Amanda Knox Spends 22nd Birthday in Italian Prison
Family serenades Amanda Knox with an in-jail "Happy Birthday"
July 9, 2009— -- Today Amanda Knox celebrates her 22nd birthday in an Italian prison -- her second birthday behind bars since she was jailed in November 2007, charged with the brutal murder of her British roommate while studying abroad.
After 20 months in prison, if Knox could be granted a birthday wish, it would likely be freedom.
While Knox had no wrapped gifts, she had her family visit her today in prison, 6,000 miles away from her Seattle home. Visitors included her mother, Edda Mellas, who celebrates her own birthday Friday.
Knox surprised her visitors, however, by baking her own cake. The Italian news agency ANSA. The inmate prepared a chocolate cake with icing and brought pear juice to the meeting, ANSA reported.
"One of the things [Knox] said was that she did not want to spend another birthday in jail -- and here we are," an emotional Mellas told ABC News.
Amanda's sister Deanna, 20, half-sister, Ashley, 14, best friend Madison Paxton and an aunt from Germany celebrated with Knox today too.
"We cannot wrap presents for her but will be bringing her a couple of shirts for court, some CDs and books, and lots of birthday cards from family and friends," her mother said. Mellas told ABC News they were allowed to sing "Happy Birthday" to Knox during their visit.
Amanda gets one 10-minute phone call a week to home, so her dad Curt Knox and other family members will serenade her with "Happy Birthday" by phone.
"We are really glad to be here [in Italy] for her but really sad she has to spend another birthday in jail," Mellas said.
Knox's former Italian boyfriend, co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, was able to send her a CD by Italian singer Elisa titled "Lotus," and he included a note that read, "A keepsake from a friend for what we are going through together," Sollecito's lawyer told ABC News.
Knox on trial since January
Knox did get a break from the trial this week, since court sessions were canceled because the judge has pneumonia.
The court hopes to wrap up proceedings with two more hearings July 17 and 18 before the court takes a break for the summer. Among the final witnesses expected to be called before the summer recess is a neuro-physiologist who has apparently studied Knox's writings before and after her arrest.
He is expected to tell the court whether some of the things Knox wrote -- such as a statement in which she said she had a vision she was in the cottage when her roommate was killed and heard screams -- were genuine or coerced.
The trial is scheduled to resume in September.
Knox has been on trial in Perugia, Italy, since January, along with her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, both accused of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher, a 21-year-old British exchange student with whom she shared a scenic cottage with a view of the Umbrian hills. Kercher was found semi-naked with her throat slit Nov. 2, 2007.
Knox and Sollecito said they were together at his apartment when the murder occurred.A third person, Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede has already been convicted for taking part in Kercher's death and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
After five months of testimony in which prosecution witnesses had often portrayed Knox as an inappropriately behaved and bizarre young woman, in what her father had called a "character assassination," the defense began its case, a chance to show the jury that Knox is not gulity.