Amanda Marie Knox was an ordinary American girl, till she went to Italy on a student exchange programme and got convicted for the murder of her flatmate, Meredith Kercher, who was a fellow exchange student studying linguistics from UK. The news became sensational when the prosecution and media made her out to be a ‘She Devil.’ She and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted for the murder, along with a petty burglar named Rudy Guede. She was initially sentenced to 26 years imprisonment, out of which she spent more than four years in an Italian jail, before she was acquitted after an appeal in a higher court. She returned to the US to complete her studies, but the Italian judicial system ordered a retrial that again found her guilty of the crime. The case was finally closed by the Italian Supreme Court who found her not guilty of the murder. Though she never returned to Italy after her first acquittal, her family had to bear the expenditure of the repeated trials that left them bankrupt. She has written a bestseller novel about her experience titled ‘Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir,’ which has further inspired many books, documentaries and the American true crime film titled ‘Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy.’ Lately she has expressed her desire to go back to Italy to complete her story.
Childhood & Early Life
Amanda Marie Knox was born on July 9, 1987, in Seattle, Washington, USA, to Edda Mellas and Curt Knox. Her mother was a maths teacher while her father was the vice president of a local Macy’s store. Her parents divorced when she was quite young and her mother got married to Chris Mellas, an information technology consultant. She has one younger sister and two step sisters.
She graduated from the Seattle Preparatory School in 2005 and went on to study linguistics at the University of Washington. She was a bright and charming student who made it to the dean’s list of the university in recognition of her achievement. She was also good at soccer and athletics that got her the nickname ‘Foxy Knoxy.’
Her first visit to Italy at the age of 15 was on a family holiday, when she toured Rome, Pisa, the ruins of Pompeli, and the Amalfi Coast. She was intrigued by the country and worked part time to finance an academic year in to study linguistics in Italy, after reading the book ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ by Frances Mayes. Her stepfather was always apprehensive about her plan to study in Italy, as he felt she was too young to venture out on her own.
In September 2007, Knox met fellow linguistics exchange student, Meredith Kercher from the UK, for the first time in Perugia, Italy, when they rented a four bedroom apartment with two other Italian women. Knox worked part time in a bar to make ends meet.
Knox and Kercher became friends and started spending time together along with boys who lived in the basement of their flat. Kercher began dating a boy named Giacomo and Knox started seeing a computer engineering student named Raffaele Sollecito who lived a few blocks away.
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Wrongful Conviction & Acquittal
On November 2, 2007, Knox called Kercher and when she did not get any response from that side, she got worried. She called up her Italian flatmates and told them that she was afraid something had happened to Kercher. She then went to her flat with Sollecito who contacted the police. The police broke-open the door of Kecher’s room, and she was found dead on the floor with multiple stab wounds.
The initial investigation did not find any forced entry into the room and some known person was responsible for the murder. Knox maintained that she had got an off from her bar job and spent the night of the murder with her boyfriend, Sollecito. Under pressure from the police, she implicated her bar owner, Lumumba, who had an alibi because he was serving customers at the bar.
Investigations revealed bloodstained fingerprints of a petty criminal named Rudy Guede, who hung around with the boys in the basement of the flat. He had fled to Germany, from where he was brought back and charged for the crime.
During the course of his trial, Guede implicated Knox and Sollecito for the murder of Kercher and pleaded not guilty. He was convicted of murder by a fast track court that concluded that he, along with an accomplice, was responsible for the actual killing. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Knox and Sollecito pleaded not guilty of the charges of sexual assault, murder, and theft, framed against them during their trial in 2009. However, the court found them guilty and sentenced Knox to 26 years of imprisonment, while Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years. The judgment was criticised by the US authorities and Non Government Organisations who said that innocent people had been wrongly convicted for the crime that appeared to have been committed by Guede. The Italian judicial system came under a lot of flak for discrimination against Amanda, because she was American.
In November 2010, Knox and Sollecito were found not guilty by a court that heard their appeal, as no DNA of Kercher was found on the alleged murder weapon found in Sollecito’s kitchen. There were other inconsistencies in the case due to which both were acquitted and set free. Knox was found guilty of falsely implicating her employer and sentenced to three years imprisonment, which she had already completed. After the verdict, Knox flew back to Seattle, Washington, to complete her studies.
The case again came to light in March 2013, when the Supreme Court of Cassation set aside the acquittal by the lower court and ordered a retrial. A retrial was conducted in September 2013, and Knox and Sollecito were again found guilty of the crime. Though, Knox did not attend the hearing, she was sentenced to 28 ½ years imprisonment.
The case was finally closed when the Supreme Court delivered its final verdict on September 7, 2015, which found Knox and Sollecito not guilty of the murder.
Personal Life & Legacy
Knox spent almost four years of her life in an Italian prison for a crime that she had not committed. She was trailed by the paparazzi and her family had to bear the expenditure of her trial that left them bankrupt.
She returned to the USA to complete her degree in creative writing and wrote a book about her trial titled ‘Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir,’ which helped her family cope with their expenses.
She went on to become a journalist for the ‘West Seattle Herald’ and became an activist to take up the cause of the wrongfully accused. She has delivered several talks about her whole experience with the Italian law enforcing authorities and judicial system.
She has indicated that she may return to Perugia to complete a follow up to her bestselling memoir.
She was engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Colin Sutherland, in 2015, but the engagement was later called off. She is currently believed to be dating Christopher Robinson.
Amanda has become the subject of several books and documentaries, including ‘The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox’ by Burleigh & Nina and ‘Honour Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox’ by Sollecito, Raffaele & Gumbel, Andrew.
Her story has also been captured in the American true crime film titled ‘Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy’ and the Netflix documentary ‘Amanda Knox.’