will be upheld. Reforma means it has been overturned. Parsiali reforma means the sentences could be lengthened or shortened.
(GlobalPost reports: Amanda Knox verdict expected Monday)
In what CBS described as emotional final appeal for freedom Monday, Knox said:
"I am not what they say ... I am not a promiscuous vamp. I am not violent... These acts do not belong to me and I did not do what they say I've done."
Ahead of the appeal verdict, Knox’s mother, Edda Mellas, who spoke with her daughter on the phone, reportedly said:
“She goes, ‘I’m really hopeful, I really am. I’m thinking positively, and I want you to know that I’m okay, and that’s what I’m focusing on. But know also that if it doesn’t go right, I’ll be okay.’”
The family of Meredith Kercher were flying to Perugia but were expected to arrive too late to hear Knox's final plea.
According to the Guardian, the Kerchers' lawyers have "unequivocally aligned themselves with the prosecution's case" that Knox slashed Kercher's throat as she was held down by Sollecito and Ivory Coast drugs trafficker Rudy Guede.
But the family's lawyer, Francesco Maresca, told the Guardian: "Just as they respected the verdict at the trial, so they will respect the outcome of the appeal."