Investigators: Amanda Knox's family says confession coerced

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by By LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News

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Posted on November 13, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Video: Amanda Knox's family says confession coerced

SEATTLE - Next week, former University of Washington student Amanda Knox goes on trial in Perugia, Italy, for the murder of her British roommate.

It's a dark, tantalizing story that's made headlines around the world: UW honors student Knox spins out of control while studying abroad, and with the help of her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and an unemployed drifter, murders her British roommate during a drug-fueled sex game.

But Amanda's parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas of Seattle, say there's been an international media frenzy against their daughter fed by leaks from prosecutors.

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"She's 100 percent innocent in this whole thing, and she had nothing to do with this," Amanda's father Curt said. "They have horribly trashed her entire character and it's not who she is - completely not who she is."

"I still wake up, is this a nightmare. It's been more than a year and the nightmare continues," Edda said.

Curt and Edda say much of what's been reported simply isn't true.

KING 5 Investigator Linda Byron asked them: "Did she change her story?"

Edda Mellas responded: "No, no. For this whole year they have maintained the story - what they did that night. They stayed at Raffaele's, they made dinner, they watched a movie. That's it, that's the story."

Then what of Amanda's so-called confessions? Her parents say she didn't even know she was a suspect until Raffaele was called in for questioning five days after Meredith Kercher was found murdered.

"She was just flat scared to be alone," Curt said. "So she went down to the police station with him and they were split into two rooms and then they started going at them. With physical and mental abuse for 14 hours. No food, water, no official interpreter."

Prosecutors say Amanda's accounts swung wildly: She wasn't at the cottage the night of the murder. She was there, but drunk in another room.

But her parents say she was coerced by police.

"(They said) you know, you're never going to see your family again," Curt said. "You're going to jail for 30 years. You need to come up with something for us, you're a liar. Come up with something for us. Envision something; throw something out there."

One story Amanda threw out was that the Patrick Lumumba, owner of the club where she and Meredith worked, was responsible. He was later cleared and many of Amanda's statements were thrown out by a judge.

"She had nothing to hide," Curt said. "She was trying to help police and they literally turned it on her."

Then there's the kiss. Amanda and Raffaele were caught on tape kissing while police were still inside processing the grisly murder scene. People have said they were having a sexual moment after the murder.

"They were comforting each other," Curt said. "He was rubbing her back. She was, no smile, no look of sexualness there. We know her, we could tell, she was in shock, she was in shock. She was literally in shock."

Amanda hoped she would be freed when drifter Rudy Guede's bloody fingerprints were found in Meredith's room, and he was convicted of her murder in October. But prosecutors are sticking to their theory of a sex game, alleging Raffaele held down Meredith while Rudy raped her and Amanda slit her throat.

"We have to keep hoping," Edda said.

"When they look at the evidence, true evidence, she's free," Curt said. "We're done with this."

KING 5 Investigator Linda Byron asked Curt and Edda: "What's your greatest fear?"

Curt said: "She had nothing to do with this and I guess my greatest fear is we'll run out of options."

Then there's the physical evidence. The alleged murder weapon - a knife - was found in Raffaele's apartment. Prosecutors say Meredith's DNA is on the blade and Amanda's is on the handle.

But the defense is challenging that evidence, saying it's a cooking knife so it's logical Amanda's DNA would be on the handle.

More importantly, the defense says the DNA on the blade isn't blood and isn't a definite match for Meredith, plus the knife itself doesn't match the stab wounds.

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