The Amanda Knox Case
I am what I consider a true crime buff. I spend an enormous amount of time watching shows such as "48 Hours," "Dateline" and just especially the programming on the Discovery ID channel. Sometimes it seems rare that a "new" program comes on about a story that I have not at the very least heard about. Many I have seen several shows about or read a book. Often times after I will come to the "information highway" and search all that I can on a subject. For the record, while I do read Wikipedia I often use that as a jumping off point for a subject, but I never simply stop there.
In writing these blogs I will attempt to first state what facts are KNOWN about a case and then go into greater detail and I am sure my opinion of thse facts as I continue. Reader beware as I am often long winded, especially about subjects I am passionate about or have a strong opinion of.
The Amanda Knox case has been especially challenging for me in finding accurate information. It has been stated and actually proven to me that not only do opinions of the facts differ but are interpreted differently by the reader based on their beliefs going into the reading.
Here is what IS known about the case:
1) On November 1, 2007 the body of Meredith Kercher was found in her bedroom in the home she was renting in Perugia, Italy where she was a college exchange student. She lived in the home with two Italian women and another foreign exchange student, Amanda Knox from Seattle, Washington, United States.
2) Amanda and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito were met at the door of the home by the local police who had gone to the home to report that two phones, owned by Meredith, were found.
3) Amanda, Raffaele, and Patrick Lumumba, a bar owner, were initially arrested for Meredith's murder.
4) After two weeks Patrick was released and Rudy Guede (along with all the other things that seem to change, so does the spelling of his last name) was all but arrested in his place.
5) Rudy was convicted through a 'fast track trial' confessing to be present but involved with the murder and agreed to testify against Amanda and Raffaele.
6) Amanda and Raffaele were convicted of murder in 2009
7) Amanda and Raffaele were released from prison based on their appeal in 2011
8) The Italian government has appealed and is asking they be returned to prison.
Aside from those facts above, it seems that everything else in this case is in dispute. Some reports say that when the police officer initially found Amanda ad Raffaele standing outside the home (prior to the body being found) they had a bucket and a mop with them. This was used through the press and indicated by police and (what American's call) the prosecutor to indicate that they were either in the process of or had already cleaned up the crime scene. The mop and bucket were not discussed in court and were never collected to be tested for forensics.
A store owner reported seeing Amanda at his store at around 7:45 in the morning when it opened and he observed her going into the area where cleaning supplies were at. I have read several accounts on this issue. At one point I am almost certain I heard/read that there was a video of this event, however, I have never heard more on it. In the book I am currently reading it states that the store owner first told this story to a reporter who pressed him to go to the police with it a year after the murder. Yet, there were articles published within a few months of the murder stating the store owners name and his account of seeing her. There are accounts that another clerk stated that Amanda was not in the store that morning. So, the simple answer is receipts right? Wrong. There are accounts that a receipt was found in Raffaele's apartment for cleaning supplies but that the date is not the correct one; there are reports that no receipt what so ever was found; and there are reports that the store receipts were pulled and that nothing showed up there but then the owner stated not all purchases had a receipt. Who knows if there is a receipt. Then we are lead back to the mop and bucket that they were reported as having outside the murder scene that morning. Reports are that it is possible that this occurred but that all the cleaning supplies were at Raffaele's house. If the claim is they used the mop and bucket to clean up the crime scene why would the cleaning supplies not be there also? Amanda and Raffaele claimed (again the reports of the claim differ) there was some sort of mess (possibly a pipe bust) at his place and he did not have a mop and bucket (he had a cleaning woman who came to his home... or did he?) and hence they had gotten the one from Amanda's home.
Then there is a dispute on who saw what inside and how much and when 911 was called. When the first officer arrived about the phones Amanda supposedly claims that something is weird with the house. She has seen some blood, a broken window and even feces in the toilet but supposedly she had gone to the home to shower and grab the infamous mop and bucket. There have been rumors as to what time the officer arrived as well as when calls were made from Raffaele's phone. At some point the officer, Amanda and Raffaele went into the home together and found Meredith's door locked. To show the asinine things to argue over, there's a dispute as to if, when and how often her door was locked to know if this was unusual as well as who actually kicked down the door. Some reports say the officer, others say that by this time another housemate had arrived with her boyfriend and he kicked the door it. Meredith's body was on the floor by the bed, covered with a comforter. The next dispute was where was Amanda located when the door opened and how much she could see and compare those to the statements she made about where she was.
Eventually Amanda, Raffaele, the other housemates and a group of young British girls that had been friends of Meredith's were all at the police station waiting to be interviewed. In walks another question of contention. I have read many reports that none of the British girls or the housemates stated anything to police about any of Amanda's previous behavior, behavior after the murder or the relationship between Meredith and Amanda until weeks, to months after Amanda's arrest. Common sense tells us (I would think this would be common, even in Italy), that when being interviewed they would have been asked if there was anyone that Meredith had issues with as well as asked if they knew how well she got along, not only with Amanda, but the two other Italian girls that lived with them. At some point they all appeared to come out against Amanda. I am not here to say that Amanda was a saint and a nun, I do not know, as I was not there and do not know her. I simply find it suspicious that noone seems to mention anything until long after. I also believe that it was pretty common place that all the girls involved (minus possibly the two Italian housemates who had steady boyfriends) were highly sexually active (including the victim) and drug use was more heavily than any of them would admit for themselves. One of the theories in which the prosecutor placed before the court was that Amanda and Raffaele were in her room alone while Rudy was attempting to have sex with Meredith and they heard her resisting. Rather than go into the room to help her they went into her room and assisted Rudy, to which in the end Meredith had died. The appeals court, the one in which released Amanda and Raffaele in 2011 stated they found this theory unfounded.
The next thing in dispute, which ultimately freed Amanda and Raffaele, came from the handling of the crime scene and the collection and testing of DNA. There were supposed (again, with all the conflicting information out there, who knows) videos showing the CSI (American term) techs collecting evidence where they failed to change gloves or swabs potentially contaminating the scene. One of the largest issues brought up on appeal was the examination of a knife found in Raffaele's kitchen that was tested and reportedly had the DNA of Meredith and Amanda. It was later determined that the amount that was supposedly found was of such a small amount that it could not be reliable as well as was tested in a lab in which they did not have the proper equipment to test properly. Media reports stated that luminol was used and had found evidence of a clean up in all areas, outside of the actual murder room. This was a lesson for me. I had never really search luminol and movies and television have given us all the impression that when it is sprayed, if there is a glow, blood has or was presence. This is always the AH HA moment in dramatic television. However, after reading that the press was led to believe there was blood all over the home that had been cleaned, it had been tested and it was not blood, I did a search of my own and found that luminol reacts with MANY things. It is generally first tested for blood, as in this case and reports are that the results were negative. Another source of contention was a supposed "mixed" DNA sample found in a room that police believe was a staged break in. Much of the press, as well as the jury was led to believe that this was Meredith's blood mixed with Amanda's blood, indicating Amanda was apparently bleeding. Some reports have said that the jury did not consider this particular issue when deciding fate, while other reports say they felt the defense did not accurately address this issue other than explaining that mixed did not mean all blood. It could have been Meredith's blood, mixed with simple DNA of Amanda's. This could have been because they lived in the same house, or even due to the issue raised above with the techs not changing swabs. By all accounts made Amanda's DNA was not found in the room in which Meredith was murdered. As far as Raffaele, the only account of any DNA being found of his was supposedly on the clasp of the bra Meredith had been wearing (and had been cut off). Issues with this arose when the clasp was not recovered until six weeks after the murder. Just prior to this (and their reasoning for arresting him) prosecutor's claimed that Raffaele's bloody shoe print was found in the room near the body. It was later discovered not to be his print but the print of Rudy's. Just after that announcement a new one was made involving the bra clasp. However, by their accounts not only as there Rudy's shoe prints in the room but also his fingerprints and his DNA was found inside Meredith (not sperm) and his sperm found elsewhere in the room. As far as Amanda and Raffaele are concerned convictions were thrown out based on this DNA "evidence." Rudy is still currently in prison, presumably waiting on an appeal. It can be argued that if DNA evidence is thrown out on Amanda and Raffaele it should also be thrown out on Rudy. However there was also other evidence he was present, as well as his own admission.
It should be stated that Rudy has always claimed to be IN the home at the time of the murder, but always in the bathroom and only emerging after Meredith was already dead, and or dying. Rudy was a known criminal at the time and just after the murder, before he was a suspect had left Perugia and was "on the run." I suppose that should have been in the known facts section as that has not been disputed. At least one report says he was found through a friend who had used the Internet program SKYPE to contact Rudy (while the friend was a police headquarters) to which he told the friend where he was located. In that conversation it has been reported that Rudy stated he was present at the time of the murder and also stated that Amanda was not there. After his location was found and he was arrested two lawyers took his case pro-bono. Rudy then stated that Amanda was there arguing with Meredith over money; then later placed Raffaele there and in an even later account stated that Amanda had set it all up. There are even more accounts of supposed "jailhouse" confessions where he states again Amanda was not involved. No one does, or likely will know which account is true. However, I personally feel it HIGHLY unlikely the man was in the bathroom during that time. Supposedly he was at some time considering according to reports it was his feces in the toilet in which Amanda had mentioned early on. While some could argue that if Amanda and Raffaele are freed then so should Rudy. This has also highly been contested and the race issue brought into play as both Amanda and Raffaele are white and Rudy is black. I disagree with either of these assessments. Firstly, Rudy has never wavered on the fact that he was present in the house at the time of the murder. Secondly, it seems that shoe impressions and fingerprints of his were in places in which, even in his acknowledgement, should not have been.
One could argue that Amanda is guilty based on the fact that she lied about and throughout this case. If we are going to convict people for murder based on lies then when it comes to this case EVERYONE who had anything to do with it what so ever should be convicted. By everyone I mean all witnesses, police, the accused, their families, and journalists. I, myself, have read NUMEROUS articles and a few books recently on this subject and it seems that everyone has lied. There have been lies stated about what people said and did; there have been lies about evidence that was found, or not found; there have been lies about the behavior of people, whether they were lies about themselves or others. I have simply never come across a case like this.
With all the information I have been armed with I still cannot tell you if I believe if Amanda Knox was guilty of murder. I have yet to hear any plausible motive, not that one is required. I believe most people believe that two of the known theories the prosecution put out there are not rational. One I stated above and the other is their initial theory given to the press that it was all involving sex games. I do not find the DNA reliable as in their theory even Amanda's DNA was only found in two places... one in the bathroom and one in the "mixed" sample they found. There are no reports of Meredith's DNA being present other than in her room and again, the "mixed" sample. These two girls lived there! There were no reports of even the DNA of the Italian girl who lived in the room in which police believe was a "staged" break in and in all reports her clothing and items were thrown around the room as well as the fact she was allowed in there before any techs arrived to see if anything was missing. Where is her DNA? Were they being selective in their testing? If so, why? Obviously the roommates DNA should be found in HER room. There were no reports of DNA from the four gentlemen who lived in the downstairs apartment who stated they had been in the girl's apartment, including one who was having a relationship with Meredith and had been in her room with her.
What I can say is that while I am understanding in the fact that every country has different laws and procedures and while the U.S system is not without flaws, it is superior to the Italian courts. I say this for many reasons. For one, this trial lasted 11 months.... the reason? They only held court 1 to 2 days a week. How can someone be expected to remember and digest everything in that manner? My biggest complaint comes from the fact that, not only was Amanda also being sued at the same time by Patrick Lumumba for falsely accusing him (although one can argue she said it was a "vision", like a dream, in which she did not believe), as well as a case against her for supposedly falsely accusing the police of brutality, these cases were going on at the same time, IN THE SAME COURTROOM. Now... I do not mean that one of the other five days a week that the trial was not going on she was brought into the courtroom on the other charges. I mean that in that room at the same time other lawyers were present and were allowed to ask witnesses questions. So unlike here in the United States where the prosecution has to prove their case and if they forget to ask something or they "mess" up then it is on them to try and either fix it or pay for their mistake, the other "civil" (not sure what they are called there) could come in and pick up the pieces and fix it for them. I do not see how that could constitute a fair trial. I do believe just as we have cases here where many times the witnesses seem "coached" the same went on there.
In the end I can agree with one thing that I read, several people can read the exact same information and see their side or theory in it. If you go into this case looking for Amanda to be guilty you will find reason after reason to do so. If you go in thinking she is innocent, the same will happen. After so many years and so much coverage on the case you will be hard pressed to find someone who has not formed an opinion. I have one.... I simply do not know.