Amanda Knox Is Apprehensive, Can't Sleep as Murder Appeal Approaches

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Amanda Knox marks a grim milestone today, the third full year of living in a prison cell.

It was on Nov. 5, 2007 that the Seattle junior was arrested by Italian police and charged with murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher. Denied bail, Knox, 23, has not left prison since except to attend the murder trial that ended with her conviction and 26 year prison sentence.

During those three years, Amanda Knox has become a household name, with several books, a Lifetime movie and potentially even a Hollywood film depicting her life.

Knox's real life, however, is spent sitting quietly in a 129 square foot prison cell in the outskirts of Perugia, Italy.

"Amanda says prison is like not living because nothing changes. She says everything is the same incessantly," her stepfather Chris Mellas told ABC News.

Lately, Knox's cloistered world has been agitated. Her family says that Knox has had trouble sleeping as the Nov. 24 date approaches for the appeal of her murder conviction. She is apprehensive, but hopeful, they said.

Earlier this week, the third anniversary of Kercher's death was also noted. Several candles were left in front of the Perugia house that Kercher and Knox shared and where Kercher died, her throat gashed open amid signs of a sexual assault.

Knox, her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Solecito and Ivory Coast drifter Rudy Guede were convicted of killing Kercher in what the prosecution claimed was a drug fueled rage against Knox's roommate.

"We miss Meredith more than ever," the Kercher family said in a statement released this week.

The mayor of Perugia announced a scholarship in Kercher's name, and even Knox's mother Edda Mellas said her thoughts drifted to Kercher's family on Monday evening, the anniversary of the murder.

"On the evening of the 1st, I thought of Meredith and of her family," Edda Mellas told ABC News. "I can't imagine how you would deal with the loss of a daughter, a sister as a family. It has to be beyond painful, beyond words."

Mellas and her family, however, are focused on helping Amanda Knox cope with prison.

The only break in monotony for Knox is visits with a family member, twice a week for an hour each time, in a room that Chris Mellas describes as a "blue-green, minty." It has a pair of doors, two cameras and a few windows where guards can watch. Mellas is currently staying in Italy to spend those two cherished hours each week with her.

Amanda Knox Tries to Not Let Fear Overwhelm Her

Chris Mellas said Knox's days involve reading, an hour she is allowed to exercise and some socialization time in the afternoon when her prison door is unlocked and she can mingle with other prisoners. They often play cards or just talk amongst themselves.

"Once a week they have choir. Amanda is singing in the Christmas show this year. She is singing soprano – in Italian," he said.

Amanda is a voracious reader, and more recently she has taken up art.

"Amanda is doing a lot more art. She is a talented artist. She only has access to colored pencils, markers and paper. She is doing a lot of drawings of the family and sending them to us," said Edda Mellas.

Knox has received permission to continue her studies and is taking classes through the University of Washington in creative writing. She hopes to complete her college degree in English.

Chris Mellas says he tries to avoid talking about Amanda's legal case and prefers to chat with her about some of their favorite topics, like cooking, movies and books. He says he also like to crack jokes to lighten the mood.

Knox is able to cook in prison and inmates are allowed to order ingredients once a week. Mellas says her daughter likes to make chocolate cakes from scratch.

Knox's mother said three years in prison has taken on toll on her daughter. She is not the wide-eyed girl she sent off to Perugia three years ago before she became the focus in a horrific murder -- and a media sensation.

"She is not as naïve. She has grown up quickly. She is less trusting. She was an open book before, but now everything she does is reported on and taken out of context, so she tries to maintain some privacy," her mother said.

Knox was often seen looking upbeat in courtroom video from her trial, but in recent photos she appears much more resigned.

Knox, who is extremely close with her mother, hasn't seen her since July so they rely on letters, and Knox shares her emotions in writing.

"For the most part, her spirit is good," Edda Mellas said. "She does share her fears with me – that they won't figure out the truth and free her. There is always that in the back of her mind. She always ends her letter with the thought that she can't let that dictate her life. She has to be hopeful. She expresses her fear, but she doesn't let it overwhelm her."