BOISE -- An Italian court is deciding the fate of Seattle native Amanda Knox again. However, this time, Knox won't be in the courtroom when the verdict is read.
A Boise state biology and criminal justice professor who helped analyze DNA evidence in the case, says the retrial is undoubtedly difficult for the 26-year-old. Dr. Greg Hampikian says the verdict could go either way, although his research showed Knox was innocent.
Amanda Knox was convicted in 2009 of killing British student Meredith Kercher while studying abroad in Italy.
She spent four years in prison before she was acquitted in 2011. Then last year, Italy's Supreme Court overruled Knox's acquittal, along with the acquittal of her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, saying the jury didn't consider all the evidence.
Knox did not return to Italy for this new trial. She has always denied murdering Kercher and again maintained her innocence in a written statement to the Florence court.
The University of Washington student says she's afraid to go back to Italy.
In an interview with an Italian newspaper earlier this month, Knox said that if found guilty she would be "a fugitive."
BSU PROFESSOR HELPS KNOX
Dr. Hampikian played a key role in the DNA analysis and provided some insight into the case on KTVB's News at Four. Web viewers can click on the video link above to watch his interview with KTVB's Dee Sarton and Carolyn Holly.
Hampikian volunteered his services to Knox's defense team during the original trial.
After researching the evidence at his lab on the BSU campus, Dr. Hampikian came to the conclusion that Knox and Sollecito are innocent of the crime.
"The court has said they're going to look at all of the evidence from every level of this from back to the very first trial even, so I certainly don't know what the court is going to decide," said Dr. Hampikian.
By using DNA evidence, the Idaho Innocence Project has helped to exonerate seven people across the country. Hampikian is the project's director and his research has taken him around the world.
He still keeps in touch with Amanda Knox and says she's doing her best to prepare for the verdict, whatever it is.
"Imagine what happens if you get falsely accused and then convicted and now it's still going on? She's back at UW and she's a student again and that's great, but I imagine, and from my conversations with her, it's very trying of course," said Hampikian.
The verdict is expected to come down some time after 9:00 a.m. Thursday.
Either side can appeal the verdict. It's unclear if the United States would agree to extradite Knox to serve any sentence if she's found guilty.