(PERUGIA, Italy) -- Amanda Knox and her family are hopeful that Knox may be days away from freedom and an emotional homecoming as her appeal heads into its final days. Summations in the case are scheduled to begin Friday.
It's been four years since a 20-year-old Knox set off to Perugia, Italy, to learn Italian while studying abroad. Her dream quickly turned into a nightmare when she became a suspect in the murder of her English roommate Meredith Kercher.
Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murder in 2009. She was sentenced to 26 years and Sollecito to 25 years.
"She wants to catch up on Harry Potter movies, use a telephone freely, lie in the grass in her backyard and eat a home-cooked breakfast," said step-father, Chris Mellas.
Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, is packing her suitcase for what she hopes is her final 6,000 mile trip from Seattle to Perugia. She says lately she has not been able to sleep and often wakes up from dreams of wondering what will happen to Amanda.
The nightmare began in November 2007 when Knox and Sollecito were arrested weeks after her arrival for the brutal murder of Kercher.
The arrest was followed by a year long trial that culminated in their convictions in December 2009. Her conviction was compounded by the proliferation of books and movies depicting her life.
But this summer Knox's appeal brings new hope for her freedom. A court appointed panel of two experts concluded that key DNA evidence used in their convictions was improperly handled, was likely contaminated and should not have been entered as evidence.
In addition, the testimony of a homeless man who placed them in the vicinity of the murder came under fire during their appeal and he contradicted himself.
Final arguments in the appeal begin Friday and a verdict that could possibly free Knox is expected in the first week of October.
Knox, 24, has spent four birthdays, four Christmases and college graduation behind bars.
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