Amanda Knox: Three Strikes You’re Out

Image from The Guardian

Image from The Guardian

Jessica Brown, Senior Staff Writer

November 2, 2007 started out as an average day in Perugia, Italy, but as the day turned, the quiet town would soon become a center for media, police and international bickering. That night British college student Meredith Kercher was found dead; her throat had been slashed and left bare in an Italian villa she shared with American student Amanda Knox.  The atmosphere surrounding tiny Perugia was altered; locals were on the edge of their seat, hoping the truth would be revealed. Knox, her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and a drifter named Rudy Guede were tried for murder on circumstantial evidence. As the case gained international interest, seats in the court room filled, and Amanda Knox, the poor, innocent, young girl, was glamorized into the true victim. Testimonies were taken back, allegations thrown around and blood samples diminished throughout the years, as the case drew on.

Amanda Knox appeared to be an ordinary person; she grew up in a middle class neighborhood, played various sports and was always dedicated to her studies. In 2005, she graduated from Seattle Preparatory High school with highest honors and sought to peruse a college degree in Linguistics. She was known to be a hardworking, kind and gentle individual by family and friends.

Knox had been in her junior year of college at the Washington University when she decided to further her linguistics degree by spending a year abroad. Knox left for the University for Foreigners soon after. There she roomed with Meredith Kercher, a twenty-one year-old student from London who was also studying linguistics abroad for a year. A few weeks in her new life, Knox met Sollecito, a twenty-three-year-old Italian computer engineer student at a classical music concert. On the night of the murder, Knox and Sollecito had been dating for a mere seven weeks. Knox reported that she had spent the night at his house that night, for her boss, Patrick Lumumba told her she wasn’t needed at the pub. Knox and Sollecito claimed to have returned to Knox’s apartment the very next day, around 12 p.m. and found the place torn up. Two officers eventually appeared at the scene and the investigation began.

So who is Guede? Well, Guede, was a drifter, known for his use of drugs and occasional break-ins; he was sentenced to thirty years for the Murder of Meredith Kercher, which was later reduced to sixteen years on appeal and later confirmed by Italy’s Supreme Court.

Guede lied repeatedly; changing his position and modifying his stories to better his case throughout his trial. For instance, he reported on the news that Knox and Sollecito were present the night of the murder. While he was in the bathroom, he suggests that they murdered Meredith. However, he later confessed that he was incorrect. Guede’s attorney did manage lower his initial sentence and secure the most lenient punishment possible for his crime by persuading the jury that he was simply an accomplice. According to a recent update, Guede is said to be eligible for work release in 2014.

Throughout the trial, the evidence obtained from the murder scene has been used to favor both the defense and prosecution. From the Footprint in the bathroom, to the knife found in Sollecito’s house, one thing is certain, the evidence gathered isn’t enough to settle the case. The Defense even argues that several key pieces of DNA were contaminated at the scene as Crime Scene investigators were spotted at times without gloves, digging their fingers in Krecher’s wounds and leaving key pieces of evidence at the scene for weeks.  The appeals court in Florence will release its explanation on why it upheld the guilty verdict in ninety days, until then, the families wait anxiously.

In Italian court system, one can be tried for the same crime up to three times, each allowing an appeal. Currently Rudy Guede, who sought a fast track trial, is serving his sixteen year sentence. Amanda and Raffaele were first found guilty in 2009 on all counts in the stabbing death of Meredith Krecher; Knox was sentenced to twenty-six years and Sollecito to twenty-five years.  However, the case was brought back up a second time and their accusations abstained until further investigations. On January 30, 2013, the court upheld the guilty verdict and raised the sentence for Knox and Sollecito. Lawyers for Knox and her co-defendant Sollecity vowed to appeal to Italy’s highest court, a process that will take at least another year, prolonging the legal dispute that has divided court-watchers and three nations.  As one last appeal remains, viewers are impatient to hear what the court will decide, for it greatly impacts the lives of three families. Although one may never find out what exactly happened that night, one thing is certain, said Mr. Krecher, “No matter what the decision, nothing is going to bring Meredith back or take away the horror of what happened to her”.

Knox had already served four years of her previously stated twenty-six year sentence, however, after the court overturned the verdicts and freed her, she returns to Seattle with her family. Now that she has been found guilty a third time and has a last appeal; the question remains whether the U.S. would expedite her to Italy if the final verdict would be guilty. Knox told the British newspaper, the Guardian: “They’ll have to catch me and pull me back kicking and screaming into a prison that I don’t deserve to be in. I will fight for my innocence”. Knox has gained much support throughout the years as she continues to fight for justice; she recently finished writing a book and a movie on her story is on the process of being filmed.

As the media continues to report on this tragic story, whether it to glamorize or rip apart Knox’s already crumbling reputation, try to remember the true victim, Meredith and her family, as the international community awaits the last verdict to this legal saga.