Amanda Knox – Victim Of Italian Injustice?

22 year old American college student Amanda Knox and her boyfriend have been found guilty of murdering Knox’s British roommate, 21 year old Meredith Kercher.   The murder, according to the prosecution, took place during a sex and drug binge involving Kercher, Knox, Knox’s boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede of the Ivory Coast.

According to the prosecution, the two men, Sollecito and Guede, came under the siren spell of Knox, who somehow convinced them to torture and sexually assault Meredith Kercher.

The guilty verdict against Knox and Sollecito was reached in the small town of Perugia, Italy, in spite of the fact that  Rudy Guede had already been convicted of killing Kercher and had admitted that Knox and her boyfriend weren’t there and played no part in the murder.  Later, Guede said he was at the murder scene but did not kill Kercher.  He is appealing his conviction.

The unsequestered jury reached a guilty verdict even though there appears to have been no firm evidence connecting Knox to the crime while Guede’s DNA was found at the murder scene.   The prosecution though went after Amanda and her boyfriend first..    Later, they located and charged Guede who was then convicted.  But the public feeding frenzy fueled by a media onslaught was underway.   Sex, drugs and murder.  It was a tabloid’s dream.   And so, while the young woman reporters had dubbed “Foxy Knoxy” sat in jail for two years, the popular media ran wild with all the sleaze they could lay their hands on as the prosecution moved forward to seek convictions against Knox and Sollecito, even with only scant evidence.

One piece of that “evidence” was security camera video of Knox and her boyfriend shopping for women’s underwear shortly after the murder.  In court the prosecution used the tape to impugn Knox’s character.    Before that, they began building their case by releasing the video to the media.   Video of a good looking young woman and her boyfriend out buying thong underwear.   Bizarre behavior so shortly after the crime had been committed?  Maybe, but according to Knox’s aunt, Amanda had no access to her clothing  because the police had sealed off her apartment as a crime scene, leaving her with no choice but to go shopping.

Another report indicates the court refused to let the defense present DNA evidence that might have strengthened the American student’s case.   This, even though in Italy there is an automatic presumption of guilt which places the burden of proof on the defense and not on the prosecution.   In other words, you must prove you are innocent while the prosecution has no need to prove that you are guilty.   Guilt is assumed.

My former colleague from the O.J Simpson Trials,  the late Dominick Dunne, nearly always sided with the prosecution.  It wasn’t something he tried to hide.  He openly admitted to believing that people who were charged with murder were usually guilty.  The murder of his daughter Dominique undoubtedly played a significant role in his bias against the defense.   It would be fascinating to hear his take on the Amanda Knox case.  I have a feeling that this might be one of those rare instances when even Dominick Dunne would come down on the side of the defense.

Sadly, we no longer have the advantage of Dunne’s insights from the pages of Vanity Fair.   We do though have six pages from Judy Bachrach, who speaks Italian and spent more than four years living in Italy.   Among other things,  she points out that Knox made contradictory statements.  It also appears she may have been beaten by the police which could have prompted her to tell them whatever they wanted to hear.  As for the murder, she writes-

“Exactly what happened when she returned to the house on Via Pergola later that night is not clear. Rudy Guede’s DNA would be found all over her dead body the next day. His presence at the murder scene is one of the few firmly established facts of the case. There are others, but the Italian authorities have been led down an entirely different trail by the odd behavior of Amanda and Raffaele, whose actions have been too bizarre and callous to ignore, even if both are innocent.” 

The following, again from Bachrach’s piece, provides some insight into Italian jurisprudence.  ‘The Italian legal system, ecclesiastical judge Count Neri Capponi informs me, will not work in Amanda’s favor. “Our system stems from the Inquisition and also from medieval law,” he explains. What this means, in effect, he says, is that justice in Italy “is based on the supremacy of the prosecution. This nullifies the fact—written in our constitution by the way—that you’re innocent until proven guilty.”’ -Vanity Fair

Italy has no death penalty.  Amanda Knox has been sentenced to 26 years in an Italian prison.  Raffaele Sollecito has been sentenced to 25 years.  Knox is filing an appeal.  It can reportedly  take up to two years before an appeal is heard by an Italian court.

5 thoughts on “Amanda Knox – Victim Of Italian Injustice?”

  1. Amanda Knox was convicted for one thing only…being an American. Italians have always had a slippery relationship with America, and this verdict is their chance to throw an American in jail. I have a suggestion. How about a trade? They give us Amanda Knox, and we give them Ann Coulter!

  2. what anti-italian rubbish is written here – I doubt if anyone has seen the depth the italians have gone to in order that the trial was transparent.

    In addition the USA is hardly the place to brag about fair legal systems – denying those in Guantanamo representation in the american legal system.

    Can the xenophobia and accept that she committed a crime and is now paying for it.

  3. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito repeatedly told the police a pack of lies in the days after Meredith’s murder.

    On 5 November 2007, Knox and Sollecito were confronted with proof that they had lied and were given another opportunity to tell the truth. However, they both chose to tell the police even more lies.

    Sollecito’s new alibi was shattered by computer forensic evidence and his mobile phone records.

    Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite knowing full well that he was completely innocent. She didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison.

    Knox’s account of what happened on 2 November 2007 is contradicted by her mobile phone records.

    Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints lead straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house. He didn’t lock Meredith’s door, remove his trainers, go into Filomena’s room or the bathroom that Meredith and Knox shared.

    Rudy Guede didn’t scale the vertical wall outside Filomena’s room or gain access through the window. The break-in was clearly staged. This indicates that somebody who lived at the cottage was trying to deflect attention away from themselves and give the impression that a stranger had broken in and killed Meredith.

    Guede had no reason to stage the break-in and there was no physical evidence that he went into Filomena’s room.

    The scientific police found a mixture of Amanda Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood on the floor.

    There was no physical evidence that Rudy Guede went into the blood-spattered bathroom. However, the scientific police found proof that Knox and Sollecito tracked Meredith’s blood into this bathroom.

    Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mingled with Meredith’s blood in three different places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs.

    Sollecito left a visible bloody footprint on the blue bathmat.

    Amanda Knox left a bloody shoeprint on the pillow under Meredith’s body.

    Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare bloody footprints were revealed by luminol in the hallway. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was found mixed together in one of the bloody footprints.

    An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp. Sollecito must have applied considerable pressure to the clasp in order to have left so much DNA. The hooks on the clasp were damaged which confirms that Sollecito had gripped them tightly.

    Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and Meredith’s DNA was found lodged in a tiny groove on the blade. Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he twice lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

    The defence experts were unable to prove that there had been any contamination. Alberto Intini, head of the Italian police forensic science unit, pointed out that unless contamination has been proved, it does not exist.

    Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she involved in Meredith’s murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. She stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She also claimed that Sollecito was at the cottage.

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