TODAY   |  July 09, 2010

Amanda Knox’s third birthday behind bars

As the American former exchange student awaits an appeal in her murder conviction, a new defamation suit has been filed against her and her parents. NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> another somber birthday behind bars for amanda knox , found guilty of murder in italy. martin fletcher has details.

>> reporter: it's her third birthday in prison. amanda knox from seattle, washington, known as angel face . she is 23 today with 23 more years to serve behind bars , found guilty of killing her english roommate meredith kirchner.

>> we'll try to make it the best we can.

>> hold her hand the whole time. it'll be nice.

>> reporter: from a mother, a dress. her birthday wish to cook crab cake on the small stove in her cell.

>> for an innocent person locked up for something she didn't do, she is trying to stay strong.

>> reporter: for amanda , it's hard inside, more than 100 degrees in her cell, no air conditioning . and now the prospect of having a 26-year prison sentenced increased. her appearance is scheduled for october but the prosecution has also appealed calling for a tougher sentence. if amanda wins, she could go free. if she loses, she could face life in prison . to make matters worse, amanda and her parents face new similar charges of defamation by claiming in court that italian police abused her when she was arrested and failing to prove it, amanda 's sentence could be increased still further and her parents who made the same claim when answering a reporter's question could be fined and even face jail time in italy, too. amanda 's cell mate could be her own mother.

>> it's kind of amazing that after a murder conviction the authorities are not just going after her but after her family as well.

>> reporter: there isn't much for the knox family to celebrate but for a short time today they saw a smile on amanda 's face. for "today," martin fletcher , nbc news, london.