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Amanda Knox considered committing suicide while in an Italian prison for the 2007 murder of her roommate, according to early leaks from her upcoming memoir.
Other revelations from Waiting to Be Heard include allegations of abuse from Italian authorities, bullying from other prisoners and her trouble readjusting to normal life after four years in prison.
Knox was convicted of the murder in 2009 and then freed in 2011, after an Italian court raised doubts about the evidence.
The book is scheduled for publication April 30. ABC is airing a one-hour primetime interview conducted by Diane Sawyer that night.
The New York Times obtained an early copy, despite publisher HarperCollins’ effort to keep the highly-anticipated book’s contents under embargo until publication.
Knox’s suicidal thoughts are among the most surprising details to be revealed.
She remained optimistic throughout her first two years in prison, but after her conviction in 2009 darker thoughts entered her head, especially when she thought an appeal might increase her sentence from 26 years to life in prison.
“I started to understand how you could feel so locked inside your own life that you could be so desperate to escape, even if it meant that you would no longer exist,” she writes.
She ticks off the options for prison suicide: swallowing bleach or glass shards, hitting her head against the wall, cutting her wrists or suffocating her with a garbage bag.
“I imagined myself a corpse,” Knox confesses.
She also claims that Italian police abused her during interrogations, slapping her on the head repeatedly and not allowing her to use the bathroom.
Knox says the intense questioning led her to sign a false statement fingering Patrick Lumumba, her boss at a local bar, for the murder. Lumumba was later cleared of any involvement in the crime.
Her fellow prisoners did not offer better treatment.
They called her “Principessa sul Pisello” (the “Princess on the Pea”), which a was reference to her alleged snobbery (for being interested in reading and writing) and her “supposed sexual depravity” (pisello is also slang for penis).
Knox had to switch cells three times in her first nine weeks in prison because of the harassment.
She also found adjusting to life outside of prison strange. On the ride to the airport after being released from prison in 2011, she was disoriented when her mother handed her a touchscreen cell phone.
“I hadn’t picked up a cellphone in years, and never a touch-screen,” She writes. “This device was as good as sci-fi to me.”
Knox maintains her innocence throughout the book, claiming that she and then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who was also convicted and exonerated of the murder, were smoking marijuana the night Kercher was killed.
She attributes her mistakes (kissing Sollecito as police prepared to remove Kercher’s body, a joke in her journal about “killing for a pizza”) to immaturity and a penchant for gallows humor.
After her conviction was overturned in 2011, Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle and re-enrolled in college.
She has not given any interviews, but hired high-profile lawyer Bob Barnett to represent her on the book deal.
HarperCollins paid a reported $4 million advance for the memoir.
In March, Italy’s highest court vacated her exoneration, leaving Knox in a legal limbo, not guilty but necessarily innocent. An Italian court will hold a hearing later this year to consider whether she should be retried.
Knox does not address this most recent setback in the book since it occurred after she finished writing Waiting to Be Heard.
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