Knox's Parents: Prosecution Argument 'More Form Than Substance'

Prosecution asks for a life sentence but Knox's parents say they are optimistic.

ByAnn Wise and Rich Mchugh via via logo
November 21, 2009, 12:45 PM

Nov. 23, 2009 — -- Amanda Knox's parents said the woman described by the prosecutor in closing arguments at their daughter's Italian murder trial bore no resemblance to the 22-year-old woman they know, and they are still optimistic about their daughter returning home.

"It was more form than substance and not supported by any principles of law and any evidence. And it was actually very difficult for Amanda to listen to because they were saying things about her that had no semblance of her personality," Knox's father, Curt Knox, said describing the prosecution's closing arguments.

The prosecutors finished their closing arguments on Saturday and asked the jury to sentence Knox, who is accused of killing her British exchange student roommate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, while studying in Perugia, Italy in 2007, to life in prison with nine months of daytime solitary confinement.

Knox began crying quietly Friday after lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini finished recounting how he believes the murder took place.

"She said it was really a tough couple of days," Edda Mellas, Knox's mother, said. Knox's parents were in Seattle when the prosecution wrapped up its case.

In his final remarks to the jury before requesting life in prison for Knox, Mignini described her as a narcissist, someone prone to aggressive anger, manipulative, theatrical and lacking in empathy.

After listening to Mignini, Knox asked to speak. In the Italian legal system, the defendant has the right to make a statement at any time during the proceedings. She told the court she wanted to say some things that were very important to her.

"Meredith was my friend," Knox said speaking in Italian, her voice cracking briefly with emotion. "I did not hate her, and it is absurd to think I would have hurt someone who was so nice to me."

Knox added that the accusations against her were "pure fantasy."

Defense Will Challenge Prosecutors' Request for a Life Sentence

Knox's defense team will have two days next week to present their closing arguments and will put Knox one step closer to the end of a trial that has continued for eight months.

"It's horrible, it's beyond devastating. You feel, I feel sick, most days. It's terrible. The worst thing I have ever had to go through in my life," Mellas said.

A verdict is expected in early December and her parents said they hope Knox will be home in time for Christmas.

"She knows she is innocent. We know she is innocent. The evidence presented in trial, inside the actual courtroom clearly shows that she is innocent," Curt Knox said.

Outside the courtroom Saturday, Knox's lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, said that a request for daytime solitary confinement, as the prosecutor seeks for Knox, "is made for Mafia bosses, not for a 20-year-old with no police record."

He told reporters that the prosecutor's request was "foreseeable, but very harsh -- but this is what was requested, and this is what we will challenge."

Seattle student Knox is standing trial, along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, accused of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher.

The prosecution also asked for life in prison for Sollecito, with two months of daytime solitary confinement. Knox faces a tougher sentence because she is also accused of slander.

A third person, Rudy Guede, 22, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of murder in October 2008, in a short-track trial that allowed him to avoid a life sentence. All three young people say they did not kill Kercher.

Kercher's body was found Nov. 2, 2007, in the house she shared with Knox in the university town of Perugia. She was found partly undressed and died from a combination of knife wounds to her throat and strangulation, according to coroners.

Prosecutor Mignini Turned to Criminologists to Boost Theories About Defendants

In his final remarks, Mignini told the judges and jurors that he had "gotten to know Amanda Knox fairly well" in the course of his interrogation of her and during the trial.

"And I have observed her at length in court," Mignini said.

In his description of Knox's personality, Mignini said he was quoting an evaluation of her by a well-known criminologist. When he read the evaluation, Mignini said he was struck by how it matched his impression of the accused killer.

According to this unidentified criminologist, Knox also has a tendency to develop a dislike for people who do not agree with her, and her feelings are "anesthetized."

Sollecito's profile also fit, Mignini said, when it described him as someone who depended on others for approval, a "dependent personality." Mignini added that he also found Sollecito to be cold.

Neither defendant reacted visibly to the prosecutor's description of them.

Just before the final remarks, the court was shown a 20-minute video reconstruction made by investigators, showing what they believe was the dynamic of the murder.

Using Google maps of the town of Perugia, and computer generated models resembling Knox, Sollecito, Guede and Kercher superimposed on actual photos or digital re-creations of the scene of the crime, the video retraced events from the hours before the murder through to its aftermath.

The visual representation reinforced what Mignini had described in his reconstruction of the crime on the previous day. Autopsy photos were also included to illustrate how the injuries found on the victim's bodies were produced by the action of the three alleged killers.

Both Knox and Sollecito wielded knives, in this reconstruction, while Guede sexually molested Kercher.

Knox did not watch the video, sitting quietly in court and staring straight ahead. Sollecito did watch, without showing any reaction.

Most of this second day of closing arguments was taken up by Mignini's fellow prosecutor Manuela Comodi, who focused on the complex and controversial forensic and technical evidence in the case

Addressing the jury at the end, Mignini said, "When this moment comes, the biggest mistake is to look only at the defendants and not what they are accused of, and at the victim. This is when you should be remembering her.

"A young woman was killed for no real reason, just days before going home to visit her ailing mother. She was killed in a horrific manner, and now all her family can do is gather at the cemetery. She was literally eliminated forever," the prosecutor told jurors.

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