U.S. Student Studying Abroad Accused of Stabbing Roommate to Death

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," November 8, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: It's the big crime tonight. Every year thousands of kids beg their parents to let them study abroad. Those parents, though, may feel differently about it after hearing this story. An American college student studying in Italy is accused of murder. The 20-year-old University of Washington woman, on the upper left of your screen, is being detained along with two others for the brutal killing of her British roommate who was stabbed to death while fighting off a sex attack.

GIBSON: Knox says she is innocent but she has already changed her story once to the police. So what really happened inside her home on that night? "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy has new developments in this international murder mystery. Douglas?

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Well, whatever happened John and Heather, Italian police say it involved a night full of sex and violence. Friends of the American today say they are shocked and say this is not the same woman that left Seattle in September.


KENNEDY (voice-over): On her Myspace page, Amanda Knox calls herself Foxy Knoxy and seems a typical 20 year old doing shots with her friends at the University of Washington.

ROSS PERITORE, KNOX'S FORMER CO-WORKER: She was great. She was bubbly and always a smile on her face, and you know, just a fun-loving person to be around.

KENNEDY: But somewhere between this summer in Seattle and the streets of Italy, as a student studying abroad this fall, something went terribly wrong for Amanda Knox. Knox, who was studying Italian, is being held in Perusia in connection with the death of her roommate, 24-year-old British national Meredith Kercher. Italian cops describe a gruesome murder with a salacious undertone, as Kercher's throat was slit while they say fending off a sexual attack. They also have implied Knox and two other men had participated in orgies and that Kercher may have been killed after resisting group sex. Knox's friends and co-workers at this Seattle coffee shop say they are stunned.

PERITORE: My first reaction was that I was shocked, you know, seeing her picture and kind of the words that were written.

KENNEDY: Also arrested, Knox's 24-year-old Italian boyfriend, Rafael Felicito, and 38-year-old Lamumba Patrick Daya, a Congolese resident and owner of a local Italian bar. Police say all three suspects changed their stories at first claiming there was a break-in in Knox's apartment. They say Knox was the first to fold under questioning, quoting her as saying, "Patrick and Meredith were in Meredith's room while I stayed in the kitchen. I can't remember how long they were together in the room, but I can only say that at a certain point I heard Meredith screaming and I was scared so I covered my ears. After that, I don't remember everything, my head is very confused." The story is widely reported in European newspapers with one Italian headline blaring student killed, interrogation of friends arrested. At a nearby cathedral, Italian neighbors have made a makeshift memorial to Meredith. It was there Kercher's father left some final words for his fallen daughter, love you, Meredith, all my love, dad. Meanwhile, Amanda's friends back home are hoping it's all a mistake.

PERITORE: I find that hard to believe that she could be involved with that, and I hope that, you know, it comes out in the end that she had nothing to do with it.


KENNEDY: An Italian judge will decide tomorrow whether there's enough evidence to keep the three suspects in custody. They have all hired lawyers and all three maintain their innocence. So John and Heather, a big day tomorrow and some big developments should come.

GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy, Douglas thank you.

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