And she’s free!

Yowsers! Like millions, I have been anxiously awaiting today’s announcement of the appellate verdict in the Amanda Knox case. Although I wrote about the case only one time, I have been following it off and on since the crime. And now, just now, the court has announced that Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will be freed, clearing them of the horrible murder charges on which they have been imprisoned for years.

Although I obviously do not know what happened that terrible night in 2007, I believe the prosecution’s theory of the case was so incredibly bizzare and convulted that it strained plausibility from the start. The evidence against Knox and Sollecito was so slim that I hesitate to call it ‘evidence.’ I know that my understanding of the case is limited by all the usual obstacles, but increased by a language barrier and a large ocean. Still, the case seemed so strange that I really did not understand how she was found guilty in the first place. I make no claim to being able to grasp the Italian criminal justice system, which seems hopelessly intertwined with its civil system, so I feel uncomfortable commenting on either the trial or the appeal. That said, if I took what I know of the case, or what I think I know, I would not have been able to find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a trial. And taking that same knowledge, or what I think is knowledge, and applying it to the US’s appellate system, I could not have found sufficient evidence to sustain the jury’s verdict.

The thing that can be so frustrating about many wrongful conviction cases is not really present in this case. Often, when a person is exonerated it is the result of physical evidence that shows the accused could not have committed the crime or, maybe even more often, that an unknown person clearly participated in the crime. This is frustrating because although we know someone committed the crime, there is no one in prison to “pay” for it. Take, for instance, the recently freed West Memphis Three. Although they have been released because they entered Alford pleas for the murders, it is generally believed that they did not kill the three little boys whose bodies were found in the river all those years ago. This means, of course, that there is still a murderer or murderers out there somewhere that have never been arrested or tried, much less convicted, of the atrocious crime of child-killing.

Here, though, we do not seem to have that problem. While Knox and Sollecito have been freed, Rudy Guede continues to sit in prison for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Guede admitted he was at the scene the night of the crime, his bloody handprint was found on a pillow, his alibi is that he was in the bathroom while an Italian man killed Kercher, he claimed he came out of the bathroom to find blood everywhere, he ran out of the apartment and then fled to Germany.

I am generally a ‘lone gunman’ believer or, rather, I am much more apt to believe the simplest theory of a crime. Here, it seems to me, the most plausible explanation for the murder, which is the one supported by significant evidence, is that Guede acted alone in killing Kercher.

What do you think?


10 Responses to “And she’s free!”

  1. 1 Kristin October 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I’m still in shock. I need to think a bit.

  2. 2 kateandgracie October 3, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Wow indeed.

  3. 3 Jane Roe October 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I truly do not know what to think.

  4. 4 Sara H October 4, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I agree, Kate, that there’s no way she would (should) have been convicted in the U.S. I think what got her into big trouble early on was her weird behavior after she was arrested (cartwheels?). But she was so young, in a foreign country, traumatic experience, etc. It seems like that third guy’s DNA was all over the crime scene (plus that handprint!), while there was no DNA from either Knox or Sollecito – I don’t think a couple teenagers could have cleaned the place up for themselves and left only 1 guy’s DNA/handprint there. I hope this appeal doesn’t go anywhere.

  5. 5 kateandgracie October 4, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Yeah, Sara – I think you’re totally right. Her behavior afterward was super weird but a) she’s a kid and b) I feel like everyone expected her to behave as if her mother or sister or best friend had been brutally murdered or something. Instead, while I’m sure it was awful and traumatic and scary, it was a woman that she had known for less than a month. I’m not saying cartwheels are appropriate, but I didn’t think smooching with her new boyfriend was all that odd.

    I just don’t buy that two people who have never been in trouble before brutally murdered a woman and then stuck around and acted so cavalierly. I buy, instead, that a guy who had had a troubled youth, who had been caught with a knife less than a week before the murder, who admitted he was at the crime scene, who more or less admitted he saw the murder, and who then fled the country, is the sole culprit responsible for this devastating event.

    As Kristin and I were discussing yesterday, I wonder who will get the exclusive interview with her. And I wonder how long it will be before she talks to the press.

  6. 6 Terry October 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    It seems like a lot of people I’ve talked with in the past days have followed mainly the headlines of this story. I know I read the first few articles written early on, then stopped…and I had figured she was guilty….of something. A couple years later, I started reading about the trial, the media, etc in several articles in Salon and Slate. This clearly seemed like a nightmare…and a very weird legal proceeding. Monday’s LA Times has a good editorial “The Scapegoating of Amanda Knox.” I’d include the link but my phone translates it into a long line of gibberish. I think the editorial summarizes how the media, including social media, turned this into a crazy narrative that preyed on some pretty primitive feelings about women.

  7. 7 Sara H October 5, 2011 at 9:08 am

    It’s gotta be a woman who will get the interview, yes? Katie, Diane, Oprah….

  8. 8 kateandgracie October 5, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I was hoping Oprah would come out of *retirement* (I know she’s not really retired, people) to interview her. If I were Amanda, I would feel most comfortable talking to her. Or maybe Katie.

    Yes, Terry, I think the British media were particularly ruthless. I was reading about how Amanda’s parents had hired a PR firm, which I think is so odd but, in this case, it seems it was imperative to counteract the near-instant lynching of this young woman. I feel like I can hear her parents and friends trying to yell, “But Foxy Knoxy was her soccer name!” and it being drowned up by headlines all over the world suggesting some promiscuous she-devil. I’ll have to check out the LA Times story.

    I know “cute” is absolutely the wrong word to use, but I thought it something that when she was giving her brief press conference yesterday, her parents had to remind her to speak English. Ok, I know that’s actually really sad because her fluent Italian comes because she has spent four years in prison, but her Italian is impressive nonetheless. She seems quite resilient.

  9. 9 Mary Lloyd October 7, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I think the whole thing is bizzare. Just glad she is home and will hopefully get help in her recovery from this trauma. Is this a ‘UGLY American ” thing? Makes Italy a little less appealing.

  10. 10 kateandgracie October 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Well, I don’t think it’s really fair to blame Italy. It was one prosecutorial office in one town. And it was the Italian justice system that also released her. We have wrongful convictions here, too. No system is flawless.

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October 2011

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