Why Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito Aren’t Truly Free

It was a horrendous crime.  A beautiful young woman savagely raped and murdered in her own home for reasons the rational can never truly fathom or fully understand.  What did she ever do to deserve such a cruel fate?

Meredith Kercher was a 21-year-old exchange student from Britain who was sharing a house in Perugia, Italy with three other women.  (She was enroled in a one-year university program at the time.) 

On the evening of November 1st, 2007, she was assaulted and later left for dead in her own bedroom.  (It was ultimately determined that she expired due to suffocation and loss of blood.)  She was discovered the next morning by police and her worried housemates.  Some of her personal items were stolen.

The crime scene was gruesome.  Blood splattered and smeared everywhere.  In the end, the DNA evidence pointed to one culprit:  Rudy Guede, an African-born athlete who was only 20-years-old at the time.  Once he was arrested, it didn’t take very long for the Italian courts to convict him.  (The physical evidence was overwhelming in his fast-tracked trial, which he chose over a full one.)  He’s currently serving a 16-year sentence, reduced from the original 30 after an appeal.

As we all know, the story didn’t end there.  In fact, it dragged on needlessly for another three years.  One of Kercher’s housemates, then-20-year-old American exchange student Amanda Knox, and then-23-year-old Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, a guy Knox had been dating for all of nine days at the time of the tragedy, were persons of interest to the police.

Because they supposedly found Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra clasp and Knox’s DNA on a kitchen knife (that wasn’t actually used during the attack), material collected a month and a half after the murderous assault it should be noted, the young couple were also arrested and in late 2009, also found guilty.

Despite the insistence by the irresponsible Italian media (who had it in for Knox right from the start with their sensationalistic “reporting”) that justice was served, many credible DNA experts vehemently disagreed.

CNN put together a terrific documentary that cast grave doubts on the prosecution’s case against Knox and Sollecito.  Independent DNA testing revealed the strong possibility of contamination during the crime scene collection process that made it highly unlikely that the two had anything to do with the crime.  In fact, neither were even at the residence at the time it was taking place.  (They were both at Sollecito’s apartment that night.)

But Giuliano Mignini, an overzealous prosecutor already under suspicion for another case he may have mishandled, was determined to prove his theory that Kercher was murdered because she refused to participate in an orgy, which may be the craziest, most preposterous premise for a murder motive I’ve ever heard.  (And it wasn’t the only one the desperate prosecution was going on.)

Naturally, Knox and Sollecito appealed their unjust sentence of more than 20 years in the clink.  And after nearly two years of being in custody, a judge, speaking on behalf of an eight-member appellate jury he was a part of, revealed what many have been hoping for from the beginning.  Their murder convictions have been overturned.  Knox and Sollecito are free to go.  It’s expected she’ll be leaving for America very soon.  (Despite the expiration of her passport, the BBC reported that upon leaving jail this morning (8 a.m. Italian time) she was heading straight to the local airport.  Can’t say I blame her.)

Despite the long overdue correction by the courts, Knox and Sollecito are far from truly free.  The Kercher family, devastated by losing Meredith, have never believed in their innocence.  They have consistently (and it must be said, stubbornly) stated from the beginning that the prosecution’s crackpot orgy theory was the accurate one.

One doesn’t want to criticize a grieving family who aren’t likely to have peace and closure any time soon and have shed many a tear for the loss of their beloved Meredith.  But the following must be said.  Their anger and sadness has unfortunately blinded them to the science of this case.  There has never been any proof of an attempted sex party (according to the CNN documentary, Knox hadn’t really dated much before the move to Italy) or satanic ritual (because the crime happened the day after Halloween) nor has any evidence emerged that connects definitively more than two people to that awful crime scene.  They need to stop living in stubborn denial and support Knox and Sollecito who have lost four years of their lives and a potential relationship out of this whole mess.  This story has more than one victim.

Furthermore, there’s the business of yet another prosecutorial appeal.  According to early reports, the case may go to Italy’s high court.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t.  The Kercher, Knox and Sollecito families have all suffered enough.

There are also some defamation issues to sort out.  Knox accused the police of physical and mental abuse during her interrogation which led to a defamation suit by Italian police against her divorced parents who made similiar accusations publicly in 2009.  (More on that in a moment.)  Furthermore, the Kerchers are likely to continue to pursue civil charges against Knox and Sollecito as they foolishly stand with the discredited prosecution in this case.  Neither case, as far as I know, has either been settled or resolved.  They both sound like a colossal waste of time and energy.

Even though Knox can now breathe a huge sigh of relief over reclaiming her innocence, she’s still on the hook for a substantial fine regarding a matter involving her former boss.  In 2007, Knox worked for Patrick Lumumba who ran a local pub in Perugia.  During a 14-hour interrogation on November 5, four days after the murder, a confused Knox somehow implicated Lumumba in a controversial confession that led to a defamation lawsuit.  (Lumumba was cleared of any wrongdoing after a two-week investigation.)  Later on, Knox alleged police abuses (which led to her confusion) and took back much of what she wrote claiming the stressful atmosphere and the lack of food and drink deprived her of making coherent decisions.  (The police and prosecutors have denied her allegations but they’re not exactly credible right now.)  Because that charge came with a three-year conviction, Knox doesn’t have to serve anymore time since she’s already been in jail for four years.  One wonders why it even stood any kind of serious scrutiny considering the fishiness of that whole inhumane interrogation which, if Knox is being accurate, sounds like torture.

Finally, there’s the unfair cloud of suspicion that continues to hang over these two young students.  Outside the courtroom in Italy, a good number of people booed one of the defence attorneys who had just exited the building after the decision was announced.  Others chanted, “Shame, shame!”, “Murderers!” and “They’re guilty!” in Italian.  This Australian report on the successful appeal uses a direct quote of an appalling prosecution smear of Knox in its own headline unsubtly suggesting a miscarriage of justice.

Despite an enormous worldwide network of support for Knox and Sollecito who have long believed they were innocent victims of a botched investigation and prosecution, there will always be a vocal minority who will continue to falsely condemn them on the flimsiest of evidence.  I hope they will be persuaded over time but for now, their stubbornness is inflaming their misguided outrage.  Maybe once they calm down and open their minds, they’ll realize their terrible mistake and make amends.

Whatever the future holds for Amanda Knox, it has to be better than the present Wikipedia is currently showcasing.  Instead of a page listing her remarkable accomplishments (as documented in the CNN documentary) under her own name, users are redirected to “Murder of Meredith Kercher”.  (Curiously, it’s just a link on Sollecito’s page, which is blank.)

Like that well-liked young lady wrongly violated four years ago, both Knox and Sollecito deserve a happier legacy.  Unlike Kercher, they’ve been given a second chance.  May they make the most of it.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, October 3, 2011
8:23 p.m.

Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 8:23 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The Kercher family “foolishly” insist that someone else is involved because only a hopping mad man would stab her 40 times. No one outside USA cares for halloween, but stabbing so many times seems like a satanic ritual. The Kercher family have said more than once that they just want the truth, which at this moment is not out. And whether confused or not, by blaming Lumumba for no reason whatsoever, Knox put him in a situation where he was dragged out of his house in front of his kid being called “dirty black”. She seems more hopping mad than any other person involved that we have heard of so far. One supposed slap on the back of her head has now been translated as “being slapped around” by police officers. Also, before criticizing Italy, do not forget that US just sent an innocent man to prison, not to talk about the hundreds they torture at Guantanamo Bay in the name of immigration.

    • Actually, it was 47 (which includes self-defence wounds). At any event, how does the number of stabbings in any way prove it was a “satanic ritual”? From what I can remember, there have been numerous murder cases where a victim was stabbed many, many times by one person. These are often referred to as “crimes of passion”. The truth is that no credible evidence exists that places either Knox or Sollecito at the scene of the crime at the time it happened. The Kercher Family, who I have great sympathy for, have chosen to ignore the results of the independent DNA testing which exonerated Knox and Sollecito and continue to stubbornly believe in a theory, as you do, that cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Over time, as I noted in the original piece, I hope they will accept that only one man, Rudy Guede, was truly guilty of this awful crime and reach out to Knox, Sollecito and their respective families in order to heal from this terrible tragedy together. The truth has come out, the family has simply chosen to ignore it which I find incredibly sad and counter-productive.

      Yes, it is unfortunate what happened to Mr. Lumumba who, decided to give an angry interview to The Daily Mail newspaper in England where he made a whole bunch of unsubstantiated, hard-to-believe allegations against Knox that, in retrospect, put him in a terrible light. But despite all of that, in that 2007 article even he professed his doubts about Knox being involved (“I don’t always think Amanda did it…”) and there remains great doubts about the sincerity of her accusation against him which likely came about due to severe pressure from the police to get her to name a suspect quickly. Remember, his ordeal lasted two weeks. Knox and Sollecito were in jail for four years. Big difference.

      There is no evidence whatsoever that backs up your unproven assertion about her being “more hopping mad than any other person involved that we have heard of so far”. Also, regarding the allegations of police misconduct during her 14-hour interrogation, how do you know it was only “[o]ne supposed slap on the back of the head”? Furthermore, even if it just happened that one time, how is that acceptable to you?

      Regarding your last comment about the execution of Troy Davis and Quantanamo Bay, I don’t disagree. He was likely innocent and America has treated Muslims inhumanely over the years (although I would say they’ve done this in the name of “National Security” and “The War On Terrorism”, not “in the name of immigration”, even though I understand your point). But that doesn’t mean Italy’s justice system deserves a pass for what happened to Knox and Sollecito. Willful mistakes were made and as a result, innocent lives were needlessly damaged. My hope is that The Kerchers find peace and stop accusing Knox and Sollecito for crimes they did not commit and that all three families come together to heal and move on with their lives, as difficult as that will be. I wish them all well. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I am not sure what to believe… Knox may really be telling the truth or she could just be a great liar but either way she is out now. I am just waiting for a book to be released! I can not imagine sitting in jail for 4 years or spending as much as her family did all those years. I must say her wikapedia page is sad…

    • You’re saying she might be guilty, but you still want to buy her book, indirectly rewarding her for destroying the Kercher family?

  3. […] other entries, Why Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito Aren’t Truly Free and Availability of 2011 Oscar-Nominated Films On DVD, have also hit triple digits since their […]

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