ROME (Reuters) - U.S. student Amanda Knox, who is appealing her conviction for the 2007 murder of her British housemate in Italy, is hopeful she could be free in time for the Thanksgiving holiday on November 24, an Italian daily reported.
Knox, 24, told the Il Messaggero daily through her lawyer that she felt the court was finally listening to her version of events, and she said she always believed the truth would emerge.
The American and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been sentenced to 26 and 25 years in jail respectively for the murder of Meredith Kercher, who was found half-naked with her throat slit in a flat she shared with Knox in the university city of Perugia.
But in July, court-appointed forensic experts said that DNA evidence used in the original trial was unreliable and numerous errors had been made. Earlier this week, prosecution calls for a second review of the evidence was rejected.
“I always believed the truth would emerge, I always believed I would be able to get out of that prison where my life has frozen,” Knox told the paper.
“Get out and return straight away to Seattle, maybe in November for Thanksgiving,” she said.
Kercher was found half naked in November 2007 lying in a pool of blood with her throat cut.
Knox, Sollecito and Ivoirian Rudy Guede were convicted and jailed in 2009 for the murder after what judges concluded was a frenzied sex game that spiraled out of control.
The next hearing in the appeal is scheduled for September 23, when closing arguments begin ahead of a final verdict.
Knox said she felt the mood in the appeal court was different from what she described as a hostile atmosphere in the original trial.
“It’s nice to feel that they don’t hate me anymore, that finally someone is listening to me,” she said.
“During the first trial, I was scared to enter the dock, I felt everyone was hostile, I felt that when I spoke and cried, when I tried to explain that I wasn’t in the house that night, everybody was shrugging and mocking me.”
The independent forensic report in July confirmed original police conclusions that Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of a knife they identified as the murder weapon but said that the material found on the blade was starch, rather than blood.
Experts found that proper decontamination procedures had not been followed in the initial investigation, there was insufficient documentation of the amount of DNA evidence and inadequate “real time” analysis.
One of the prosecutors opposing Knox’s bid to overturn her conviction was quoted in Italian media this week saying that there was an “ill wind blowing in this case.”
Writing by Catherine Hornby; editing by Philippa Fletcher