Stakes High for Amanda Knox When She Takes the Stand

She will testify in Italian when she takes the stand.

ByABC News
June 10, 2009, 9:35 AM

PERUGIA, Italy, June 11, 2009— -- Amanda Knox is about to face what she could have never imagined.

If life had gone according to plan, Knox would graduate from the University of Washington in Seattle this weekend. Instead, she will take the witness stand to defend herself in an Italian courtroom where she has been on trial since January, charged with murder.

College graduation is just one of the milestones Knox has missed while held in a prison in Perugia, Italy, for the past 18 months. Knox had dreamed of spending her junior year abroad in this medieval Italian town in the Umbrian hillside. But not long after she arrived, Knox went from being a sweet-faced coed to what newspapers described as an accused killer with "icy blue eyes."

Knox, 21, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are accused of sexually assaulting and murdering Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher, 21.

Kercher was found stabbed and strangled to death in her room in the house she shared with Knox and two other women, Nov. 2, 2007. A third person, Rudy Guede, has already been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the murder.

Knox and Sollecito, on trial together, maintain their innocence and claim they were together at Sollecito's apartment the night of the murder.

After five months of testimony in which witnesses have often portrayed Knox as an inappropriately behaved and bizarre young woman, in what her father, Curt Knox, has called a "character assassination," the defense will have its chance to show the jury that Knox is innocent. She begins her defense and takes the stand for questioning June 12.

Knox may begin in her testimony in English but will likely speak mostly in Italian, her father told ABC News. She planned to make a last-minute decision on the stand, he said.