Amanda Knox's Mom Defends Her at Trial

Knox's mother testifies in murder trial 6,000 miles from their home.

June 15, 2009, 2:05 PM

PERUGIA, Italy June 19, 2009 — -- Amanda Knox's mother today faced a situation most mothers can't imagine: She literally was fighting for her daughter's freedom.

Edda Mellas took the stand in a medieval Italian courtroom 6,000 miles away from her Seattle home, a witness in her 21-year-old daughter's murder trial.

Her daughter, Amanda Knox has been on trial in Perugia, Italy, for the past five months, accused, along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, of brutally murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

A third person, Rudy Guede, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison last October for his role in the crime.

When Mellas came to the stand she was calm and very precise in her description of the events that took place the morning Kercher's body was found. She described her daughter as very upset and confused when she first called saying that she had found a "strange situation" at the house.

Knox then called her mother two more times finally telling her they had found Kercher's body and that she had to talk to the police.

Knox sat watching her mother testify, smiling shyly at her when she came into the court. While her mother was questioned by her lawyer Knox sat, head bowed, and doodled on her pad.

Mellas was also asked what Amanda had said in prison to her mother about involving Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a local bar who Knox initially told police may have been involved in the murder. "She said that she said something under extreme pressure and felt bad she did not have the courage to stand up to them and say, no it is not true," Mellas testified.

She also said there were no problems between her daughter and Kercher.

"They got along great," Mellas told the eight-member jury. "She told me about the fun things she and Meredith did," she said, without elaborating.

Amanda Knox's Mother Takes the Stand

In a 2008 inteview with ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas, Mellas said, "I know she's innocent. I know how shocked and upset she was when she found out, you know, Meredith was dead.... We wanted her to come home right away and she said, no, you know, I want to stay."

Mellas said in that earlier interview that her daughter first called her when she returned to the apartment, took a shower and realized "something's not right." When Knox found Kercher's door locked, she called her mother.

"She said, 'I 've come home now and I think somebody's been in my house.' And she told me, 'We can't find Meredith. We can't get a hold of Meredith. And her room is locked.' And I said, hang up and call the police," Mellas said.

In a subsequent call home, Knox's mother said, "She said there's a body. There is somebody there. I guess I could just hear it in her voice. You know she was I think almost in shock and I said, 'You know what, I'm going to come out'" to Italy, Mellas said.

During a layover in Switzerland, Mellas' phone rang. She vividly remembered the phone call that changed her life -- and her daughter's, too.

"My husband called me and said, 'There are reporters all over the house. They say they've arrested Amanda'," Mellas told Vargas.

Before Mellas took the stand Sollecito's father, Francesco Sollecito, testified in defence of his son saying, "My son would not hurt a fly, never showed signs of aggressiveness," adding that he went willingly to the police.

He said that his son spoke about Amanda every day and told him that he looked after like she ws a little girl.

Last week, Knox took the stand in her own defense for nearly 12 hours over two days, initially speaking in English but switching to Italian after appearing frustrated with her translator. After 18 months in prison, Knox is fluent in Italian.

Despite months of hearing prosecution witnesses presenting evidence against her, Knox appeared calm and confident on the stand, claiming she stayed at her boyfriend's house all night the evening her roommate was murdered.

She also claimed she had been pressured and beaten by authorities, citing the allegedly harsh police tactics as the reason she gave statements early in the case that she now says were false.

Mellas has said she thought her daughter did well, and that she was pleased with the testimony.

Mellas was greeted by a frenzy of media from around the world who asked her, Who is Amanda Knox?

For the past year and a half, Knox has been a media sensation, dubbed "the angel face with icy blue eyes," her life publicly dissected.

All along, Knox's family has refuted media reports that she was a sex-crazed killer, saying the portrayal of her could not be further from the soccer-playing, academically minded daughter they raised.

Last week, Knox testified that she was shocked by the death of Kercher, a woman she considered a friend, and elaborated on her claims of mistreatment by police.

Tensions rose in the courtroom as lead prosecutor Guiliano Mignini accused Knox of evading his questions and the judge had to chide her to respond.

"I was very, very scared," Knox testified, "because they were treating me so badly and I didn't understand why."

Amanda Knox's Father Proud of Her

When the prosecution grilled Knox on who hit her, she said she didn't know her name -- just that it was a policewoman with long, brown hair.

Mignini asked Knox why she would sign a statement that wasn't true, and she answered, "They kept saying I was either a stupid liar or I forgot."

"I was so scared and so upset at that point," she said. "I thought, 'Gosh, maybe they're right, maybe I did forget.'"

Her father, Curt Knox, said he was very proud of his daughter.

"We were able to go behind the wall, I call it, and actually hug her and tell her that she did really good," he said. "I mean, she was very articulate. She answered all the questions. I think she cleared up a number of things."

The defense is expected to start attacking the prosecution's forensic evidence from the crime scene.

A verdict is expected in the fall. Knox faces life in prison if convicted.