July 8, 2010— -- Amanda Knox will celebrate her 23rd birthday in an Italian prison with a birthday cake made by her cellmate and then later crab cakes to be cooked up on a camp stove in her cell.
Her mother and sister will be with Knox on Friday for her birthday, the third birthday the Seattle student will spend in prison. There will be hugs and gifts, but not the present she wants most.
"Amanda said to me, 'I wish I was home for my birthday, having a barbeque in the backyard with the family,'" mother Edda Mellas told ABC News.
Last December, Knox was convicted to 26 years in prison for the November 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. Her legal team is preparing an appeal of her conviction.
Mellas and Amanda's younger sister, 21-year-old Deanna Knox, are in Perugia, Italy, to visit Knox. On Tuesday, they visited her for the twice weekly hour-long visits permitted. They will back at the prison Friday for the birthday party.
"We are bringing her presents from home. I bought her a sundress. Her cellmate is making her a cake which we will have in the visitation room. Then we will sing 'Happy Birthday' together. We always celebrate our birthdays together," said Mellas, whose own birthday is a day later on July 10.
Knox had one birthday request: the ingredients needed to make crab cakes.
"She wanted crab cakes on her birthday, so we brought her frozen crab and other ingredients. For her birthday meal, she will cook crab cakes on the camping stove in her cell," Mellas said.
This week was Deanna's first visit with her sister since her murder conviction.
"I hadn't d seen her for six months. She ran in with a big smile and we hugged for a few minutes ? we didn't let go. It was nice. But it was more difficult than other visits because it's getting close to her birthday. Anniversaries are hard. She is frustrated with her situation and why she's there. It was a tough visit."
She added that Knox's friends and family from Seattle sent birthday messages and a new pair of shoes for Amanda. The prison limits the number of items Amanda can receive.
Amanda Knox's Dad Can't Celebrate While She's in Prison
Deanna Knox brought her older sister a Beatles t-shirt that reads, "Let it Be." Knox often sings the iconic Beatle tune in prison.
Knox's family told ABC News she has ups and downs, good days and bad days.
"I think she is really upset because it is her birthday again. I know she was just talking about how bad things happen to good people all the time. And this has happened to her, and she is upset that she can't be there for her friends and family," Deanna said.
Deanna hopes her sister will have a good birthday, "I want to make her laugh and lighten the fact she is spending another birthday there. The goal is to make her happy and make her smile on her birthday."
Knox's father Curt Knox told ABC News, "While it's a birthday, I don't consider it a celebration because she's behind bars for something she did not do. She is missing out on her younger years. For me, it will be a celebration when she comes home."
Knox was convicted along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who is serving 25 years. A third person, Rudy Guede, was also convicted of the crime in a separate trial. His 30-year sentence was reduced to 16 on appeal.
Knox and Sollecito are both appealing their convictions, but in April, the Italian prosecutors also filed an appeal, asking the court for a tougher sentence than the 26 years she was given.
The prosecution did not specify the sentence it wants imposed on Knox, but by arguing that the court should have considered an aggravating circumstance in handing out Knox's punishment, a life sentence would be almost automatic.
Lawyers for Knox say that they are confident that new evidence in the 200-page appeal of her murder conviction will force Italian courts to take a hard look at the validity of her prison sentence.
"I am very hopeful given the nature of the Italian appeals system," Curt Knox said. "I am hoping that with additional review of the forensics, and common sense regarding that fact that there is no DNA of Amanda in the room where [Kercher] lost her life, will help [the judges and jurors] see the truth that Amanda had nothing to do with this tragedy. I am quite hopeful."
A Knox lawyer told ABC News that new evidence in Knox's appeal and Sollecito's includes witness testimony that proves neither were in Kercher's room the night of the murder.
One alleged witness is a jailed Italian man who accuses his own brother in a legal deposition of killing Kercher, Knox's legal team told ABC News.
Amanda Knox Defense Team Has Witness Claiming Someone Else Is Killer
Luciano Aviello, who is tied to the Italian Mafia and currently serving a 17 year prison sentence, told Knox's lawyers in a video-taped prison interview in March that his brother Antonio showed up at his house in Perugia wearing a bloodstained jacket the night of Nov. 1, 2007, the night that Kercher was killed.
Aviello claims his brother told him that he broke into a house and killed a woman.
Antonio Aviello then asked his brother to hide the bloody knife and the keys to the Perugia apartment where Kercher and Knox lived, he claimed in the deposition.
"I hid everything under a little wall behind my house and covered it with soil and stones. I am happy to stand up in court and confirm all this and wrote to the court several times to tell them, but was never questioned," Luciano Aviello said.