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CNN exclusive: Amanda Knox says, 'I did not kill my friend'

By Chris Cuomo and Dana Ford, CNN
updated 1:19 PM EDT, Sun May 4, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "I truly believe that it is possible to win this," Amanda Knox tells CNN
  • She has one final appeal -- to Italy's highest court
  • Knox says holes in her case have been filled with speculation
  • She was first convicted of her onetime roommate's murder in 2009

New York (CNN) -- If she had been at the scene of the crime, forensic evidence would prove her guilt, but Amanda Knox says there is nothing -- no DNA, no hair, no footprints, no handprints -- to show she was there.

Knox spoke in an exclusive interview with CNN on Thursday, two days after an Italian court released an explanation of her conviction.

Author: Amanda Knox is innocent

In a retrial, Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her then-boyfriend, were found guilty in the 2007 death of Meredith Kercher, Knox's onetime roommate.

Amanda Knox: 'I did not kill my friend'
Judge slams Knox conviction report

"I did not kill my friend. I did not wield a knife. I had no reason to," Knox said.

"In the month that we that we were living together, we were becoming friends. A week before the murder occurred, we went out to a classical music concert together ... We had never fought."

Knox struggled to speak at moments in the interview, seemingly overcome by emotion and thoughts of Kercher. But, for the most part, she was calm, collected and methodical in how she broke down arguments in the case.

The knife: The prosecution in 2009 said that a knife found in Raffaele Sollecito's house has the DNA of Amanda Knox on the handle and the DNA of victim Meredith Kercher on the blade, suggesting it's the murder weapon. The defense said the knife doesn't match the shape and size of wounds on Kercher's body or an outline of the knife left on her bed. The defense also presented experts who said DNA on the blade was too small to be definitive. The knife: The prosecution in 2009 said that a knife found in Raffaele Sollecito's house has the DNA of Amanda Knox on the handle and the DNA of victim Meredith Kercher on the blade, suggesting it's the murder weapon. The defense said the knife doesn't match the shape and size of wounds on Kercher's body or an outline of the knife left on her bed. The defense also presented experts who said DNA on the blade was too small to be definitive.
The case against Amanda Knox
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Photos: The case against Amanda Knox Photos: The case against Amanda Knox

In its more than 300-page document, the Florence appeals court said a third person convicted in the murder, Rudy Guede, did not act alone, and cited the nature of the victim's wounds.

Ruling Judge Alessandro Nencini, who presided over the second appeal in the case, said Kercher and Knox disagreed over the payment of the rent in the house they shared in Perugia and that "there was an argument then an elevation and progression of aggression."

Knox dismissed those allegations out of hand.

"If I were there, I would have traces of Meredith's broken body on me. And I would have left traces of myself around -- around Meredith's corpse," she said.

"And I -- I am not there. And that proves my innocence."

'I'm not that person'

When asked what type of person Judge Nencini must think she is, Knox cited his report.

"He believes the prosecutor when the prosecutor describes me as a person who was capable of not only completely disturbing everyone around me, but then getting drugged up," she said, trailing off.

"But I'm not that person. And the evidence doesn't show that."

She said she has been haunted by how people perceived her behavior in the immediate aftermath of the murder.

Knox was filmed kissing Sollecito outside the murder scene. At the police station, she reportedly sat on Sollecito's lap, making faces. She told Kercher's friends she must have suffered.

"I think it's true that people seemed to have had a kind of tunnel vision in my regard and that has been something that I've been having to fight against for a long time," Knox said.

The Florence court in January said that Knox, who also was convicted of slander, was sentenced in absentia to 28 1/2 years in prison. Sollecito's sentence was 25 years.

They were first convicted of murder in 2009, but those verdicts were overturned on appeal in 2011.

Claudio Hellman, the judge who tossed their convictions, has lashed out at colleagues.

"The Florence Appeal Court has written a script for a movie or a thriller book while it should have only considered facts and evidence. There is no evidence to condemn Knox and Sollecito," said the judge in a scathing statement obtained by CNN.

"It's a verdict that, seems to me, is the result of fantasy and has nothing to do with evidence."

Guede is the only person in jail for the slaying, and many aspects of the crime remain unexplained.

'It's not a complex case'

Knox's conviction has raised questions about her possible extradition to Italy to serve her sentence, since she was in the United States and did not attend the retrial. She gets one more appeal -- to Italy's highest court.

She said she thought the Florence appeals court would find her innocent, and was caught by surprise when it didn't.

"As this case has progressed, the evidence that the prosecution has claimed exists against me has been proven less and less and less. And all that has happened is that they've filled these holes with speculation," she said.

Separately, Knox added: "What I keep seeing in this case is trying to put an artificial complexity to it. It's not a complex case."

If Italy's highest court affirms her conviction, the country could ask for her to be sent back to Italy, where she spent four years in prison awaiting and during her first trial. U.S. authorities would then have to decide whether to extradite.

Knox said she is hopeful such a scenario can be avoided and that her next appeal will be successful.

She is optimistic her life in limbo will finally be resolved.

"From this whole experience, especially in prison where you have to take everything day by day, right now I'm having to take everything step by step. And if I think about everything that I could possibly be facing, it's way too overwhelming for me to even conceive," Knox said.

"I truly believe that it is possible to win this, and to bring an end to all of the speculation and the nonsensical theories, and really bring peace to everyone who has suffered."

READ: Italian court explains Amanda Knox conviction

READ: Opinion: Why Knox verdict baffles us

Chris Cuomo reported this story in New York. Dana Ford reported and wrote this story in Atlanta.

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