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The Murder of Meredith Kercher and the Trial of Amanda Knox
December 3, 2009 6:31 AM   Subscribe

"In just a few days, a verdict is expected in the trial of Amanda Knox, the 22-year-old Seattle exchange student on trial in Italy for the throat-slashing murder of her British roommate two years ago. ... The trial in the Umbrian college town of Perugia has dragged on just short of a year. As this week’s closing arguments showed once again, the case has very little to do with actual evidence and much to do with the ancient Italian code of saving face. ... What century is this? Didn’t Joan of Arc, the Inquisition and our own American Salem witch trials teach civilized nations a thing or two about contrived sexual hysteria with a devil twist?" - Timothy Egan, New York Times. [previously]

Full Wiki for Murder of Meredith Kercher.

Even though a man named Rudy Guede, a drifter who fled the country after Kercher's murder, has already been tried and convicted of the murder Meredith Kercher, a separate prosecution rolls on in an effort to convict Amanda Knox (from Seattle, WA) and Raffaele Sollecito (from Perugia, Italy). Guede originally stated that he was alone with Ms. Kercher on the night of the murder and saw a lone Italian man kill her, but later changed his story to implicate Knox and Sollecito.

"Mr Guede, who fled to Germany after the murder but was arrested and extradited back to Italy, has until now claimed that Ms Kercher was attacked by an intruder while he was in the bathroom, and that he then struggled with the intruder, who he did not know and who was armed with a knife. He also said in earlier testimony that he had heard the voice of a woman outside the house."

The case against Knox and Sollecito rests largely on statements Knox made during a 30-hour interrogation, during which she claims she was harassed and beaten. Prosecutors are also attempting to link the crime with violent comic books and Manga found at Sollecito's apartment.

"Italian prosecutors allege that the lethal wound was inflicted by Knox while Kercher was held down by Guede and Sollecito. The prosecution points to violent literature, such as comic books, that they found in Sollecito’s apartment. Prosecutors allege that manga comics found in Sollecito's apartment recounted tales of killing female vampires on Halloween night and that many of the details in the comics were similar to the scene police discovered. Kercher had attended a number of Halloween parties dressed as a vampire the night of 31 October."

Knox had initially incriminated a man named Patrick Lumumba, who was later found to be innocent. He is currently suing the family of Amanda Knox for half a million dollars. Knox later apologized to Lumumba and expressed relief when he was released.

"...when Lumumba's airtight alibi got him released from jail, after a couple of weeks, Knox wrote ecstatically about it in her prison journal ("Patrick got out today! Finally! Something is going right!") and later wrote of her remorse at ever having implicated him, saying it was under extreme duress and a result of police 'brainwashing.'"

Complicating matters further, the prosecutor in the case, Giuliano Mignini, has recently faced his own, separate trial in which he was tried for abuse-of-power charges relating to a separate trial.

Though most all of the focus of the trial has been on the American "femme fatale" Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito is also in jeopardy of spending a lengthy period of time in prison. In turn, his family has recently been accused of using their vast influence in Italy to get detectives they found hostile taken off the case.

More articles about Knox by Timothy Egan of the New York Times. He is a staunch defender of Amanda Knox and his articles reflect that opinion.

A brief review of the comments to Egans' first column "An Innocent Abroad," reveals that not everyone believes in the innocence of Amanda Knox. There has been much speculation that Knox's family has been orchestrating an extensive PR campaign from the States.

A webpage dedicated to finding justice for the death of Meredith Kircher, True Justice, casts a more skeptical eye on the case and the claims made by Egan.
posted by billysumday (118 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been following this case with maybe a little too much interest -- it's all too Dario Argento for me to look away, I'm sorry. I've become suspicious that the reason it seems that way, to a large degree, is because the prosecutor and I like all the same movies.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:41 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even though a man named Rudy Guede, a drifter who fled the country after Kercher's murder, has already been tried and convicted of the murder Meredith Kercher, a separate prosecution rolls on in an effort to convict Amanda Knox (from Seattle, WA) and Raffaele Sollecito (from Perugia, Italy). Guede originally stated that he was alone with Ms. Kercher on the night of the murder and saw a lone Italian man kill her, but later changed his story to implicate Knox and Sollecito.

What?
posted by delmoi at 6:52 AM on December 3, 2009


I haven't been following it closely at all. But whenever I've read about it, I've been struck at the layers and layers of poor behavior exhibited by many of the people involved. If you read it in a novel, you'd scoff and set it aside as unrealistic.
posted by Forktine at 6:52 AM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


I vaguely remember hearing about this a long while back, but had no idea how Knox had been railroaded by the Italian legal system. It reminds me of
The Monster of Florence

It's a book about how an American writer, Douglas Preston, and an Italian PI investigate a long-standing Italian serial killer case that was handled in a way similar to the Kercher murder - where the prosecution relied on tabloid mentallity to convict an innocent man, and ignored the relatively obvious indentity of the real killer.
posted by codacorolla at 6:59 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


What a clusterfuck all around. I never followed this beyond recalling I saw the headlines at the several moments, and reading this excellent summary gives me the mother of all headaches. And I haven't yet tried any of the links. Ugh.
posted by Iosephus at 7:00 AM on December 3, 2009


You may be interested to read this, codacorolla.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:01 AM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Knox wrote ecstatically about it in her prison journal

Who the hell keeps a prison journal before they have been tried for murder?
posted by grouse at 7:07 AM on December 3, 2009


Yeah, codacorolla, it sounds the same because it's the same prosecutor.
posted by billysumday at 7:09 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


One prosecutor speculated before the jury what Knox may have said to Meredith Kercher before, he claimed, forcing an orgy that resulted in her death:

“You are always behaving like a little saint. Now we will show you. Now we will make you have sex.”

Nobody alleges that Knox said this to Kercher. But prosecutors asked the jury to imagine her saying such a thing.
I saw this quote in the NYT link. I haven't been following the case and I'm not up on the criminal justice system in Italy, but, uh, is there no big honking red "MISTRIAL" button in Italian? This is just disgusting. The defense should have stood up right then and there, moved for a mistrial, and gone out for some gelato.
posted by Spatch at 7:15 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Prosecutors are also attempting to link the crime with violent comic books and Manga found at Sollecito's apartment.

When I was in Italy for my honeymoon, I discovered that bookstores had a lot of horror comic books (such as Dylan Dog), but they were in Italian, not translated Japanese manga. You could get them at almost any newsstand in Italy. The comic books really don't prove much of anything.
posted by jonp72 at 7:24 AM on December 3, 2009


Yes, the prosecutor's theory of the case is like so obviously lifted from a porno.
posted by grobstein at 7:28 AM on December 3, 2009


Um, if you think Joan of Arc's trial was about "contrived sexual hysteria with a devil twist" then I think he might want to crack open a textbook or two. Yeah, that's what the British were fundamentally angry about and that's why she was killed - her virginity.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:29 AM on December 3, 2009


Lol, I didn't even notice that because of the more obvious mistake of referring to Italy as a "civilized nation."
posted by grobstein at 7:38 AM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


This level of absurdity in trials like this is beyond disturbing. That anyone in this day and age thinks promiscuity and comic books has anything to do with murdering anyone is baffling.

Hell even if she WAS a devil worshiper, the odds of her brutally murdering her roommate would still be incredibly low. If they had any real evidence to show that she did kill her then I'd think differently, but they don't. The obvious murderer is their key witness? Wow.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:42 AM on December 3, 2009


If the Italian legal system is anything like their healthcare system (as described to me by my half-Italian girlfriend who has spent much time in country) then no amount of ridiculousness/incompetence would surprise me.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:59 AM on December 3, 2009


Wow... I didn't realise it was the same prosecutor! Disgusting...

This has effectively gotten rid of any desire for me to ever travel to Italy.
posted by codacorolla at 8:04 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also compare this to the recent trend in solving any rape case in Italy:
1. Woman is raped
2. The next available Romanians are arrested
The newspapers don't even bother to present any kind of evidence; I'd be surprised if the police does.
posted by dhoe at 8:14 AM on December 3, 2009


The Monster of Florence with the same prosecutor finding more demons can be read as a magazine article.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:14 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I obviously have no idea what truly happened, but ... Knox was interrogated for 30 hours without a lawyer? There's no compelling motive - just manga, and student fiction on MySpace? The prosecutor under a cloud for suspicion of abuse of power? And the argument is that not one, not two, but three very loosely affiliated, seemingly ordinary people carried out some thrill killing just for the heck of it. Nothing good on TV, plus, you know, manga... let's smoke some hash and brutally murder the roommate! It just seems so incredibly unlikely.

Unlikely things certainly do happen all the time, but there just seems so much that is outlandish about this, and so little unambiguous evidence (from what I've been able to parse). I don't understand how her statements under interrogation for 30 hours without a lawyer (if this is true?) can be admitted at all.
posted by taz at 8:17 AM on December 3, 2009


Grouse: Who the hell keeps a prison journal before they have been tried for murder?

Probably someone in prison? Whats the problem here?
posted by fontophilic at 8:20 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Eeesh, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who had that Monster of Florence mental link pop up, but it's even more disturbing to see it's the same jerk involved.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2009


Before anybody assumes that Italy has some unique lock on inane prosecutions, remember that nothing in this trial so far would be unheard of in an American courtroom. Shoddy investigations, forced confessions, overzealous corrupt prosecutors, trial by media and so on are all de rigueur for American Justice.

The main difference is that Amanda Knox is a Beautiful White Woman instead of some anonymous black or brown face, a fact which enables us to cast +10 Outrage Of Great Justice.
posted by Avenger at 8:34 AM on December 3, 2009 [21 favorites]


If promiscuity and comic books were a source of murder, there wouldn't be a soul left alive after a science fiction convention.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:35 AM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


This would be an awesome post once the verdict comes out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:37 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


This would be an awesome historical, and politically nearly useless post once the verdict comes out.

FTFY, Blazecock Pileon.

A human life lies in the balance here. Media attention is important to the attention-whoring government of Italy.

God, your indifference is loathsome.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:47 AM on December 3, 2009


The main difference is that Amanda Knox is a Beautiful White Woman instead of some anonymous black or brown face, a fact which enables us to cast +10 Outrage Of Great Justice.

And yet many of us were and continue to be intrigued by the miscarriage of justice that was the West Memphis 3, which if I remember correctly didn't include a single attractive female in the bunch. You seem to making the point that the fact that Knox is an attractive white American is more important than the details comprising the case - and as it turns out, it seems that the prosecutors agree with you!
posted by billysumday at 8:47 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


God, your indifference is loathsome.

I think you misunderstand. I'm not saying this is a bad post. I just think this would be a better post once on the actual verdict comes out, as a bookend to all the other interesting links. This is like putting up a well-written obit post for someone who is in a coma.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:53 AM on December 3, 2009


This has effectively gotten rid of any desire for me to ever travel to Italy.


codacorolla,
I'm not remotely surprised you feel that way. The Monster of Florence is one of the finest, most elegantly compelling, true-crime investigations with-a-twist written in the past decade or so. I picked it up at Venice airport at the end of a holiday and was mightily relieved I was back in the US when I finished it!

But if someone of the caliber of Monster author Douglas Preston had written a biography of, say, "America's Toughest Sheriff" [TM] Joe Arpaio, I'd probably feel the same about visiting here.

(I'm horribly familiar with this genre. I think Preston's book is almost flawless. Also, it shouldn't surprise anyone here, but the UK Daily Mail coverage of this whole current case has been revolting. It's long been dubbed the "Foxy Knoxy" sex crime by that paper - which says it all, really.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:00 AM on December 3, 2009


The West Memphis 3 were white teenagers and received a lot of celebrity attention. People, including Metafilter's general demographic, identified with them. Regardless of Knox's guilt or innocence, I think it's fair to say that this case has received a lot more media attention due to the fact that she is a young, white, female American. It may not be ethical, but it shouldn't be surprising that prosecutors will use this angle and any other to their advantage.
posted by ghost dance beat at 9:02 AM on December 3, 2009


Here's one of the comments from the NY times blog:
It’s interesting—I’ve been living in the UK since this unfolded, and every single picture in the paper has been of Amanda Knox smiling in an almost sadistic manner, instead of the picture that you have now.
This is one of the first things that struck me when I read about this case. Amanda Knox always looks like she's slyly smiling for the camera. Maybe it's just a facial thing like Cheney's sneer-smile, but to even be smiling so much during your murder trial--what a weird reaction.

Yes, it doesn't prove guilt or innocence, but to me she is really putting out a Anthony Hopkins in Fracture "I'm getting away with this" vibe--or photographers just really have it out for her.
posted by razdrez at 9:04 AM on December 3, 2009


to me she is really putting out a Anthony Hopkins in Fracture "I'm getting away with this" vibe

I was thinking more Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct", but I see where you're going.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:11 AM on December 3, 2009


yeah not one single person involved in this case looks very innocent, besides the victim.
Im no DNA evidence expert, but when your defense is based on you being "at your computer" at the time of the murder... i can tell you from firsthand experience that forensic computer experts can be bought pretty cheaply around here.
(nice trolling on the "civilized" part -- excuse us romans for inventing the word.)
posted by 3mendo at 9:15 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


It may not be ethical, but it shouldn't be surprising that prosecutors will use this angle and any other to their advantage.

It is surprising, though, that there are still those who fall for it.

It’s interesting—I’ve been living in the UK since this unfolded, and every single picture in the paper has been of Amanda Knox smiling in an almost sadistic manner, instead of the picture that you have now.

This is one of the first things that struck me when I read about this case. Amanda Knox always looks like she's slyly smiling for the camera. Maybe it's just a facial thing like Cheney's sneer-smile, but to even be smiling so much during your murder trial--what a weird reaction.


I think the point the author was making was that the prosecution and media have deliberately been framing Knox in this certain way by selectively choosing a small subset of photographs from a much larger pool - not that Knox has been smiling like a Batman villain throughout the trial.
posted by billysumday at 9:26 AM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think the point the author was making was that the prosecution and media have deliberately been framing Knox in this certain way by selectively choosing a small subset of photographs from a much larger pool - not that Knox has been smiling like a Batman villain throughout the trial.

Yes, but the fact that she smiles like a Batman villian throughout the trial is something in itself, no? It's like complaining that the media has only selected Tiger Woods pictures where he's kissing other women to make him look bad.
posted by razdrez at 9:35 AM on December 3, 2009


Yes, but the fact that she smiles like a Batman villian throughout the trial is something in itself, no?

Wow, I hope I've never put on trial with the lot of you as my jury. She looks guilty? Seriously?

If photographers took endless pictures of me during the day, they'll inevitably find some in which I'm blinking. Does that mean I was asleep all day?
posted by billysumday at 9:39 AM on December 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


razdrez: Amanda Knox always looks like she's slyly smiling for the camera.

People are trained from birth to smile when a camera is pointed at them. It's not a conscious decision so much as an automatic reaction.
posted by Kattullus at 9:46 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


i can tell you from firsthand experience that forensic computer experts can be bought pretty cheaply around here.

And its so much more difficult for a cop to plant a bloody device when the checks and balances is... other cops?


(nice trolling on the "civilized" part -- excuse us romans for inventing the word.)

By the same guy who started 5+ wars and "unified" Europe at the end of the sword. Yep, civility at its finest...
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 9:47 AM on December 3, 2009


Yes, but the fact that she smiles like a Batman villian throughout the trial is something in itself, no?

eh? None of us know what she looks like throughout the trial. We only know what photographers have chosen to snap, and of those shots, what frames they've chosen to submit, and of those submitted frames, what editors have chosen to run.

Aside from that, she could be someone who happens to often photograph in a weird way, but still not guilty of murder, or even crazy as a loon, and still not guilty of murder.
posted by taz at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


She looks guilty? Seriously?
No, she looks inappropriate for her situation. I've already stated that this isn't proof of guilt or innocence, but it's not helping my opinion of her.

Would most everyone here make this face during their murder trial? That's a little more than an automatic reaction.
posted by razdrez at 10:00 AM on December 3, 2009


sorry but it's dinnertime and I have to go -- you need some pretty good motives to plant evidence and if i recall correctly it's not very easy to plant fingerprints without using the actual finger. But again, I'm not an expert...
posted by 3mendo at 10:01 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, she looks inappropriate for her situation. I've already stated that this isn't proof of guilt or innocence, but it's not helping my opinion of her.

Would most everyone here make this face during their murder trial? That's a little more than an automatic reaction.


I know for my part a giggle like a maniac when I'm scared as hell. That doesn't mean I'm a murderer. One photograph is not enough to judge a situation. Trust more in that fact than in your gut feeling.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:12 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Would most everyone here make this face during their murder trial? That's a little more than an automatic reaction.
posted by razdrez


Maybe someone said something funny? Maybe she was thinking about that time in Arrested Development when Gob tried to through the letter into the ocean? Maybe someone just said something about the case that gave her hope of getting aquitted. Maybe she's cracking up because she's on trial for Satanist sex murder in a foreign country and has been in jail for a year or more?

We don't really know from a picture.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:32 AM on December 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


There is too much to wade into here, can anyone familiar with the case give the main evidence against Knox and Sollecito? I mean real evidence, not the comic books and stuff. There has to be more, no?
posted by cell divide at 10:33 AM on December 3, 2009


Well, they say the cops were first concerned about her involvement when they brought her to the police station for questioning, and while she was waiting, she did cartwheels around the lobby, as well as odd things like sitting in her boyfriend's lap. She hasn't ever given an appearance of taking the trial seriously. I'd expect such behavior of a person with mental deficiencies, but she's apparently a college graduate. There's been other odd and disrespectful behavior throughout, such as her family taking snapshots at the murder location as if it's just another happy memory.

I can imagine you not liking your roommate much, but wouldn't you still be traumatized and even terrified if that happened? Giggling with the bf looks -- and I emphasize looks -- more like someone who hated the dead person. Then there's the whole fingering her boss thing. He's your boss -- and you mistook another black guy for him? *taps head in disbelief* After that, if anything, her credibility as a witness in her own defense is shot.

There's a disconnect here in US and UK coverage similar to the black and white separation of views on OJ. The UK, remember, has its own pretty white woman syndrome to factor in; apparently she's of little consequence in the US, despite being the victim and all. Here it isn't the murder of Meredith Kercher, it's the trial of Amanda Knox. I notice this in part because I have the BBC Live Feed in my toolbar and see their point of view daily.

That said, yes, there are weak parts to this case. Physical evidence is almost circumstantial. Motive is opaque. I'd be willing to accept an explanation that it was all some kind of accident, because Knox and Sollecito -- at least -- just don't seem like killers. But they had piss-poor alibis and apparently lied to the police about important points, changing their stories multiple times. If they're now suspects, it isn't because they had nothing to hide.
posted by dhartung at 10:48 AM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


cell divide: That sounded like a response to you, but it was meant for Zalzidrax.

The main evidence is that they can't substantiate their alibi of being over at Sollecito's while he worked on his computer, both of them with their phones off. They first tried to implicate Knox's boss at the bar, who was cleared, and then when the real guy Guede was caught trying to slip across Europe on a train without a ticket or visa, he flipped and implicated them. He has been tied to the murder by DNA. There is also a knife found in Sollecito's apartment with Kercher's DNA on it, although the defense maintains as roommates this could happen innocently to a kitchen knife that was later moved, and that it is the wrong size to be the murder weapon. There are other odd aspects such as the window that was smashed in afterward to make it look like a robbery -- with broken glass landing on top of blood -- and I think Kercher's cell phone was found on the street along a route leading toward Sollecito's apartment. It's not by any means a cut-and-dried physical case, and as I said even the prosecution's version of motive is hard to believe ("a drug-fueled sex game"). But they have Guede's testimony of their involvement, and he was inarguably tied to the crime scene.
posted by dhartung at 11:01 AM on December 3, 2009


If it were just one picture, then I would probably chalk it up to a moment out of context. But having seen so many photos like this, it's more than just a fleeting moment. She does this often enough. It just makes me wonder what's going through her head; she's not helping the public (or jury's) opinion of herself.

But I'm done defending my observation. Too many people here are too quick to pounce on anyone saying anything negative about this girl. I get it. You want to believe she's innocent.

Either that, or this is one big ironic joke about taking some of my sentences out of context from the rest of my posts.
posted by razdrez at 11:01 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


razdrez: dhartung is doing a good job of producing counter-evidence that sheds doubt on Knox's innocence. Nobody is getting on his/her case. On the other hand, you're saying, "look at her! she's guilty! it's written all over her guilty face!" Which is sort of what the prosecution has been doing, and it's that attitude that is the root of why so many people are interested/frustrated with this case.
posted by billysumday at 11:27 AM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if she did it, but the case against her seems more based on her who she is rather than what she did that day.

Also I read somewhere that even if she is declared non-guilty in the trial, they can still try her for the murder in the civil court. And that the cops are suing her for her saying they knocked her around. Is the civil system in Italy similar to ours where in civil courts the defendant must prove their innocence?
posted by Allan Gordon at 11:47 AM on December 3, 2009


In turn, his family has recently been accused of using their vast influence in Italy to get detectives they found hostile taken off the case.

Meanwhile lawyers for Knox's wealthy (though nothing like the Sollecito family) family feed tidbits to their tame journalist to set the stage for her serving her sentence in the US. Figure quietly released in 10-12 years.
posted by atrazine at 11:50 AM on December 3, 2009


billysumday: On the other hand, you're saying, "look at her! she's guilty! it's written all over her guilty face!"

If I had mentioned that I thought she was guilty (instead of stating several times that my observation doesn't prove any guilt), I could understand.

"Wow, I hope I've never put on trial with the lot of you as my jury prosecutors."
posted by razdrez at 11:51 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before anybody assumes that Italy has some unique lock on inane prosecutions, remember that nothing in this trial so far would be unheard of in an American courtroom.

Oh, I think we were all pretty sure someone would pop in to remind us eventually.
posted by Cyrano at 12:00 PM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


There's actually two ways (if one is going to judge a murder case on the basis of one's "gut," which is about the worst way to ever judge any case ever) to read a person who seems untroubled when accused of a crime: As a cold sociopath, or as a normal person who is untroubled because they have done nothing wrong. TV and movies train us to look for the first, but the latter is -- I would wager -- much more likely.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:11 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is the civil system in Italy similar to ours where in civil courts the defendant must prove their innocence?

If you're talking about the American legal system, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, not the defendant, in a civil case. The difference in proof between civil and criminal cases is that conviction of a crime requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas a civil cases requires only that the plaintiff prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is liable--in other the words that the defendant is more likely than not liable for damages.

It is a much lower standard of proof, but doesn't require the defendant to prove that he or she is innocent.
posted by fogovonslack at 12:22 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Add a link to Nancy Grace and journey to the dark side will be complete.
posted by tkchrist at 12:41 PM on December 3, 2009


Looking at not one but many images of Amanda Knox, and also at the video footage linked above (where she is lead into court by police and yet seems overjoyed at the attention rather than either downcast about her roommate's death or worried about being tried for murder), well, I have to agree with razdaz that her expressions are wildly inappropriate.

I am not saying, "She's a murderer!" I'm just baffled that her behavior seems so bizarre given the circumstances. Turning cartwheels is WAY over the top for anyone accused of murder, innocent or not. Is this girl on mood-altering drugs or just really spacey? Does she really not understand there are serious issues at stake here, namely her freedom?
posted by misha at 2:59 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, she looks inappropriate for her situation. I've already stated that this isn't proof of guilt or innocence, but it's not helping my opinion of her.
Well you're a fucking idiot then. As other people mentioned, the pictures being selected are the ones that make her look guilty. People are going to spend some time smiling no matter what their situation.
The main evidence is that they can't substantiate their alibi of being over at Sollecito's while he worked on his computer, both of them with their phones off. They first tried to implicate Knox's boss at the bar, who was cleared, and then when the real guy Guede was caught trying to slip across Europe on a train without a ticket or visa, he flipped and implicated them.
Weren't their names already in the media when Guede was caught? Why on earth wouldn't he "flip" on them?
"Wow, I hope I've never put on trial with the lot of you as my jury prosecutors."
Why? You'd rather have people who made cheap emotional appeals regardless of the truth of the matter?
Looking at not one but many images of Amanda Knox, and also at the video footage linked above (where she is lead into court by police and yet seems overjoyed at the attention
Again, no one knows the context. Maybe someone said something to lift her spirits like "Good luck, Amanda" If you were on trial for a murder you didn't commit, and someone said something like that to you, would you smile?
posted by delmoi at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just wanted to juxtapose these two remarks from the same comment, above:

i can tell you from firsthand experience that forensic computer experts can be bought pretty cheaply around here.

and

(nice trolling on the "civilized" part -- excuse us romans for inventing the word.)

There's a certain dissonance there, no? Granting Rome was a cradle of civilization, nonetheless 1) that was a real long time ago and 2) standards have risen since then.
posted by grobstein at 3:46 PM on December 3, 2009


delmoi: Why? You'd rather have people who made cheap emotional appeals regardless of the truth of the matter?

No, I just wouldn't want to be prosecuted by people who come to their own conclusions and make accusations without any backing.

For all those who think I'm in the wrong: do you realize you're attacking me and others by putting words into my mouth, by coming to false conclusions, by pointing to sketchy evidence, and by using possible (but unlikely) scenarios? Sound familiar? It's the same thing you're mad at the Italian justice system for, remember?

You really think there's no situation that's so dire that you couldn't stop thinking of Arrested Development and giggle and stick out your tongue? Really?

You claim that I'm shortsighted and being fooled by the media's portrayal of Knox. Of course, you know she's innocent because you just read it in the...oh yeah, you read it in the paper. I don't know if she's guilty or not. All I have is translated bits and pieces from the media that makes it ambiguous for me. But I'm the idiot because I'm not blindly accepting the overwhelming proof that she's not guilty.

Y'know, I admit it. I was dead wrong. People having inappropriate reactions to things must be perfectly normal, because I'm seeing a whole lot of it here.

I understand. You want to believe she's innocent. Well, you can sleep well at night--because you sure showed me not to make you doubt yourself! Oh, and BTW, I'm not smiling right now.
posted by razdrez at 6:25 PM on December 3, 2009


Weren't their names already in the media when Guede was caught? Why on earth wouldn't he "flip" on them?

Well, that's the prisoner's dilemma from the outside, isn't it? Of course there's a benefit for him -- that's how state's evidence witnesses are often flipped. I'm only speaking to the fact that this makes the prosecution's case significantly easier. If the jury chooses to disregard his testimony (I forget if he was actually in court or not) then the case against Knox and Sollecito is correspondingly much weaker. But it hinges on his credibility either way.

As other people mentioned, the pictures being selected are the ones that make her look guilty.

You're assuming there's only one frame at work here. As I noted, the US and UK coverage seems to tilt in opposite directions. A lot of the US coverage seems to question the integrity or professionalism of the Italian justice system. For myself, there have been too many reports of her cavalier attitude to dismiss it as journalistic narrative. I mean, she showed up to court in this get-up, for fuck's sake. I know that any American lawyer would be telling her to wear a conservative pants suit (and she seems to have finally gotten the message). I can only imagine what the Italian jury thinks.

I mean, you're on trial. This has been your job for the last two years -- guaranteeing your own freedom. I can understand shock and disorientation in the first days after the murder, but she's had ample time to grasp the essentials of her situation.
posted by dhartung at 7:11 PM on December 3, 2009


Have the authorities done any psychological tests on her? She and, to some extent, her family seem divorced from reality but not particularly vicious.
posted by Partario at 7:26 PM on December 3, 2009


You really think there's no situation that's so dire that you couldn't stop thinking of Arrested Development and giggle and stick out your tongue? Really?

She could be mouthing something like "thank you" there. The point is you just don't know by that one shot. And, yes, there are a series of shots of her smiling, but they're still carefully selected moments by the photo editor to tell a story. There are also numerous shots of her looking very serious, but those aren't the ones you want to focus on.

Knox has said that when she smiles and tries to look chipper, people say she looks too happy, but when she doesn't smile, they say she looks angry or dour. Either way, people are going to read guilt into her appearance.
posted by zerbinetta at 7:40 PM on December 3, 2009


I'm pretty sure that if you are talking to an attorney during voir dir, and you say "I can tell if people are guilty or innocent just by looking at them", you won't have to serve on that jury.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:10 PM on December 3, 2009


I'm pretty sure that if you are talking to an attorney during voir dir, and you say "I can tell if people are guilty or innocent just by looking at them", you won't have to serve on that jury.

A potential juror on a trial in which I was called for jury duty used this exact ploy and was immediately excused.
posted by telstar at 1:09 AM on December 4, 2009


Where is Cal Lightman when you need him?

I'm with 3mendo on this one. None of the suspects come out of this well and for all the suggestions (even in the original post itself) of this being about the vagaries and corruption of the Italian Justice System as opposed to the murder itself do a disservice to the victim here.

I find it interesting the point about the smiling is being discussed at length but no one has brought up the fact Knox started cart-wheeling around the police station when first taken in. If you want to discuss 'natural' and 'understandable' reactions - explain to me cart-wheeling around a police station when being questioned regarding a murder that has recently taken place.

For each of you denigrating the stich up of Knox by the Italians and the media and the painting her as a demon why don't you consider the prosecution case and the important point made in the conclusion.

'The reasons Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers have given for them lying - namely false memories, confusion and fear – seem very unlikely to fly with the court.

Repeated evidence was introduced to show that Meredith’s other flatmates and friends all behaved radically differently, and told what were obvious truths that matched up repeatedly and resulted in not a single major contradiction. All were checked out in this careful fashion and then allowed to go on their way.

Only the defendants’ claims failed to coincide or match with everything else.

Again, and again, and again.'

posted by numberstation at 2:30 AM on December 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


The final statements by prosecution and defence are being made at this moment (midday Italian time), after which the court will retire to consider the verdict. Experienced court reporters are predicting it for this afternoon or evening.

Meanwhile, all you armchair jurors out there might want to see video of Amanda Knox under interrogation, most of it translated into English.

For Jody Tresidder: My understanding is that "Foxy Knoxy" is what she called hersenf on her Facebook page, but I may have got that wrong.
posted by aqsakal at 3:16 AM on December 4, 2009


but no one has brought up the fact Knox started cart-wheeling around the police station when first taken in.

I think it has, actually. I think what I and a lot of her, for want of a better word, defenders, have a problem is with the assertion of guilt by innuendo or guilt by not behaving appropriately grave. I mean sure she is a narcissistic spoiled brat who probably thinks the world revolves around her and is reveling in her personal "drama" (and would probably put it like that if she posted a q on this to askme) but well, that doesn't make her a murderess. It doesn't make her *not* a murderess either. It makes her a narcissistic spoiled brat.

I also think coming from the US where the broken justice system, unfortunately is an almost daily news story, you have to understand that a lot of wrongly accused people first came under police radar for not acting "appropriately" in light of the gravity of the situation. Martin Tankleff is an example.

So I don't know all the details and of course prosecution and defense will spin the details to help their stories, as is their jobs, but coming from the US, I do get concerned when I hear the Knox haters assert by her actions and behavior she is a killer. I've seen this happen too many times before. Maybe she is a killer and the prosecution has hard evidence.

Another worry is how the proseution, if you believe Egan's article is also doing guilt by association because jeez, these spoiled kids were into violent manga etc. I mean you'd probably have to arrest half of metafilter if that was evidence of guilt. Finally Spatch's comment way upthread;

One prosecutor speculated before the jury what Knox may have said to Meredith Kercher before, he claimed, forcing an orgy that resulted in her death:


Obviously every country's legal system is different but I cannot believe that that would be allowed at all. Again you hear of instances in the US of stuff like this (usually with piss-poor minority defendants) but often times that is good reason to reverse the conviction.

So people with Italian jurisprudence knowledge? What gives? Is that really true? Wouldn't the judge stop the prosecutors in that instance? Finally what is the nature of a jury trial in Italy? Must it be unanimous? How many jurors?
posted by xetere at 3:19 AM on December 4, 2009


I'm not at all convinced of her innocence, or her guilt; I have absolutely no idea. But many things that people are taking as "guilty" responses or actions do seem explainable to me. For example, the cartwheels. For one thing, as far I understand it, she was there to give testimony as a witness at this time, not as a suspect. Also, many people engage in some sort of physical activity to calm themselves down or deal with stress/tension... I might need a cigarette and a cup of coffee to calm myself down - somebody else might do deep breathing, or stand on their head, or run around the block. I would assume a cold blooded killer who planned and executed a murder (I've read that the prosecution is claiming that it was planned) would be far more mindful of how they appeared at this point.

The conflicting testimony of what happened when, and not being clear about times, etc.: I'm afraid I am a person who might really appear guilty in a situation like this, because I can't tell you what time I did X, unless it's very closed tied to something else that is already a Known-Known. For example, I could almost never tell you what time I ate, or left the house, and so on, unless I could say, "well when I ate, I remember that [specific] TV show was on, and that usually starts at 9, so I guess I ate around 9 pm." But if you are asking about Monday versus Tuesday versus Wednesday... I probably won't remember. I could tell you the plot of the show (if I actually continued watching it, which I usually don't), and that would be the only way to know for sure if I ate at 9 pm on Tuesday.

Items such as who did I call when, for how long, and in what order, when in a scary or high-stress situation (or, for me, just any time, pretty much)... well, forget it.

I often also have a problem distinguishing between what I think about doing, and what I've actually done. I will ask my husband questions like, "did I tell you about [thing], or did I just think about telling you?"

So, a big part of my doubt about how some of these actions point toward her guilt is because I feel like I would have a hard time proving my innocence in a similar situation. Physical evidence is much more important in my mind... like the fact that the window was apparently broken after the murder (glass shards atop blood), and who would want to make it seem that it was a break-in as opposed to someone with access to the house.

As for the smiling... do you realize how many women smile when they are about to cry? So many. In some of the images and videos, this is clear as day to me; in others, as others have mentioned, it seems as though she is smiling in response to some comment or interaction. There are also many photos of her looking very somber. I couldn't say that she was smiling "strangely" unless I was there, and even then, it's so hard to say what that means.

I also find it weird that (according to Wikipedia) Knox and Sollecito had only been seeing each other for a few days before the murder occurred. It's very difficult for me to imagine convincing someone (or two someones, apparently) relatively unconnected to you to murder for no particular reason.

But, I'm not convinced either way, and don't know enough to even form an opinion. I'm just marking my problem with some of these behaviors and expressions as indicators of guilt.
posted by taz at 4:18 AM on December 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


You guys have seen The Wire, right? And in the interrogation scenes, right when Bunk or McNulty is on the edge of despair, and they just can't get a decent confession out of their perp, the fella goes and does a cartwheel and BAM! smell you later, locked up, throw away the key, that's all they needed to see, the brother DID that crime, and there isn't a single if, and, or but about it.
posted by billysumday at 5:21 AM on December 4, 2009


Just imagining the sort of crimes that I might be implicated in based on the comic books I own blows my mind a little.
posted by wobh at 5:55 AM on December 4, 2009


The comics connection (manga=violent tendencies!) is nuts, I agree.

But I think those of you that are giving us a hard time for wondering why Knox is turning cartwheels (which yes, I mentioned above) and smiling so much in incongruous situations (why I linked to Google images and NOT merely to the Italian press) might also ask yourselves if you aren't biased with a sort of "us" vs "them" attitude.

Seems like any time we get an American overseas accused of something, many Americans assume it is because the justice system in that country is corrupt. Now, it may be that this prosecutor is a total ass, but have you really gone into the details of the prosecution and defense (like the DNA on the knife and the surveillance and the window made to look like someone broke in after the fact), or are you just standing up for Amanda Knox because she's a young American girl and you feel sorry for her?

I do agree that sometimes nervousness can make people act oddly, and expressions are hard to judge. But the idea that someone flirts so outrageously with her boyfriend and turns cartwheels to the point that police admonish her to show a little respect because her roommate and supposed friend has just been brutally murdered--that's bizarre behavior by any standard, and she should absolutely be having some psych consultations. If I were on her defense team, I'd really push for them.

Note, again, I am NOT saying turning cartwheels makes her a murderess!

Just that it is not normal behavior, no matter how you try to justify it (really, cartwheels as physical stimulation to calm herself down? Are you kidding me?).
posted by misha at 8:24 AM on December 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Just that it is not normal behavior, no matter how you try to justify it (really, cartwheels as physical stimulation to calm herself down? Are you kidding me?).

Suppose it's not "normal" behavior (what is "normal" when an intimate has been murdered, whether you did it or not?). What are we supposed to conclude from this?

Seriously. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it is not a crime to exhibit "not normal" behavior. And in this case, the behavior does not really fly as evidence of the underlying crime, either. Sure, turning cartwheels may not be normal for the innocent roommates of murder victims, but surely it is not normal for people who've murdered their roommates and just been arrested, either.

Despite your strenuous insistence that you don't think "turning cartwheels makes her a murderess," you have presented the cartwheels and the flirting(!) as though they provide some kind of counterweight to what you characterize as naive Americans' siding with Knox. These behaviors, we all agree, are worse than flimsy as evidence of murder. So it really looks like you want to punish Knox for being weird and not "show[ing] a little respect," neither of which are crimes.
posted by grobstein at 8:46 AM on December 4, 2009


because her roommate and supposed friend has just been brutally murdered

I wonder how many people have ever been gently murdered.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:00 AM on December 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


But I think those of you that are giving us a hard time for wondering why Knox is turning cartwheels (which yes, I mentioned above) and smiling so much in incongruous situations (why I linked to Google images and NOT merely to the Italian press) might also ask yourselves if you aren't biased with a sort of "us" vs "them" attitude.


Asked and answered: Nope. When this story first broke, I leaned toward thinking she was guilty. But the more I hear from both sides, the more I lean toward "not guilty, but pretty stupid." The big thing for me were the details about the murder weapon. Originally, they said that Kerchner was cut with a pen knife. So how a kitchen knife is suddenly identified as the weapon is beyond me. Pen knives don't make the same cuts as the identified kitchen knife. Also, the kitchen knife didn't match the bloody print of a knife left on a bed sheet.

Translation problems alone should cast doubt on Knox's early "confession." On top of that, she claims that they told her to "imagine what might have happened" and took her imagination for a confession. Apparently, this is a common interrogation tactic in Italy...one which I'm sure other foreigners who lived in the country for just a few months would have fallen for.

Kittens for breakfast posted this link upthread, but it's worth posting again. It's an interview by the author of The Monster of Florence and gives insight into the way police investigations are handled in Italy, and his dealings with the prosecutor in both these cases.
posted by zerbinetta at 9:02 AM on December 4, 2009


Kercher not Kerchner. Gah,
posted by zerbinetta at 9:04 AM on December 4, 2009


are you just standing up for Amanda Knox because she's a young American girl and you feel sorry for her?

I've said already that can't can't possibly tell whether she is innocent or guilty, but as far as pointing out things that don't seem to me to necessarily equate to guilty behavior, this is not because she's American. I've lived in Europe for almost as long as Amanda Knox has been alive; my perspective is certainly not "she's American, and thus innocent!" In fact, I feel rather insulted that people think that any justice outside of American justice is suspect, when it's pretty much only in the U.S. that people would be put to death for a crime such as this.
posted by taz at 9:08 AM on December 4, 2009


I do agree that sometimes nervousness can make people act oddly, and expressions are hard to judge. But the idea that someone flirts so outrageously with her boyfriend and turns cartwheels to the point that police admonish her to show a little respect because her roommate and supposed friend has just been brutally murdered--that's bizarre behavior by any standard, and she should absolutely be having some psych consultations. If I were on her defense team, I'd really push for them.

I agree entirely with Misha - and this is why I posted a link to a summary of the arguments made by the prosecution that show time and again Knox lied. It isn't about saying Cartwheels make her guilty - it's about acknowledging that not every american charged with a crime overseas is a victim of the corruption of the local judiciary. I'd be much more open to listening to those who are suggesting she is the or at least 'a' victim if they had some answers to the points the prosecution raised. Ie. Saying she had no recollection of phoning her mother. Saying they woke up late when both mobiles were switched on at 6am etcetera. Personality assassination is clearly a tactic of the prosecutor but what about the technical evidence which flies in the face of her statements over and over again.
posted by numberstation at 9:27 AM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Suppose it's not "normal" behavior (what is "normal" when an intimate has been murdered, whether you did it or not?). What are we supposed to conclude from this?

These behaviors, we all agree, are worse than flimsy as evidence of murder. So it really looks like you want to punish Knox for being weird and not "show[ing] a little respect," neither of which are crimes.

I'm really just serving as Devil's Advocate here, to say that no, her actions aren't what we would expect, and you don't need to resort to finding reasons like, "Hey, she just needed exercise!" to excuse them. Good grief, no one says she was murdering people AS she turned the cartwheels! You're right, no proof of her guilt in those actions.

But also? Not exactly showing a healthy grasp of what's at stake here.

As I said, I do think she needs some psych evaluations, though.

And now I am just repeating myself, so you might want to read what I actually wrote instead of projecting.
posted by misha at 9:51 AM on December 4, 2009


have you really gone into the details of the prosecution and defense (like the DNA on the knife and the surveillance and the window made to look like someone broke in after the fact), or are you just standing up for Amanda Knox because she's a young American girl and you feel sorry for her?

Well I think the US'ians here on Metafilter aren't the kind of US'ians who would automatically feel sorry for a young engenue who *gasp* endured the justice system in a furrin country, could be wrong, but the US demographic here seems to be not of the "ugly American" ilk.

But I can tell you because the US justice system is so fucked up, where people get tried and convicted on innuendo, crappy evidence, forensic 'scientists' who willingly lie, my red flags go up when I hear some of the stuff I've heard as proof or suggestive of guilt, such as the for shame, manga, stuff, or for shame, this trollop did cartwheels!

So it is because the US justice system is flawed, not because naive and bigoted Americans think the rest of the world is, that I have questions.

I will admit I haven't followed the case, so don't know the forensics, but some of the forensics, like the allegation that the break in was staged, is open to interpretation. I also know If I just got a new girlfriend I certainly would want to turn off my cellphone in the hopes of some nookie. Not indicative of guilt, but indicative of horniness IMHO!
posted by xetere at 10:32 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


misha's devil's advocacy is close to my position; I'm agnostic on her guilt, as none of it seems to make much sense.

My understanding is that "Foxy Knoxy" is what she called hersenf on her Facebook page

MySpace, just to indicate how long ago this was (2007 is an eternity in internet time).

On top of that, she claims that they told her to "imagine what might have happened" and took her imagination for a confession. Apparently, this is a common interrogation tactic in Italy...one which I'm sure other foreigners who lived in the country for just a few months would have fallen for.

This is a common interrogation tactic in the US, and probably the world over. "Can you help us picture the scene here? How would you do this if you were the murderer?" Rolando Cruz. Richard Jewell. Many other examples.

NYPD Blue and Homicide are said to be the first TV series to show interrogations from the point of view of the police. Critics said the first show in particular was too easy -- they just got the guy to implicate himself, roll credits. But real cops said that was their job, to persuade "perps" to say everything possible before they felt the need to "lawyer up". You saw cops pretending to be the perp's best friend, pretending to be just chit-chatting around the office while subtly getting information, cops misrepresenting evidence, and cops outright lying. I'm sure this is true wherever you go. The extent to which it is legal and constitutional may vary, but the cops probably always feel morally obligated to push the envelope of what is allowed. Don't talk to the police.

Incidentally, the interrogation was tossed out by the Italian Supreme Court for a variety of lapses including the lack of an interpreter.

One prosecutor speculated before the jury what Knox may have said to Meredith Kercher before, he claimed, forcing an orgy that resulted in her death:

Obviously every country's legal system is different but I cannot believe that that would be allowed at all. Again you hear of instances in the US of stuff like this (usually with piss-poor minority defendants) but often times that is good reason to reverse the conviction.


The Abuse of Opening Statements and Closing Arguments in Civil Litigation -- and criminal trials are not much better restricted. As long as the closing argument does not introduce new evidence or inadmissible arguments, both the prosecution and defense have wide latitude to say almost anything at all. Italy seems to be not much different in this regard.
posted by dhartung at 12:04 PM on December 4, 2009


According to CNN, a verdict may come around 6 ET.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2009


This just in: the jury has a verdict. It will be announced at 6:00 p.m. (U.S. Eastern).

Some points:

(1) The jury deliberated for about 11 hours.
(2) The jury of 8 (of which 2 are judges) has been sequestered in the courtroom and not permitted to leave until a verdict is reached. The court provides food, sleeping cots, etc.

Hmmm. Any pressure to come to a "speedy" decision?
posted by ericb at 12:57 PM on December 4, 2009


FYI -- this evening Dateline NBC: Amanda Knox on Trial.
posted by ericb at 1:04 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


CNN: "Knox, Sollecito guilty on all charges"
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:11 PM on December 4, 2009


knox sentenced to 27 years, sollecito 25
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:12 PM on December 4, 2009


Knox 26, Sollecito 25 says CNN, FWIW
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:15 PM on December 4, 2009


I have no idea whether or not she really is guilty, but what I've learned from this situation and especially this thread is that if I'm ever suspected of murderer, I will be sure not to smile. At all. Ever.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:24 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unbelievable. I love the place, but Italy is fucked up.
posted by Flashman at 3:37 PM on December 4, 2009


From the Telegraph before the verdict:

Meredith Kercher trial: Amanda Knox, the 'shy' former Jesuit school girl

To her parents, Amanda Knox will always be a shy former Jesuit school girl incapable of a wicked thought, let alone a wicked deed.

But after she left her home in Seattle to study in Italy, Knox shed her childhood inhibitions and became a highly sexed femme fatale, or "she devil" as she was described in court, with a remarkable power over men.

Her nickname of "Foxy Knoxy" perfectly summed up the attractive, promiscuous 22-year-old, though ironically it had originally referred to her prowess on the school soccer pitch, where she was a "fox in the box", rather than her sex appeal.


Glad to see that the writer's not working through any personal issues. Yuck.
posted by lukemeister at 4:03 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is as yet unsourced material from the Wikipedia article's talk page, but based on my intermittent attention to the trial it mostly jibes with what I've read:
Besides for her changing story and weak alibi, the alleged evidence that implicates Knox includes the following:

1. Security cameras caught footage of Knox heading to the apartment shortly before the murder, when she claimed to be home with her boyfriend.

2. Knox claimed to have spend some of the evening when the murder took place reading Harry Potter. A copy of Harry Potter was observed by police at the crime scene, but not at Sollecito’s house, where she claimed to spend the entire night.

3. Both Knox and her boyfriend—also a suspect—turned their mobile phones off about the same time the night of the murder and not turned on again until the morning after the murder which forensics showed was not their normal usage pattern, as both reportedly normally used their phones late into the evening. However, Knox's reported explanation was that she had turned her phone off because she did not want her boss, Lumumba, to call her back to the bar to work that evening.

4. Witnesses reported hearing more than one person running from the murder.

5. A witness places Knox and Sollecito in the hills above the house looking down to it about the time of the murder or shortly thereafter presumably concerned about whether the victim’s screams would bring any response.

6. Knox said she stayed at Sollecito’s house all night and awoke about 10:30AM. However, a witness placed her at a local grocery store waiting for it to open at 7:30 AM., where she allegedly bought bleach and other cleaning products. Police reportedly later found a receipt for these cleaning supplies when investigating Sollecito’s residence.

7. Knox first found at the flat the morning after the murder with a mop and bucket, which she said she had gotten to mop up water that Sollecito had spilled when a water pipe broke when he was cooking pasta the night of the murder.

8. One of the flat roommates testified that Knox had a scratch or welt on her neck the morning after the murder which wasn’t there a day earlier.

9. Knox and Sollecito have changed their stories several times, even trying to implicate the other. For example, Knox has stated that she saw blood on Sollecito’s hands that evening but assumed it was from the fish he had prepared for dinner. Also, she reportedly suggested that he may have arose from bed to complete the murder and then brought back the murder weapon (with Kercher’s DNA on it) and pressed it into her sleeping hand in order to implicate her.

10. Reportedly, Knox showed no fear of being at the flat after the murder, but instead expressed concern about rent obligations and of finding another place to live.

11. Guede, the drug dealer who has already been convicted in Kercher’s killing, stated that Knox and Sollecito were with him and that the murder began about money (presumably the theft of the victim’s rent money), which was stolen from the flat. However, Guede’s story has changed several times.

12. Evidence shows murderer(s) staged the flat after the murder to simulate a burglary, foolishly breaking a window from the inside that was too high for any burglar to access and taking nothing of value except the victim’s cell phones and likely her rent money. For example, a laptop was found in clear view.

13. Reportedly, there was evidence of extensive cleaning and staging of the crime scene. For example, only one print of Knox’s could be found including in her own bedroom—although opinions vary as to whether this could actually be normal in one’s own residence since the number of clear, unsmudged prints in any residence can vary--and some prints in blood were reportedly cleaned up so well that they only became visible with luminol enhancement. The prosecution has suggested that only someone closely tied to the apartment, such as Knox, would have the motive to complete such a thorough cleanup so as to limit the evidence tying them to the scene.

14. Reportedly, some experts have suggested that the wounds and bruising on the victim’s body suggest that there were multiple attackers. Kercher was found with multiple superficial neck wounds in addition to the fatal wound, suggesting that Kercher was tortured prior to being killed. This might match the prosecutor’s theory of a forced sex game “gone wrong.” However, the medical examiner, who was among the first people testifying in Knox’s trial, stated that there was likely only a single attacker, presumably the already-convicted Guede.

15. When the victim’s body was found and throughout meetings with police and the victim’s friends, Knox expressed no sadness or normal emotions of terrible loss as all of the others did. Knox reportedly displayed an odd demeanor, which included hitting herself on the head at the police station prior to being fingerprinted, doing “cartwheels and stretches” while waiting to speak with police, sitting on Sollecito’s lap, sticking her tongue out at him and resting her feet on his legs and otherwise acting not maintaining a solemn demeanor.

16. Knox and Sollecito were videotaped in a lingerie store buying underwear within the days after the murder. A witness reportedly overheard the couple flirting and talking about the “wild sex” they would have when they got home. Photos and video of Kercher smiling in the store have been posted on the Internet. However, the defense has stated that Knox was shopping for emergency underwear since her home had been sealed off as a crime scene, and that furthermore, the “witness” only spoke Italian and therefore would not have understood Knox, who at that point was not fluent in Italian.

17. Reportedly, Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare footprints were found outside the victim’s bedroom door in luminol imaging.

18. Reportedly, Knox and Sollecito had details of the victim’s body and manner of death that only the murderers could have known. For example, Knox supposedly made statements to the police that suggested that she knew the body had been moved. Also, Knox made three calls to her mother on the morning that Kercher’s body was discovered. Both she and her mother have allegedly stated that the topic of the first phone call, which was made prior to the discovery of Kercher’s body, was Knox’s growing concern and fear that there might be “someone in the house.” However, during a visit to Knox's Italian jail Knox’s mother was secretly videotaped discussing this first phone call, noting that Knox had discussed “a foot” having been discovered in Kercher’s room. The timing of this call indicates that Kercher’s body, which was eventually found with one foot sticking out from under a duvet, had not yet been discovered.

19. Knox and Sollecito reportedly gave conflicting statements about their whereabouts to police and in emails to friends and family.

20. An independent investigator engaged by a panel of judges reviewed and found the forensic evidence to be reliable and done in conformity with international protocol.

21. When the police first arrived on location to investigate the two cell phones that had been found in the garden, Sollecito and Knox stated that they had just called the police. In fact, there was no record of such a call from either of their phones.

22. In an email to family and friends on Nov 4 detailing her behavior the night of the murder and the day after, during the early investigation, Knox describes how she returned to her flat the morning after the murder, noticed blood on the sink spout, blood on the bath mat, (didn’t mention the 10" streak of blood on the bath door) but took a shower thinking that maybe her roommate victim had just been messy with her menstruation. Police were skeptical as to why Knox would take a shower on such a cold day, as the apartment had no heat on.

23. Knox claimed that the victim had always locked her door, when in fact her other roommates say this was not the case.

24. Knox’s key was reported to open any lock in the apartment, yet she did not attempt to open Meredith’s room, even when she claimed to be suspicious and worried about the condition of the apartment (open front door, blood stains, etc.)

25. Knox falsely fingered her boss as the murderer. He had recently demoted her at her job and reportedly offered Knox’s position to her roommate, soon-victim Kercher.

26. Knox and a man of “north African descent” were observed washing clothing and shoes in a local Laundromat in the days after the murder.

27. Knox told the police the morning after the murder that she wasn’t concerned about Meredith’s bedroom door being locked “because she always kept it locked.” Roommates stated that her door was never locked. However, it is unclear why this would make Knox worry if indeed it was customary for Kercher’s door to be locked.

Knox proclaimed her innocence at the closed-door hearing on 17 October 2008


I can't vouch for each of these statements and obviously there can be cross-examination of each element, but at least seeing this shows it was not simply her demeanor that was considered in the trial, which lasted an entire year and involved the testimony of over 150 witnesses.

The jury included two judges, and Sollecito was defended by one of Italy's top criminal lawyers, who is also an MP.
posted by dhartung at 4:38 PM on December 4, 2009 [15 favorites]


A lot of the US coverage seems to question the integrity or professionalism of the Italian justice system.

Well, that's because they are filthy wops who have the temerity to put a nice American girl on trial. Of course they're corrupt. Isn't it self-evident?
posted by rodgerd at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2009


OK, now that I've heard an Observer reporter talking about it on the CBC, and especially now that I see the evidence against them was rather more comprehnsive than I'd thought, I believe the verdict is quite believable and unsurprising.
posted by Flashman at 5:42 PM on December 4, 2009


dhartung: "89This is as yet unsourced material from the Wikipedia article's talk page, but based on my intermittent attention to the trial it mostly jibes with what I've read:

Okay, I'll bite.

Security cameras caught footage of Knox heading to the apartment shortly before the murder, when she claimed to be home with her boyfriend.

Assuming this is correct I cannot dispute this out of hand, but the definition of "shortly" is of course crucial to the value of this as evidence. I am also unaware of any reports that this was in fact used as evidence in court, although this may of course be attributed to ignorance on my part.

Knox claimed to have spend some of the evening when the murder took place reading Harry Potter. A copy of Harry Potter was observed by police at the crime scene, but not at Sollecito’s house, where she claimed to spend the entire night.

I think one can safely assume there are numerous copies of Harry Potter books in Perugia, as in any sizeable town in Europe. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence: the above does not at all suggest, let alone provide evidence for, the notion that the copy found was in fact Knox's copy.

Both Knox and her boyfriend—also a suspect—turned their mobile phones off about the same time the night of the murder and not turned on again until the morning after the murder which forensics showed was not their normal usage pattern, as both reportedly normally used their phones late into the evening. However, Knox's reported explanation was that she had turned her phone off because she did not want her boss, Lumumba, to call her back to the bar to work that evening.

Unusual, perhaps; noteworthy, probably. But if true, no direct evidence. In fact, although I can imagine how a killer, accidental or intended, might turn off their mobile in a state of panic, I fail to see how this would be of instrumental value. If said killer were to be consciously trying to cover their tracks, they might in fact have done the opposite.

Witnesses reported hearing more than one person running from the murder.

I cannot recall this being reported in the media, although again that does not prove anything on my part.

A witness places Knox and Sollecito in the hills above the house looking down to it about the time of the murder or shortly thereafter presumably concerned about whether the victim’s screams would bring any response.

Again, the definition of "shortly" remains sorely wanting in this instance as well. Maybe they were hiking, for all I know. Sitting in some Italian hills looking down on the lights of the town at night would seem pretty awesome to me if I were stoned, is all.

Knox said she stayed at Sollecito’s house all night and awoke about 10:30AM. However, a witness placed her at a local grocery store waiting for it to open at 7:30 AM., where she allegedly bought bleach and other cleaning products. Police reportedly later found a receipt for these cleaning supplies when investigating Sollecito’s residence.

"Reportedly", she didn't do a very good job of cleaning up then, did she? Were traces of bleach found at the crime scene?

Knox first found at the flat the morning after the murder with a mop and bucket, which she said she had gotten to mop up water that Sollecito had spilled when a water pipe broke when he was cooking pasta the night of the murder.

Was a breach in the plumbing observed? Or does "water pipe" refer to a bong or other smoking device? If so, must have been a massive one if you need a mop.

One of the flat roommates testified that Knox had a scratch or welt on her neck the morning after the murder which wasn’t there a day earlier.

I don't think I should have to explain to any moron in a hurry how one can get scratches in myriad ways (Lord knows I do), and how at the very best this is circumstantial evidence.

Knox and Sollecito have changed their stories several times, even trying to implicate the other. For example, Knox has stated that she saw blood on Sollecito’s hands that evening but assumed it was from the fish he had prepared for dinner. Also, she reportedly suggested that he may have arose from bed to complete the murder and then brought back the murder weapon (with Kercher’s DNA on it) and pressed it into her sleeping hand in order to implicate her.

I thought the knife found was the wrong size to be the murder weapon? Pasta with fish *is* kind of nice though.

Reportedly, Knox showed no fear of being at the flat after the murder, but instead expressed concern about rent obligations and of finding another place to live.

Was this before or after she heard of Kercher's death? Lord knows I'd be queasy about having to continue live in a murder house. Also, anyone who's been to college knows what worrying about rent obligations is like.

Guede, the drug dealer who has already been convicted in Kercher’s killing, stated that Knox and Sollecito were with him and that the murder began about money (presumably the theft of the victim’s rent money), which was stolen from the flat. However, Guede’s story has changed several times.

Yep, college is a bitch finance-wise. But seriously, whose story *hasn't* changed several times during the course of this trial?

Evidence shows murderer(s) staged the flat after the murder to simulate a burglary, foolishly breaking a window from the inside that was too high for any burglar to access and taking nothing of value except the victim’s cell phones and likely her rent money. For example, a laptop was found in clear view.

Which murderer(s)?

Reportedly, there was evidence of extensive cleaning and staging of the crime scene. For example, only one print of Knox’s could be found including in her own bedroom—although opinions vary as to whether this could actually be normal in one’s own residence since the number of clear, unsmudged prints in any residence can vary--and some prints in blood were reportedly cleaned up so well that they only became visible with luminol enhancement. The prosecution has suggested that only someone closely tied to the apartment, such as Knox, would have the motive to complete such a thorough cleanup so as to limit the evidence tying them to the scene.

Please explain to me how to remove only one's own prints from a crime scene, because it would make me a rich, evil rich man.

Reportedly, some experts have suggested that the wounds and bruising on the victim’s body suggest that there were multiple attackers. Kercher was found with multiple superficial neck wounds in addition to the fatal wound, suggesting that Kercher was tortured prior to being killed. This might match the prosecutor’s theory of a forced sex game “gone wrong.” However, the medical examiner, who was among the first people testifying in Knox’s trial, stated that there was likely only a single attacker, presumably the already-convicted Guede.

Well, there you go. "Reportedly", the existence of multiple wounds does not per se suggest the existence of multiple assailants. Nor a "sex game". Then the medical examiner negates all of the preceding. I have nothing to add.

When the victim’s body was found and throughout meetings with police and the victim’s friends, Knox expressed no sadness or normal emotions of terrible loss as all of the others did. Knox reportedly displayed an odd demeanor, which included hitting herself on the head at the police station prior to being fingerprinted, doing “cartwheels and stretches” while waiting to speak with police, sitting on Sollecito’s lap, sticking her tongue out at him and resting her feet on his legs and otherwise acting not maintaining a solemn demeanor.

I sometimes chuckle at funerals. It embarasses me greatly.

Knox and Sollecito were videotaped in a lingerie store buying underwear within the days after the murder. A witness reportedly overheard the couple flirting and talking about the “wild sex” they would have when they got home. Photos and video of Kercher smiling in the store have been posted on the Internet. However, the defense has stated that Knox was shopping for emergency underwear since her home had been sealed off as a crime scene, and that furthermore, the “witness” only spoke Italian and therefore would not have understood Knox, who at that point was not fluent in Italian.

What's a "lingerie store"? Does it sell plain white panties? Black thongs? Red lace garter belts? Polka dot boxers with a zipper? This? Not evidence of a murder. I went for ice cream after 9/11, because Lord knows I needed it, not because I'm buddies with Osama.

Reportedly, Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare footprints were found outside the victim’s bedroom door in luminol imaging.

College. Roommates.

Knox and Sollecito reportedly gave conflicting statements about their whereabouts to police and in emails to friends and family.

If I were slapped around for days without sleep I'd admit to having been on the damn Moon on the day of the crime. I'd do cartwheels, too... wait -- emails to *friends and family*? Obtained how?

In an email to family and friends on Nov 4 detailing her behavior the night of the murder and the day after, during the early investigation, Knox describes how she returned to her flat the morning after the murder, noticed blood on the sink spout, blood on the bath mat, (didn’t mention the 10" streak of blood on the bath door) but took a shower thinking that maybe her roommate victim had just been messy with her menstruation. Police were skeptical as to why Knox would take a shower on such a cold day, as the apartment had no heat on.

I can't speak to the first part, but as for the last bit, assuming that there was hot water, why not take a hot shower without the central heating on and let the bathroom steam up a bit?

Knox and a man of “north African descent” were observed washing clothing and shoes in a local Laundromat in the days after the murder.

"North African" to me denotes Morocco to Egypt, roughly. (At least it does in Dutch discourse.) Côte d'Ivoire? They have mainly people with coffee-black skin there, not so much ones with sandy-brown skin.


--------

I could go on, but it's late and even though I've been following this case when the story first broke (see previous thread), it has drifted to the back of my mind for a while to be honest and I'm simply too stunned by the bizarre new facts coming out to have a balanced view of the case.

Need I mention the "animated video reconstructing what [the prosecutors] say were the different phases of the murder, with cartoon characters representing the defendants and the victim" the prosecutors showed the jury, a video which was described by a CNN commentator as "something like Lara Croft", right before showing graphic imagery of the victim's dead body?

I don't think you need to be a genius to see that there is something fundamentally broken about this judicial system, if one can call it that; and I hope in my heart of hearts that Washington, Brussels and The Hague sink their teeth into this miscarriage of justice stat and don't let go.

Reasonable doubt, indeed.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:31 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whether or not she actually killed Meredith, that girl is f'in weird, and definitely lying about something. It seems to go beyond "spoiled narcissistic brat" and right on into "pathological liar". I think there are too many inconsistencies in her story to honestly believe that she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Unless that was some seriously amazing hash.

(It wasn't).
posted by imalaowai at 6:37 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh and I should add, I have no personal stake in this case or any other, and I am not a legal professional in any way: however, possible miscarriages of justice have been tapping into a non-trivial portion of my ceaseless stream of personal anger ever since I attended a lecture by the inimitable Peter van Koppen breaking down the verdicts in a couple of the more egregious examples in recent Dutch judicial history.

No wonder then that he chairs an interfacultary group on such cases named, of course, Gerede Twijfel ("Reasonable Doubt").

Sorry about the machine translations. If you're going to read any of the links, let it be the one on Deventer.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:43 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kercher was found with multiple superficial neck wounds in addition to the fatal wound, suggesting that Kercher was tortured prior to being killed.

What the hell? I'm going to assume that Italy has some competent medical examiners and forensics types and that something has been lost in translation or whatever, because when you find someone with multiple superficial cuts and one big (fatal) cut it doesn't suggest torture, it suggests hesitation marks. Which is why people who cut their own wrists, for example, often have multiple superficial cuts in addition to the fatal cut. Hesitation marks on the victim's neck suggest the killer or killers weren't cold-blood pros and had to work up to the fatal cut.
posted by Justinian at 6:54 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Must-read: Vanity Fair: Perugia’s Prime Suspect

Also:
The Independent: Will Knox find justice in Perugia?

Corriere della Sera: Meredith murder, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito found guilty (machine translation)

And if you happen to be sewer-minded enough to read the take from the British fish-wrapper that shall not be linked, Google "Foxy Knoxy: Behind the Hollywood smile, a liar, a narcissist and a killer".
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:38 PM on December 4, 2009


Update: Amanda Knox was convicted.

Just in case you were checking old threads from your Commodore 64 using Quantum Link whilst living in a cave... on mars... with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:42 PM on December 4, 2009


Knox said she stayed at Sollecito’s house all night and awoke about 10:30AM. However, a witness placed her at a local grocery store waiting for it to open at 7:30 AM., where she allegedly bought bleach and other cleaning products. Police reportedly later found a receipt for these cleaning supplies when investigating Sollecito’s residence.

>"Reportedly", she didn't do a very good job of cleaning up then, did she? Were traces of bleach found at the crime scene?


According to Dateline from earlier this evening, reportedly there were traces of bleach on the knife found at Sollecito's house -- the one the prosecution claims had Kercher's DNA on the sharp part...
posted by sentient at 9:54 PM on December 4, 2009


gnfti, that's all tl;dr and I don't have the stake in this that you seem to assume. I did say there could be countervailing explanations, but neither of us was the jury and heard either side in court.

As to the "Lara Croft" murder reconstruction, it's called forensic animation, and it's been around at least as long ago as the 1991 murder of Artie Mitchell. Example (for TV). They tend to be based on video game technology. I thought it quite telling of the bias of the reporter that they were called "cartoon characters", actually.

there is something fundamentally broken about this judicial system, if one can call it that

I don't deny that miscarriages of justice occur daily everywhere in the world. I have a frustrating reactionary streak in me that defends the process as long as it is properly checked, balanced, and reasonably transparent. This case is going to be appealed, there's no doubt, and points like those you raised will no doubt be addressed.

I guess I'll just summarize my point of view here as that the first blush appearance of any of it doesn't make any sense. Motive -- in the US we dissect murder cases according to means, motive, and opportunity -- is opaque. There was a murder; we know that. Guede was almost certainly involved; we know that. What we don't know is how and why Sollecito and Knox were involved, and we may never. If they were, they apparently managed to permanently dispose of the real murder weapon, and were perhaps interrupted in their attempt to dispose of the body and cleanse the crime scene. If they were not, they were much more than just at the wrong place at the wrong time -- they actively participated in trashing their own credibility from the very first statements made to police.

I'm not sure that even an ideal justice system could manage to make sense of this. We had a murder in my hometown years ago where they put three people on trial, had a mistrial, and later successfully prosecuted two of those people using an entirely different theory of the crime. My sense is that the third guy was still involved; at one point he was reportedly bragging to friends about it. But he turned state's evidence against the other two and they went to prison and he did not. There is a gap between our moral sense of justice and our system of administration of justice. The former demands perfection; the latter accepts all kinds of imperfection, in the interests of closure.
posted by dhartung at 10:00 PM on December 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


So, Knox and Sollecito, after dating for a few days, decide to take a knife from Sollecito's flat to use in order to force Knox's roommate to have sex with the guy who hangs around the flat downstairs sometimes, and then kill her, with phones turned off. They then break the window, and wait 8-11 hours to go buy bleach and clean up the murder scene. While waiting, they presumably throw the victim's cell phone in a nearby garden (or get the guy who hangs out downstairs to do that) and return the knife to Sollecito's flat, forgetting to work out a consistent mutual story/alibi. Is that the story?

They seem guilty of something, but that's a deeply weird scenario.
posted by taz at 1:30 AM on December 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


According to Dateline from earlier this evening, reportedly there were traces of bleach on the knife found at Sollecito's house -- the one the prosecution claims had Kercher's DNA on the sharp part...

Bleach! On a knife! It's almost like they used it for something (killing/cooking) and then tried to disinfect it (to cover their tracks/to use again to cook).

Damning evidence, the lot of it.
posted by billysumday at 4:13 AM on December 5, 2009


I'm not saying there are no stupid criminals, you guys, but bleaching the murder weapon instead of, like, getting rid of the fucking thing seems REALLY REALLY fucking stupid.

Pretty much my take on it is, high kids can't come up with a consistent story and otherwise act weird because (a) they're freaked out, having walked in on the aftermath of a friend's bloody murder and (b) they're high. Cops railroad kids, story gets even more fucked up. Actual murderer: fairly clearly Rudy Guede. The prosecutor's story is fantastic, and he should really get work writing giallos, because they'd be a blast. But in real life, obvious explanations tend to be true explanations. This isn't a US v. Italian legal system issue to me, because God knows the American justice system fucks things up constantly. As far as I can gather, though, regardless of what nation it's coming from, it's injustice.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:51 AM on December 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


This isn't a US v. Italian legal system issue to me, because God knows the American justice system fucks things up constantly.

Well put and as I said upthread, this is why I am incredibly skeptical. The innuendo, the "evidence" of guilt because she acted strangely, or that they were into manga, and the *lack* of forensic evidence or the evidence there is that can be spun both ways, egotistical prosecutors who won't admit that their case sucks, wrong false confessions after interrogations at the hands of police.. jeez I've seen countless times in the US.

Central park jogger - false confession
Martin Tankleff - false confession
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirk_Bloodsworth
New York State Trooper scandal - planted faked evidence.

I can go on and on and on, but I think the point is there. This prosecution just seems so sadly "American" I would have thought an EU country would've done better. Call it Spaghetti Western justice.
posted by xetere at 9:18 AM on December 5, 2009


I can see having the opinion that Knox and Sollecito might possibly have been involved in this, in some way.

I cannot possibly see having the opinion that the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they participated in her murder. Not even close; dhartung's list of evidence upthread is as thin as it is long. A bunch of confusion about the timing of phone calls, meals, and internet surfing, and fingerprints and footprints in a house one of them lived in. And cartwheels, of course.

According to the prosecution, there were three people in that room, all of them participating in a murder that left a "lake of blood." One of them left fingerprints and DNA all over the room and the murdered girl. The other two left nothing. They cleaned up only their own fingerprints and DNA. How is that possible?

It's a half-baked theory that never should have gone to a jury.
posted by palliser at 10:10 AM on December 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


One of them left fingerprints and DNA all over the room and the murdered girl. The other two left nothing.

But they did.

"And the clasp which was cut with a knife when Meredith’s bra was removed was found on November 2nd when Meredith’s body was moved by the investigators. It was right under the pillow which was placed under Meredith when she was moved by someone from the position in which she died. On that clasp and its inch of fabric is the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox...."

"...bloody bare footprints which show up with luminol and fit Knox’s and Sollecito’s feet. These suggest that they entered Filomena’s room and created the scene in there after Meredith was killed. Allessandra Formica witnessed Rudy run away shortly after Meredith was stabbed. Someone went back later, left those footprints and staged the scene." via
posted by misha at 8:11 PM on December 5, 2009


I read the BBC's news feed as part of my daily news diet because I like the international coverage the BBC provides. Since this trial is taking place in Italy, I've been hearing about it (or at least reading short summaries) all along through the BBC's trial coverage. Having glanced through the links in the post and just skimming the comments, it's like the coverage I've been reading is of a completely different trial to the one under discussion here.

For interested parties who haven't read the BBC's coverage at all the latest I've seen is here, with sidebar links to extensive background material.
posted by immlass at 10:00 PM on December 5, 2009


The "True Justice for Meredith" site is heavily biased--hell, they aren't even using it on Wikipedia. Instead of the "true justice" of trying and convicting whomever was responsible for her murder, what they seek is simply convicting the people who were charged. It is true sensationalism, not true justice.

Anyway, bleach/sodium hypochlorite is a common ingredient in household cleaning products in the US and Italy, so a knife having traces of it doesn't mean anything... especially if that knife doesn't even create the wounds that the victim had or match the bloodstained outline of the murder weapon on her sheets. Investigators handled the crime scene very poorly, poking their bare fingers into Meredith's wounds and not securing their hair, even kicking in a window for no apparent reason. In addition to the prosecutor being utterly corrupt and crazy, I really can't buy it.
posted by autoclavicle at 10:07 PM on December 5, 2009


CNN article on the conviction. six of the [8] jurors were wearing red, white and green sashes -- the colors of Italy's flag.
posted by delmoi at 12:07 AM on December 6, 2009


Look at the bra clasp being collected in this police video. By the time these guys got done handling it, it probably had half of Perugia's DNA on it. More on the clasp.

More police video, of the bathroom - incredibly shocking because of the photo released to the press. (longer version here.)

I'd like to learn more about the footprints. I've read that their were bare footprints of Knox and Sollecito in the house, but not bloody footprints, and not in Kercher's room, and that the bathroom footprint doesn't match Sollecito, but does match Guede - but this was on a specifically pro-Amanda Knox site.
posted by taz at 1:56 AM on December 6, 2009


Not sure I understand the significance of your comment, delmoi. Wearing a tricolour sash is what they do here, just like in some court situations in the UK the judges wear wigs. The jurors weren't making any political, anti-American point. They were merely following the rules: wearing the sash indicates (I believe) their awareness of an obligation to respect the Constitution while on jury service.
posted by aqsakal at 3:28 AM on December 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look at the bra clasp being collected in this police video. By the time these guys got done handling it, it probably had half of Perugia's DNA on it.

You know as much as I have questions about how the sensationalism of the press meant that these two couldn't get a fair trial, and how weak the evidence was, the Meredith site, while biased, (as CNN et al could be biased the other way) sort of made me question whether or not there really was more to it than what I am getting. But then i saw the video of the bra clasp being collected, and I thought. Huh? You gotta be freakin' kidding me.

Also...

While the prosecution focused on the changing stories of Knox & Sollecito, I find Guede's changing story and what he did *not* say at first more telling.

So he says (if I got it right) that he and Kirchner were at the apartment, had consensual sex he uses the bathroom (because his stomach is upset because he ate a bad kebob) and hears screams, sees a man and flees. He made no mention of either Sollecito or Knox at first, those two weren't even on his radar. But then he implicated them later.

So I mean, if I were Guede, and I fled, and the scenario went down even remotely like what the prosecutor says, i'd be IMMEDIATELY upon capture putting out the story of me taking a crap while the two of them are killing Kirchner and I was so scared of these to whackos, I fled. I would have had to think to myself that the cops are leaning on those two and they'll sing and finger me.

But he didn't because he had no more reason to finger them any more than any other of the college students he knew marginally. That is until he learned of the other two being under suspicion. Prisoner's dilemma game theory is inadequate to explain that.
posted by xetere at 6:37 AM on December 6, 2009


But they did.

No, they didn't. Knox's DNA was not found on the bra clasp, only DNA consistent with Sollecito's, so that detail is just plain wrong on the site you linked. Plus the clasp was collected 47 days after the murder, from a crime scene so contaminated, they could probably have found DNA consistent with mine, too, if they'd wanted to. (And in fact, the bra clasp held DNA from several people on it. Because it was hopelessly contaminated.)

The footprints were outside the room. My claim was that Knox and Sollecito left nothing "in the room." Also, they were not in fact matched to Knox and Sollecito specifically.

Hair. Fingerprints. Uncontaminated DNA. These are not criminal masterminds; they are not magicians. Had they held this girl down and participated in raping and knifing her to death, they would have left these things in the room where they did it, just like Guede did.
posted by palliser at 7:50 AM on December 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do think the True Justice site is biased, and reading the synopsis of the Michelli report does say it is only Sollecito's DNA, not Knox's, on the bra clasp. And the defense does argue the DNA collected was tainted evidence.

I definitely think the Egan coverage is biased, too, in the other direction, though. And I feel the American journalists seem to be going for the human interest angle, and the Italian press are going for the character assassination angle. I'd like to see the merits of the case actually take center stage. Perhaps the BBC does a better job at this; I'll check out those links above.

Should Knox have been found guilty? Should Sollecito? I don't know. But I do think there was more than just a desire to lynch Knox going on here. The problem isn't NO evidence. Rather, it is a lot of confusing and seemingly contradictory evidence.
posted by misha at 7:22 PM on December 6, 2009


The question I ask myself is, if theses people are so rich, are they not paying the right amount or are they not paying the right people?

Notwithstanding that, if we assume the Italian justice system has succeeded in convicting those responsible in this case then that would be refreshing. It is interesting to me that they proceeded with the investigation into the involvement of Knox and Sollecito after prosecuting Guede.

For my part, I have found the reported behaviour of Knox to be consistent with someone who does not feel remorse or empathy with Kircher; a sociopath. Like Erin Caffey, the situation seems incredible to those of us who are not sociopaths or used to dealing with them.
posted by asok at 2:56 AM on December 7, 2009


The question I ask myself is, if theses people are so rich, are they not paying the right amount or are they not paying the right people?

FWIW -- on Dateline NBC they stated that Amanda Knox's parents(who are divorced) have bankrupted themselves in the process of defending her.
posted by ericb at 7:35 AM on December 7, 2009


For my part, I have found the reported behaviour of Knox to be consistent with someone who does not feel remorse or empathy with Kircher; a sociopath.

This is one of the biggest problems I have with the case and the prosecution. The *reported* behavior is what, exactly, they weren't appropriately grave? is there an official grave-o-meter scale that we all must be measured against lest we also come under suspicion?

I was a spoiled kid in Queens when a spoiled kid in Long Island, who also didn't act "appropriately upset" was accused of bludgeoning his parents with a knife leaving their bedroom a charnal house. The press had a field day - "kid killed his parents because they wouldn't give him a car. Kid was high on pot!" That kind of stuff.

The cops grilled him, told him his father survived, woke up out of a coma and said that he did it. This spoiled kid who didn't act remorseful enough for investigators until he acted *too* upset at the funeral - investigators then concluded he was acting, you can't win. This spoiled kid smoked a lot of weed the night his parents were killed. This spoiled kid started to say, "hmm, what if i did do it and was so stoned i didn't remember it?" The investigators helpfully asked him to "imagine" how it would go down if he had in fact killed his father. The investigators typed up the "confession" - he refused to sign but it was too late.

Prosecutors used this "confession" to convict him. Even though there was very sketchy forensic evidence open to interpretation, and the kid had no blood on him, no trace of blood in his bedroom, and the murder knife never recovered. Even though father's business partner, who was over that night, owed his father a lot of money and fled the day after the murder. Oh, that business partner and the lead detective had an interesting history themselves.

Many of you know by now that the kid was Martin Tankleff, one of an enormous number of miscarriages of justice, interesting perhaps because it happened in the so-called more enlightened blue states, and NOT in Texas or Oklahoma. After 17 years in prison, his conviction was overturned and all charges dropped.

A lot of what I hear in the Kirchner murder case about Knox & Sollecito seem to me eerily familiar with what happened in the Tankleff case and for similar reasons. it might be good for people who question how Knox could've made a false confession, or who question her affect to read up on Tankleff.

(As a kid with the same ethnicity, age, and level of brattiness as Tankleff, and whose parents has similarly sketchy business partners, i do admit i was rather obsessed with the case - sorry if you're tired of me bringing it up)
posted by xetere at 2:14 AM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm glad you commented, xetere. I keep holding myself back because I'm afraid to seem as if I'm being led by some sort of pro-American and thus pro-Knox point of view, though I haven't been exposed to any media exposure or hype at all, and am a rather cynical ex-pat who would be far more likely to argue in favor of Italian autonomy and discretion.

I've already said that I, personally, would not be likely to remember specific details of any day in my life, unless, possibly, one was connected with something shocking. Like, I remember that I took a nap on 9-11-2001, and that when my husband woke me up from that afternoon snooze to tell me that something horrible was happening in New York (we were in Greece), the sky outside my window was just-so gray, the curtains in the bedroom were hanging in a sort of half-closed/half-open way, the temperature was quite cool but not cold, and the heat was not on, and I could hear kids playing and bird sounds from outside... but not what I was wearing, the linens on the bed, what time I took a nap, what exact time my husband woke me up, what I had been reading or watching before that point, or, really, anything that happened that day or previous days up to that moment.

It would have been next to impossible for me to testify about exactly what I had done in the 24 hours leading up to that point, not becausre I am a guilty person, or an insane person, but because my mind doesn't track that way.

I've already argued that people react differently to stress; I've known people who would do completely nuts things like cartwheels in the police station, yet they are the polar opposite of killers or even antisocial. What if, instead of cartwheels in the station, she had jogged a lap or two around the station (if they had let her)? Would that be equally indicative of some kind of guilt? I have no idea.

And the interesting thing about her "confession" to the police... Is there any transcription either in Italian or English? Apparently there is no video or audio available at all. Is there any record of this at all? Nothing that police are willing to submit, apparently. (Am I wrong? Everybody wants to know what she she actually said, and what they said, and etc. - how is this a big fucking secret when they can apparently use that testimony against her?)

I understand that the police interrogation was supposed to be thrown out in court, yet, the majority of what seems to condemn her is from this interrogation that we can't see/hear/read.

Why did she implicate her boss?

It seems like one of the most egregious things she did, and the thing most pointing to her guilt - yet at some point when the police were interrogating her without a lawyer, they knew that there was African hair at the scene of the crime, and {possibly} tried to get her to "imagine" or admit some scenario with her Congolese boss, with whom she'd earlier texted.

Too bad we can't tell for ourselves how that conversation went, because apparently there is no record at all of this whole questioning period that lasted up to 30 hours, depending on whom you ask. And it's all supposed to have been thrown out. Yet somehow selected statements during this time were used against her so much that even having absolutely no DNA or other physical evidence at or connected to the scene of the crime doesn't matter. She has to be guilty! But why?

Acting stupidly silly doesn't do it for me. I've been too young and stupidly silly, yet not guilty of rape-murder to condemn her for cartwheels and a faulty memory. If the initial police questioning is so important, give us an audiotape, or at the very least, a true transcription (I wouldn't count on the latter; let's just go with the audio).
posted by taz at 8:35 AM on December 8, 2009


There's also, I feel, a direct relationship between the craziness of the motive/scenario you're trying to sell me, and the amount of evidence you're going to need to convince me. I mean, guy takes out six life insurance policies on wife, kills her a month later, sure, show me a few luminol-enhanced footprints and a DNA-encrusted knife tip, some google searches for "bleach" and "blood," and we're good. But ... a couple of seemingly normal college students enlist third party they barely know for crazed rape orgy thrill kill? I'm gonna need more than a couple maybe-footprints and one highly contaminated DNA finding.
posted by palliser at 1:46 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


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