An Italian judge today rejected an impassioned plea today by lawyers for Amanda Knox to throw out murder charges against the American student as her trial resumed following a two month summer break.
The trial, which has already lasted for six months, started up again in the Perugia courtroom with arguments over analysis of DNA evidence that prosecutors say implicate Knox and her ex-boyfriend and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito in the throat slashing death of Knox's roommate Meredith Kercher.
Knox's father told ABC News today that his 22-year-old daughter was "very anxious" for the trial to resume.
"She's hoping that this really is... the home stretch and hopefully they will see what is very clear to me, that she had nothing to do with this and acquit her of this, and we'll get to bring her home," Curt KNox said.
He said the past summer has been a strain. "It's been extremely hot over here. There's no air conditioning and there became an overcrowding issue at the prison, so it was really difficult," the father said. "You're literaly spending two months baking in a concrete oven, knowing that you're there for something that you had no part of."
The charges and the prolonged prison time have taken a toll on Amanda Knox, he said.
"She used to have utter faith in everybody and I can tell you know that she has lost faith in people of responsibility. She was attempting to help the police and it was literally turned on her," Curt Knox said. He later added, "She'll never be the way she really was. But I also think she'll live a really hearty life."
Amanda Knox, who is from Seattle, smiled as she returned to court today wearing a Beatles shirt. It is known that she is a fan of the Beatles.
DNA Fight in Amanda Knox Trial
The trial reopened with an attempt to have the case thrown out, but it was rejected after the judge and the jurors deliberated for 90 minutes.
Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito became animated in their assertion that evidence had been withheld from them.
Sollecito's lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, addressed the court for 20 minutes arguing that the defense was not provided with crucial details of Sollecito's DNA allegedly found on Kercher's bra hook until July 30. The rights of the defense were damaged, she said, when "documents regarding the quantity of biological material on the bra hook and documents regarding the procedure used to attain DNA results were not made available to the defense."
Carlo Dalla Vedova, one of the attorneys representing Knox, asked for the trial to be annulled and indictments against the defendants be thrown out, or at least for all of the testimony by the prosecution's DNA expert to be thrown out.
Dalla Vedova told the court that the roughly 300 pages of documents submitted in July provided information "that turns evidence upside-down."
The lawyer challenged the validity of the DNA evidence on a knife found in Sollecito's home that prosecutors believe is the murder weapon. Prosecutors claim that Knox's DNA is found on the handle of the knife and that Kercher's DNA is found on the blade.
"We see from a handwritten note that was made available only this summer, that the quantity of DNA on that sample B [Kercher's DNA] of the knife was noted as being 'too low,'" Dalla Vedova told the court. Had defense lawyers seen this note earlier, he said, Knox's defense would have taken a different approach.
After the judge rejected the request by the defense, the trial resumed with the testimony of Adriano Tagliabracci, forensic consultant for Sollecito, who challenged the alleged DNA of Sollecito found on Kercher's bra clasp.
Tagliabracci testified that the amount of biological material from which the DNA was extracted was minimal. He also said that saw mistakes that police biologist Patrizia Stefanoni made during her analysis of DNA evidence.
A third man, Rudy Guede, 21, a young immigrant from the Ivory Coast who grew up in Perugia, was found guilty in October 2008 in a separate trial.
Prosecutors believe the trio killed Kercher when she resisted participating in a drug-enhanced sexual encounter. All three defendants maintain their innocence. Guede has admitted to being in the house when Kercher was killed, but says he did not kill her.
Amanda Knox Verdict Possible in November
When the trial recessed in July, Judge Giancarlo Massei said he hoped that all presentation of evidence and witnesses would be finished by the beginning of October. This trial has been going for seven months since hearings in Italy are usually held only a couple of days a week because of crowded trial schedules and because prosecution and defense together have presented over 100 witnesses.
How the trial will move forward after witnesses are finished is still unclear. If they proceed immediately to final arguments by the two prosecutors and numerous defense and civil plaintiff lawyers, a verdict could be reached by the end of October or November.
It is also possible that the judge and jurors, who work together in Italian courts, could ask to hear some witnesses again, delaying final arguments a few weeks.
What is looking like a more likely scenario, however, attorneys for Knox and Sollecito could ask for the court to appoint an independent expert to evaluate the evidence, especially the DNA evidence, on which the two sides have conflicting interpretations. If such an expert is appointed, that person would have at least 60 days to review all the evidence and report back to the court. This would delay a verdict for months.
Over the summer, Knox remained in the Capanne prison outside Perugia, without even the bi-weekly excursions to the courthouse. The summer months in Perugia were wickedly hot, and even sparked a small riot in the overcrowded prison, that did not involve Knox, however. According to her family, Knox continues to study in jail, patiently awaiting some resolution to her seemingly endless case.