Amanda Knox ‘Afraid’ to Appear in Italian Court

'I didn't kill. I didn't rape. I didn't rob. I didn't plot'

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NBC, Peter Kramer / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Amanda Knox interviewed during an interview on NBC's Today show in New York City on Sept. 20, 2013

The American student who was acquitted in the 2007 murder of her roommate in Italy said Tuesday that she’s staying out of the country for a retrial because she fears being wrongfully convicted.

Lawyers representing Amanda Knox, 26, presented a five-page, printed email from Knox, who did not appear at the third hearing of her case in Italy, the Associated Press reports. Knox returned to the United States in 2011 after she was acquitted on appeal of her conviction; the acquittal was overturned by Italy’s high court last March.

“I didn’t kill. I didn’t rape. I didn’t rob. I didn’t plot. I didn’t instigate. I didn’t kill Meredith,” she wrote in Italian.

Knox and her former Italian boyfriend,┬áRaffaele Sollecito, were convicted in 2009 for the brutal murder of Knox’s roommate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. Police found Kercher’s body in her bedroom after she had been raped and stabbed to death.

Judge Alessandro Nencini read the declaration into record but said it did not have the same legal standing as it would had she appeared in court, the AP reports.

“Who wants to speak at a trial, comes to the trial,” he said.

Prosecutors are asking for a 26-year sentence for both Knox and Sollecito, as well as an additional year to Knox’s three-year slander conviction for wrongly accusing a bar owner of the murder. In the email, Knox said police coerced her into signing a false confession, which including the accusation against bar owner.

“I am not in court because I am afraid. I am afraid that the vehemence of the prosecution will make an impression on you, that their smoke will get in your eyes and blind you,” Knox wrote. “I am not afraid of your powers of discernment, but because the prosecution has succeeded already in convincing a court comprised of responsible and perceptive adults to convict innocent people, Raffaele and me.”

A verdict in the new trial is expected in mid-January.

[AP]