PERUGIA, Italy (Reuters): American student Amanda Knox on Monday made an tearful plea to be acquitted of murdering her British roommate, saying she was paying with her life for a crime she did not commit.
"I am the same person I was four years ago," said Knox, visibly shaking and fighting to hold back tears.
"I lost a friend, in the most brutal and inexplicable way possible. My absolute faith in the police authorities was betrayed, I've had to face absolutely unfair ... and baseless accusations. I am paying with my life for things I did not commit."
The Seattle native and her Italian boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, are fighting a 2009 verdict that found them guilty of stabbing Leeds University exchange student Meredith Kercher to death during a drug-fuelled sexual assault.
The panel of two professional and six lay judges retired to consider a verdict immediately after Knox's final plea. A verdict is due later on Monday.
Expectations are high among many in the United States that 24-year-old Knox will walk free from the Italian prison she has been held in for nearly four years after a forensics review cast doubt on DNA evidence used to convict her.