Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Amanda Knox: A real life game of clue

I don't know how many of you have been keeping up with the Amanda Knox case, but if you aren't, your missing out!  It's quite the fascinating story involving lies, sex, drugs, and beautiful faces.  If you want the whole background - do a wiki search for Amanda Knox and you can see for yourself how intricate the details of the case are.  Long story short, she was released from an Italian prison this week after being exonerated from the murder charges that led her there.  I will attempt to break down the details of the case, and provide my own opinion of what happened, and why I think Amanda Knox is totally innocent.

Background : In the fall of 2007, Amanda Knox, then 20, flew overseas to Italy to partake in a study abroad program.  She found a cheap flat to split with Meredith Kercher (An exchange student from the UK) and one other female roommate.  Amanda Knox had met a boyfriend in Italy at the time, while also working at a local bar.  The night of the murder...which was on Halloween, Amanda claimed to be with her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.  Meredith retired from the night early, around 9pm, when she returned to the flat.  And that's when the debate on what actually happened really begins.

The Victim: 

 Meredith Kercher - 21, A British university exchange student from South London.  She was found dead, locked in her room, stabbed repeatedly and sexually assaulted.  Items such as cell phones and credit cards were also stolen from her room.  It was speculated the crime season was made to look like a break in gone wrong. 

The Suspects: 

Amanda Knox - 20, A U.S exchange student from Seattle, Washington.  Claimed to be with her boyfriend, Raffaele, that night at his flat, where they had sex, smoked marijuana, and went to bed.  Rumors following the murder quickly painted Amanda to be a 'she devil' due to her modest number of past sexual partners and likeness to marijuana.  Rumors claimed she was involved in the murder as part of a satanic ritual.  No physical evidence directly ties Amanda to the crime scene.

Raffaele Sollecito - 23, an Italian native majoring in Computer Engineering. He had begun dating Amanda in the weeks prior and the relationship was going well.  Best described as skinny and kind of nerdy. No substantial evidence ties Raffaele to the crime, although traces of his dna was found on the victims bra strap, which was moved many times during the investigation, resulting in crime season contamination concerns.  Additionally, a knife which was initially thought to have been the murder weapon was found at his flat following the murder, yet does not match the wounds or outline of the knife wiped on sheets, following the murder.

Rudy Guede  - 20, was an acquaintance of Kerchers, and had little or no connection to Knox and Sollecito.  He did have a past of minor scuffs with the law, but no violent crimes.  Guede is the only suspect with strong, undeniable evidence against him.  Guede's dna was found on and inside the victims body, indicating a clear sexual assault. His bloody handprints were also found in the room where the victim was found.  He claims the sex was consensual, and she was killed while he was in the bathroom listening to his iPod, while Amanda and Meredith began to fight. He fled the country following the murder and was expedited back on murder charges; he is still serving whats left of a 16 year sentence.

The Crime Scene:

Meredith was found sexually assaulted, stabbed 47 times, in what was deemed a pretty brutal murder. The window had been broken, but based on the layout of the objects in the room, police speculated the break in was staged.  Credit cards and cell phones were also stolen.  The room was locked and Meredith lay lifeless for many hours before she was found, requiring police assistance to open the door. Blood was also found in the bathroom.  The flats front door was also unlocked.

 The Evidence:

Dna matching Guede was found on the victims shirt, bra, body, and handbag.  A bloody shoe print matching Knox was found in the hallway, but no traces of her dna were found in the room where the victim was found. Traces of Sollecito's dna were found on the victims bra strap, but not enough to be retested several months later, indicating a relatively minimal exposure. Additionally, the bra had been moved around the crime scene many times before being tested, possibly resulting in contamination.  The knive, found at Sollecito's flat, did have traces of Amanda's dna, as well as Meridith's, but considering it was the kitchen knife, this only is to be expected as they made meals with this knife.  The blade does not perfectly match the grooved knive which is thought to have been the murder weapon (above). The true murder weapon may have never been recovered, and its speculated there may have been multiple murder weapons, or attackers.

The Interogation:

This is where Amanda Knox really gets herself in some hot water, and the case gets real interesting.  It's understood that Amanda had no idea she was ever being looked at as a suspect. She was interrogated for 12-14 hours, by Italian authorities.  She was deprived food or water basically until she said what interrogators wanted to hear, and implicated many names in the process.  She claims to have been hit, deprived of a translator when she only spoke limited Italian, and lacked a lawyer present. The interrogation was also not recorded, in violation of Italian interrogation regulations.  So its hard to say what really happened in that dark room.

Amanda first stated she was with her boyfriend that night, but interrogators pushed her to think harder and claimed her boyfriend said otherwise. After a few hours of intense interrogation she initially implicated her boss from the bar, who had a solid alibi.  She told other variations of what could have happened as interrogators pushed her further, sending her down an increasingly suspicious path.  She claims she was encouraged to tell 'what could have happened', and rewarded with food and restroom breaks when she did so. Bizarre behavior such as handstands in the police waiting room added to the suspicion, as well as lingerie shopping, despite the fact that her flat was a crime scene and she was not permitted access.  Amanda claimed the handstands were a form of stress relief.

The Trial:

(Stolen from wikipedia because I am lazy).

Guede, Knox and Sollecito, all stood trial for the murder of Kercher. Guede was convicted and, after appeal, is serving a 16-year sentence. Knox and Sollecito were convicted in a joint trial in 2009 and sentenced to 25 and 26 years respectively. They successfully appealed their convictions. Under Italian law two appeals are permitted to defendants, during which there is a presumption of innocence until a final verdict is entered.

Guede elected for a "fast-track" trial that began in October 2008, presided over by Judge Paolo Micheli. By doing so, he exchanged the right to challenge the evidence in a full trial for a more lenient sentence, if found guilty.  In October 2008, he was convicted of murder and sexual assault but acquitted of theft, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.   Guede's appeals, which concluded in December of 2009 and 2010, upheld his conviction but reduced his sentence to 16 years.

Knox and Sollecito opted for a full trial. They were indicted in October 2008 by Judge Micheli and charged with murder, sexual assault, simulating a crime (burglary), carrying a knife and theft of 300 euros, two credit cards and two mobile phones. The trial and subsequent proceedings has attracted great media attention. Knox and Sollecito filed for their first appeal in April 2010, which began in November 2010 and concluded on 3 October 2011 with the overturning of the murder conviction
What I think happened:
First of all, Amanda's reputation may have been the biggest injustice in this whole case.  Italian press immediately painted her suspicious and deemed her the nickname 'Foxy Knoxy'.  It was suspected by police and Italian press that the she was involved in the murder as part of a satanic ritual to take place on Halloween.  Her past number of sexual partners, rather modest in my opinion, 7, was also made public after interrogation officials lied and told Amanda she had HIV, to get a listing of her sexual history.  Her reputation may have been the biggest victim in this case (besides Meredith s death of course), as she was portrayed as a liar, whore, and drug user given her very occasional social marijuana use.  Amanda was really portrayed guilty before she even had a chance to prove her innocence.

My opinion is, there is no way she did it.  Why?  First off, there is absolutely no motive.  Why would a young, college age girl, with favorable upbringing, randomly kill her roommate? It makes no sense.  Some tried to claim she may have been jealous of Meredith, but, all girls are jealous of each other for one reason or another it seems, is that a reason enough to kill? I highly doubt it, and the jealousy theory still holds no weight, as there isn't any evidence to support the theory.

Second, it was claimed the killing was part of a satanic ritual.  First, the prosecutor who suggested this has a history of using this as a motive for other cases, sounds like he's a little satanic happy.  Why would a young woman with no prior ties to satanism take part in a satanic killing. Seems a bit far fetched.  And again there is no evidence pointing to this.  Well what about this, maybe she was on a marijuana fueled drug high which led to the killing!  Anyone how would buy this theory has obviously never tried it.  Enough said.

So if she didn't do it, then why did she lie?  That's easy, I think anyone would be inclined to lie if it would get them out of an all night interrogation with no food, water, bathroom, or translator.  She didn't know what she was agreeing to when she signed the forced confession, written entirely in Italian. And if she was responding to the question. 'what could have happened, Amanda, think, what could have happened', is she really lying or just talking?  The fact that who she implicated was nowhere near implies to me she had no idea who was at the house that night. If she was there, she would have implied Rudy killed her -- because he definitely was there, and that would have been the end of it.  She never once implicated him, nor does she even know him, and never blamed him because she honest to god was not there.

What about the bloody shoe print?  Amanda was the first person to arrive at the crime scene the next morning, so it's not surprising her bloody shoe prints were found as she walked through the house investigating what happened.  She also immediately called Meredith's phone at 12:20 pm that day, if  she knew Meredith was dead - why would she bother calling?

All in all, it appears to me the Rudy followed Meredith home, or was already hiding in the flat when she came home, where he raped her, and killed her.  Then he panicked and made it look like a break in, before he fled the country. The fact that he fled implies guilt in itself.  Additionally, hes the only one with true evidence tying him to the murder. 

Evidence against Amanda and Sollecito is really non-existent, and largely based on Amanda's forced confessions during her interrogation.  Therefore, I think she (and Sollecito) is completely innocent.  I'm not saying I know all the facts, but evidence favoring her guilt just doesn't add up, and is so minimal I can't force myself to buy into it.  I was relieved when she was released and came back to the U.S because I would hate to think an innocent young person loses their life to a life behind bars.   Justice was realized and I hope she can make an adjustment back to normalcy in the years to come, and I CAN NOT WAIT FOR HER BOOK!

1 comment:

  1. The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is overwhelming. They gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis despite three attempts each. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified. Innocent people don't give multiple conflicting alibis and lie repeatedly to the police.

    The DNA didn't miraculously deposit itself in the most incriminating of places.

    An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito's DNA was found on Meredith's bra clasp. His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. Professor Novelli pointed out there's more likelihood of meteorite striking the courtroom in Perguia than there is of the bra clasp being contaminated by dust.

    According to Sollecito's forensic expert, Professor Vinci and Luciano Garofano, Knox's DNA was also on Meredith's bra.

    Amanda Knox's DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli and Luciano Garofano - categorically stated that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade. Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

    According to the prosecution's experts, there were five instances of Knox's DNA or blood mixed with Meredith's blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even Amanda Knox's lawyers conceded that her blood had mingled with Meredith's blood. In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the same time.

    Knox tracked Meredith's blood into the bathroom, the hallway, her room and Filomena's room, where the break-in was staged. Knox's DNA and Meredith's blood was found mixed together in Filomena's room, in a bare bloody footprint in the hallway and in three places in the bathroom.

    Rudy Guede's bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith's room and out of the house. This means that he didn't stage the break-in in Filomena's room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

    The bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Knox's and Sollecito's bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway.

    It's not a coincidence that the three people - Knox, Sollecito and Guede - who kept telling the police a pack of lies are all implicated by the DNA and forensic evidence.

    Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith's murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. After she was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox's alibi that she was at his apartment.

    Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite the fact she knew he was completely innocent. She didn't recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison. She acknowledged that it was her fault that Lumumba was in prison in an intercepted conversation with her mother on 10 November 2007.

    If anybody wants to understand the reasons why Amanda Knox was convicted of murder, I recommend reading the translations of the official court documents and court testimony. They are available online at the Meredith Kercher Wiki website: