— Optimistic that Amanda Knox will be released from an Italian prison, two of her younger sisters are disputing her she-devil portrayal.
“She is not the witch that everybody says she is,’’ Ashley Knox told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in a live interview in Italy on Thursday. “She is a very loyal and down-to-earth person that I know, and everyone that knows her knows.’’
“I know the truth about my sister, so I just don’t think about it that way because my sister isn’t like that,’’ Delaney Knox told Lauer. “I just think of the positive about her.’’
The Seattle student was sentenced to 26 years in prison in 2009 after being found guilty by an Italian court of murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in the apartment they shared in Perugia, Italy. Knox was arrested on Nov. 6, 2007, just four days after Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood in the apartment.
Knox has spent approximately 1,000 days in jail after allegedly leading a sexual assault on Kercher in a drug-fueled sex game that also included her Italian ex-boyfriend, 27-year old Raffaele Sollecito and Ivorian Rude Guede. Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the murder. In his closing arguments, Knox's lawyer said she has been publicly "crucified."
The verdict on Knox’s appeal, which has hinged on arguments of shoddy police work and mishandling of DNA evidence, is expected to be delivered between Saturday and Monday. A court-ordered forensics review was critical of the DNA evidence found on Kercher’s bra clasp and a kitchen knife, and found that the police did not adequately handle the crime scene.
Ashley, 16, and Delaney, 13, are hoping those findings can help free their 24-year-old sister.
“She’s very nervous about (the verdict) because of what happened last time, but we’re also very hopeful about it,’’ Ashley said.
“I have my hopes pretty high,’’ Delaney said.
The two sisters had not seen Amanda face-to-face in nearly two years until this week, relying on phone calls and letters to contact her.
“It was wonderful to be able to give her a hug and be able to touch her in person,’’ Ashley said. “She’s become a stronger person, and she is smarter,’’ Delaney said. “She’s learned more.’’
During her time behind bars, Knox has remained optimistic despite the prosecution’s vigorous attempt to portray her as a sex fiend who was jealous of Kercher and staged a robbery in their apartment in conjunction with Sollecito to throw police off-track. Her false claim that bartender Diya “Patrick’’ Lumumba committed the murder led Lumumba’s lawyers to call her a Satanic witch and a she-devil.
“I’m thinking a lot about court in September — what I can say, what needs to be said, (and) how to counter the prosecution,’’ Knox wrote in a letter to her sisters on Aug. 8. “I feel like this will end well, but you never know. I’m afraid, but OK.’’
Her supporters in the United States view Knox as an innocent student caught up in an unfair Italian justice system. During the trial, Knox has transformed from a fresh-faced student who played to the television cameras and sported an “All You Need is Love’’ T-shirt to a more subdued figure. But according to her sisters, she has remained positive and interested in their lives.
“She always tries to make the best out of every situation,’’ Ashley said. “She always asks how we’re doing. She doesn’t need a whole bunch of stuff to be happy. She isn’t a bad person at all.’’
“She always thinks positive,’’ Delaney said. “She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She wants to learn about us and wants to just catch up on things and ask us questions.’’
Her sisters have revealed some of Knox's hopes, should she be freed.
“Amanda in all of her letters, she tells me that she wants to feel grass,’’ her other sister, Deana, told reporters. “She wants to lay down and put grass in between her toes and in her fingers and feel sunlight. It’s the little things that she misses the most.’’