PERUGIA, Italy — An American college student accused of murdering her British roommate in Italy testified for the first time on Friday, offering an alibi for the night of the 2007 killing and saying police beat her into making a false statement in the case.
Amanda Knox, 21, said she smoked pot, had sex with her boyfriend _ co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito _ and fell asleep at his apartment on the night of the slaying. She said she did not return home until after her roommate was killed.
Knox alternated between fluent Italian and English during roughly six hours of testimony in a packed Perugia courtroom, where she is being tried on charges of murder and sexual assault for the slaying of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, a British student.
Knox's account of the night of the murder contrasts with that of prosecutors, who say Kercher was killed during what began as a sex game.
Prosecutors say Kercher came home after an evening with friends on Nov. 1, 2007, and soon after opened the door to Knox, Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede, who was convicted of murder last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
According to the prosecutors, Sollecito held Kercher by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife. They say Guede, an Ivory Coast national, tried to sexually assault Kercher and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.
Sitting on the witness stand with an interpreter next to her, two prison guards behind and her parents at the rear of the medieval courtroom, Knox offered a much different account.
"On November 1, I told Raffaele that I wanted to watch a movie so we went to his place," said Knox, a University of Washington student who was doing a year abroad. After dinner, they went upstairs to his room, she said.
"I sat on the bed, he sat at his desk, he prepared the joint and then we smoked it together," the student from Seattle said. "First we made love, then we fell asleep."
Knox said she had spent time with Kercher at their apartment earlier that afternoon.
They talked about what they had done for Halloween the night before, and Knox said Kercher still had a bit of her vampire makeup on.
She said Sollecito arrived at the house and they had something to eat.
Kercher "went to her room to change, she had a shower, I don't know," Knox said. "She left her room, said 'Bye,' walked out the door. That was the last time I saw her."
Knox described her relationship with Kercher as easygoing, in contrast with previous testimony indicating that Kercher had complained about Knox's bathroom habits and had expressed surprise at her apparent promiscuity.
"I confided in her, I would often ask for her advice," Knox said Friday. "When Meredith had a problem over my behavior, she would tell me. That was it. There was nothing she would keep hidden or that we couldn't find agreement on."
Kercher's body was found on Nov. 2. Knox recalled going home that morning and seeing blood in one of the apartment's bathrooms. At first, she said, she thought she had scratched herself, but then realized the blood was dry.
I thought, 'Hmmm, weird,'" Knox said. "Then I took a shower and wanted to use the rug in the bathroom and I saw a bloodstain on it. I thought, 'Hmmm, weird.'"
Sollecito, 25, has said he was at his own apartment the night of Nov. 1, working at his computer. 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 also repeated her accusations that she was beaten by police and was confused when she was questioned in the days after the killing. Police have denied any misconduct.
"They called me a stupid liar, said I was trying to protect someone. I was not trying to protect anyone," Knox said. "I didn't know what to respond. They said I left Raffaele's home, which I denied, but they continued to call me `stupid liar.'"
Prosecutors planned to cross-examine her on Saturday.
Knox and Sollecito have been jailed since shortly after the slaying. They could face Italy's stiffest punishment, life imprisonment, if convicted of murder. The trial began in January and a verdict is expected after a summer break.
Guede has appealed his conviction.