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Amanda Knox: Time in jail like being in ‘limbo’

Amanda Knox, the American student convicted in Italy of murdering her British roommate, is quoted as saying in a new book that she'd rather not be famous for the slaying.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Amanda Knox, the American student convicted in Italy of murdering her British roommate, is quoted as saying in a new book that she'd rather not be famous for the slaying and that her days in jail feel like "limbo" — suspended between her old life and her hopes for the future.

Knox talks about her aspirations to marry and adopt children, and her interests in writing and studying languages in a series of jailhouse conversations with an Italian lawmaker who visited her over the past year. The conversations serve as the basis for the book.

The 23-year-old Knox was convicted in December of murder and sexual assault in the 2007 death of her housemate, British student Meredith Kercher. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison by a court in Perugia, central Italy.

Knox's former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, was convicted alongside Knox and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A third man, Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivory Coast citizen, was convicted in a separate, earlier trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison — which was cut to 16 years on appeal.

All three have maintained their innocence.

The book "Take Me With You - Talks with Amanda Knox in Prison" by lawmaker Rocco Girlanda comes out Tuesday, about a month before Knox's appeal begins Nov. 24. A lawyer for the Kercher family called it "inappropriate" and unnecessary.

"We certainly don't feel there was a need for this book," Kercher family attorney Francesco Maresca said.

The book is one of many on a case that has fascinated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. But unlike the others, it does not discuss Kercher's murder.

Knox is quoted as mentioning Kercher's name only once — to say on the day of the discovery of "Meredith's case" she was supposed to go on a trip to a nearby town with Sollecito.

Instead, the book focuses on Knox's personality, her childhood in Seattle, her hopes for post-prison life. The conversations range from mundane topics — movies and bike-riding — to wider subjects — literature and religion — and even touch on the possibility of alien life in the universe.

‘How ugly to be famous for this’
The book is being published in Italian and as an e-book in English by Piemme, a publishing house within the Mondadori media empire. The Associated Press was given an advance copy exclusively among international media.

Knox says she would like to get married but "must also find the person," and would adopt children rather than giving birth because "there are a lot of kids in this world who have no one."

She speaks of the letters she received in jail, including marriage proposals.

"Everybody tells me, 'You're famous.' And I answer, 'I'm not Angelina Jolie!'" she is quoted as saying. "How ugly to be famous for this. I would have preferred to be (famous) for something I built, I achieved."

At another point, Knox says "being in here is like being in a limbo."

"You live a little bit between the memory of life the way it was before, your hopes for tomorrow — and trying as hard as you can not to feel like you're in here," she says.

Girlanda says he kept diaries of the some 20 Italian-language conversations he has had with Knox since her conviction. Girlanda, who heads a foundation that promotes ties between Italy and the United States, said he started meeting with Knox in a bid to help offset the diplomatic fallout the explosive case had created.

The lawmaker said he was curious to know the person behind the public persona, and never talked to Knox's parents, friends or lawyers.

"I wanted to know Amanda, I wasn't interested in Amanda Knox," Girlanda told the AP. He insisted the girl he had come to know was different from the "sex, drugs and rock and roll" image depicted by some in the press.

The long legal saga of Amanda Knox, an American student accused of the violent death of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, has made headlines around the world since it began in Perugia, Italy, in late 2007.

Knox was described by the prosecution as a manipulative, cold-blooded she-devil who had grown apart from Kercher. Knox insisted she was friends with the victim and was shocked by her death.

The attorney for the Kercher family, Maresca, said he had not read the book but understood the author was trying to portray Knox as a profound, smart girl who as such could not possibly have been guilty.

But Maresca maintained that conversations which took place years after the crime aren't necessarily indicative of a person's true character.

"Three years of prison — and three years in a life in general — can change a person," Maresca said. "People can appear different from what they really are — or can even genuinely have changed."

Kercher's body was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit on Nov. 2, 2007, in the bedroom of the house she shared with Knox while the two were exchange students in Perugia. Knox and Sollecito were arrested a few days later.

Prosecutors say on the night of the murder, Knox and Sollecito met at the apartment and Guede was also there. The prosecution said Knox and Kercher started arguing, and Knox joined the two men in brutally attacking and sexually assaulting the Briton while being under the influence of drugs.

Maresca has called the long prison sentences fair, saying they had satisfied Kercher's bereaved family.