Emotional Amanda Knox says did not murder roommate

Oct 3, 2011, 1:54 a.m.
Amanda Knox, the U.S. student convicted of murdering her British flatmate Meredith Kercher in Italy in November 2007, arrives in court after a break during her appeal trial session in Perugia September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

PERUGIA, Italy (Reuters) - American student Amanda Knox on Monday made an tearful plea on Monday to be acquitted of murdering her British roommate, saying she was paying with her life for a crime she did not commit.

"I am the same person I was four years ago," said Knox, visibly shaking and fighting to hold back tears.

"I lost a friend, in the most brutal and inexplicable way possible. My absolute faith in the police authorities was betrayed, I've had to face absolutely unfair ... and baseless accusations. I am paying with my life for things I did not commit."

The Seattle native and her Italian boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, are fighting a 2009 verdict that found them guilty of stabbing Leeds University exchange student Meredith Kercher to death during a drug-fueled sexual assault.

The panel of two professional and six lay judges retired to consider a verdict immediately after Knox's final plea. A verdict is due later on Monday.

Expectations are high among many in the United States that 24-year-old Knox will walk free from the Italian prison she has been held in for nearly four years after a forensics review cast doubt on DNA evidence used to convict her.

(Reporting by Deepa Babington)

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