PERUGIA, Italy (AP) - Amanda Knox tearfully told an Italian appeals court Monday that she did not kill her British roommate, pleading for the court to give her back her life after years of suffering behind bars. The court began deliberations moments later.
Knox frequently paused for breath as she spoke in Italian to the eight members of the jury in a packed courtroom. She fought back tears and quickly regained composure.
"I've lost a friend in the worst, most brutal, most inexplicable way possible," she said of the murder of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old Briton who shared an apartment with Knox when they were both students in Perugia. "I'm paying with my life for things that I didn't do."
Presiding Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann said the jury would not emerge before 1800 GMT (2 p.m. EDT) at the earliest.
Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of murdering Meredith Kercher. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, Sollecito to 25. Also convicted in separate proceedings was Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian man.
They all deny wrongdoing.
"I want to go home, I want to return to my life, my future," Knox said.
Minutes before, Sollecito also addressed the court to proclaim his innocence.
Kercher was stabbed to death in her bedroom on Nov. 1, 2007. Her body was found the following day.
"She had her bedroom next to mine, she was killed in our own apartment. If I had been there that night, I would be dead," Knox said. "But I was not there."
The Kercher family is expected to be in court when the jury delivers the verdict.