Supporters gather to send Amanda Knox birthday wishes

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by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News.

KING5.com

Posted on July 8, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 8 at 11:19 PM

SEATTLE -- Whatever you may believe, whether Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher or whether the Italian justice system failed her, this year her birthday wish is obvious.

"It's not over until she's home, until she's out and on a plane back to Seattle, that's when it's over," said Amanda's aunt Janet Huff.

Until then, a light-hearted letter from Italy is all the hundreds gathered at Seattle's Showbox SoDo get from the now 24-year-old convicted of murder in Perugia, Italy:

"Dear Friends, I want so badly to be there to rock out with you. It's so cool and I'm truly honored that you're sharing with me and my loved ones my birthday (and celebrating all those motives like love and truth). Thank you for your support of me and my family.  I'm with you in spirit.  Spirit hugs. Cheers. Your friend, Amanda."

Friday night's benefit concert and silent auction coincided with the former University of Washington student's birthday, which is Saturday.  The festivities included three bands with ties to Seattle Prep, Amanda's alma mater, and featured a birthday cake.

"You know, I don't have a million dollar check that I can write to get them whole," said organizer Brian DiJulio, who was also performing with his band, "but you know, maybe this will help a little bit."

It's just the latest in a series of impromptu fund-raisers for Amanda's Defense Fund. But with the family racking up close to a million dollars for lawyers, for travel, for independent experts, according to those close to the family, impromptu fundraisers make all the difference.

"If you think about it, we have to own two homes," said Christina Hagge, Amanda's aunt. "They have to pay rent all year around to sustain residence."

Family members said it's a hopeful time for Knox's case.  Just over a week ago, an independent forensics expert ruled DNA evidence linking Knox to the murder weapon was unreliable. The family hopes to overturn the conviction before the end of the year, but continues to fight an uphill battle.

"My gosh, my niece is innocent," said Hagge. "There's no way that we would ever leave her in a country that she doesn't deserve to be there."

Amanda Knox is spending her 24th birthday in an Italian prison, albeit with her mother and stepfather nearby.

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