Amanda Knox Visited in Prison by Family

Amanda Knox's mother Edda Mellas, third from right, flanked by Amanda's sisters, from left, Delaney, Ashley and Deanna, and by Amanda's father Curt, second from right, answers journalists questions after visiting her daughter in a jail in the outskirts of Perugia, Italy, were Amanda is detained, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. A jury in Italy convicted American college student Amanda Knox of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher and sentenced her to 26 years in prison shortly after midnight Saturday. Her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also convicted and sentenced to 25 years. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito) AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito

Updated 3:00 p.m. Eastern time

Amanda Knox sought comfort from visiting family members Saturday on her first day in prison since being convicted of murdering her British roommate.

The family of victim Meredith Kercher said the verdict brought a measure of justice. However, they said, it was not a time to celebrate.

Knox, a college student from Seattle, was tired and upset following , according to family members and a lawyer who saw her.

"Amanda like the rest is extremely disappointed, upset about the decision," Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, said after the visit to the prison just outside Perugia. "We told her that she's gonna get out of here. It's gonna take a little longer."

CBS News legal analyst Lisa Bloom said that the tabloid accounts of the case in Europe may have prejudiced the jurors, who in Italy are not instructed to avoid media accounts of the case before them.

"The tabloid accounts throughout Europe were consistently negative against Amanda Knox, although there were some articles that were more fair," Bloom said on CBS' "The Early Show" Saturday. "Even worse from our American point of view, the jurors actually were able to give interviews during the trial. Two of them told press reporters that they thought Amanda Knox was guilty before all the evidence was in."

Knox and Kercher's families came to this central Italian town for the verdict, which was announced at around midnight after 13 hours of deliberations. The court also convicted Knox's co-defendant and former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, and gave him a 25-year jail term for the murder.

Knox and Sollecito are appealing the verdicts.

"She couldn't sleep all night," said lawyer Luciano Ghirga, who spent an hour with Knox at her jail just outside Perugia on Saturday morning. "She's worried for her parents, too, but she is keeping the faith needed for the next steps."

Ghirga said Knox was kept under strict surveillance. He denied reports that she had been put under suicide watch, which is the standard practice in such cases.

Kercher, 21, was Knox's roommate while they studied in Perugia.

Kercher's family said Saturday they were pleased with Knox's murder conviction but said there was no sense of celebration.

The victim's relatives made their first comments since a jury in Perugia, Italy, announced early Saturday that they had convicted Knox and sentenced her to 26 years in prison for the 2007 murder.

"Ultimately we are pleased with the decision, pleased that we've got a decision, but it's not a time for celebration," Lyle Kercher, the victim's brother, said.

Kercher's sister, Stephanie, said the verdict "does bring a little bit of justice, for us and for her." But she added: "Life will never be the same without Mez."

Kercher, 21, was Knox's roommate while they studied in Perugia.

Her body was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit on Nov. 2, 2007, at the apartment they shared. Prosecutors said the Leeds University student was murdered the previous night.

After a year-long trial and some 13 hours of deliberations, the jury read out the verdict in a packed courtroom shortly after midnight.

Just before the verdict, Knox and her family had managed to exchange glances, but no words.

"Tears were already coming down her eyes," said her sister, Deana Knox, outside the courtroom. "She was already scared. And I didn't get to see her face after that."

The presiding judge read out the verdict in somber tones, never looking up at the accused or their families gathered in the courtroom," reported CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey.

The sentence handed down was less than the maximum demanded by the prosecution, but no less stunning to their families.

Knox could be heard sobbing and saying, "No, no," as she was led away.

Knox and Sollecito were also ordered to pay nearly $7.5 million compensation to the Kerchers.

Minutes later, the 22-year-old from Seattle was put in a police van with sirens blaring and driven back to her jail just outside Perugia.

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Defense Lawyer Calls Knox "Naive"
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She spent her first night in jail as a convicted woman under suicide watch, the ANSA news agency and other reports said. Sollecito, also kept under suicide watch - which is common in such cases - received the visit of one of his lawyers, ANSA said.

In Italy verdicts can be appealed by both sides. The prosecutors said they were satisfied with the ruling and would not seek to appeal, even though the court did not grant their request for life imprisonment. Prosecutor Manuela Comodi said that the verdict "recognizes the defendants are guilty of all the crimes they had been charged with."

Both the Knox family and lawyers for Sollecito have announced an appeal.

When it was over, the Knox family had to fight their way out of court.

Her father, Curt Knox, barely managed to contain his anger: "She had nothing to do with it," he said. "This was a failure of the system, flat failure," he said. "And the people of this community and literally the people of Italy had a system fail on them."

When asked if he would fight on for his daughter, he replied, with tears in his eyes: "Hell, yes."

The sentences carry an automatic appeal, which should begin by next October. The Knoxes are hoping that pressure from their home state Senator, Maria Cantwell, might hurry that along.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors depicted Knox as a promiscuous and manipulative she-devil whose personality clashed with her roommate's. They say Knox had grown to hate Kercher.

"It appears clear to us that the attacks on Amanda's character in much of the media and by the prosecution had a significant impact on the judges and jurors and apparently overshadowed the lack of evidence in the prosecution's case against her," the Knox family said in a statement.

In Seattle, Madison Paxton, Knox's friend from the University of Washington, said: "They're convicting a made-up person ... "They they're convicting 'Foxy Knoxy.' That's not Amanda."

Prosecutors argued that on the night of the murder, Knox and Kercher started arguing, and that Knox joined Sollecito and Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede in brutally attacking and sexually assaulting the Briton under "the fumes of drugs and possibly alcohol."

Guede was convicted previously and sentenced to 30 years. He denies wrongdoing and is appealing.

(AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
Knox said Kercher was a friend whose slaying shocked and saddened her.

(Left: Amanda Knox's father Curt and her stepmother Cassandra enter the jail in the outskirts of Perugia, Italy, where Amanda is detained, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009.)

Defense lawyers maintained there was not enough evidence for a conviction and no clear motive. They disputed DNA traces that the prosecution linked to Knox and Sollecito as inconclusive, and in some cases said the evidence had been inadvertently contaminated.

Bloom said the strongest case made in the appeal will be on the evidence. "I think one of their strongest grounds on appeal is that the defense was not allowed to bring in DNA experts to counter the DNA experts that the prosecution has," she said.

The appeals process can take anywhere from one to three years, "almost the equivalent of a new trial," Bloom said.

The pair also was convicted of illegally carrying a weapon - the knife - and of staging a burglary at the house where the murder occurred by breaking a window, supposedly in an effort to sidetrack the investigation.

Knox also was convicted of defaming Congolese man, Patrick Diya Lumumba, whom she accused of the killing. Lumumba was jailed briefly but was later cleared. Knox said during the trial that police pressure led her to initially accuse an innocent man.
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