The Amanda Knox trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher is one of the most bizarre true crime cases in history. It’s not that the murder was especially difficult to solve, they actually caught the guy who did it and he’s in jail. The strange thing about this case is the Italian police’s (and subsequently, the international media’s) extreme fascination with Amanda Knox and insistence that she was a viable suspect despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.
To be clear, there is quite literally no conceivable way Amanda Knox is responsible for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Period. Not possible.
And yet, Amanda Knox spent almost four years in Italian prison for a crime it is extraordinarily obvious she did not commit. What the hell happened?
[*] Meredith Kercher was an exchange student from England sharing an apartment with Amanda Knox, an exchange student from the U.S., in Perugia, Italy, a town of about 150,000 people.
[*] In mid-October 2007 Kercher and Knox met a 20-year-old man named Rudy Guede who was friends with the men who lived in the apartment below them. Guede was homeless and known to have committed several break-ins, one with a knife.
[*] On November 2, 2007 Knox returned home from spending the night with her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and found the front door of her apartment ajar. Inside the apartment, Knox noticed drops of blood in the shared bathroom. Because Meredith’s bedroom door was locked, Knox assumed she was sleeping and showered and left the apartment. Later in the day, she returned with her boyfriend and they noticed a broken window and Meredith’s door was still locked. They then called the police who discovered Meredith Kercher’s body inside her locked bedroom. An autopsy showed many injuries consistent with a violent sexual assault.
Evidence against Rudy Guede
[*] Guede’s fingerprints were found all over the crime scene in Meredith’s bedroom. Guede claimed that he had a date with Kercher on the night of her murder and that the two ended up in her bedroom where they exchanged a consensual kiss before deciding not to have sex because they did not have a condom. He claims he then had stomach pains and went to the bathroom in the apartment. In the bathroom, Guede heard Kercher scream. He exited the bathroom to see a “shadowy figure” standing over Kercher who said in Italian, “Found black man, found culprit; let’s go” and left.
[*] Kercher actually had dinner plans with friends that evening, and had never mentioned Guede to anyone.
[*] Glass was found wedged in Guede’s shoe that matched the glass in the apartment’s broken window, supporting the theory that he broke in rather than being invited.
[*] Guede’s bloody palm prints were found in Kercher’s room, underneath her body.
Police fixation on Amanda Knox
[*] Knox was detained and interviewed by police (in her non-native language, Italian) for four days without being given access to a lawyer.
[*] Knox testified that during this time she was physically abused by the police and coerced into giving false information when they became unsatisfied with her real story. Because of this coercion, Knox says she ended up giving false information that incriminated her boss Patrick Lumumba.
[*] Knox says that during her initial four day interview with police, her translator told her “probably I didn’t remember well because I was traumatized. So I should try to remember something else.”
[*] Knox says that the Italian police slapped her repeatedly while yelling at her to “remember”.
[*] When Knox asked for a lawyer, she was told that would “make things worse”.
[*] Knox says the physical abuse along with four days of being denied food, water, sleep, and access to a bathroom “brainwashed” her into changing her initial statement and incriminating herself.
[*] Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were then held in prison for two years until their trial started in 2009. Prosecution theorized that Knox, Sollecito and Guede murdered Kercher together as part of a Satanic sex party gone wrong. There has never been any evidence to support this theory.
[*] Prosecution went so far as to theorize that during the murder Amanda said “You acted the goody-goody so much, now we are going to show you. Now you’re going to be forced to have sex!” There was obviously no recording of the murder and there is no evidence to support that Knox ever felt this way or said this to Kercher.
[*] Text message history showed that Knox and Kercher had been friends. No evidence of a motive was ever found.
[*] Police say they found Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra strap. It was later discovered that police had left the bloody bra lay on the floor of the crime scene for 46 days before testing it. Photographic evidence shows the bra being collected by a police officer with dirty gloves. Experts advise that sloppy police work lead to abnormally high levels of DNA cross-contamination in this case.
[*] In December 2009 Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher and sentence to 25 and 26 years in prison.
[*] In 2010 during an appeal, it was revealed that the Italian police had made egregious errors while investigating this case. A major reveal was that Meredith Kercher’s DNA had never been found on the “murder weapon” the police found at Sollecito’s apartment (it was a regular kitchen knife, found in his kitchen). Another was that there were zero phone calls or texts between Knox, Sollecito, and Guede.
[*] Prosecution explained Guede’s DNA, clothing fibers, and fingerprints being found in the murder scene but not Knox or Sollecito’s by claiming they wiped the crime scene down. This would not be possible without also removing Guede’s DNA and fingerprints as well.
[*] In March 2015 the highest court in Italy ruled that both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were innocent of all charges related to Meredith Kercher’s murder. The court found that there was literally no evidence that Knox or Sollecito were present in Meredith’s room at the time of the murder and that the DNA evidence cleanly pointed to Rudy Guede acting alone.
So… what happened?
The murder of Meredith Kercher is an open and shut case. Rudy Guede was convicted of the murder in an Italian court and is serving time. Why were the police so obsessed with Amanda and her boyfriend?
Well, this isn’t the first time Italian police have demonstrated a bizarre fixation on a foreign suspect despite there being literally no evidence to support the fixation. Douglas Preston has written a book about the damage the media did in creating an unfounded public perception of Amanda Knox’s guilt. Preston has documented that the Italian prosecutor in the Kercher case, Giuliano Mignini, has a history of fabricating conspiracy theories about satanic sex murders.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Preston recalled his personal experience with Mignini while working on a book about the unsolved Italian serial killer “the Monster of Florence”:
“When I was writing “The Monster of Florence,” he called me in for an interrogation.
I had irritated him with my theories. And he accused me of being an accessory to murder. He accused me of being — of involvement in satanic rites and satanic sex. And he demanded that I confess to all these crimes that I had committed, and, if I didn’t, that he would indict me in — for perjury.
And, when I didn’t confess to these nonexistent crimes, he did in fact indict me for perjury and suggested that I leave Italy. And, so, this is a very abusive prosecutor. He makes up theories. He’s — he’s — he’s obsessed with satanic sex.
And let’s not forget that his original theory of the crime was that this was a satanic killing, that — that Meredith Kercher was murdered in a satanic rite, that — that, somehow, Amanda Knox was a satanist.
I mean, these are crazy theories.”
Preston’s theory about why this all happened? As part of a previous unrelated case, Giuliano Mignini was under indictment for fabricating evidence and abusing the power of his office. According to Preston:
“What happened was that he announced to the world, prematurely, that he had found the killer, and then…two weeks later, they found the real killer. And instead of being able to admit his mistake, he and his — the police spent an entire year collecting evidence to try to prove that Amanda Knox was somehow connected with this actual killer.”
Pretty scary that a random government official can decide they want to convict you for a crime there is no evidence you were involved in and just take eight years of your life away.