The Case of Amanda Knox
Thursday, June 30th, 2011
I really was not aware of the Amanda Knox case when it was really happening. As a part of my Italian study I recently noticed an item in the Corriere della Sera, the Milan newspaper that seems to be the equivalent in stature to the New York Times about an appeal for Amanda. I’ll give a quick summary of the case for any readers unfamiliar with it.
In 2007 a young British girl, Meredith Kercher was found murdered in her bedroom in Perugio. One of her roommates (and the only one in town at the time) was Amanda Knox. There were ultimately 3 defendants in the case, Amanda, her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and an Ivory Coast man, Rudy Guede. Guede, it seems clear was guilty since there was a bloody handprint on a pillow in the apartment where Meredith died as well as other evidence. That kind of stuff is a little difficult to refute. The evidence against Amanda and Raffaele was not as convincing. Much of it was circumstantial and some related to questionable behavior by the pair after the crime. There was apparently quite a lot of controversy at the time. Not as big as the O.J. Simpson trial certainly but still, tabloid press in Italy and Britain certainly had a field day with the whole proceeding.
So after I ran across this little article I tried finding out more information. It is really hard to pin down the facts. In fact I found 7 books on Amazon about the crime and subsequent trial. There seem to be two particular books that present lots of facts. One is “Angel Face” by a senior writer for “The Daily Beast” based in Rome. She apparently comes to the conclusion that Amanda is guilty. The other one “Murder in Italy: The Shocking Slaying of a British Student, the Accused American Girl, and an International Scandal” (whew) by another competent American journalist comes to the opposite conclusion, that Amanda is innocent. The stuff that I’ve read on the web is inadequate to really get a sense of the case. So I guess I’m just going to have to buy these books and read them to come to my own conclusion.
I will say that having read about this case and about others I have learned more than I thought that I’d ever want really to know about the Italian judicial system. I hope that I never run afoul of it. For one thing there is not a trial by a jury of peers. There are only 8 jurors. Two of those are judges and the remaining 6 are randomly selected citizens (as in the U.S.). I also believe that a verdict does not require unanimity among the jurors as is required in the U.S. Please correct me if I’m wrong about any of this stuff. In addition a verdict of innocent is not necessarily a relief since the Italians can keep trying you over and over if they wish. Not a comforting thought if one thinks that someone there really is just out to get you.
So finally writing this post was triggered by the fact that a new appeal of the case is now in progress and a short article on it appeared in the New York Times. Click here for the NYTime article. Did she or didn’t she? This is a real life crime story and who, after all, can really know except the murderer(s). People lie, you know.