I was really excited when the announcement was made on Friday that Amanda Knox was once again exonerated by the Italian courts for the murder of one of her college housemates, Meredith Kercher. The story was buried behind an endless looping of coverage of the Germanwings airline crash in France so it didn’t get much play and I thought I would write a little about it now.
In 2007, brutally murdered college student, Meredith Kercher was found inside her house by one of her three roommates, Amanda Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Quickly and without any physical evidence, the italian prosecutor pointed a finger and Knox and her boyfriend. With the help of the media, Amanda Knox was condemned for a series of seemingly callous actions like taking a few pecks from her boyfriend while police searched her house and doing a cartwheel at the police station. Back in 2007, I was 22, and didn’t care about the news too much. Don’t get me wrong, I gobbled up the occasional news headline for conversational pieces, but couldn’t stay focused enough to actually digest a story. I, like the rest of the world looked at the Amanda Knox story and thought to myself that she must have done it and I hope she fried. About the time I outgrew my 20’s selfish phase (or did I ever? Still figuring that out), I began to find crime drama stories fascinating. Perhaps it was the mask of invincibility that faded off of me that lead me to indulging in a genre that is actually quite terrifying.
Even though I had paid attention to this story over several mediums, it was a 2013 episode of 20/20 that broke down the entire Amanda Knox story that left me jaw dropped. Seeing the big picture of the entire case there was no way this girl could have committed this murder. To start, there’s startling proof that the prosecutor, who looks like he rose from the grave specifically to take on this case, fluffed up a sexy headline grabbing story of a satanic sex party gone wrong just to advance his legacy. Secondly, there is photographic evidence of sloppy police work, unlogged police evidence and a strong case for tampering. Third, they have DNA and a confession of the actual person who killed Meredith but decided to cut him a sweetheart deal to serve just 16 years IF he confessed that Amanda and her BF were involved as well. And with that, Amanda was convicted of murder and served a long and painful 2 years inside an Italian prison until one of her appeals finally overturned the corrupt conviction. The girl got hosed and yet the hate directed at her on the streets of Italy was thick enough to cut with a knife.
Sure, it seems hard to explain the strange and emotionally distant behaviors of Knox at the time of the murder, but when I began to take into account the actual circumstances of her life at that moment, the picture made total sense. Amanda was a 20 years old kid from Seattle going to school abroad. It was by all accounts, her first taste of freedom and she was lucky enough to be living it in a country that offered her a range of experiences she would have never been able to find back home. Amanda had only known Meredith and moved into the house five weeks prior to her death and it seems with their busy schedules, they didn’t know each other all that well except for some friendly banter and the occasional bickering about matters such as cleanliness that roommates so often have. Meredith was a cute girl, I’d say far cuter than Amanda and so it’s not hard for me to relate to my inner 20 year old and think, gee I get a lot more attention when I am out solo over being on the prowl with a cuter and more outgoing girl my own age, so that makes it seem totally plausible that in 5 weeks neither took the time to develop any strong bonds. In addition, Amanda was in a brand new relationship with a boy and they were in that obsessed with each other phase, so I doubt she has much time to throw around at things like making girlfriends when her world was dominated by overwhelming first love.
Could I see 20 year old me smooching my love while he comforts me during a time of need? Yes. Could I see myself after a 18 hour day stretching my body and acting in a careless manner inside a police station? Yeah, especially if I had nothing to do with the murder and didn’t really know or care too much about the girl in question. After all, I am 20, I am selfish, my number one priority is to get back to drinking legally, making out with my boyfriend and learning Italian. Not to say that it isn’t a tragedy, it is. But we were all 20 once and being selfish and stupid goes along with the territory. For a lot of people, especially those who grew up in a household without it, empathy is something that grows and improves over a long period of time. And for the simple reason that she was lacking it, Amanda Knox lost her innocence and the best years of her life. It’s scary to think how quickly a good person’s life can derail.
It was actually considered a long shot for the Italian High Court to reach a final decision in Amanda’s favor, and after all she has been thorough by being wrongfully convicted twice, it’s nice to think there is always hope, even in situations where injustice has run amuck. I know she will breathe a little easier each night and day, just as she should.
What do you think about the Amanda Knox case? Post your thoughts in the comments section.