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Tears as Amanda Knox's verdict is read

The American former exchange student and her family sob as she is found guilty of murdering her roommate.

The 11-month trial, which featured more than 150 witnesses, riveted Italy, where — in contrast to the U.S. — Knox was portrayed as manipulative and dark in the wake of her introduction as “Foxy Knoxy” (based on her MySpace profile nickname), and the release of emails in which she boasted about her experiments with drugs and sex. She has also been cast as insufficiently remorseful in the wake of the murder of Kercher, her roommate, who was found dead with her throat cut open on the morning of Nov. 2, 2007, amid evidence of a sexual attack.

“Most Italians say they believe Knox is guilty ever since the start,” Maria Rossi, co-director of the polling firm Opinioni, said in an interview on the final day of the trial. “The number has come down some in the lead up to the final verdict, but those who believe her guilty still remains above 60 percent.”

The trial moved quickly by the standards of the Italian justice system, and concluded only after Knox and Sollecito were given a chance to make statements in their defense. Dressed in the same lime-green jacket she wore to hear the verdict, Knox used her statement on Thursday to reiterate her innocence.

“I am not calm,” she said in heavily-accented Italian, her voice quivering. “I do not want the mask of an assassin forced on my skin.” Despite maintaining her innocence, she also took time to thank prosecutors and the judges for doing their jobs.

“They are only trying to bring justice to someone whose life has been taken away from this world,” she said.

Sollecito made a similar argument in his final statement, with a plea to the jury. “I ask you to give me my life back,” he said.

The next step is for lawyers to file their appeals. Since Knox and Sollecito mounted separate defenses in the just-completed trial, it is likely that their appeals will be heard separately.