The afternoon was the occasion for the court in its entirety -- minus the two defendants, who chose not to attend -- to visit the scene of the crime. A small crowd, comprised of the two judges, six jurors and their substitutes, the prosecutors and a bevy of lawyers, gathered outside the charming cottage-with-a-view on the edge of old-town Perugia. On the road just above, another crowd of journalists and photographers and some hangers-on watched as policemen activated a generator (the electricity in the house has been cut off) and opened the door to the house.
Among those watching was Curt Knox, Amanda Knox's father. He has been following the trial closely, often in person, as has Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, who was in Perugia just before Easter. The family makes an effort to have at least one member in Perugia at all times to visit Amanda in prison the two days a week this is allowed.
Curt Knox told ABC News that he had seen Amanda in court in the morning, and had been allowed to hug her.
"Amanda said she understood the testimony in Italian, and she thought it went really well this morning," he said. When asked how Amanda had spent Easter in jail, Knox said she told him she had gone to Mass in the prison chapel and that the young daughter of a fellow inmate sat on her lap the whole time chatting with her and playing with her bracelet.
Knox found the visit to the house sad.
"Irrelevant of whether Amanda lived in that house or not," he said, "it is always sad when you are faced with such a tragic circumstance, such as the loss of Meredith's life." He added that he was glad that the jury and judges had come to look at the crime scene so "they could see the place in person and understand the spaces when they hear testimony about them."
That same sentiment was echoed both by defense lawyers -- Bongiorno felt it was important that the court "have exact knowledge of the house and see the little room where it is very difficult to imagine an erotic party" -- and by one of the prosecutors, Manuela Comodi, who said she thought it was "fundamental" that the judges and jury see the layout of the house.
"The court looked closely at the inside and the outside of the house," Comodi said. The court spent a good amount of time in the room where the murder took place and discussed the position of the corpse. Carlo Dalla Vedova, a lawyer for Amanda Knox, told reporters the house "was a mess, and it was important that the jurors see this. Amanda's clothes were thrown all over the place."
There have been many press reports of bad forensic work and bad handling of the scene of the crime on the part of investigators, and this is expected to be an important part of the case the defense will make. The house where the crime took place has also been subjected to two break-ins in recent months, adding to the sorry state of the premises. The house is in "terrible condition," Bongiorno said. "The mess made by the searches was compounded by the two beak-ins."
During the most recent break-in, in March, Kercher's mattress was apparently removed from the house through a window. These break-ins are being investigated by police.
Zachary Nowak contributed to reporting from Perugia, Italy.