Amanda Knox, Convicted of Murder, Calls Her Family Once a Week

Amanda Knox's parents talk with Oprah Winfrey about her life in prison.

ByABC News
February 23, 2010, 11:44 AM

Feb. 23, 2010 — -- Life in an Italian prison for convicted murderer Amanda Knox has good days and bad days. One of the very worst, her father said today, was the day she cried in his arms for 45 minutes.

For Knox's father, Curt Knox, the memory of his daughter's despair was so painful that he walked away from Oprah Winfrey's cameras because his own emotions overwhelmed him.

Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, the parents of Amanda Knox, relived on "The Oprah Winfrey" show today the bittersweet moments they have with their daughter who was sentenced in December to 26 years in prison for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.

"There are days where the visits are really, really nice, and then there are days when it's extremely tough, and you do the best you can," an emotional Curt Knox told Winfrey.

The day that his daughter just sat and cried, Curt Knox said that he was trying to explain to her why she is "in this position when she is completely innocent."

"She asks, 'Why is this happening to me? I haven't done anything, I've told the truth.' How do you explain that to her?" said Mellas. "How do you explain that mistakes happen and she's in the middle of a massive mistake?"

"A good day is when she comes out bubbly to the visitation room, and you get to hold her and hug her and listen about what she's doing and how she's passing her time," her father said.

The University of Washington, where Knox was a language student before her arrest, has developed an independent study program for her and corresponds with her through the mail, grading her papers and allowing her to work toward graduation.

"She's working towards her graduation from college because she will get out of there," Curt Knox said.

Amanda Knox was spending a semester in Perugia in November 2007 when her roommate was murdered. Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in December of sexual assault and murder in Kercher's death. Knox was sentenced to 26 years and Sollecito was given 25 years.

A third person, Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede, was convicted in an earlier trial and given a 30-year prison sentence, but that was later reduced to 14 years.

The Knox family plans to appeal the ruling once the judge's written verdict is released early next month.

Also wrenching for the family are the weekly phone calls the family gets from prison.

Every Friday night, the Knox family gathers at their Seattle, Wash., home to wait for Amanda's call the next morning, which lasts only 10 minutes.

"Ten minutes goes very quickly," said Mellas, who asked Oprah's producers to stop filming during the phone call they received during the taping in case something was said that might make Italian authorities take away the weekly calls.

"Having to say goodbye is really hard, you want to talk to her forever," said Mellas. "But we always go away from these phone calls pretty upbeat because she sounds so good."

During that particular call, Mellas said that Amanda asked her family to "tell Oprah I love her" and to thank everyone for their support. Mellas says her daughter receives "hundreds" of letters, not all of which she has time to respond to."

"It's bittersweet," said Mellas of the calls. "It's really lovely to hear her, she always makes a point of being upbeat. And then she's gone and you wait a week for the next phone call," she said.