Amanda Knox

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Amanda Knox
David Camm.jpg
Amanda Knox at the National Innocence Network Conference with David Camm and exoneree Randy Steidl
Born (1987-07-09) July 9, 1987 (age 27)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Education University of Washington
Occupation Author
Known for Being convicted, acquitted, and re-convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher[1]
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Partner(s) Raffaele Sollecito (ex-boyfriend)
Parents Edda Mellas (mother)
Curt Knox (father)
Relatives Deanna Knox (sister)
Website
Amanda Knox Website

Amanda Marie Knox (born July 9, 1987) is an American woman who was convicted, along with Raffaele Sollecito, of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher in Italy. Rudy Guede, who denied involvement but had strong forensic evidence against him, was convicted of the murder separately at an earlier trial. Guede gave evidence implicating Knox and Sollecito at his trial for murdering Kercher, and received a relatively light sentence. Knox maintained her innocence and the case was the subject of intense media interest in America, where the subsequent trial and conviction of Knox and Sollecito was was widely seen as flawed in view of a lack of forensic evidence that Knox had been at the scene of the crime. Knox spent almost four years in prison before a second-level or appeal trial freed both her and Sollecito in October 2011, and she returned to the US. The prosecution appealed to the Italian Supreme Court, which ordered the case to be re-heard. The second appeal trial of Knox and Sollecito began in September 2013, with Knox remaining in the US. On January 30, 2014, the court returned guilty verdicts, sentencing her to 28 years in prison. Both Knox and Sollecito remain free; in Italy a guilty verdict in a serious case is not regarded as a definitive conviction until the accused has exhausted the appeals process.[2][3]

Early life

Amanda Knox was raised with two younger sisters. Her mother, Edda Mellas, a mathematics teacher, and her father, Curt, a vice president of finance at the local Macy's, divorced when Knox was a few years old. Knox grew up in West Seattle. Her stepfather, Chris, is an information-technology consultant. She graduated in 2005 from the Seattle Preparatory School, and began to study linguistics at the University of Washington, making the university's dean's list by early 2007, when she decided to study in Italy.[4] Relatives later described Knox as not always able to pick up on social cues, and her stepfather had strong reservations about her going to Italy that year as he felt she was still too naïve.[5]

Perugia background

In Italy prosecutors are part of the judiciary, and can't be disciplined or removed except by their own self-government board.[6] After Mafia bombings in the early 90's prosecutors were given increased powers, with rules on the evidence which they could use to bring charges being loosened.[7] Perugia is known for its universities and large population of students. There had reportedly not been a killing in the city for twenty years, but its prosecutors had been responsible for Italy's most controversial murder cases.[8][9] In 2002 the conviction in Perugia of fomer Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti on murder conspiracy charges brought by the city's prosecutors had caused protests from public figures that the justice system had "gone mad".[10][11] In 2003, after being put on trial with known criminals in 169 hearings over 10 years, he was definitively acquitted by the Supreme Court.[12]

In early 2002, Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini charged 20 apparently respectable people with concealing a murder. Mignini was acting on the theory that a man, who had apparently died in a boating accident, was actually murdered and his body repeatedly switched with a lookalike by a secret society of Satanists responsible for serial killings.[13][14] The case was finally dismissed in 2010, by which time the 20 men indicted had been financially ruined.[15][16]

Meredith Kercher murder case

In September 2007,[17] Knox moved to Perugia, Italy, to study Italian, German, and creative writing at the University for Foreigners for one year.[18] She shared the ground floor on an isolated house with flatmates Meredith Kercher, a student from England, and two Italian women. On 25 October 2007 after going to a concert with Kercher she met and began a romantic relationship with a 23-year old Italian engineering student, Raffaele Sollecito, and began spending her time at his apartment a short distance away.

Because the Italians were away for a public holiday, Kercher returned to an empty house that evening. In the late morning of November 2, 2007 Knox reported that, after spending the night with Sollecito at his apartment, she had returned to the house and found a broken window and signs of a burglary. There was and blood in the bathroom and Kercher was not answering her bedroom door, which was locked. Police arrived and the door was broken open, Kercher's body was found on the floor. She had died of blood loss and suffocation caused by stab wounds to her neck.

Prosecutor Mignini was assigned to the case, and spoke to witnesses while they were still at the scene. Police almost immediately discounted the possibility of a burglar being the killer, and Knox became the prime suspect although she was not told this. Over the next four days she was repeatedly interviewed and during the interrogation and statements of 5–6 November, the conduct of which is a matter of dispute, Knox incriminated herself and Patrick Lumumba, a bar owner she worked for. Knox, Sollecito, and Lumumba were arrested and charged with murder. Examination of the crime scene identified the fingerprints of Rudy Guede on Kercher's body. Guede, Knox, and Sollecito were then charged with committing the murder together. On 30 November 2007 a panel of three judges endorsed the charges, ruled there had been no burglary, and ordered Knox and Sollecito held in detention pending a trial.[19]

Pre-trial publicity

photograph
Capanne Prison in Perugia, where Knox was held from 2007 to 2011

Knox became the subject of intense media coverage. In Italy the file of the prosecution's case becomes public domain before the trial.[20] Soon after arriving in prison, she was wrongly told that she was HIV positive and prompted to make a list of previous sexual partners, which was leaked to the media.[21][22][23][24][25] Knox took 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, long excerpts from Knox's private journals, which Sarzanini had somehow obtained, and unsubstantiated details of Knox's sex life.[26][27][28][29]

First trial

In 2009 Knox and Sollecito pleaded not guilty at a Corte d'Assise on charges of sexual assault, murder and simulating a burglary. According to the prosecution's reconstruction, Knox had attacked Kercher in her bedroom, repeatedly banged her head against a wall, forcefully held her face and tried to strangle her.[30] Guede, Knox and Sollecito had removed Kercher's jeans, and held her on her hands and knees while Guede had sexually abused her. Knox had cut Kercher with a knife before inflicting the fatal stab wound; then stole two mobile phones and money to fake a burglary.[31]

The defence pointed out that no shoe prints, clothing fibers, hairs, fingerprints, skin cells or DNA of Knox were found on Kercher's body or clothes, or in Kercher's bedroom.[32][33] The prosecution alleged that all forensic traces in the bedroom which incriminated Knox had been wiped away by her and Sollecito.[34][35]

Guede's shoe prints, fingerprints, and DNA were found in the bedroom, his DNA was found on Kercher and her clothing, and his skin cells were inside her body. Guede's DNA mixed with Kercher's was in bloodstains on the inside of her shoulder bag, and on the left sleeve of her bloody sweatshirt.[36] Kercher's body was naked from the waist down, and one of Guede's palm prints, stained with her blood, was on a pillow that had been placed under her hips. A glass fragment from a broken window was found beside a shoe-print of Guede's in the bedroom.[37][38][39] Knox and Sollecito requested Guede testify, but he refused.[40]

American lawyers were troubled by the court allowing character evidence about Knox, much of it centered on matters of a sexual nature and heard without the strenuous objections defense attorneys would have made in a US court.[41][42] Knox was found guilty and sentenced to 26 years imprisonment, and Sollecito to 25 years.[27][43][44]

Support

In May 2011 Gregory Hampikian, director of the Idaho Innocence Project, a non-profit investigative organization dedicated to proving the innocence of wrongly convicted people through the use of DNA testing, said forensic results from the crime scene pointed to Guede being a killer who had acted on his own.[45][46]

photograph
Amanda Knox leaving the prison in Perugia in a car with Corrado Maria Daclon, secretary general of the Italy–USA Foundation

Acquittal and release

A Corte d'Assise verdict of guilty is not a definitive conviction. An appeal trial, Corte d'Assise d'Appello, reviews the facts of the case as well as legal aspects. On October 3, 2011 Knox and Sollecito were found not guilty at their appeal trial and released. In an official statement giving their grounds for the acquittals, the judges emphasized that a court ordered independent expert review had discredited DNA evidence key to the prosecution case, while Knox and Sollecito's accounts failing to completely match did not constitute evidence they had given a false alibi. Discounting testimony from a homeless man who said that he had seen Knox and Sollecito out on the night of the murder as self-contradictory, the judges observed the witness was a heroin addict. Having noted that there was no evidence of any phone calls or texts between Knox or Sollecito and Guede, the judges concluded there was a "material non-existence" of evidence to support the guilty verdicts, and that an association among Sollecito, Knox, and Guede to commit the murder was "far from probable".[43][47][48] Knox returned to the US.[49][50]

Retrial

On March 26, 2013, Italy's highest criminal court set aside the judgement of the trial of the second degree that had acquitted Knox and Sollecito, leading to a re-trial of the appeal.[51] The retrial began on September 30, 2013, Knox remained in the US.[52] On 30 January 2014, Knox and Sollecito were found guilty. Knox was sentenced to 28½ years in prison, Sollecito received 25 years. Knox's lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, stated that she will seek to appeal to the Supreme Court of Italy.[2]

Prospect of extradition

Jurists and legal experts have disagreed as to whether Knox, if she exhausts the appellate process and Italy invoked the relevant treaty that exists between the two countries, would be extradited to Italy.[53][54][55] According to legal and political commentator Alan Dershowitz, the US government's requirements for international cooperation in its own extradition requests are likely to outweigh any domestic political considerations, and Knox could be extradited to Italy regardless of American public opinion.[56]

Sean Casey, a former prosecutor who is now a partner at Kobre & Kim in New York, believes that under the extradition treaty between Italy and the US, extradition should not be granted as she was already acquitted for the same acts for which extradition is requested, and as double jeopardy is explicitly proscribed by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Furthermore, Casey argues that Italian law enforcement may not seek extradition which would prolong the legal process because the "original verdict was so terribly flawed by prosecutorial overreaching," noting that the appellate court that overturned the original conviction detailed those flaws in a damning report more than 100 pages in length.[57]

Documentaries

  • A Long Way From Home: CBS 48 Hours documentary, broadcast in April 2008 in the United States[58]
  • American Girl, Italian Nightmare: CBS 48 Hours documentary, broadcast in April 2009 in the United States,[59]
  • The Trial of Amanda Knox: NBC Dateline NBC documentary, broadcast on December 4, 2009, in the United States[60]
  • The Trials of Amanda Knox: The Learning Channel documentary, broadcast on March 24, 2010, in the United States[61]
  • Beyond the Headlines: Amanda Knox: Lifetime documentary, broadcast on February 21, 2011, in the United States[62]
  • Cold Blood: Life Behind Bars For Amanda Knox: Investigation Discovery Cold Blood documentary, broadcast on April 20, 2011, in the United States[63]
  • Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story: CNN Presents documentary, broadcast on May 8, 2011, in the United States[64][65]
  • Amanda Knox: The untold story, CBS 48 Hours documentary October 8, 2011, 7:45 PM[66]
  • Murder Mystery: Amanda Knox Speaks an ABC News 20/20 special interview with Diane Sawyer. Knox's first interview after being released from prison.[67]

References

  1. ^ "Amanda Knox guilty of murdering Meredith Kercher, gets 28 years". Sydney Morning Herald. January 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Wall Street Journal, 30 January 2014 Italy Court Finds Amanda Knox Guilty of Murder of U.K. Student in Retrial
  3. ^ Mirabella, Julia Grace, Scales of Justice: Assessing Italian Criminal Procedure Through the Amanda Knox Trial (January 5, 2012). Boston University International Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2012
  4. ^ Oloffson, Kirsti. "Amanda Knox, Convicted of Murder in Italy", Time magazine, 4 December 2009.
  5. ^ Follain p.14-15, 19
  6. ^ The Italian Judicial System
  7. ^ (Mirabella, Julia Grace, Scales of Justice: Assessing Italian Criminal Procedure Through the Amanda Knox Trial January 5, 2012). Boston University International Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2012. p 237 and footnote 151)
  8. ^ Kercher, John (2012). Meredith: Our Daughter's Murder and the Heartbreaking Quest for the Truth p 82
  9. ^ The Week, 9 DEC 2009, Robert Fox, Nothing ‘Third World’ about Italian justice
  10. ^ The Week, 9 DEC 2009, Robert Fox, Nothing ‘Third World’ about Italian justice Retrieved30/2/15
  11. ^ NYT, November 19, 2002, Andreotti's Sentence Draws Protests About 'Justice Gone Mad'
  12. ^ Independent,31 October 2003, Andreotti acquitted of ordering journalist's murder 31 October 2003
  13. ^ Bloody Italy: Essays on Crime Writing in Italian Settings edited by Patricia Prandini Buckle p70-73
  14. ^ Monster of Florence: Amanda Knox Prosecutor's Satanic Theories Rejected by Judge, Crimesider, CBS News, 23 April 2010
  15. ^ Bloody Italy: Essays on Crime Writing in Italian Settings edited by Patricia Prandini Buckle p70-73
  16. ^ Monster of Florence: Amanda Knox Prosecutor's Satanic Theories Rejected by Judge, Crimesider, CBS News, 23 April 2010
  17. ^ Williams, Olivia (30 September 2011). "Amanda Knox Trial: Timeline". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Bell, Dan (November 23, 2010). "Who is the real 'Foxy Knoxy'?". BBC News. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  19. ^ Follain p199-200
  20. ^ The Week, 9 DEC 2009, Robert Fox, Nothing ‘Third World’ about Italian justice
  21. ^ "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. 
  22. ^ Burleigh, Nina (October 4, 2011). "The scapegoating of Amanda Knox". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2011. 
  23. ^ Sherwell, Philip. "Amanda Knox: 'Foxy Knoxy' was an innocent abroad, say US supporters", The Daily Telegraph, December 5, 2009.
  24. ^ Timothy Egan (June 10, 2009). "An Innocent Abroad". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Simon Cowell one of Walters' 'Fascinating People'". Bloomberg Businessweek. December 1, 2011. 
  26. ^ Squires, Nick (14 January 2009). "Amanda Knox launches 11th hour bid to stall Meredith Kercher murder trial". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  27. ^ a b Wise, Ann. "Small Victory For Amanda Knox", ABC News, March 22, 2010.
  28. ^ Pisa, Nick. "Knox Wins £36k Damages Over Sex Claims", Sky News, March 21, 2010.
  29. ^ Coffrey, Kendal (December 4, 2009). Prime News. Interview with Mike Galanos. HLN. 
  30. ^ Follain p344
  31. ^ Follain p342-344
  32. ^ Guardian, 22 September 2011, Amanda Knox 'hopeful of release'
  33. ^ Judgment, Trial of Rudy Hermann Guede, Court of Perugia, judgment of 28 October 2008 – 26 January 2009 (Google translation, Italian to English).
  34. ^ Falconi, Marta. "Prosecutors: Knox staged break-in after murder", Associated Press, 20 November 2009.
  35. ^ Follain. J., Death in Perugia p.248
  36. ^ Follain. J., Death in Perugia p.177
  37. ^ Pisa, Nick (25 October 2008). "Meredith murder suspect Rudy Guede is an 'easy target' for accusations, say his lawyers". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  38. ^ Judgment, Trial of Rudy Hermann Guede, Dr Paolo Micheli, Court of Perugia, judgement of 28 October 2008 – 26 January 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2011 (Google translation, Italian to English).
  39. ^ Diritto, procedura, e pratica penale Tribunale di Perugia: Ufficio del G.I.P.: Dott. Paolo Micheli: Sentenza del 28 October 2008 – 26 January 2009 (Italian): (English trans): Guede "confirmed then to have touched more or less everywhere in the room, even with his hands stained with blood, without however explaining why one of his [palm-]prints were found on the pillow under the corpse, when he remembered the regular pillow on the bed, where they also found the jacket and purse/handbag that the girl [Kercher] had put down on re-entering the house. The bed was, according to his description, covered with a red or beige duvet (but he had insisted far more on the former colour): the pillow was outside of the quilt." Earlier in his judgement, the judge noted that (Italian): "Soltanto in seguito, attraverso la comparazione in Banca Dati di un'impronta palmare impressa nel sangue e rinvenuta sulla federa del cuscino che si trovava sotto il corpo della vittima, si accertava invece la presenza sul luogo del delitto del 21enne G. R. H., nativo della Costa d'Avorio ..." (English): "Only later, through the comparison in the database of a palm-print imprinted in the blood of the victim and found on the pillowcase of the pillow where the body of the victim was found, it confirmed instead the presence at the scene of the crime of the 21-year-old G[uede] R.H., native of the Ivory Coast, ...".
  40. ^ Mirabella, Julia Grace, Scales of Justice: Assessing Italian Criminal Procedure Through the Amanda Knox Trial (January 5, 2012). Boston University International Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2012, page 247, note 122
  41. ^ Mirabella, Julia Grace, Scales of Justice: Assessing Italian Criminal Procedure Through the Amanda Knox Trial (January 5, 2012). Boston University International Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2012, page 242 and 247
  42. ^ Telegraph, 8 Dec 2009, Only doubt over Amanda Knox conviction is exactly how they got it wrong
  43. ^ a b Mirabella, Julia Grace, Scales of Justice: Assessing Italian Criminal Procedure Through the Amanda Knox Trial (January 5, 2012). Boston University International Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2012.
  44. ^ Vogt, Andrea (December 14, 2009). "The debate continues over Knox's guilt". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  45. ^ Sewell, Cynthia. "Boise expert: DNA shows Amanda Knox isn’t guilty"[dead link], Idaho Statesman, May 27, 2011.
  46. ^ Fields, Kim (October 3, 2011). "BSU professor's work helps set Amanda Knox free". Northwest Cable News. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  47. ^ Kington, Tom (15 December 2011). "Amanda Knox trial was flawed at every turn, says appeal judge". The Guardian (London). 
  48. ^ Squires, Nick. "Amanda Knox freed: tears of joy as four-year nightmare is over", The Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2011: "A jury decided that Amanda Knox, who has spent almost four years in jail, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice following a chaotic Italian police investigation."
  49. ^ Povoledo, Elisabetta (October 3, 2011). "Amanda Knox Freed After Appeal in Italian Court". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  50. ^ Pisani, Mario, ed. (2004). Manuale di procedura penale (in Italian). Monduzzi. ISBN 8832341026. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  51. ^ Acohido, Byron; Lyman, Eric J. (March 26, 2013). "Amanda Knox's lawyer: 'She's ready to fight'". USA Today. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  52. ^ "Meredith Kercher murder: Amanda Knox retrial opens". BBC News. September 30, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  53. ^ Prof Stephen Vladeck, Prof Julian Ku,
  54. ^ The Atlantic, January 31, 2014
  55. ^ PRI, January 31, 2014
  56. ^ BBC World Service, 31 January 2014, Interview with Alan Dershowitz
  57. ^ CNN, 26 March 2013
  58. ^ "A Long Way From Home". CBS News. April 10, 2008. 
  59. ^ "American girl, Italian nightmare". CBS News. April 8, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  60. ^ "The Trial of Amanda Knox". NBC News. December 4, 2009. 
  61. ^ "The Trials of Amanda Knox". Discovery Communications. March 25, 2010. 
  62. ^ "Amanda Knox TV Movie Draws Ire from Victim's Dad". CBS News. February 4, 2011. 
  63. ^ "Cold Blood: Life Behind Bars For Amanda Knox". Discovery Communications. April 18, 2011. 
  64. ^ "Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story – CNN's Drew Griffin Reports". CNN Presents (CNN). April 28, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  65. ^ "Transcript". CNN Presents: Murder Abroad, The Amanda Knox Story (CNN). Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  66. ^ "'48 Hours' reveals Amanda Knox's untold story". CBS News. October 8, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  67. ^ "Murder Mystery: Amanda Knox Speaks". ABC News. April 30, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 

External links