Amanda Knox was a 20-year-old college exchange student studying abroad in Italy living the life of her dreams. She had a gorgeous, Italian boyfriend, an apartment she loved and her entire life ahead of her. That is… until she was accused of brutally murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher in what the press deemed sex games gone bad.
Who Is Amanda Knox?
Amanda Knox was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She led a happy, free life and accepted and embraced it. She was different, but it was something unique about herself she really loved.
After joining college, her life wasn’t where she wanted it to be and she felt she was behind. She wasn’t independent yet and felt the urgent need to go outside her comfort zone. It was time to do something important for her personal growth. She applied to a student exchange program to go and study in Italy.
Why Did Amanda Knox Go to Italy in the First Place?
Italy is full of culture, art, wine and history. Amanda was convinced she could find herself in such an environment. It would be a great adventure in her life she was excited to take.
Amanda spent the first few weeks in Italy traveling around and discovering her new city. She shared a house with a couple Italian girls and one British girl, Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher.
Meredith Kercher was a sophisticated girl. The exact opposite of Amanda.
Amanda felt in control of her life. She lived in a beautiful house overlooking a valley. She was very involved in her educational program because it was a major priority.
Amanda decided to get a job to earn extra money. She met Diya Patrick Lumumba, a man looking to get his bar off the ground and on the road to success. Patrick hires Amanda to work at his bar. He thinks a beautiful, blonde, American girl working in his bar will be good for his business. Amanda would definitely attract customers to the bar.
Amanda Knox’s Life One Week Before the Murder
Amanda meets Raffaele Sollecito. Raffaele is from southern Italy, and also a student studying engineering. He is shy by nature but enjoys collecting knives.
Raffaele attends a classical music concert, where he sees Amanda. He thinks she is beautiful and notices she came to the concert alone. Despite his shyness, he approaches her and starts a conversation. They click immediately. He takes Amanda on a panoramic view of Perugia. They share a romantic moment and he takes her to his house.
They start dating after this. It is new time for both of them because neither of them experienced love before. They spend the week together doing what young couples do. They take pictures together, go for walks, smoke a few joints and make love.
The Night of the Murder
Amanda was at Raffaele’s apartment the night of the murder watching a movie. In the middle of the movie, Amanda receives a text from her boss, Patrick, telling her she didn’t have to work that night.
Amanda replies to him and says:
“Okay then. See you later. Goodnight.”
They finish the movie they were watching and make dinner. After, Amanda reads to Raffaele from a German Harry Potter book and they settle into bed. One thing leads to another and they make love and fall asleep.
The Morning After the Murder
The next morning, Amanda wakes and tells Raffaele she is going home. When she gets there, she notices the front door open. The living area looked normal. Her room was its usual messy self.
She undresses and heads to the bathroom. She notices a few drops of blood on the sink but does not pay a lot of attention to it. She brushes her teeth and takes a shower. When she gets out of the shower, she notices a huge spot of blood on the bath mat. Again, Amanda is not concerned with it.
After blow-drying her hair, she notices that feces have been left in the toilet. Now, this really got her attention. She gets the feeling someone is in the house with her. She returns to Raffaele’s house and explains what she saw and felt.
Raffaele goes to the house with Amanda to see for himself. He is amazed she took a shower in the house as it was.
They try Meredith’s door but it is locked, which seems very strange. Amanda knocks louder and louder and tries to call for Meredith but she does not respond. She asks Raffaele to try to break down the door. He tries to kick it in twice but it doesn’t budge.
They decide to call the police. Raffaele explains what they have seen so far. The police arrive at the house and ask Raffaele and Amanda to wait outside.
They break into Meredith’s room. Amanda discovers Meredith is dead when she overhears the police talking about the amount of blood in the room and Meredith’s throat had been cut.
The two girls had bonded in the few weeks they had known each other. They became good friends, not necessarily best friends, but they were good friends. Her death scared Amanda. She was terrified it could have easily been her that was murdered.
The Day of the Murder: November 2, 2007
Meredith Kercher was found dead in her room at Via Della Pergola, Perugia, Italy. The evidence suggested she was murdered. There was a lot of blood all over her room and her body had been covered.
Meredith’s body showed signs of:
- Being held down and restrained by her arms.
- Her throat had been cut.
The lead prosecutor assigned to the case was Giuliano Mignini. He arrived at the crime scene and what he saw shocked him. He had never seen anything like it before. Outside the house, he spotted two young people. He felt they were cuddling and comforting each other in a manner that was inappropriate for the time.
Meredith’s Kercher’s Family
Meredith’s family was devastated by the news of her death. They spoke highly of her amazing personality and kind heart. The family had lost a precious jewel.
Meredith’s mother, Arline Kercher, asked to see her daughter. The necessary arrangements were made and she was taken to see her. She looked at her daughter’s lifeless body for a moment, then gave her a kiss.
The Police Investigations
The Italian police were under a lot of pressure. The case had captured international interest. The police in Perugia had to show they had the required skill and personnel to handle the case.
They worked around the clock to try and figure out what the motive was for her murder. The police looked into Meredith’s life and all her romantic relationships; nothing was ruled out.
The prosecutor said he was inspired by Sherlock Holmes when investigating the case. He looked at how Holmes discovered clues from ‘seemingly difficult events’. Giuliano asked himself many questions:
- Why was Meredith’s body covered with a blanket? Female murderers have a habit of covering the body of a female victim but a male murderer doesn’t.
- The break-in was very unusual. Nothing was stolen from the house. There was no evidence of anyone climbing the wall to get into the broken window.
- The prosecutor felt it was a staged break-in used to divert the attention and take the suspicion off someone who had a direct connection to the house.
Examination Results of the Victim’s Body
Many journalists camped outside the laboratory waiting for the results on the post-mortem examination of Meridith’s body. Those on the case were very aggressive to get any useful information and publish it first before any other journalists got the news.
Nick Pisa was a freelance journalist for the Daily Mail. He flew from England to Italy to cover Meredith’s story. They allowed him in the laboratory to get the exam results first because he spoke Italian.
The results showed that:
- Meredith had sexual intercourse
- Traces of male DNA were found in her body
- There were nicks on her chin like someone had tortured her
After the results, the police concluded there were more than one person involved in the crime. A sex game that went terribly wrong. Their conclusions made headlines around the world.
Two Days After the Murder
Since the police closed the house down as a crime scene, Amanda is finally allowed back in her house.
They took her to where the knives were kept and asked her to identify the knives and see if any were missing. They were basically asking her if the murder weapon was missing.
Something clicks in Amanda’s head and she realizes they suspect her of the murder. She becomes hysterical. She starts hitting the palms of her hands on her ears. The prosecutor sees this and believes she was hearing voices or screams…Meredith’s screams. Giuliano begins to suspect Amanda.
Three Days After the Murder
Amanda and Raffaele’s phones are monitored by the police. Amanda calls her friend Brett back in Washington. They talk about Raffaele, her new boyfriend. They talk about the murder. Brett assures Amanda that everything was going to be okay.
The investigators get a breakthrough in their investigations. Raffaele was called into the police station for questioning again. Amanda accompanies him and waits in the waiting room for him, even though she was not called in for questioning again.
Raffaele says they question him in an unprofessional manner. The police were rude and asked him repeatedly what had happened the night of Meredith’s murder. He told them, again, he was home with Amanda that night. The police were not satisfied with his answer.
One of the police officers said Amanda was a liar, a whore and she didn’t care about him. Raffaele’s judgment becomes clouded. As a result, he changes his story and turns on Amanda. He said he had been lying to the police the whole time because Amanda asked him to. He tells the police he was home alone that night and Amanda wasn’t with him.
Amanda sat in the waiting room completely unaware of what was happening. The police tell her that Raffaele changed his story and turned on her. Amanda shows the police Patrick’s text, that she never left Raffaele’s house. The police, however, insist her reply to Patrick’s text meant she went out to meet him. They imply she doesn’t remember meeting him because something traumatized her.
Amanda starts crying. The police become more aggressive with her, one of them hits her on the back of her head, trying to force her to remember the meeting. Amanda starts seeing Raffaele’s house in her mind. She sees her front door open and Patrick’s brown jacket. She gets confused and thinks it means she is remembering that Patrick killed Meredith.
Giuliano is shocked with the news. Amanda’s “new confession” makes her an accomplice to murder. He is confused why Raffaele lied. Giuliano decides to have all three of them arrested.
Amanda’s mother comes to Italy to visit her daughter in prison. It was an emotional moment for mother and daughter. No mom wants to see her daughter like that. Amanda tells her mother how hurt she is that Raffaele turned on her. She suspects he has been under the same stress she has.
Her mother shares the lawyer’s report with her. Her family has been under constant attack by the media because of case quickly gaining international interest.
“Foxy Knoxy” Nickname
Since the case was treated as a sex game gone wrong, many criticized Amanda and the decisions she made in regards to her sex life.
One news headline gave her the name ‘Foxy Knoxy’. It was headline after another, page lead after another. All of it in criticism of Amanda and her sex life.
Patrick Lumumba’s Release
Patrick Lumumba provided an alibi and was released three weeks after his arrest. Why did Amanda implicate him anyway?
Giuliano is confused by this. The only reasonable answer is, she implicated him to divert the attention away from her. Giuliano decides to go to the prison to question Amanda about why she accused Patrick.
Amanda explains she was under a lot of duress and scared. It was the middle of the night, she knew she was innocent but the police kept telling her she was guilty. They convinced her she met Patrick that night and that she doesn’t remember because something traumatized her.
She tells Giuliano she actually started to believe she actually had met Patrick. Giuliano found her reasoning rather strange and didn’t understand what she was saying. To him, it was either true or not, there couldn’t be any other explanations.
Amanda said he kept asking her why she mentioned Patrick. She told him the police wanted her to say she met him. Amanda realized this wasn’t what they wanted to hear and would never listen to her again.
In Giuliano’s opinion, Amanda couldn’t handle being questioned and she had hostility towards authority.
HIV Scare and the Prison Diary
Amanda was subjected to a medical examination and a blood test. They told her she was HIV positive and would likely develop AIDS.
She kept a diary while she was in prison. In it, she wrote how afraid she was since they told her she was HIV+. It was one of her dreams to start a family someday. She made a list of all her lovers and noted the ones she had protected sex with and those she had unprotected sex with.
Then the worst thing that could have happened, happened. Her diary was leaked to the public after it landed in the hands of the media. Nick Pisa was on of the first journalists to get hold of her diary. He wouldn’t say where he got it because it would go against his journalistic principles.
Her diary was published all over the place. It turned out that she was not HIV+ after all! The police and the prosecution were playing mind games on her.
Giuliano issued a search warrant for Raffaele’s house. The police were looking for the murder weapon at his house and found a number of knives in the kitchen. This was no surprise as Raffaele enjoyed collecting knives.
One of the knives at his house matched the description of the murder weapon. Amanda’s DNA was found on the handle of the knife and Meredith’s DNA was on the tip of the blade. Amanda could not explain how it. It was impossible for her DNA and Meredith’s DNA to be on the same knife.
Meredith’s bra was found covered in blood, suggesting she had it on when she was murdered. The clasp was missing. When police found it and tested it, they found traces of Raffaele’s DNA on it.
Who is Rudy Guede?
Three weeks after the murder, Patrick Lumumba is cleared. The police insist Meredith was killed by three people. There were a number of fingerprints still not identified as well as the feces in the toilet. Also, traces of Meredith’s DNA was found mixed with hers in the room.
>>> It was one big biological mess!!!!
The traces were linked to Rudy Hermann Guede. Rudy was described as a sleezy type of man. He had been involved in many break-ins.
While the investigation was underway, Rudy fled the country. The police had to track down a friend of his in order to have a Skype conversation with him.
During the call, Rudy said he met Meredith a day before she was murdered. He went to her house the next day but nothing happened between them because they didn’t have any condoms. Rudy went to the bathroom. He heard screaming and quickly left the bathroom.
He saw a man in the house but could not identify him because it was dark. The man ran to the front door. Then, he saw Meredith and she was bleeding. Her throat had been cut. Meredith clung to him tightly and he panicked. He was covered in her blood.
Rudy expressed his fears and that he had thoughts of killing himself. He, however, assured the police that Amanda had nothing to do with the murder. She was not in the house.
An international arrest for Rudy was issued and he was arrested. The new development shocked Amanda. She kind of knows who Rudy is, but wasn’t too clear because she didn’t even know his name.
Rudy’s lawyer, Valter Biscotti, maintains Rudy did not kill Meredith. Because Rudy’s presence in the house is undisputed, his lawyer knew the judge would not believe he didn’t kill her. A trial is held for the three of them together, but Rudy faces the risk of being the only one convicted. His lawyer decides to separate the two trials.
During Rudy’s trial, he changes his statement. He now says he saw the silhouette of Amanda leaving the house through the window.
Rudy was found guilty and sentenced to thirty years in prison for “his part” of the murder. On appeal, his sentence is reduced to sixteen years. No one was really interested in Rudy. Their interest is in Amanda.
Her Trial and Case Proceedings
One and a half years into the murder trial and everyone is still calling it a case of a sex game gone wrong. The day of the trial was chaos. The media and everyone else waits to hear the proceedings of the case.
The prosecution came up with a theory (and even acted it out during the trial) on what happened the night of the murder. They claim Meredith went home and found Amanda with Raffaele and Rudy. She is shocked by this. Meredith scolds Amanda on her lack of morals. Amanda must have felt judged and humiliated. They start arguing and Amanda feels Meredith shouldn’t judge her morals. Amanda decided to teach Meredith a lesson.
The prosecution believes Raffaele and Rudy wanted to engage with Amanda sexually that night. That they would have done anything she wanted, just to appease her. So Amanda has Rudy and Raffaele rape Meredith, then she stabbed her in the throat.
The First Verdict Read
All evidence had been presented to the court and all witnesses have been heard. The case has been tried in court. Two years after the murder, it is time to hear the verdict.
Amanda and Raffaele are found guilty on all accounts, for all the charges brought against them. Amanda is sentenced to twenty-six years in prison and Raffaele is sentenced to twenty-five years.
The people of Perugia are happy they have been found guilty. Meredith’s family is equally pleased with the verdict and sentencing. Amanda and Raffaele’s family are devastated.
Amanda & Raffaele in Prison
Amanda found herself in a dark place with no one to turn to. At some point, she thought about committing suicide. She could not imagine going back home in her fifties, with many of her family members gone.
Raffaele spent his first six months in solitary confinement. He started falling into a deep depression. He had no one to talk to or to help him. All of this time, he was thinking about Amanda.
He wanted to see her and send flowers for her birthday. He wanted to do anything to assure her that he was still there for her. But Amanda told him she did not feel the same way towards him anymore. It was a bitter moment for Raffaele. The five days he had known Amanda meant a lot to him.
Three years after the murder, Amanda and Raffaele’s trial begin to appeal the guilty verdicts and their sentencing. Amanda is brought to court where she gives an emotional, tear-filled declaration of her innocence. In her declaration, she addresses Meredith’s family and apologizes for what happened to their daughter. She also says the thought of not seeing her family again scares her.
The Court of Appeals approved an independent review of the crucial DNA evidence found on the knife and Meredith’s bra clasp.
The Evidence Review
Independent Forensic Expert, Dr. Stefano Corti, explains how very easy it is to leave traces of DNA. Therefore, a crime scene should be kept completely sterile. THAT did not happen in this case.
There was a lot of traffic, people coming and going, without protective suits during the investigation of the scene of the crime. Booties and gloves that are to be worn, were rarely changed.
Dr. Carla Vecchiottti, the other Independent Forensic Expert assigned, said contamination was one of the key issues raised by the court.
The bra clasp was found 46 days after the murder, under a rag. After 46 days, it is very possible the other people in the house could have brought in traces of DNA from other rooms and other parts of the house into Meredith’s room.
Raffaele’s DNA was on the bra clasp but there was also two unknown male’s DNA found. Yet, the police never introduced the other two male’s DNA as evidence. Dr. Carla said DNA is objective and it cannot be interpreted to mean what you want it to. It was also found that the laboratory that was used to test the items for evidence, has had contamination problems.
Amanda’s DNA profile found on the knife was a clear and definite one. Meredith’s DNA found on the tip was not so clear, and scarce. When you have a scarce DNA, the probability of contamination is high.
The forensic police were asked if while examining the knife, had she examined it with any other evidence. She said no, she examined fifty of Meredith’s samples together. She also explained the lab could not shut down just because Meredith had died. Because of her response, it became clear the results were contaminated.
The media and everyone else, in general, were shocked by the new report. They attacked the prosecutor and the police. The American media focused on the DNA evidence.
It turns out, there was no trace of Amanda in the room where Meredith was murdered and no reliable trace of Raffaele in the room. What is likely to have happened that night?
- Amanda got her boyfriend (of only a few days) and this man (whose name she didn’t even know) to rape her roommate then let her stab her to death.
- A guy, who regularly committed burglaries, broke into Amanda’s home, found Meredith, had his way with her, then killed her and ran away.
The Verdict in the Appeal Trial
The Court of Appeals in Perugia acquitted Amanda and Raffaele due to lack of evidence and orders their immediate release. This was an emotional moment for Amanda and her family. They were happy with the verdict. Also for Raffaele.
Outside the courthouse, it was rather chaotic. The people of Perugia were not happy with the verdict.
After Their Releases
Amanda returns home to Seattle with her family. She suffered unnecessary publicity. Strangers would walk up to her and ask her random questions making her feel uncomfortable. Curt Knox, Amanda’s father, made it clear his daughter was not ‘hot property’. He wasn’t going to parade her in front of the media for interviews, just to get money.
After being released from prison, Amanda wrote a memoir. The book is titled Waiting To Be Heard. In her memoir, she talks about her experience after Meredith’s death. She talks about the court cases and her prison experiences and how she felt and reacted to everything while going through the ordeal.
Amanda thought her life would go differently. She knew she would be different, a new person when she moved back to Seattle. But she did not anticipate this. The whole world knew her and her sex life. A lot of people saw her as a sex-obsessed person.
Raffaele headed back home after his release. He said he headed to the fridge once he got home. He stared at it like it was something new to him. Raffaele just spent four years in prison and was happy to be free. He did not know how to start his life over again. The case made him famous and gave him the attention he did not want.
Another Italian court strike’s down Amanda and Raffaele’s acquittal and, again, finds them guilty. The verdict comes six years after the murder and it is based on circumstantial evidence. The court decides to include Amanda’s behavior and her relationships as ‘evidence’.
The guilty verdict is, again, appealed by Italy’s highest court.
Second Appeal Verdict
Meredith’s family is still convinced of Amanda’s guilt and they want to see her imprisoned in Italy.
When the verdict is read, Amanda and Raffaele are acquitted for the second (and last) time. The news brings joy and excitement to Amanda’s home. Amanda calls Raffaele in Italy and tells him how happy she is they are finally free.
In September 2015, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation releases its summation of their verdict in acquitting Amanda and Raffaele. The court points to the ‘stunning flaws’ of the investigation and the increased media attention created a frantic search for the guilty parties. They found a “complete lack of biological traces” connecting Amanda and Raffaele to the crime. All of the evidence still pointed to the guilt of Rudy Guede.
Arline Kercher said they were surprised they had two convictions and two acquittals. The journalist, Nick Pisa, blamed the police for the problems. They were so fixated on their own theories of what happened, they never bothered to explore other relevant evidence given to them. Pisa said the journalists reported what they were told and it was not a trial by the media.
The prosecutor said if Amanda and Raffaele are truly innocent, he hopes they forget the suffering they had to go through. But if they are guilty, they may have gotten away with it in court, but their own guilt will catch up with them.
Where Are They All Now
Amanda graduated from college in 2014. She is now an advocate for those who have been wrongfully convicted. Amanda has been surprisingly open about her life. She has not shied away from social media or the press. To her, talking to her accusers with compassion and not being defensive, will help them see her for who she is. She is only human.
Raffaele runs his own internet company in Bari, Italy. He also serves as a crime expert for Italian TV.
Giuliano was promoted to General Prosecutor.
Nick Pisa still works in journalism.
Rudy Guede was recently granted a day release on his conduct of good behavior. He still maintains that he is innocent.
Amanda’s Love Life
Even when she wasn’t looking for love, love found her. Amanda has been in a serious relationship with her boyfriend, Christopher Robinson for over a year now.
The two lovebirds met in 2015 at a book party. Amanda had reviewed a novel he co-authored titled ‘War of the Encyclopaedists’.
In 2016, they moved in together. The couple talked about marriage and starting a family. Amanda has decided to put these plans on hold for the moment. She is focusing on her sister’s wedding. Her sister played a major role in supporting her when she was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Amanda wants to put her life on hold to support her sister. She’d love to give her the best experience for her wedding.
The couple is working on a reality-TV proposal. They are working together on a project that is centered on those who are caricatured by the media.
Return to Italy
November 2017 was the ten-year ‘anniversary’ of Meredith’s murder. Amanda wanted to visit Italy in remembrance of Meredith. She knew Perugia was not going to welcome her with open arms.
Nonetheless, it is something she felt she had to do. She felt it was the last step of her healing process. The only way to go through the complete circle of the entire healing process is by literally going full circle.
To Amanda, that meant going back to where it all took place. Anniversaries have a way of bringing back old memories and experiences. This was something Amanda was looking forward to.