Father: Amanda Knox Will Be Found Innocent

The father of Amanda Knox, who has been attending the Italian court proceedings of his daughter accused in the slaying of her roommate, said this morning that it was "challenging" to sit through the testimony, but believes that his daughter will be cleared of murder charges.

"As evidence comes out, I believe that everything is going to work out," Curt Knox said in an exclusive interview with CBS' The Early Show. "She's innocent, and that will be proven, and I believe that the Italian system will work that way."

Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are both charged with murder and sexual violence in the killing of Meredith Kercher; both deny wrongdoing.

Kercher was found stabbed to death Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment she shared with Knox and Romanelli in Perugia, where the two women were exchange students.

Filomena Romanelli, who shared the apartment with Knox and Kercher, took the stand in the trial today and testified that the two women were friendly at first but then drifted apart.

In her testimony, Romanelli said Knox and Kercher were initially close, in part because they both spoke English.

"They had interests in common, at the beginning they surely had a good relationship, there was no reason not to get along," Romanelli said.

"It seemed like along the way they didn't really go separate ways, but they developed personal interests that they pursued individually," she said.

While Kercher was dedicated to her studies, Knox was someone with "quite a lot of interests," Romanelli said.

"She liked music, sports, yoga, languages," she said. "Sometimes she had unusual attitudes, like she would start doing yoga while we were speaking, or she would play guitar while we were watching TV."

Knox and Sollecito were in court Saturday, and appeared to follow proceedings closely.

On the day Kercher's body was found, Romanelli said she received a call from Knox in which the American said she had found the apartment's main door open and drops of blood in one of the bathrooms.

"She told me that there was something strange in the house," said Romanelli, who had been out of the house at the time. She said Knox had told her on the phone that she had taken a shower at the house and was leaving to fetch Sollecito.

Prosecutors allege that Kercher was killed during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito holding her by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife.

They say a third defendant in the case, Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede, tried to sexually assault Kercher, and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat. Guede, who had also denied wrongdoing, was convicted last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Sollecito has maintained he was in his own apartment in Perugia and that he doesn't remember if Knox spent part or all of the night of the murder with him. Knox initially told investigators she was in the house when Kercher was killed and covered her ears against the victim's screams. Later, Knox said she wasn't in the house.

Prosecutors say Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a knife that might have been used in the slaying, while Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. The knife was found at Sollecito's house.

During her testimony, Romanelli testified that the knife hadn't come from the apartment she shared with Knox and Kercher.


"You Have To Be Strong For Her"

Curt Knox told co-anchor Erica Hill that his daughter reacted emotionally when told details of the crime scene.

"Amanda did not take the news well when she heard about it, because she actually did not see inside the room, but she was very upset and was trembling and crying and so forth. So it was not good."

(CBS)
Knox (left) said today that his daughter was nervous about the start-up of the trial, "but seems to be calming down, except for periods, you know, as testimony was taking place today."

Knox spoke briefly with his daughter when he came into court Friday. "Well, we couldn't say too much at the very beginning of the trial, but at the end of yesterday's testimony, we were able to hug each other and we told each other that we loved each other."

"I imagine this must be incredibly difficult for you; how are you holding up?" Hill asked.

"You have to be strong for her, and you do your very best to do that," he said.

Knox mentioned several factors which he believes will clear his daughter: "Specifically, there's already been three or four discrepancies related to the postal police arriving and who has entered the room and the possibility of contamination of the crime scene, so we're going to be hearing additional testimony this afternoon that will
hopefully clarify that."

Because court proceedings are being conducted two days a week, and involve many witnesses, it could be a year before a verdict is decided.

Knox said he and his wife have worked out a schedule so that a family member is present throughout the course of the trial.

"We try to have somebody from the family always here to visit Amanda on the visitation days, so I'll be here for five weeks on this run, and
then her mother will be coming back in the month of March."

Knox said that while his family has not had direct contact with the family of the murder victim, "In various interviews that Etta,
Amanda's mother, and I have done, we have expressed, you know, what any parent would express, and that is deep sorrow for the loss of their daughter."


A "Judicial Error"?

On Friday, in a tactic his lawyer says will be repeated, Sollecito made two brief, impromptu speeches in court, asserting that he was a victim of "a judicial error" and "would not harm a fly," reports CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey.

Knox and her father Curt Knox, who was in court, were allowed to embrace briefly, but out of sight of cameras.

Several witnesses Friday were being re-questioned, a process the Italian system calls "comparison" - checking whether their versions are the same when re-told.

A police officer who was among the first on the crime scene described finding Knox and Sollecito, in his words, "surprised but calm."

The defense argues that investigators corrupted evidence in the blood-spattered room where Kercher's body was found, the victim of a violent sexual assault and multiple stab wounds.

Conflicting evidence and as many as 250 witnesses to be called in a trial that only happens on Fridays and Saturdays, with several scheduled breaks, means the accused won't know their fate for months to come.
  • CBSNews

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.