Other News...
                        sponsored by

American takes stand in Italy murder trial

Send a link to a friend

[June 12, 2009]  PERUGIA, Italy (AP) -- An American student accused of murdering her British roommate took the witness stand for the first time Friday, telling the court she was beaten by police and confused when she was questioned in the days after the killing.

Amanda Knox also repeated her position that she spent the night of the killing, in November 2007, at the house of her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, central Italy. Prosecutors contend that Knox, an exchange student from Seattle, and Sollecito killed 21-year-old Meredith Kercher on Nov. 2, 2007 in the apartment she shared with Knox during what began as a sex game.

DonutsAfter the killing, she accused Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, a Congolese man who owns a pub in Perugia, of being the culprit. She was called to testify both in her own defense and in a civil case brought by Lumumba.

"The declarations were taken against my will, so everything that I said was said in confusion and under pressure," Knox said under questioning by Lumumba's lawyer.

"They called me a stupid liar; said I was trying to protect someone. I was not trying to protect anyone," she said. "I didn't know what to respond. They said I left Raffaele's home, which I denied, but they continued to call me `stupid liar.'"

Police had repeatedly denied any misconduct during the night of the interrogation, or at any other point. Knox has claimed in the past that she was beaten.

She spoke both in English and Italian, occasionally pausing to take a breath, her voice shaky at times.

Sollecito has said he was at his own apartment, working at his computer. He said he does not remember if Knox spent the whole night with him or just part of it.

Lumumba was jailed briefly in the case, but he is no longer a suspect and is seeking defamation damages from Knox.

Knox smiled as she walked into the court before her testimony. She was dressed in a white shirt and white trousers and had her hair pulled into a ponytail. She was called as a witness in her own defense and in a civil case brought by a man she earlier accused of the killing.

She said that everyone was "yelling at me" and "saying they'd put me in prison for trying to protect someone."

At one point, Lumumba's lawyer asked whether police had beaten her so that she would say that Kercher had been raped before dying. Knox replied, "Yes."

Knox's father, Curt Knox, said his daughter looked "confident in what she wants to say."

[to top of second column]

"She has nothing to hide," he told The Associated Press during a break. He said he hoped people could now see a "different Amanda," than how she has been portrayed by the media so far.

Knox and Sollecito have been jailed since shortly after the slaying.

They could face Italy's stiffest punishment, life imprisonment, if convicted of murder. The trial began in January and a verdict is expected after a summer break.

A third suspect in the case, Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede, was found guilty of murder and sexual violence and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was given a fast-track trial at his request, and his appeal is set to start in November. He, too, denies wrongdoing.

The trial has been closed to cameras but the presiding judge exceptionally allowed them in to film for Knox's testimony -- only to ask them to leave in a few minutes for causing too much disruption. The cameras were then crammed in the press room, where proceedings were being shown on a screen.

[Associated Press; By MARTA FALCONI]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor