Seattle student Amanda Knox denied involvement in her roommate’s murder Tuesday, telling an Italian court via email: “I am not a psychopath.”
The 26-year-old American said she had suffered “six years of torture” after being convicted in 2009 of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007 before winning an appeal in 2011.
Throughout a long legal saga – including four years in an Italian jail – Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 29, have always denied the murder.
A new appeal trial is now re-examining evidence to determine whether Knox and Sollecito helped kill 21-year-old Kercher in the apartment the two women shared in Perugia, Italy.
Knox, now a University of Washington student in her hometown of Seattle, has not returned to Italy for the trial, and is not required by law to do so.
Knox’s email, which was read aloud to the court in Italian, said: “I am not present in court because I am scared. I am scared that the vehemence of the prosecutor will move you and that the smoke they are using will blind you.
“I am innocent. I did not kill, rape, steal, mastermind, instigate. I did not kill Meredith and I did not participate in her murder.”
The unusual statement was made after Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, asked the court if the American could make a “spontaneous declaration” – a personal statement permitted by Italian courts but which is not admissible as evidence.
Presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini appeared annoyed by the request, saying spontaneous declarations were only possible for those who show up in court. But the judge relented, saying: “We will read an email from a person which the Knox lawyers claim to have been written by Amanda Knox."
In the email, Knox said investigators had lied to her and “extorted” a false confession.
“The prosecution has failed in its attempt to prove that I was on the murder scene and that I was the one to fatally stab her without leaving any DNA of mine on the scene. This is because it would have been impossible for me to erase all of my DNA evidence on the crime scene and leave that of another person. Either I was there or I wasn’t and all of the forensic evidence proves I was not.
Knox's statement added: “I am not a psychopath. Nor any of the long list of insults which have been attributed to me during this trial.”
The email was signed-off: "Yours faithfully, Amanda Marie Knox."
A verdict in the trial is expected in mid-January.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published December 17 2013, 9:23 AM