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Originally published September 25, 2011 at 6:10 PM | Page modified September 26, 2011 at 6:15 AM

UW friend says Knox can't eat or sleep well

After four years in an Italian prison, Amanda Knox of Seattle is not sleeping or eating well as she anxiously waits to learn whether an appeals court in Italy will uphold or overturn her murder conviction, a friend of the jailed American student said Sunday.

The Associated Press

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PERUGIA, Italy — Amanda Knox can't sleep or eat properly as she waits to learn whether an appeals court in Italy will uphold or overturn her murder conviction, a friend of the jailed American student said Sunday.

A verdict is expected in early October, capping an appeals trial that began almost a year ago.

Knox was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, her British roommate in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Knox's boyfriend at the time of the 2007 murder, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, also was convicted and sentenced to 25 years. They deny wrongdoing and have appealed.

Madison Paxton, a friend from the University of Washington who has moved to Perugia to be close to Knox and visits her in prison regularly, told The Associated Press that Knox has no energy and tires very easily.

"In these days coming toward the end, finding very peaceful moments is hard for her," Paxton said. "Her sleep is very disturbed, her eating is very disturbed."

The 24-year-old Knox has visibly lost weight and appears worn out.

The appeals case continues Monday, when a lawyer representing the Kercher family will make his closing arguments. The lawyer of a man who was implicated in the murder by Knox — and was briefly jailed as a result of her statement — is also expected to address the appeals court in Perugia. Both the Kercher family and the man figure as civil plaintiffs in the case.

Defense teams then will sum up their case, and Knox is expected to address the court in a final plea. In a letter sent to Italian lawmaker Rocco Girlanda, Knox said she has been thinking about what to say to the court and what to do if she is released. The letter, dated Aug. 9, was shown on Italian TV Sunday.

Kercher, 21, was stabbed to death Nov. 1, 2007.

Prosecutors maintain Kercher died in what had begun as a drug-fueled sexual assault. They have asked the appeals court to stiffen Knox's and Sollecito's penalties and sentence them to life in prison.

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