|Born||Amanda Marie Knox
July 9, 1987
|Known for||Being accused, convicted, and then acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher (acquittal subsequently overturned, retrial in progress)|
Amanda Marie Knox (born July 9, 1987) is an American woman who, in 2009, was convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Umbria, Italy. She served four years of a 26-year sentence before the murder conviction was overturned on October 3, 2011. However, on March 26, 2013, Knox's acquittal was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court, sending the case back to the lower court for reconsideration. Raffaele Sollecito, Knox's boyfriend at the time of the murder, was also found guilty of the murder but had his conviction overturned by an appeal; this decision was likewise reversed on March 26, 2013. The jury upheld Knox's calunnia conviction for falsely implicating bar owner Patrick Lumumba. For this Knox was sentenced to three years in prison, which she had already served, and was ordered to pay Lumumba's court costs of about 22,000 euros. Knox's retrial on the charge of murder began, with Knox herself in absentia, on September 30, 2013.
Knox was born in Seattle, Washington, to Edda Mellas, a math teacher, and Curt Knox, a vice president of finance at Macy's. The couple divorced when Knox was a toddler. Knox grew up in West Seattle, attended Explorer West Middle School, and Seattle Preparatory High School, from which she graduated in 2005. In 2005 she began studies at the University of Washington.
Meredith Kercher murder case
In 2007, Knox moved to Perugia, Italy, to study Italian, German, and creative writing at the University for Foreigners for one year. She shared a house with Meredith Kercher, a student from England, as well as two Italian women. In mid-October 2007 she began a romantic relationship with an Italian engineering student, Raffaele Sollecito, from Bari, Apulia.
On November 1, 2007, Meredith Kercher was murdered in the apartment she shared with Knox. On November 6, 2007, Knox was arrested by the Italian police and, along with Sollecito, charged with the murder of Kercher. During the subsequent four-year trial and appeal process she was held under cautionary detention (carcerazione preventiva) at the Capanne prison in Perugia. In 2009, Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexual assault, murder and simulating a burglary at the first level (primo grado) of trial (see Italian Criminal Procedure). However, according to Italian law, she would not be considered guilty until the verdict was confirmed by higher courts. During her appeal at the second level (secondo grado) of trial, which concluded on October 3, 2011, the original conviction was overturned, she was found innocent of the murder and she was released from prison. However, on March 26, 2013, the Italian Court of Cassation overturned Knox's acquittal and ordered a retrial at an appellate court in Florence.
Related legal proceedings
Knox was ordered to pay Patrick Lumumba, the man originally accused by Knox of murdering Kercher, €10,000 in restitution as a result of her conviction for calunnia and €40,000 as compensation for Lumumba's legal expenses he incurred to be represented at the first trial. The decision was upheld by the appeals court and Knox was sentenced to three years imprisonment, and ordered to pay a further €22,000.
Shortly before her trial, Knox had begun legal action against Fiorenza Sarzanini, the author of Amanda e gli altri ("Amanda and the Others"), a best-selling book about her that had been published in Italy. The book included accounts of events as imagined or invented by Sarzanini, witness transcripts not in the public domain, long excerpts from Knox's private journals, which Sarzanini had somehow obtained, and intimate details professing to be about Knox's sex life. Lawyers for Knox said that the book had "reported in a prurient manner, aimed solely at arousing the morbid imagination of readers." According to US legal commentator Kendal Coffrey, "In this country we would say, with this kind of media exposure, you could not get a fair trial". In March 2010, Knox won her civil case against Sarzanini and her publisher for violation of her privacy and illegal publication of court documents. Knox was awarded €40,000 in damages.
Following an investigation into Knox's statements that she had been slapped by police during questioning about the murder, another case for calunnia was opened against her on June 1, 2010, for falsely implicating police. Knox has claimed she had been hit and put under pressure by police while being questioned in the aftermath of Kercher's murder on November 1, 2007. She said police repeatedly called her a "stupid liar". Police denied misconduct and filed charges saying Knox's comments were slanderous. The trial was adjourned until November 15, 2011. The Italian penal code stipulates two to six years' imprisonment for this crime.
In February 2011, Knox's parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, were indicted on charges of criminal slander as a result of an interview published by The Sunday Times in 2009, in which they said their daughter "had not been given an interpreter, had not received food and water, and had been physically and verbally abused" by police officers after her arrest. They sought to have the charges dismissed on the grounds that there was no intent. On July 4, 2011, Judge Paolo Micheli resigned from the case, citing his involvement in the trial of Knox and Sollecito. Knox's parents' trial was adjourned until January 24, 2012.
After Knox was found innocent of the murder, several media outlets reported that Kercher's family were suing her for $12 million. Kercher's family have stated that the reports are incorrect and that they do not believe anyone should profit from the murder.
Knox spent almost four years in jail while she waited for her first trial and appealed the initial verdict. Soon after arriving in prison, following a blood test, Knox was told that she was HIV positive; this later turned out to be untrue. Officials prompted her to write a list of previous lovers, which they leaked to the media.
Knox has stated that during her time in prison she was sexually harassed and intimidated by prison officials. Knox said that a high-ranking prison administrator would take her to his office alone at night and make inappropriate statements to her, which left her feeling terrified. Furthermore, prison guards forced her to have unwanted sexual conversations. ABC News reported that one male guard entered Knox's cell alone and made sexual remarks to her.
While Knox was in prison, she frequently met a local lawmaker named Rocco Girlanda. He later published a book about his conversations with Knox while she was in prison. Knox also befriended the members of a local Italian band that played at the prison three times while she was an inmate. She wrote a screenplay for one of their videos.
Support for Knox
In late 2008, a number of Seattle-area residents, including lawyer Anne Bremner, founded the "Friends of Amanda", a support group to raise money and awareness. Maria Cantwell, United States Senator for Washington, issued a statement on December 4, 2009, that the evidence against Knox was inadequate, that she had been subjected to harsh treatment after her arrest, and that there had been negligence in the handling of the evidence. The Idaho Innocence Project, a non-profit investigative organization dedicated to proving the innocence of wrongly convicted people through the use of DNA testing, volunteered to work for the Knox defense. On May 23, 2011, Dr. Gregory Hampikian, director of the project, announced that, based on its independent investigation and review, DNA samples taken at the crime scene all pointed to African drifter Rudy Guede and excluded Knox and Sollecito.
On May 26, 2011, 11 members of the Italian parliament, led by Rocco Girlanda and all members of The People of Freedom Party founded by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, issued a document as an act of parliament addressed to Justice Minister Angelino Alfano. The document criticized the evidence that resulted in the Knox/Sollecito guilty verdicts, and the extended detention to which they were subject. Girlanda also addressed a letter to President Giorgio Napolitano, in Girlanda's capacity as president of the Italy–USA Foundation, in which he wrote, "These distortions, not without reason, are fuelling accusations against the administration of justice in our country."
ANSA's news alert announcing Knox's conviction being overturned was made using the character size and style reserved for the most important events. According to Italy's national TV broadcaster, this last happened when Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005.
According to Corrado Maria Daclon, secretary general of the Italy–USA Foundation, who became a close friend of Knox's while she was in prison and managed Knox's departure from the penitentiary to the airport, when Knox returned to her former prison after her appeal, "[a]ll the prisoners, 500 or 600 of them, started to greet Amanda from the windows, like soccer stardom." She then said goodbye to her cellmate, other prisoners, and some of the guards. The next day she flew home to Seattle. Upon her arrival, Knox gave a brief press conference in which she thanked those who had supported her and her family.
Knox wrote a letter to Corrado Maria Daclon the day after regaining her freedom:
To hold my hand and offer support and respect throughout the obstacles and the controversy, there were Italians. There was the Italy–USA Foundation, and many others that shared my pain and that helped me survive, with hope. I am eternally grateful for their caring hospitality and their courageous commitment. To those that wrote me, that defended me, that stood by me, that prayed for me... I am forever grateful to you.
On March 26, 2013, Italy's highest criminal court overturned the acquittal of Knox in the murder of her British roommate and ordered a new trial. The retrial began, with Knox in absentia, on September 30, 2013.
Because of the allegations made against her and her perceived physical attractiveness, Knox became the focus of worldwide media coverage, especially in Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Supporters of Knox and certain members of the US media criticized Italian and British newspapers' coverage of the story as constituting character assassination and demonization. The media referred to her as her "Foxy Knoxy", a nickname Knox had used on her Myspace page. According to author Candace Dempsey, the press reported a number of falsehoods and distortions in their articles about the case. In order to address these perceived inaccuracies, Knox's family engaged the services of David Marriott of Gogerty Stark Marriott, a Seattle-based public relations firm.
In June 2009, owing to all her televised court hearings, an Italian television poll listed Knox as a bigger personality than Carla Bruni. Barbara Walters named her as one of the ten most fascinating people of 2011. In October 2011, controversial English television presenter Matthew Wright was heavily criticized in the UK media when he asked male viewers of his Channel 5 series The Wright Stuff if they would have sex with Knox now that she had been acquitted. In May 2012, Maxim named Knox in its 'Hot 100' countdown of 2012’s sexiest women.
Official and unofficial media projects
In February 2011, Lifetime, an American television network, produced a television film about the case, titled Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy. It focused on Knox, who was played by American actress Hayden Panettiere. Kercher was played by the British actress Amanda Fernando Stevens. The Kercher family condemned the film and described its images as "horrific and distressing". Before the film was broadcast, lawyers for both Knox and Sollecito formally demanded that Lifetime abandon the production.
In December 2011, it was reported that Knox had secured the services of Washington, DC-based lawyer Robert Barnett in order to negotiate an official book deal. On February 16, 2012, HarperCollins announced that Knox had signed with them to write her memoir in a deal that will pay her $4 million. The memoir, titled Waiting to be Heard, was released on April 30, 2013. According to The New York Times, the book lays out Knox's version of what happened the night of the murder, describes her life in prison, and her return to life outside prison.
- A Long Way From Home: CBS 48 Hours documentary, broadcast in April 2008 in the United States
- American Girl, Italian Nightmare: CBS 48 Hours documentary, broadcast in April 2009 in the United States,
- The Trial of Amanda Knox: NBC Dateline NBC documentary, broadcast on December 4, 2009, in the United States
- The Trials of Amanda Knox: The Learning Channel documentary, broadcast on March 24, 2010, in the United States
- Beyond the Headlines: Amanda Knox: Lifetime documentary, broadcast on February 21, 2011, in the United States
- Cold Blood: Life Behind Bars For Amanda Knox: Investigation Discovery Cold Blood documentary, broadcast on April 20, 2011, in the United States
- Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story: CNN Presents documentary, broadcast on May 8, 2011, in the United States
- Amanda Knox: The untold story, CBS 48 Hours documentary October 8, 2011, 7:45 PM
- Murder Mystery: Amanda Knox Speaks an ABC News 20/20 special interview with Diane Sawyer. Knox's first interview after being released from prison.
- "Live blog: Amanda Knox to go free after jury overturns murder conviction". This Just In (CNN). Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- Rizzo, Alessandra. "After 4-year ordeal, a Seattle homecoming for Knox". Associated Press. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011.
- Squires, Nick (October 3, 2011). "Amanda Knox freed: tears of joy as four-year nightmare is over". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "TEXT: Summary of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito Verdict". Fox News Insider. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2011-10-06.
- Iovane, Giorgia (October 3, 2011). "Amanda Knox e Raffaele Sollecito assolti per il delitto di Meredith: il video della sentenza". Televisionando. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
- "Family, friends await homecoming of Amanda Knox". Retrieved May 1, 2013.
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- Vogt, Andrea (December 14, 2009). "The debate continues over Knox's guilt". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
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- Pisani, Mario, ed. (2004). Manuale di procedura penale (in Italian). Monduzzi. ISBN 8832341026. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
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- "Sentence of the Court of Assizes of Perugia (Presided Over by Dr. Giancarlo Massei) In the Murder of Meredith Kercher" (pdf). pp. 394–395. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
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- "TEXT: Summary of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito Verdict". Fox News Insider. November 23, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
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- Coffrey, Kendal (December 4, 2009). Prime News. Interview with Mike Galanos. HLN. http://kendallcoffey.com/documents/transcripts/amandaKnox.htm.
- "Did Amanda Knox slander police? Second trial set to start Tuesday", KOMO-TV staff, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 30, 2010; also see Dempsey 2010, p. 265.
- Messia, Hada (July 4, 2011). "Amanda Knox Parents' Libel Judge Resigns". CNN.
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- Sunde, Scott (October 25, 2011). "Kercher family to sue Amanda Knox? No". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- "Amanda Knox Tricked into Believing She Had HIV to Extract Lovers List: New Details of Sexual Harassment in Prison". International Business Times. October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- Burleigh, Nina (October 4, 2011). "The scapegoating of Amanda Knox". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
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- Burleigh 2011, pp. 284–285.
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- Pisa, Nick (October 3, 2011). "Breathless and pale Amanda Knox arrives in court to hear whether she'll be freed or sent to jail for a quarter of a century". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- Dietrich, Heidi. "Questions for Anne Bremner, trial lawyer, Stafford Frey Cooper", Puget Sound Business Journal, December 5, 2008.
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- "Press Release of Senator Cantwell". Archived from the original on December 13, 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2009.
- Sewell, Cynthia. "Boise expert: DNA shows Amanda Knox isn’t guilty"[dead link], Idaho Statesman, May 27, 2011.
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- "Interrogazione parlamentare al ministro Angelino Alfano", Cronaca, May 26, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "'Processo giusto per Amanda Knox' L'apello di Italia-Usa al president Napolitano", Cronaca, May 26, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "MPs: Amanda Knox Treated Unfairly", Belfast Telegraph, May 26, 2011.
- Winter, Michael (October 3, 2011). "Amanda Knox freed after murder conviction overturned". USA Today. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
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- Myers, Laura L.; Babington, Deepa (October 5, 2011). "Cleared on appeal, Amanda Knox returns home to Seattle". Reuters. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- "Amanda Knox: I'm overwhelmed right now". ABC News. Associated Press. October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "Amanda Knox's handwritten letter to supporters in Italy". Seattle: KING-TV. October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
- Acohido, Byron; Lyman, Eric J. (March 26, 2013). "Amanda Knox's lawyer: 'She's ready to fight'". USA Today. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "Meredith Kercher murder: Amanda Knox retrial opens". BBC News. September 30, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
- "Meredith Kercher murder retrial: Amanda Knox is guilty, says the man she falsely accused". The Independent. September 30, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
- Dempsey, Candace (2010): Murder in Italy: The Shocking Slaying of a British Student, the Accused American Girl, and an International Scandal, Penguin Group; New York. ISBN 978-0-425-23083-1. Chapter 17
- "'No smoking gun' evidence in Kercher case". BBC News. December 5, 2009.
- Timothy Egan (June 10, 2009). "An Innocent Abroad". Retrieved February 19, 2012.
- "Simon Cowell one of Walters' 'Fascinating People'". Bloomberg Businessweek. December 1, 2011.
- Sweney, Mark (5 October 2011). "Matthew Wright apologises over Amanda Knox gaffe". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Reynolds, Emma (25 May 2012). "Maxim magazine sparks controversy after naming ex-murder suspect Amanda Knox one of 2012's sexiest women". Mail Online. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "Meredith Kercher's father attacks US film of her murder". BBC News. February 4, 2011. Archived from the original on February 6, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Winfield, Nicole (February 5, 2011). "Amanda Knox lawyers seek to stop Lifetime film". My Way News. Associated Press. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- "Film su Amanda, i legali di Sollecito: 'Lo ritirino o chiederemo il risarcimento'" (in Italian). February 5, 2011. Archived from the original on February 8, 2011.
- Mann, Camille (December 6, 2011). "Amanda Knox hires prominent lawyer for book deal negotiations". CBS News. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- Kellogg, Carolyn (February 16, 2012). "Amanda Knox gets $4-million book deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Bosman, Julie (April 18, 2013). "In New Memoir, Public Testimony on Italian Murder Case". The New York Times.
- "A Long Way From Home". CBS News. April 10, 2008.
- "American girl, Italian nightmare". CBS News. April 8, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
- "The Trial of Amanda Knox". NBC News. December 4, 2009.
- "The Trials of Amanda Knox". Discovery Communications. March 25, 2010.
- "Amanda Knox TV Movie Draws Ire from Victim's Dad". CBS News. February 4, 2011.
- "Cold Blood: Life Behind Bars For Amanda Knox". Discovery Communications. April 18, 2011.
- "Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story – CNN's Drew Griffin Reports". CNN Presents (CNN). April 28, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
- "Transcript". CNN Presents: Murder Abroad, The Amanda Knox Story (CNN). Retrieved October 15, 2011.
- "'48 Hours' reveals Amanda Knox's untold story". CBS News. October 8, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "Murder Mystery: Amanda Knox Speaks". ABC News. April 30, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- Collected news and articles at the Guardian