I don’t know if you guys have been following the Amanda Knox murder trial, but I’ve been mildly obsessed with it for the past two years. It’s actually become part of my morning routine– brush teeth, get coffee, check e-mail, google “Amanda Knox” for latest updates.
Here’s a recap: On November 1, 2007, 21-yr old British student Meredith Kercher was found murdered in her apartment in Perugia, Italy, where she had been studying abroad. She was naked and her throat had been cut with a knife.
Amanda Knox, Kercher’s American roommate, arrived at their apartment that day to find Kercher’s door locked and alerted the police. The apartment soon became a crime scene, so she and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito huddled outside, cooing at each other while the police uncovered the body and began their investigation. Prosecutors would later say this behavior was strange for someone whose roommate had just been found brutally murdered.
The police bring Amanda in for questioning. She tells them she was at her boyfriend’s house smoking pot the night of the murder. They continue to interrogate her for hours, despite the fact that she has no lawyer present, and allegedly begin shouting at her and hitting her in the head. In a state of exhaustion and confusion, she “admits” to having been at the crime scene when Kercher was killed, telling police that she heard Kercher’s dying screams, and she accuses bar-owner Patrick Lumumba of killing Kercher. He is proven innocent several weeks later, which generates a media shit-storm.
Italian newspapers, now convinced of Knox’s guilt, begin attacking her character, dubbing her “Foxy Knoxy” and digging into her sexual history to portray her as a drug- and sex-crazed maniac, an “angel-faced killer,” despite the fact that she has zero history of violence or criminal activity. Both Knox and Sollecito are immediately locked up into a Perugia jail.
Meanwhile, Rudy Guede, an “Ivory Coast immigrant” to Italy, as the media love to point out, flees to Germany the day of the murder. He has a history of criminal activity and his blood/semen is all over the crime scene. In a speedy trial, the jury convicts him of the rape and murder of Meredith Kercher and sentences him to 30 years in prison (he would have been electrocuted in America, that lucky boy.).
This is still not satisfactory for the prosecution, who remains convinced that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito participated in Kercher’s murder. Prosecutors believe that Knox orchestrated this drug-fueled sex game, torturing Kercher before plunging the knife into her neck because Kercher was “prissy” and complained about Knox’s hygiene (what? really?). Sollecito and Guede supposedly went along with the plan because they worship Knox and wanted to impress her, although Knox barely knew Guede at the time. Despite this completely implausible motive, Amanda and Raffaele are held in an Italian prison for 2 years as they are both tried for murder.
The prosecution finds a bloody footprint, says it belongs to Sollecito. Defense lawyers later prove that it belongs to Guede.
None of Knox’s DNA is found on the crime scene, but a knife is found in Sollecito’s apartment with Knox’s DNA on the handle and Kercher’s, allegedly, on the blade. Knox says of course her DNA is on the handle, she cooks with that knife all the time. The defense says the knife doesn’t match Kercher’s wounds and that the DNA found on the blade is so miniscule and contaminated that it shouldn’t even be used in court.
Knox’s family and friends in Seattle have flewn in to testify, calling Amanda an overachiever and a nature-lover, saying she is completely incapable of harming anyone. The prosecution maintains that she is twisted and slutty and perfectly capable of stabbing her roommate over mundane roommate bickerings.
Friday night, after Knox stood up and delivered a final plea to the jury in which she begged them (in Italian) not to “force the mask of a murderer onto her skin,” the jury found both her and Sollecito guilty and sentenced them both to 25 years in prison.
Locals cheered outside the courtroom when they heard the verdict, because the Italian media have latched onto Amanda Knox as an example of American depravity. Everyone wanted her to be guilty because the story is so juicy– she’s young, she’s beautiful, she’s American, and she’s a sex-crazed murderer! But it seems pretty clear to the rest of the world that Knox and Sollecito are innocent, and that the jury was swayed by the overwhelming media.
Is it possible that any overachieving college student studying abroad could stab her roommate to death and stand by as she is sexually assaulted simply because she was annoyed that her roommate was “prissy”? Where is the plausible motive? Where is the evidence? How is Rudy Guede’s DNA all over the crime scene, but Knox’s and Sollecito’s are nowhere (except maybe a teeny bit on the clasp of a bra which is found to be mishandled and contaminated)?
I can’t imagine being locked up in an Italian prison for 26 years over something I didn’t do. She must be absolutely terrified. Where is the U.S. Government on this one, can’t they do something?