Amanda Knox Makes Emotional Plea for Freedom


Then the lawyers for Sollecito and Knox respectively made their cases at length for the need to re-open debate on the case and admit new witnesses. They also requested an independent review of all the forensic evidence, with special emphasis on the DNA found on the kitchen knife prosecutors believe is the murder weapon.

The DNA has been attributed to Kercher, and the knife has Knox's DNA on the handle. Another point of strong contention is Sollecito's DNA found on a hook of the victim's bra -- but which was taken into evidence weeks after police first searched the crime scene.

A decision on these requested is expected on December 18.

When appeals proceedings began at the end of November, Knox had not been seen in public for months, and she appears worn out and distraught compared to the days before her conviction -- the years of detention taking their toll.

"I still don't know how to face all of this except by being myself, as I always have been, notwithstanding this suffocating unease," Knox said.

In court on Saturday she kept her eyes down and her manner demure. She had the support of her step-father Chris Mellas, and her good friend Madison Paxton, who has moved to Perugia for the year and is doing a photography internship with a local newspaper.

But hearing Knox "fight for herself" was a strong experience for both. Paxton cried the entire time Knox spoke.

"She's been wanting to speak for a long time and she's finally gotten strong enough to do it," Paxton told ABC shortly after Knox spoke.

"It's hard for her to speak. She really wants to fight but this is exhausting. And she wants this to be over but she is incredibly focused and she's very determined to defend herself but it is a hard thing to do."

Knox told the court she was not good at speaking out in public in her defense, saying that a college friend used to tell her "'stand up for yourself, Poindexter!'"

"But my mind would block and my tongue would get stuck…and I was unable to defend myself," said Knox, " … imagine doing it in this courtroom, where I am the weakest," she told them.

But in her defense, Knox told the court she was not "the dangerous, diabolical, jealous, uncaring and violent girl that the prosecution insists I am," and she asked the court to "really take into consideration the fact that there has been an enormous mistake" in how she was judged.

"No justice is done to Meredith and her loved ones by taking our lives from us and making us pay for something we did not do."

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