Amanda Knox took 'full advantage' of chance to testify, her father says
Seattle resident Curt Knox says his daughter Amanda Knox "took full advantage of her opportunity" to testify in the murder trial of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Curt Knox prepared to leave Italy on Sunday as any tourist might, hunting for a gas station to fill up the rental car. Then, a quick stop at Italy's version of "60 Minutes," and Knox was on a plane back to Seattle.
Nothing has been ordinary for Knox since Nov. 5, 2007, when his oldest daughter, Amanda Knox, was arrested — just a month into her year abroad from the University of Washington — in the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy.
But unlike past trips back to Seattle, Curt Knox felt a glimmer of real optimism after Amanda Knox's two-day testimony on Friday and Saturday, five months into a sensational murder trial that has been compared with the O.J. Simpson case.
"I can't tell you how proud I was of her, how she handled herself in what might be considered a life-and-death situation," Knox, who lives in West Seattle, said in a telephone interview. "When we got a chance to go back and hug her [after her testimony] and tell her she did a great job and we loved her, she was obviously relieved. She took full advantage of her opportunity."
Prosecutors accuse Knox, 21, and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, with killing Kercher, a British student, in a sex-game gone awry. A third defendant, Rudy Guede, a drifter from Ivory Coast, has already been convicted.
The case has become a phenomenon, spawning at least four blogs devoted solely to the case and several books in progress. Knox's supporters — including prominent Seattle attorneys — have raised at least $70,000 to help fund her defense.
Curt Knox said his daughter's testimony helped rebut a tabloid portrayal of a lying, erratic "dark angel." Speaking fluent Italian, Knox accused Italian police of hitting her and coercing her into a statement that falsely implicated a black bar owner. Much of that statement previously had been thrown out by an Italian court because it was given without an attorney being present.
"Hopefully, people realize she's just a normal college student and not this 'dark angel' character portrayed in the media," said Knox. "This was the first time she could explain how it was for a 20-year-old, without a good understanding of Italian, who had no other interaction with police" except for a noise-ordinance citation in Seattle in 2007.
In the English-language news accounts of the testimony, Knox was portrayed as poised, calm and somewhat unpredictable.
But Peggy Ganong, a professional translator in West Seattle who moderates a blog devoted to the case, said the testimony conflicted with some evidence. Phone records, for example, don't back up Knox's recollection about when she called police, she said.
"I think the forensic evidence is not nonexistent, as her friends and family have said from the start," Ganong said.
As evidence of the intense emotions the case has triggered, Ganong in March filed a Seattle police report accusing Knox supporters of online harassment, including threats and the posting of Ganong's personal information.
"There's lunatic fringe on each side of this case," she said. The police investigation has not been resolved, she said.
Knox's defense attorneys soon will challenge the forensic evidence, Curt Knox said.
That evidence, as presented by the prosecution, includes specks of Knox's and Kercher's blood found in a bathroom they shared and a knife, allegedly with both of their DNA.
But Knox noted that prosecutors presented no evidence that Knox was in Kercher's bedroom during a struggle that left blood smeared on the walls and floor.
"It is an absolutely complete impossibility that Amanda could leave no hair follicle, no skin sample, no DNA, no blood inside that room," said Knox. "It falls apart on a common-sense point of view."
Amanda Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, a math teacher for Highline School District, is likely to testify next week, and Amanda's school friends would take the stand later.
The Italian court will take about a two-month vacation, and Curt Knox believes a verdict may not be rendered until early 2010.
Until then, legal bills, which now are "nearing seven digits," he said, continue to accrue.
Knox said he recently quit a long career with Macy's after his job was moved to the Bay Area and is looking for work.
Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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