VERDICT SOON TO COME. Amanda, now 22, spent her last two birthdays in an Italian prison. The verdict to decide her fate will be read between Dec. 4 and Dec. 6. She is pictured here with her young cousin.
DEC. 4: UPDATE: AMANDA KNOX VERDICT at 3:00 PM TODAY
Italian TV just anounced Knox verdict to be read at 3:00 pm Seattle time
DEC. 4 UPDATE:
UPDATE: The verdict of the Amanda Knox murder trial will be read at midnight in Perugia, Italy, 3:00 pm Seattle time, according to West Seattle Herald news sources in Italy. According to our sources, when the verdict is ready, jury members will inform the clerk of court, who will inform the defense at least an hour before the reading of the verdict. It is possible the jurors already know her fate.
Now, Amanda is in Capanne prison. She has the right, if she wants, to be in the Courthouse at the moment of the reading. She's being informend in these moments.
It is nine hours later in Perugia, Italy where attorney Luciano Ghirga, one of the lawyers on Amanda Knox's team wrapped up Knox's defense in the Italian murder trial today with an emotional appeal to the court to acquit her of charges that she murdered roommate Meredith Kercher. Today was the final day of summations in the nine-month long murder trial which is expected to produce a verdict by this Friday or Saturday. Seated in the courtroom were Knox's father Curt, her mother, Edda Mellas, and the oldest of her three younger sisters, Deanna, 20.
Today Ghirga spoke of Amanda and how he has daughters just like her and has gotten to know her well over these past two years. He told the jury that she is genuine and lovable, unlike what the prosecutor has said about her.
Attorney Dalla Vedova was Amanda's lawyer who spoke in court Tuesday.
"The radio announcer described Vedova as a figure behaving affectionately towards Amanda, as a grandpa," said Alessandro Fino in an email to the West Seattle Herald moments ago. He is a student of physics at the Università DI Bari, a college of about 4,000 in southern Italy. He is immersed on live radio and TV broadcasts about the trial, which have been frequent this week.
On Monday, well-known Italian defense attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, spoke in court on Knox's behalf, characterizing Knox as a naive young girl and not a killer. Bongiorno is a member of Italian Parliament and successfully had defended Italy's former premier Giulio Andreotti. She attacked the prosecution for their vicious characterizations of Knox.
"These three attorneys have done a fantastic job, hanmmering hard on shotty police work," Janet Huff told the West Seattle Herald this afternoon. Huff is Amanda's aunt. She will remain in West Seattle for the verdict while caring for her children and nephews here.
"They had her convicted before the trial started," Huff added referring to the police. "The prosecution got reamed this week, looked foolish, and made a lot of errors. It was good for us." Knox's family texts Huff from the courtroom with minute by minute updates.
Immediately after Ghirga concluded, the prosecutor addressed the court. He asked to give his rebuttal right away, an unusual move. He was already scheduled for the following morning, but witnesses say he was visibly shaken. The judge allowed it.
Within a few minutes of his address all the power went out in the court room and he was forced to stop. However, the power was restored about 10 minutes later, and he continued for two hours.
On Dec. 4 or 5, it is expected that verdicts will be read in Meredith Kercher’s murder trial in Perugia, Italy to decide if West Seattle’s UW student will be set free to enjoy her Christmas holiday with her family back home in Arbor Heights, or remain in Capanne prison for 30 years or more.
If found guilty, her defense team would appeal. In Italy, the appeal process lasts over two years and costs over one million dollars.
Saturday, Nov. 28, Amanda's parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, were charged with defamation by the Perugia Police department for giving an interview with a newspaper months ago recounting Amanda's statement the the police struck her head, deprived her of food and water, and refused to provide her with an English translator, As we reported here.
Knox, who turned 22 on July 9, has already been in prison for two years on suspicion of sexually assaulting and murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher Nov. 1, 2007 during the third week into her college studies there. The trial began Jan. 16 of this year. Also accused are Raffaele Sollecito, her boyfriend at the time of the murder, and Rudy Guede, who was already found guilty of the murder and is serving his sentence.
Closing arguments were being made by Sollecito's lawyer Nov. 28. Knox's lawyers will make their closing arguments Dec. 1 and 2. On Friday, Nov. 20, Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini gave a seven-hour closing argument claiming Knox’s motivation to stab Ms. Kercher to death was personal animosity toward her roommate of three weeks. The following day in court the prosecutor also showed a movie graphically depicting a computer generated Amanda killing a computer generated Meredith. The animation would stop and a gory still photo of Ms. Kercher would be inserted. He “demanded” that Knox be sent to jail for life.
"The prosecutor's final presentation, which included a computer animated movie showing Knox murdering her roommate, is as imaginary and fantastical as the case against Knox," said author Maine-based author Douglas Preston, who has been closely following the case. His best-selling book "Monster of Florence" describes his own entanglement with Knox's prosecutors on a different murder case, this one involving a serial killer who struck between the 1960's-1980s. In his book, now in production as a movie starring Tom Cruise, Preston experienced threats during his interrogation received by the prosecutor as his findings of who the "monster" was contradicted the prosecutor's findings.
"If the jury and judges reach a verdict based on facts only, she would have to be acquitted," Preston added. "Public opinion in Italy has been utterly poisoned against her. If she is convicted there will be, I am afraid, a tragic miscarriage of justice."
Knox has testified that she was visiting Sollecito the evening of the murder and arrived home the following morning to find police on the scene. Her defense team and independent investigators have stated that some of the stab wounds they studied on a recent autopsy of Ms. Kercher did not match the knife the prosecutor claims was the murder weapon. Knox, her family, and defense team has stated that she was friendly toward Ms. Kercher and that no friction between the two existed.
Amanda’s family agreed to share some thoughts with the West Seattle Herald as the verdict nears.
“Amanda and Meredith were very friendly,” said Janet Huff, Knox’s aunt. “Just two days before (the murder) they attended the Chocolate Festival together and had been out together to local pubs. There were quite a few photos of the two of them together in the days before her murder on Amanda's computer. Too bad the Italian police completely fried it when trying to get into it and were not able to retrieve a single thing.
“We’re terrified and hopeful at the same time,” added Huff. “Things have been nuts this whole time,” she said, referring to the two-year ordeal of her niece. “I feel hopeful if the ruling is based on the evidence only. For logical people that’s what they’ll do. Our stomachs are in knots all the time.”
Another motive, money, has been brought up in court. Guede claimed that Knox fought Ms. Kercher to steal $200. However, both Knox’s father and Huff said Amanda had enough money in her bank account and a theft of $200 would have been unnecessary.
“Amanda had a good amount of savings in her bank account from her three jobs she worked before she left, so why would she go after a brand new roommate for a couple hundred dollars that she did not need,” Huff said.
Knox’s case has been grueling for her, and for her sisters, parents, extended family, friends and supporters. Most of her family will be present at the trial. That includes her father and stepmother, Curt and Cassandra Knox, her mother and stepfather, Edda and Chris Mellas, her sisters Deanna, Ashley, and Delaney, and her aunt, Christina Hagge. Some will have arrived Thanksgiving weekend in time to hear closing arguments from the defense teams of Amanda and Raffaele.
Her aunt and uncle, Janet and Mick Huff, her uncle, Kevin Hagge, and her grandmother, Elizabeth, or “Oma,” will stay home and watch Amanda’s cousins. Janet expects to field media requests for family statements.
“I’m feeling pretty good from the perspective of the verdict, assuming they are only listening to what has been presented as evidence,” said Curt. “There’s been so much misreporting from the press during this long, eight-month trial. I’m still uncomfortable the jury will remember this.”
The jury consists of six citizens and two judges. Curt refers to Italy’s system that allows jurors to return home at night from the courtroom and go to work during the week. This gives the jurors the opportunity to read the tabloids and watch TV entertainment news that may be prone to sensationalize the court case and influence their opinion based on titillating reporting.
“It’s been a very long journey and I’m hoping that they get it right and we can bring her home,” said Curt, who is unemployed and was part of Macy’s huge corporate lay-off a year and a half ago.
While some have perceived Amanda’s father on TV news interviews as calm and unruffled, he acknowledged another side of himself.
“Of course I feel as emotional about my daughter’s trial as the others in our family,” he said. “I just may hide them better than other people do. People might not think I wear my heart on my sleeve, but it’s there.”
“She’ll have quite a support group over there,” said her aunt, Christina Hagge. “The stress is getting me a little more emotional as the verdict is getting close. It certainly brings sleepless nights.
“It would be nice to be with my husband and kids sitting around the table for Thanksgiving, but supporting Amanda is what really matters,” added Hagge. “And we’ll be a little more thankful when this comes to a close.”