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article imageOp-Ed: Amanda Knox appeal continues – so do the lies

By Alexander Baron     Jul 30, 2011 in Crime
Perugia - Amanda Knox is portrayed by the American media as an innocent victim of a witch hunt; the truth is she was rightly convicted of the murder of her fellow student Meredith Kercher.
Over the past twenty years and more there has been a veritable parade of murderers and others who claim they were framed by the police, or by the crooked system. Many of these have been members of “oppressed” minorities who have played the race card incessantly and sometimes quite cynically. The two most outrageous such cases are those of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and Satpal Ram, both of whom were convicted of senseless murders on absolutely overwhelming evidence.
The case of Amanda Knox is a mirror image of the above; she has allegedly been targeted because of her image as a free spirited all-American white girl whose Bohemian lifestyle infuriated those Puritanical (or should that be Catholic?) Italians, and anyway, no one so strikingly beautiful could have committed such a foul murder. The only problem with that fragile hypothesis is the facts that prove her guilt.
The victim’s father hit the nail on the head for the fascination this case has generated with especially the American media: “As a journalist myself, I know the reason why. Knox is young, attractive and female. To many, she seems an unlikely killer.” It really is that simple: Amanda Knox is too beautiful to have slit a young woman’s throat.
Amanda Marie Knox was born at Seattle, Washington on July 9, 1987. In October 2007, she was studying at the University For Foreigners in Perugia, Italy, where she was sharing an apartment with a fellow student, Meredith Kercher, and two Italian women.
On the afternoon of November 2, the body of the British-born Kercher was found by her flatmates and the police; there was evidence of robbery, and also of a possible sexual assault; her throat had been cut. The crime scene suggested that Miss Kercher had been murdered and possibly raped during the course of a robbery, which would imply she was the victim of a random or opportunist attack, but as with the Jeremy Bamber case, crime scenes can be staged, and the Italian police – who have been portrayed as a rerun of the Keystone Kops – soon found evidence that this was indeed the case, in particular that one of the windows of the cottage had been broken not in order to gain entry, but to give that impression.
Three people would stand trial – in two seperate trials – for the murder of Meredith Kercher. The first, African itinerant Rudy Guede, was convicted in October 2008 and sentenced to 30 years in prison, reduced on appeal to 16 years. There is no question about Guede’s participation in the murder, and nothing he has said has helped Knox or her boyfriend in any way.
The second trial was of Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito; the prosecution case was that Meredith was murdered when a bizarre sex game went wrong, and that Knox wielded the murder weapon. In December 2009, both accused were convicted by a panel of two judges and six jurors. Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years in prison; Knox to 26 years. Then came the real hue and cry. How could they convict this poor, fresh faced young girl of such a dastardly crime? In Italy, Foxy Knoxy became known as Angel Face.
The Italian legal system is radically different from both the American and British systems, but in spite of harsh and for the most part unwarranted criticisms, the police, the prosecutors, and the panel of jurists appear to have done a thorough job. In March last year, the two judges published a 427 page legal opinion explaining in considerable detail how the panel of eight had reached their verdict.
Initially, Knox was not a suspect in the case, but she and her boyfriend soon fell under suspicion. Their inconsistent statements and apparently bizarre behaviour (especially hers) would have aroused the suspicions of even Inspector Clouseau.
Though their trial was conducted in the full glare of international publicity, the American media has been overwhelmingly hostile to both the process and the result, criticisms which are prima facie unwarranted.
Little attention has been paid to the details of Amanda Knox’s confession, where initially she pointed the finger at Patrick Lumumba, the owner of Le Chic, where the American student worked part time. Lumumba was arrested solely on the strength of her confession, and held for thirteen days before he was cleared of any involvement in the crime and released, not because Knox retracted that part of her confession, but because the Italian police did a thorough job.
Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox, American from Seattle, is shown here in newspaper. Her case was sensationalized in the Italian press.
redbanshee's photostream
The supporters of Amanda Knox have a lame excuse for her pointing the finger at an innocent man:
“after a long and grueling interrogation, she yielded to police demands by describing an imaginary dream or vision. In this vision, she was in the kitchen covering her ears to block out screams while the man she worked for, Patrick Lumumba, was in Meredith's bedroom.
It was completely untrue, but it was what the police wanted to hear.”
She doesn’t say why the police wanted to incriminate Lumumba, nor why after obtaining this incriminating confession they didn’t go the whole hog and frame him as well.
Knox claims she was abused by the police and threatened with thirty years in gaol if she didn’t confess. And if she did confess to a murder they’d let her go? It is of course sadly well documented that innocent people sometimes confess to quite horrendous crimes, even freely and voluntarily, but the claims or inference of brutality and psychological torture made by Knox against the Italian police have been shown to have no substance; even so, they have been repeated uncritically by her supporters, and her parents have now been ordered to stand trial for libel.
Candace Dempsey has written a book Murder In Italy, which is currently being plugged by Knox supporters, but in spite of the partisan nature of most of the American media, there have been dissenting voices, in particular Barbie Latza Nadeau, the only American journalist to attend both murder trials.
According to the author of Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox, “[The] greatest misconception in this case is that most Americans believe that absolutely no forensic evidence was presented in court...” She added that in spite of her poor perception by the Italian media and the jury, and the mistakes made by the police, Knox received a fair trial, and that although her appeal stands some chance of success, “if the police had not made one mistake, you’d still have the same verdict, I think you’d just have less controversy”.
The appeal has been hearing from expert witnesses concerning DNA evidence, and will resume on September 5.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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