Amanda Knox, the American exchange student on trial for the murder of her roommate, told an Italian court today that she spent the night of the murder at her boyfriend's home, smoking marijuana and having sex.
Knox, a 21-year-old student from Seattle, said that because she was stoned on the night her roommate died she was confused about what happened that night, a confusion that muddled her original statements to Italian detectives.
Knox took the stand in Perugia, Italy, today for the first time in the case. Both she and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are accused of murder and sexual violence in the death of British student Meredith Kercher, who was 21 when she died Nov. 1, 2007.
A third person, Rudy Guede, has already been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the murder. An appeal of that conviction is scheduled for November.
"On Nov. 1, I told Raffaele that I wanted to watch a movie, so we went to his place," Knox told the court, speaking alternately in Italian and English. The two had dinner and then went upstairs to Sollecito's bedroom, she said.
"I sat on the bed, he sat at his desk. He prepared the joint and then we smoked it together," she said. "First we made love, then we fell asleep."
Knox testified today for about seven hours. Her testimony was to continue Saturday.
Knox's appearance on the stand marked a dramatic twist in the long case, which began in January, more than a year after the murder.
For the first time in public, Knox spoke about her relationship with Kercher and about her behavior after the murder, which had been characterized as strange and showing no remorse. Previous testimony included an account of Knox turning cartwheels at the police station after the killing, and acting amorous with Sollecito.
"In general, I'm someone who tends to act a little silly when I feel I'm in difficulty or not at ease," said Knox, speaking in Italian.
"I cried, but I was always hugged by Raffaele," she said of her reaction to the discovery of Kercher's body. "First, he gave me his jacket, then he was cuddling with me because I was shaking. I didn't know what to think. I was shocked."
Knox disputed earlier suggestions that she didn't get along with Kercher, saying their relationship was friendly and open.
"I confided in her. I would often ask for her advice," testified Knox, speaking in Italian. "When Meredith had a problem over my behavior, she would tell me. That was it. There was nothing she would keep hidden or that we couldn't find agreement on."
Knox, who has been held in an Italian prison for 18 months, told the court that she had last seen Kercher on the afternoon of the murder, in the home they shared. Halloween was the night before, and Kercher still had vampire makeup on her face, Knox testified.
"She left her room, said 'bye,' walked out the door," Knox said. "That was the last time I saw her."
Knox and Kercher, both exchange students, were sharing the flat in Perugia for the semester.
On Nov. 2, 2007, Kercher was found stabbed and strangled to death in her room in the house she shared with Knox and two other women.
Knox's explanation of where she was during the murder has changed at least twice over the course of the case. Originally, she said she was not in the house. Later, Knox told police that she was in the house when Kercher was murdered and heard the victim scream.