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The Trial of Amanda Knox: Returning To The Crime Scene

On November 2nd, 2007, 20-year-old Amanda Knox returned to her cottage in Perugia which she shared with three friends – Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, and Meredith Kercher. The cottage was split between two levels – downstairs lived four young men and the upstairs was for the girls.

The night before, the cottage was empty aside from 21-year-old Meredith – a University of Perugia student with dreams of a career in journalism. Meredith had spent the night in the cottage alone; the four young men had left for a weekend break, Filomena and Laura were spending the night with their boyfriends, and Amanda – who had just begun dating Raffaele Sollecito six days earlier – stayed overnight at his apartment.

The cottage in Perugia where Meredith Kercher was murdered 

When Amanda arrived home, she noticed the door was unlocked and assumed one of her housemates had just left for a short while. She then took a shower before a planning to spend the day on a sightseeing trip with Raffaele.

Then things became strange; the toilet had been soiled with excrement and unflushed, Meredith’s bedroom was locked, and there were small spots of blood on the bathroom sink. This all teamed with the open door had Amanda worried and she headed back to alert Raffaele what she had seen in the cottage.

The clothes Amanda was wearing on the night of the murder – no forensics linked these items to the murder

The bathroom where Amanda Knox showered beside the unflushed toilet and blood spotted sink

Spots of Meredith’s blood where later discovered on the bathmat 

When the couple returned to the cottage together, they noticed the window in Filomena’s room was broken. Amanda tried to call out to Meredith but she got no reply. It was now time to call the police and the events that followed turned ‘The Murder of Meredith Kercher’ into ‘The Amanda Knox Trial.’

The broken window in Filomena’s room 

When the police arrived at the cottage, they forced the door to Meredith’s room open and taking one look around the room they knew the bright student was the victim of a brutal murder. Meredith’s throat had been cut open causing her to aspirate her blood onto walls, the floor, and her own body.

The door police broke down to enter Meredith’s bedroom

Bedroom where Meredith was found murdered 

The police cleared the house, forcing everyone outside as this cottage set in the idyllic, quiet Perugia hills was now a gruesome crime scene. Once outside, Amanda and Raffaele were captured on camera kissing – as the forensic team moved in, the police found this an unusual embrace considering her friend was laid inside, dead in a puddle of her own blood.

Italian police were suspicious and had begun to scrutinize the couple’s behavior and mannerisms in a negative light. Forensic evidence was yet to be analyzed but they were convinced the young couple had killed Meredith in cold blood.

Amanda later told The Times, “That video (outside the house) was cut and repeated so that all you see is a loop of me and Raffaele kissing over and over again. I just felt incredibly lost and I was sad and I was trying to understand, and Raffaele kissed me to console me because our language barrier prevented us from really being able to console each other with words.”

This photo was held up during the trial as proof of Amanda’s ‘sinister sexual nature’. 

On November 5th, Amanda had been interrogated aggressively during the evening and into the early hours of the following day. She recalled as many as 12 policemen were shouting at her in Italian, hitting her on the back of the heard, telling her she had murdered Meredith and repressed the memory. When Knox pleaded for an attorney, she was told that would only make matters worse for her.

She finally gave in and falsely confessed, claiming the images were “blurred” but she, Raffaele, and her boss at work – bar owner Patrick Lumumba – had murdered Meredith. All three were arrested.

The arrest of Patrick Lumumba

The police held a press conference and claimed that all three persons had killed Meredith as part of a twisted sex game. They proudly stated to the international press, this was “case closed.”

Later in a letter, Amanda tried to retract her confession as she wrote:

“This is very strange, I know, but really what happened is as confusing to me as it is to everyone else. I have been told there is hard evidence saying that I was at the place of the murder of my friend when it happened. This, I want to confirm, is something that to me, if asked a few days ago, would be impossible.”

She continued, “In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock, and extreme exhaustion. Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly.”

The defense demonstrating how the murderer could have broken in through the window – something the prosecution later claimed was ‘staged’ 

Then the police really started to have problems. Firstly; Amanda’s boss Patrick had a watertight alibi as he was working at the bar, also the forensic evidence had returned and nothing pointed towards Amanda or Raffaele but instead a fourth suspect – Rudy Guede who had a criminal past that included a string of break-ins.

Rudy’s DNA was in Meredith’s blood spills on the floor, it was his bloody handprint on the wall, and the feces left in the unflushed toilet was also his. Rudy’s DNA had also been left on Meredith’s purse but this had not been collected by forensics until a month later.

Instead of allowing Amanda and Raffaele to go free, under the pressure of the world’s media circus watching their every move, the Italian police claimed that they Patrick was innocent whereas Amanda, Raffaele, and Rudy all killed Meredith during a sex game gone wrong.

Meredith’s purse that was not taken for forensic testing until 18th December – 43 days after the murder

Rudy’s bloody handprint on the wall

Amanda told police she was at Raffaele’s on the night of the murder reading Harry Potter – police said this was a lie because they found the book in her bedroom. Amanda said she had two copies. 

The Trial of “Foxy Knox” – A Villain Created By The Media

Although forensics cleared Amanda of any wrongdoing, she was already at the center of a ‘trial by media’ as the press had dubbed her ‘Foxy Knoxy.’ In the Netflix documentary Amanda Knox, Daily Mirror reporter Nick Pisa admitted that he spun stories to make her look like a “sex-crazed man-eater” and he used her outdated MySpace profile pictures to make it appear as if she lived promiscuously.

Prosecutor Mignini, who should not have been allowed to prosecute the case as he was on trial himself for abusing his power in office, also labeled Amanda as “totally irrational,” “uninhibited,” and the type of girl who “brings boys home.” When he was asked that despite overwhelming evidence she was innocent if he still believed in Amanda’s guilt, he replied, “A man would never think to do this.”

The jury that convicted Amanda, who heard for the past year all about ‘Foxy Knoxy’, had already come to the decision she was guilty before she stood trial. Prosecutor Mignini repeatedly showed the jury a video of a “sex game gone wrong” – an animated cartoon of Amanda Knox stabbing Meredith as Raffaele and Rudy held her on her knees. Something which never happened or was there any evidence to make this even slightly believable. No matter how hard the defense battled – the jurors had their minds made up.

On December 4th, 2009, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher. They were sentenced to 25 years in prison for Raffaele, and 26 years for Amanda (she was given an extra year for the crime of ‘Calunnia’, or Slander, for falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba).

The Appeal

In June 2011, Amanda and Raffaele stood in front of an appeals court and once again attempted to plead their innocence. Raffaele dramatically removed a “Free Amanda and Raffaele” bracelet he had worn for four years and said he had taken it off because it was time to go home.

Amanda said in her statement:

“If I would have been home that night, I’d be dead. I would have been killed just like her. The only difference is I was not there. I was with Raffaele, at Raffaele’s place.

I had a sense of duty before authorities which I trusted because they were there to find out who the culprit was, there to protect us. I blindly trusted them wholly, completely, absolutely. And when I made myself available up to the point of utter exhaustion those days, I was betrayed starting November 5th. I wasn’t only stressed. I was manipulated.

I didn’t do what they say I did. I didn’t kill. I didn’t rape. I didn’t steal. I was not there.” … “I want to go home, I want to go back to my life, I do not want to be punished and to have my life taken away from me for something I have not done, because I am innocent.”

One of the towels used by Rudy to stop Meredith’s bleeding 

On October 3rd, 2011, Judge Hellmann declared both Amanda and Raffaele not guilty of the murder, and they were both immediately set free. Amanda returned to her family in Seattle but her nightmare was not over yet. In the Italian Supreme Court there is a third-part to an appeal and on March 26th, 2013, the Supreme Court announced their ruling: Amanda and Raffaele would have to stand trial again for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

On September 20th, 2013, Amanda and Raffaele stood trial again and the court reinstated the guilty verdicts. This was then appealed by both and finally, on March 27, 2015, the ultimate appeal was heard by the Supreme Court of Cassation; it ruled that the case was without foundation, thereby definitively acquitting them of the murder. The nightmare was finally over.

Mourning Meredith

On the 10 year anniversary of Meredith Kercher’s murder, Amanda Knox wrote in an open letter titled ‘Mourning Meredith’ on West Side Seattle:

“Ten years ago tonight, my friend was raped and murdered by a burglar when she was home alone in the apartment we shared while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy.

When I look back on my memories of Meredith, what I find are beautiful, banal moments we shared in the weeks we lived side-by-side. I remember that I loved her accent. I remember the time I wanted to get dressed up and she happily loaned me a pair of her tights, like a big sister. And I remember the last time I saw her, ten years ago today, slinging her purse over her shoulder and waving goodbye to me on her way out.”

Read her full letter here:

About the author

Cheish Merryweather is the founder of Follow on Twitter: @thecheish

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