Image: Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher
AP file
American Amanda Knox, left, is accused in the slaying of her roommate Meredith Kercher, right.
updated 12/23/2008 1:43:24 PM ET 2008-12-23T18:43:24

The family of an American student accused of killing her British roommate says she is heading into her second Christmas in jail disappointed at a trial delay but "holding up pretty well under the circumstances."

Amanda Knox, 21, has been detained for over a year in the picturesque medieval city of Perugia on charges of murder and sexual violence in the 2007 slaying of Meredith Kercher.

Her trial, and that of her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, is slated to open Jan. 16, over a month later than originally planned.

Knox is planning to attend an in-jail Christmas Day Mass, the family said in a recent statement emailed to The Associated Press.

No wrapped presents
Visitors are not allowed to bring in wrapped presents, but Knox's parents are trying to get her "warm sheets, slippers, cold weather underwear, wool socks and a sweater."

For their part, Kercher's family will be spending their second Christmas without Meredith. Kercher's parents and siblings have been following the legal proceedings in Perugia and were on hand when a third suspect, Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede, was convicted in October.

Knox, a University of Washington student, was on an exchange program in Italy and sharing a flat with Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Leeds University in England, when Kercher was found dead in their apartment Nov. 2, 2007.

Guede was sentenced to 30 years in prison on murder and sexual violence charges. He underwent a fast-track trial at his request. Guede, Knox and Sollecito have denied wrongdoing.

Prosecutors allege that Kercher was killed during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito holding her by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife. They say Guede tried to sexually assault Kercher, and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

Prosecutors say Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a knife that might have been used in the slaying, while Kercher's DNA was found on the blade.

The case, and particularly Knox's alleged role, has made headlines in Italy and abroad in part for the light it has shone on the seemingly privileged world of students spending a semester or year abroad studying.

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