When Amanda Knox returned to her
home in Seattle, after four years in
an Italian prison, she was virtually at a loss for words.
Greeted by rejoicing family and friends at the city's airport, the young student - 24 at the time - said in a voice quivering with emotion: "I'm really overwhelmed right now.
"What's important for me to say is just 'thank you' to everyone who's believed in me, who's defended me and who's supported my family," she added. She said very little more, other than expressing the wish to be with her family.
That was in early October 2011. Now "the angel with the eyes of ice," as the Italian media referred to her, is breaking her silence.
Her autobiography, Waiting to Be Heard, is available from Tuesday, published in English and in translation simultaneously. On the same day, US broadcaster ABC is transmitting an interview.
The trial of Knox, now 25, generated headlines around the world. The young US American with the cool blue eyes was studying in Perugia, in central Italy, in the autumn of 2007 when her British flatmate Meredith Kercher was found dead, with her throat slit and her half-naked body perforated with multiple stab wounds.
The case turned on allegations of wild sex games, with Knox the instigator and Kercher the victim. Knox and her boyfriend of the time, Raffaele Sollecito, maintained their innocence.
But, in 2009, they were found guilty and sentenced to jail terms of 25 years. In a trial conducted separately, Rudy Guede - born in Ivory Coast, but a long-term resident of Perugia - received 16 years for sexual assault and murder.
In 2011 Knox and Sollecito were freed on appeal. Their defence lawyers had managed to find holes and contradictions in the investigation and evidence presented by the prosecution, in particular relating to the DNA findings.
Knox immediately returned home to Seattle. But in March this year the appeal was overturned after an appeal by the prosecution. A retrial has been scheduled.
Through her autobiography and the interview, Knox is now setting out her version of events. ABC star anchor Diane Sawyer was chosen to conduct the interview.
A brief pre-release shows Knox in a sleeveless pale blue dress with her hair combed back to face the camera. Millions are expected to watch the interview on Tuesday evening, broadcast at prime time for US audiences.
Her publishers are also expecting keen interest for her book. Washington lawyer Bob Barnett, who handled books written by President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton, negotiated an advance for Knox amounting to 4 million dollars.
The revelations contained in the book will "shock you to the core" as Barnett told Hollywood Reporter.
In the book, Knox says she wanted "to set the record straight," according to a review ahead of publication in the New York Times. She describes how she and Sollecito smoked dope at his flat while watching a movie at the time the murder was committed.
She relates how she made contradictory statements as a result of fatigue under lengthy police interrogation, during which she alleges she was slapped. She continues to insist upon her innocence. She describes herself as naive and frightened.
Knox goes on to detail her intention to commit suicide while in prison and accuses a senior prison official of sexual harassment.
In the latest edition of People magazine, Knox reveals that she is still prone to fear and feelings of desperation that cause her heart to beat rapidly.
Knox has returned to her studies and has resumed a relationship with a previous boyfriend. She does not intend to return to Italy for the retrial. Her autobiography is certain not to be the last word in the case.
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