The Retrial of Amanda Knox

By Shane Tyas

 

Over the last six years, the world has been baffled by the shocking and senseless murder of British University Exchange Student Meredith Kercher, on 1st November 2007 in Perugia, Italy.

Three people have since been subsequently arrested and tried for her murder. Rudy Guede, who was convicted of having sexually assaulted and murdered Kercher in October 2008, American exchange student Amanda Knox and her Italian then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

Out of the three accused, the most heavily spotlighted has always been 26 year-old Knox, who was one of Kercher’s three housemates in Perugia at the time.

During the night of the murder, Knox had claimed she had spent the night with Sollecito, and did not return to her house until the next morning.

However, because Knox and Sollecito were apparently the first ones to arrive on the scene that morning, they were classed as “important witnesses” and were questioned by Italian Police.

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Amanda Knox being interviewed

Because of her behaviour following Kercher’s death, including the highly publicised kiss between her and Sollecito during the middle of the crime scene, suspicions were starting to crop up as to why she didn’t appear more upset.

Some of Kercher’s friends had testified that Knox had shown “no emotion” following the murder and “behaved in a way in which they found inappropriate” such as practising yoga at random times and going underwear shopping with Sollecito pretty soon after the murder.

Looking at this psychologically, this could be seen as a coping mechanism, a way of dealing with a horrible tragedy in a way that might not be understood by others involved, but their way of trying to push away the harsh reality of the situation.

Unfortunately for Knox, the police’s suspicions of her were increasing. Originally being interviewed as a witness, and therefore did not initially have an attorney present, detectives thought that she and Sollecito’s stories had inconsistencies and continued to question them both for days.

By this point Knox was allegedly less calm as she had first appeared, with the pressures of being repeatedly interrogated for many hours long into the night starting to affect her.

She was then told that Sollecito’s story had changed and that she had left his apartment from 9pm to go to her place of work, a bar called Le Chic, and did not return till 1am, the period of time in which Kercher was murdered.

Knox has repeatedly denied ever leaving the apartment that evening, saying she had received had received a text by her boss Patrick Lumumba, who told her not to bother coming in that night as it wasn’t very busy, at the en of the text he put ‘see you later’.

This was somehow misconstrued that Knox would be meeting Lumumba at her house later. Speaking little Italian, Knox said she barely understood what was being said to her, and was very tired.

The results of these interrogations were that Knox had accused Lumumba of murdering Kercher, and implicated herself as an accomplice.

On hearing this, Knox tried to withdraw her statement, but it was refused. Patrick Lumumba was the arrested and imprisoned for 2 weeks over the murder of Kercher until a local businessman had came forward to say he spent that evening in Lumumba’s bar, and that he was there all evening.

Lumumba was then released, and went on to sue Knox for defamation. Asked in an interview why she had falsely accused Lumumba, Knox had replied “I was interrogated by the police from 11pm until 6 in the morning. It was a very tough interrogation, with a dozen people yelling in a language I didn’t understand, and with one person giving me slaps to my head.”

Knox and Sollecito were charged for the sexual assault and murder of Meredith Kercher, with Knox up on additional charges of slander against Lumumba, and were put on trial in 2009.

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Left, Amanda Knox. Middle, Raffaele Sollecito. Right, Meredith Kercher

During the trial, Knox and Sollecito were accused of performing “a sex game gone wrong” and even went as far as to say that the murder was part of a satanic ritual.

The prosecution, led by Giuliano Magnini, had built up a case against Knox and Sollecito claiming that there was some of Kercher’s DNA on one of Sollecito’s kitchen knives, and that they had deliberately staged a break in as to throw suspicion from themselves.

On hearing all the evidence supplied by the prosecution and the defence, Knox was sentence to 26 years, and Sollecito for 25.

In 2011, both Knox and Sollecito appealed against their sentence, and the case was reviewed once more.

After looking over the ‘evidence’ that originally convicted both of them, it was decided that there was no actual proof that Knox or Sollecito had actually committed the crime, there was no sufficient amount of DNA belonging to them, nor was there any proof of them being linked to Rudy Guede, who was also convicted of the murder.

Knox and Sollecito were then cleared of all charges, and with Knox already served her sentence for falsely accusing Lumumba, was released.

In March earlier this year, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the acquittals citing ‘contradictions and inconsistencies’ during the original trial.

Knox, who is not obliged to attend the Re-trial, which opened on 30th September 2013 in Florence, has refused to return to Italy, and will be represented by her lawyers.

Since March, Knox has continued to vigorously protest her innocence, speaking in several interviews, including a personal interview with Diane Sawyer.

Fearing the possibility of being extradited if she returned to Italy, Knox recently spoke out, saying “I was imprisoned as an innocent person, its common sense not to go back”.

Knox has released a memoir earlier this year called “Waiting to be heard” in which she portrays herself as a naïve young woman who was wrongly persecuted by a Foreign Justice system.

With the re-trial already a week in, will Amana Knox finally be cleared once and for all? Or will she once again be convicted of the heinous crime of Murdering her friend and flatmate? In any case, the murder of Meredith Kercher has been one case that has remained unresolved for a number of years, and one that needs closure, particularly for the sake of Meredith’s family. The trial continues.

 

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