An American suspected in the sex slaying of her British roommate wrote in a jailhouse statement that police hit her on the head during questioning and that her sometimes-conflicting statements were prompted by stress and exhaustion, Italian media reported Thursday.
Police in the central Italian city of Perugia declined to comment on the allegations by University of Washington student Amanda Marie Knox, one of three suspects being held in connection with the sexual assault and fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.
Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who also is jailed in Perugia, have denied wrongdoing. An Ivorian-born suspect arrested Tuesday in Germany, Rudy Hermann Guede, also denied involvement in the murder.
“I was told that I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years. When I didn’t remember things I was hit in the head, but I understand the stress of the police,” Amanda Marie Knox wrote in the three-page handwritten statement the day of her Nov. 6 arrest.
The statement was obtained by the Italian dailies Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica and La Stampa, which carried excerpts translated from English. Knox’s lawyer did not answer telephone calls seeking confirmation and the newspapers did not say how they obtained the statement.
Knox said she had “serious doubts” about statements made to investigators before her arrest because she spoke “under the pressure of stress, shock and because I was exhausted.” She did not elaborate.
Among the confusing statements that have emerged are Knox’s whereabouts at the time of the killing. A judge’s order upholding Knox’s detention noted that she was confused about the events because she had smoked hashish that night.
Four days before she was arrested, Knox said she had spent the night with Sollecito at his flat and only returned to the place she shared with Kercher the following morning, Nov. 2. But she later told investigators that another man killed Kercher while Knox was in another room, and that she covered her ears so she wouldn’t hear the victim’s screams.
She had identified the man as Congolese bar owner Diya “Patrick” Lumumba. He was arrested largely based on Knox’s recollections but released Tuesday for lack of evidence.
“I know I didn’t kill Meredith. I see Patrick in flashes as the murderer, but I can’t verify the truth the way it appears in my mind, because I don’t remember with certainty if I was there,” Knox wrote in the Nov. 6 statement.
The autopsy found that Kercher likely died slowly from a stab wound to her neck, and prosecutors said she was killed resisting a sexual assault. She was found half-naked on the floor of her blood-splattered bedroom.
Authorities have said they found Knox’s DNA on the handle of a knife believed to have been the murder weapon and Kercher’s on the blade. The knife came from the kitchen of Sollecito’s Perugia apartment.
The search for Guede was launched earlier this week based on bloody fingerprints found on Kercher’s pillow and on toilet paper in the house.