The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 31, 2014

Knox says she will not willingly return to Italy

SEATTLE (AP) — Amanda Knox said Friday she will fight the reinstated guilty verdict against her and an ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of a British roommate in Italy and vowed to "never go willingly" to face her fate in that country's judicial system .

"I'm going to fight this to the very end," she said in an interview with Robin Roberts on ABC's "Good Morning America.

Knox said she was caught off guard by the decision of the Italian court.

"It hit me like a train. I didn't expect this to happen. They found me innocent before; how could they?"

Knox had remained in Seattle during the trial. David Marriott, a family spokesman, said Knox awaited the ruling Thursday at her mother's home. After the decision was announced, a person believed to be Knox emerged from the house. That person, surrounded by others and covered by a coat, got into a vehicle and was driven away.

When asked how Knox was doing, her mother, Edda Mellas, said: "She's upset. How would you be?"

Knox said in a written statement that she was "frightened and saddened," she "expected better from the Italian justice system," and "this has gotten out of hand."

The University of Washington student was sentenced to 28½ years in prison, raising the specter of a long legal battle over her extradition.

Knox, 26, said she and her family "have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution."

The court reinstated a guilty verdict first handed down against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. The verdict was overturned in 2011, but Italy's supreme court vacated that decision and sent the case back for a third trial in Florence.

In her statement, Knox acknowledged the family of Meredith Kercher, her roommate in Italy.

"First and foremost it must be recognized that there is no consolation for the Kercher family. Their grief over Meredith's terrible murder will follow them forever. They deserve respect and support," she said.

Knox implored officials in Italy to fix problems with the justice system, and she blamed overzealous prosecutors and a "prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation" for what she called a perversion of justice and wrongful conviction.

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