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Student accused of murder in Italy testifies for first time

An American student on trial in Italy for the murder of her British roommate testified for the first time yesterday, her voice sometimes shaking, and said the last time she saw the victim was hours before the killing.

Alternating between English and Italian, 21-year-old Amanda Knox said that on the night of the murder, in November 2007, she smoked marijuana, had sex with her boyfriend - now her co-defendant - at his house and then fell asleep.

Prosecutors say Knox, an exchange student from Seattle, and Raffaele Sollecito killed 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia, central Italy. Kercher's body was found there on November 2, 2007, and legal experts said she was killed the night before.

"On November 1, I told Raffaele that I wanted to watch a movie so we went to his place," Knox said.

"I sat on the bed, he sat at his desk, he prepared the joint and then we smoked it together," she said. "First we made love, then we fell asleep."

Knox said she last saw Kercher on the afternoon of November 1. They talked about what they had done the night before - a Halloween night out - and Knox said Kercher still had a bit of her vampire makeup on.

Sollecito then arrived at the house; he and Knox had something to eat while Kercher was in her room, Knox told the court. "She left her room, said 'bye,' walked out the door," Knox said. "That was the last time I saw her."

Sollecito, 25, has said he was at his apartment the night of November 1. He said he does not remember if Knox spent the whole night with him or just part of it. The two have said they could not remember events clearly because they had taken drugs.

Knox and Sollecito have been jailed since shortly after the slaying. They are both charged with murder and sexual violence.

A third suspect, Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede, was earlier found guilty of murder and sexual violence and sentenced to 30 years in prison.


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