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American Student Amanda Knox Guilty in Italian Slaying

Liz De La Torre

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For Amanda Knox, the whirlwind spectacle surrounding suspicions of her involvement in the 2007 murder of British roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy has done nothing but paint her as a hardened criminal. In fact, even after a guilty verdict on Dec. 4, the twenty-two year-old American college student still maintains her innocence and being a victim of character assassination: “I am afraid of having the mask of a murderer forced onto my skin.” Yet, evidence has linked her as well as her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and Ivory Coast native, Rudy Guede, to Kercher’s murder. As a result of a separate trial, Guede was found guilty and handed a thirty year prison sentence in Oct. 2008, a ruling he is currently appealing.  As for Knox and Sollecito, both were sentenced to twenty-six and twenty-five years in prison respectively, for the sexual assault and murder of Meredith Kercher.

On Nov. 2, 2007, a half-naked Kercher was found in a bedroom of their communal apartment with her throat slit. The night before the murder, Kercher and Knox, a foreign exchange student at the time, allegedly got into an altercation. According to reports, Knox evidently partook in Sollecito’s and Guede’s torture and sex game of Kercher which ended up going too far and they decided to kill her because she could identify them. This led prosecutors to believe that Meredith Kercher had died from a “drug-fueled sex game.” While there appears to be no particular explanation for what sparked the argument, prosecutors portrayed Amanda Knox as a “promiscuous and manipulative she-devil” whose persona conflicted with that of Meredith Kercher and eventually led to resentment on the part of Knox.

Although forensics has been under much scrutiny in this case for crime scene contamination, a 6 ½ inch knife belonging to Sollecito was discovered at his apartment with Knox’s DNA on the handle and Kercher’s DNA on the blade. Coupled with the knife evidence were Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra clasp, a bloody footprint in the bathroom, a bloody shoeprint in the bedroom, and a staged break-in with Knox in an effort to dupe authorities. During the trial, Amanda Knox recalled two different accounts regarding her location on the night of Kercher’s murder. In one description, she alleged she was in the apartment and heard Kercher screaming as Patrick Lumumba, a pub owner who Knox worked for, murdered her. Lumumba was eventually cleared of all charges as Knox confessed she fabricated the story due to pressure from police. In her second alibi, she claimed she and Sollecito had been watching a movie, smoking marijuana, and having sex at the time of the murder but cited memory impairment from the drugs for not remembering the events that transpired afterwards.

When the verdict was read, spectators outside the courthouse cheered and even shouted insults at the Knox clan such as “Assassin!” But even as the Knox family continues to pledge loyalty to “Foxy Knoxy,” Amanda Knox will remain in prison for up to two years while her lawyers try to follow up on an appeal after a ninety-day interval. But while the stint runs its course, Amanda Knox can ponder her future and rest assured that it won’t be pretty one: As of now, she is looking at 5 million euros to which she owes Meredith Kercher’s family and 40,000 euros to Patrick Lumumba for defamation in addition to the money she is already indebted to her lawyers.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
American Student Amanda Knox Guilty in Italian Slaying