ELIZABETH VARGAS' EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FAMILY OF AMANDA KNOX,
THE AMERICAN STUDENT SUSPECTED OF MURDERING HER ROOMMATE
IN ITALY, ON ABC NEWS' "20/20," FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Hour-Long Investigation Includes Unprecedented Access to Both the Prosecution
And Defense, Offering New Insight and Clarification of Key Evidence
For American student Amanda Knox and her parents, Edda Mellas and Curt Knox, a dream year abroad became a nightmare in November 2007 when Knox became a suspect in the brutal murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. This was just six weeks after arriving to study abroad in the quaint, medieval city of Perugia in the Umbrian countryside of Italy. Today Amanda's parents can visit their 20-year-old daughter in an Italian prison 6,000 miles away from their hometown of Seattle. This week "20/20" investigates the side of the story people haven't heard, from the nickname "Foxy Knoxy" to the claims that Knox was shopping for sexy lingerie the day after Kercher's death. For the first time, Knox's parents and her 19-year-old sister, Deanna Knox, end their silence. Elizabeth Vargas' exclusive interviews air on "20/20," FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
On the night of November 1, 2007, Knox's roommate suffered an agonizing death -- her throat slit after an apparent sexual attack. At first, Knox was cooperating with police, but four days later she went with her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, to talk to police and the interview turned into an intense overnight interrogation. According to the police, Knox first declared she was at Sollecito's apartment the night of the murder, but later claimed she may have been in her apartment where the deadly attack occurred and overheard screams. But her mother tells Vargas, "Her story and her version of what happened that night has totally stayed consistent, absolutely consistent. If you take out that [overnight] interrogation without a lawyer, without an interpreter, other than that time when she was... like she says, the most scared that she's ever been in her entire life, her story has not changed one iota."
Police felt her conflicting statements were incriminating enough to arrest Knox and Sollecito on November 6. Instantly the soccer star and dean's list student was catapulted to the center of an international media frenzy, dubbed by the Italian press as having the "face of an angel with ice cold eyes."
Knox's mother tells "20/20," "This was a horrible crime, but I couldn't understand why immediately Amanda was painted in this horrible light, where she was unrecognizable." According to her sister, Deanna, the media has it all wrong. "Amanda is the kindest person I know. She will do anything to make people happy, and she cares about everyone else before herself."
The hour looks at who the real Amanda Knox is and whether she is capable of murder. From her Italian boyfriend, Sollecito, to her alleged lingerie shopping, Knox's family provides insight. In response to the caught-on-tape "lingerie moment," Curt Knox points out that "her house is now a crime scene," and Edda Mellas explained that underwear "was one of the first things she needed." Knox's family was also aware of her new Italian boyfriend. "He looked like Harry Potter, and that's what she liked about him," said Deanna. From the start, Knox's family has displayed unwavering support and proclaimed her innocence. But public opinion immediately turned against her, and she was painted as a sex-crazed, party girl gone wild. Her father, Curt Knox, says this portrayal is "180 degrees opposite of anything we have ever known her to be."
Twice a week for the past three months, at least one of Knox's parents has visited her in prison, where she can be held for up to a year without even being charged, according to Italian law. Knox's father says: "It's a very tough situation�you know, we have to go in with a strong front for her." He adds, "Being a young kid, she just doesn't understand -- why am I here when I didn't do anything." The report also includes insight with exclusive letters from Knox's prison diaries.
Additionally, "20/20" brought in Joe Tacopina, a New York criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, who also has law offices in Italy, to review the case, which has been plagued by speculation. "This case, like many high profile cases that garner a lot of media attention, is larded with non-truths and rumors that sort of take on a life of their own," he said. "20/20" and Tacopina were given unprecedented access to both the prosecution and defense, and offer new insight and clarification of key evidence.
While the investigation continues, Amanda Knox's family hopes she will be released. Deanna, who visited Knox twice just before Christmas, simply wants her sister back. "One of the hardest things I had to deal with when I went to Italy was that, after our little hour of seeing her, I had to watch her being taken away," she tells Vargas. "I didn't want to let go. I just wanted to take her home with me."
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is executive producer.