Amanda Knox cried today as an Italian prosecutor recreated in vivid detail how Knox allegedly became infuriated at her "prissy" roommate Meredith Kercher and led a sexual assault that left Kercher bleeding to death on her bedroom floor.
Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was the first to speak in what will be four days of summations in the lengthy case. During his presentation, Mignini described a tense relationship between Knox and Kercher, who shared a cottage in Perugia, Italy, with two Italian women.
Knox, 22, and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are charged with killing Kercher along with a third person, Rudy Guede. Guede, an Ivory Coast native, has already been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Mignini said the two women had argued over rent money missing from Kercher's room. Kercher had also complained, Mignini said, of Knox's habit of bringing boys to the house late at night.
On Nov. 1, 2007, Knox showed up late at the house with her Italian boyfriend Sollecito and Guede, who had said he could get Knox drugs, the prosecutor said.
"There could have been an argument between Meredith and Amanda that then degenerated because of the rental money that had disappeared or maybe Meredith was annoyed by the mere presence of Rudy," Mignini said.
"After a heated discussion the three, under the influence of the drugs, and probably alcohol as well, decide to put into action the project they had of involving an extreme sex game," he said.
The prosecutor contended that Knox's anger weent out of control.
"Amanda has the occasion to get back at that overly serious and moralizing English girl who she felt was too tied to the closed group of her English friends, and who accused her not too subtly of not being orderly or clean, and who criticized her for being too easy with boys," Mignini said.
"Amanda nurtured her hate for Meredith, but that night that hate could explode. For Amanda the moment had come to take revenge on that prissy girl. That is what she must have thought. And in a crescendo of threats and increasing violence, Meredith's ordeal begins."
Amanda Knox's Prosecutor Recreates Attack
Mignini proceded to descibe a blow-by-blow recreation of the murder.
It began with Knox pushing Kercher's head against the wall, provoking injuries on the back of her head and on her nostrils. She tried to strangle Kercher and strike her with a knife, Mignini said.
Kercher fell in front of the closet. With Sollecito on Kercher's left and Guede in front of her, they try to undress her, yanking off her jeans, the prosecutor claimed. Kercher injured her hand trying to defend herself.
The prosecutor said Knox likely insulted Kercher during the assault, and imagines Knox saying, "Now you'll be forced to have sex."
Mignini calls Knox, Sollecito and Guede "unleashed furies," and depicts Kercher screaming as Sollecito tries to wrench off her bra.
That is when Knox, he claimed, slashed Kercher in the throat with a knife. Kercher fell to her side, but Guede and Sollecito continued trying to undress her, trying to pull off her sweatshirt and shirt, the prosecutor contended.
When they flee, Knox and Sollecito leave together while Guede goes his own way.
By the time Mignini completed his lurid description of the attack, Knox was crying and her attorney Luciano Ghirga held her hand. During a brief break in the summation, Knox again started crying and was hugged at length by one of her lawyers.
Outside of court later, Knox attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova said it was a lot for his client to have to listen to. "Obviously it is not nice to hear yourself accused of such a serious murder, of which Amanda has always said she is innocent," he said.
"She cried," said Dalla Vedova, "but she is a 20-year-old girl. She is in jail waiting to be judged. All this has taken its toll on her, and today she let some emotion show."
Knox had apparently anticipated the summations would be a tough day in court. She appeared tense when she arrived at court and occassionally took deep breaths. This was in contrast to the often smiling and composed demeanor through her many court hearings over the course of the eight month long trial.
Back home in Seattle, Knox's parents were hoping for the best and braced for the worst.
"We have to have faith even though things really haven't gone right so far," Knox's mother Edda Mellas told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "We have to have faith they'll get it right this time."
Dad Curt Knox said he was "looking forward to a positive result," but conceded his daughter was "anxious."
She is now in a situation, he said, "in which none of us have control over her fate, including herself. You're always worried that the judge and jury would come up with something different than you heard in the court of law."
"You have to be prepared for all scenarios," he said. "We're very very hopeful and we believe everything presented [proves she's innocent]."
Mignini began his scheduled eight-hour summation by acknowledging that the trial has attracted widespread media attention in Italy, the U.S. and Britain. And he bristled at the criticism of the police and prosecution, saying some "carried out a parallel trial - but the trial is taking place in this courtroom."
"I did not expect this inability to understand…this constant acrimonious villification," the prosecutor complained.
He then waded into the case and focused on what he says was a staged break-in the Perugia cottage that Knox and Kercher shared, calling it "the nail on which the whole case hangs."
Knox and Sollecito's lawyers have claimed that the break-in suggests that Guede broke into the house and killed Kercher. Guede has already been convicted of taking part in the murder and been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
But Mignini said the evidence proves the burglary was faked by Knox and Sollecito to cover up their part in the murder. Proving that the break-in was staged, he said, proves that Knox and Sollecito participated in the murder and staged the break-in.
The window chosen for the break-in was the most improbable one in the house, Mignini said. It was a very high and in full view of the road. The nine pound rock that was found in the room was large and difficult to throw accurately for a distance of three yards.
Shattered glass was found on clothes lying on the floor in the room, indicating the window was broken after the room was disturbed in an attempt to make it look like it had been burglarized.
The window led to the room of Filomena Romanelli, but nothing was stolen from the room although it contained jewelry, a computer and expensive bags, he said.
"All of this was done to channel suspicions on a stranger, and divert them from those who had the apartment keys," Mignini said.
Dalla Vedova said Mignini's summation "was very evocative, but you need proof to convict someone."
He said he would have expected a "greater supporting evidence by the prosecutor as far as the motive is concerned, the murder weapon and the presence of Amanda in the room, things that are absolutely full of holes. All this makes us confident regarding the verdict."
Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito will make their summations on Dec. 1 and 2. A verdict is expected around Dec. 4.
If convicted, Knox, who has already spent more than two years in a jail cell, could be sentenced to life in an Italian prison.
If the worst happens, Mellas said, "We keep fighting. Any parent will tell you you don't leave an innocent child in a foreign jail. We'll go through appeals, we won't stop until she's freed."