crimesider

Amanda Knox's Best Friend Speaks Out

Video Courtesy Of NBC's Today Show

NEW YORK (CBS) The best friend of Amanda Knox, the American college student charged with murdering her British roommate in Italy, testified in court this weekend. Meanwhile, Knox's defense attorneys tried to poke holes in the prosecution's case.

Knox and her Italian former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are on trial on charges of murder and sexual violence in the 2007 slaying of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, central Italy. Both deny wrongdoing.

Madison Paxton, a college friend of Knox, appeared on the Today Show, Monday. She said that Knox is the opposite of the sexually deviant and manipulative "Foxy Knoxy" character that the British and Italian tabloids have often portrayed her as. Amanda is "one of the few people I actually trust with my life," she said. "I will never stop sticking up for her. I know she's innocent."

The prosecution, spearheaded by Giuliano Mignini, has painted a very different picture. Mignini believes Knox, Sollecito, and another man - Rudy Hermann Guede - forced Kercher into a sex game that ended in murder.

Guede was convicted last year for his role in the killing and sentenced to 30 years. He too denies wrongdoing.

However, Francesco Introna, a forensic pathologist hired by the defense, said that the prosecution's evidence is faulty and believes that Kercher was attacked by only one person.

Additionally, the alleged murder weapon has also been called into question.

Prosecutors maintain a kitchen knife found at Sollecito's apartment is compatible with Kercher's wounds, and has the victim's DNA on the blade and Knox's on the handle.

Introna said that the stab wounds found on the victim's neck do not match the blade of the knife. Defense attorneys have also argued that Italian police did not follow proper procedures in collecting and storing DNA and might have contaminated the samples.

Knox has come under scrutiny for giving conflicting statements regarding the timeline of her whereabouts the night of the murder and for trying to cast blame on a local bar owner. Knox testifed that police forced her into confused statements because they slapped and intimidated her during a lengthy interrogation.

PREVIOUSLY ON CRIMESIDER
June 19, 2009 - Knox's Mom Says Daughter, Victim Got Along
June 15, 2009 - "Always A Crescendo:" Amanda Knox Talks About Murder Investigation On Stand
June 12, 2009 - Knox's Alibi: Sex, Drugs And Sleep