Amanda Knox case shed light on police and judicial abuses everywhere

The Italian police and prosecutor made a laughingstock of themselves by zeroing in on the most unlikely suspect.

Knox,AmandaMany ostensibly informed citizens, including – especially  – progressives, have scoffed at interest in the arrest, tribulations, and trials of Amanda Knox. They see the attention the case garnered as a variation on “missing white woman syndrome” (MWWS), in which the likes of Ms. Knox receive attention denied minorities and foreigners in similar situations. The case can be made, though, that precisely because of who she is, her case generates sustained interest on the part of members of the general public who ordinarily wouldn’t be exposed to injustice in the form of police and prosecutorial misconduct. Whether or not they can extrapolate Ms. Knox’s victimhood to minorities in the United States and citizens in other countries, especially those with less developed legal systems than the United States or (cough) Italy, though, is ultimately up to them.

After following the case of Ms. Knox – “Kuh-nox” to her Italian jailers – from her arrest to her release on appeal, I read her book Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir (Harper, 2013). Some begrudge her the $4 million advance, but, if it makes them feel any better, they can view it as restitution for her four years in prison which will help her family pay off her legal bills.

What distinguishes this case from most murders is that the central mystery wasn’t who killed young Englishwoman Meredith Kirchner, but why the legal and police authorities in Perugia, Italy chose to charge Ms. Knox and her new boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito with the crime. It’s as if police and prosecutors viewed this girl with extraordinarily clear blue eyes, who seems to have been conditioned by her nature and upbringing to look for the best in people, as a challenge. If we can charge and convict someone that innocent looking, we can get deliver a guilty verdict on anybody.

In fact, one of her lawyers, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said the police suspected Ms. Knox, “because you behaved differently than the others.” He’s speaking of her infamous failure to display sorrow in a manner the police thought appropriate, as well as the affection with which her boyfriend attempted to console her. Never mind that Ms. Knox made a point of remaining in Perugia when she wasn’t required to and voluntarily visiting the police station to help solve the case. Dalla Vedova added:

“These are small-town detectives. They chase after local drug dealers and foreigners without visas. … Plus, they’re bullies. To admit fault is to admit that they’re not good at their jobs. … They stuck with it because they couldn’t afford to be wrong.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Knox writes, the Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was determined to link her and Raffaele with Rudy Guede, the young man arrested after them and subsequently tried and found guilty of the murder.

Their theory seemed to be that I knew Guede from the time Meredith and I had met with the guys downstairs in front of [a] fountain … the night Guede told the guys I was cute. … The prosecution hypothesized that, after that night, he’d gotten in touch with me, perhaps about buying drugs. … They further decided – based on a blurb Raffaele had written on his Facebook page way before he met me – that we’d been bored on the night of November 1 and. … ran into Guede at the basketball court. I purportedly said, “Hey, let’s go hang out at my place.” … According to Mignini, we found Meredith at the villa and said, Hey, that stupid bitch. Let’s show Meredith. Let’s get her to play a sex game.

Scratching your head? Ms. Knox, too, and then some.

I was horrified. Who thinks like that?

In their scenario, I hated Meredith because we’d argued about money. Hearing Mignini say that I told Guede to rape Meredith was upsetting. He added that I was the ringleader, telling Raffaele to hold her down.

Who would buy this story? It gets worse.

When he said that I threatened Meredith with a knife, I felt as if I’d been kicked. Even worse was hearing him say that when Meredith refused to have sex, I killed her.

… His “proof”? Raffaele’s Japanese comic books about vampires and the one Marilyn Manson song he had downloaded. In closing arguments, Mignini said Meredith’s murder was … a sexual and sacrificial ritual.

Why did Mignini take this laughable tack? Ms. Knox again.

[Lawyers Dalla Vedova and Luciana Ghirga] told me [that] for Mignini, winning his case against Raffaele and me was a Hail Mary to save his career and reputation. … As I found out that summer, the determined prosecutor had a bizarre past, was being tried for abuse of office, and had a history of coming up with peculiar stories to prove his cases.

In 2002, on the advice of a psychic, he reopened a decades-old cold case. The Monster of Florence was a serial killer who attacked courting couples in the 1970s and ’80s. After murdering them he would take the women’s body parts with him. Mignini exhumed the body of Dr. Francesco Narducci after the psychic told him that Narducci, who died in 1985, was the Monster and that he hadn’t committed suicide [but] had been murdered by members of a satanic sect, who feared the Monster would expose them. He charged twenty people, including government officials, with being members of the same secret sect as the Monster.

Not to justify Mignini, but bear in mind that the Monster of Florence serial killer case haunted Italians for years and, no doubt, made them especially susceptible to conspiracy theories. Douglas Preston, an American crime novelist who investigated the crime, was actually interrogated by Mignini, who threatened to try him as an accessory to murder. Preston hightailed it out of the country and later chronicled the killings and investigations in a book titled The Monster of Florence (Grand Central Publishing, revised 2013). If you read his 2006 Atlantic piece by the same name, you realize that the Knox case is like an aftershock from the Monster of Florence case.

More on the charges against Mignini from Bruce Fischer at Ground Report:

Mignini created an elaborate conspiracy [that] led to the indictment the 20 people, which included government officials and law enforcement officers, all charged with the concealment of Narducci’s murder.

The case against the 20 defendants was thrown out of court because there was absolutely no evidence to support Mignini’s preposterous claims. [He] was convicted in a Florence court for … the following [numbered items edited – RW]:

1.) Illegally investigating journalists who had criticized him with the “intent to harass or deter them from pursuing their legitimate profession.”

2.) Ordering an illegal investigation of the Florentine ex police chief.

3.) Ordering illegal investigations of two officials of the Viminale, the Ministry of the Interior in Rome, including an illegal investigation of the … ex-director of the office of external affairs.

Way to make enemies in high places, Mignini. He was convicted for abuse of office and sentenced to a 16-month suspended sentence. But, writes Fischer

The Florence court later canceled Mignini’s conviction, due to the fact that one of the people Mignini was convicted of abusing was a prosecutor from Florence, so it was ruled that the case should not have been tried there. The Florence court then sent the case to the prosecution office in Turin for retrial. [Though] reaching a final decision will take years.

Among the most moving passages of Waiting to Be Heard are those that embody the title of the book. Ms. Knox obsesses over the composition of statements to the court which will convey her innocence. When those fail to have any impact, she then convincingly chronicles her frustration and feelings of helplessness.

We’ll end where we began. After reading Waiting to Be Heard, one reviewer wrote:

 If I ever made crass or asinine comments about Amanda Knox’s attractiveness, or propensity for murder, or very bad ideas, on Twitter, I shamefully retract them.

17 replies »

  1. Amanda’s a local gal, here, so we’ve followed her case closely (as have many here in Seattle). While I can understand and even accept the differences in the US vs Italian legal systems–though the Italian system puts way too much burden on the innocent–I have so far been unable to comprehend the combination of the prosecution’s wacko theories and the Italian public’s unwillingness to call him out on it. It’s as if the _real_ conspiracy was the collusion of prosecution and public to create a festival of drama to entertain themselves for a handful of years, all at Ms. Knox’s great personal and financial expense.

    • I just finished reading this book, and I am just in shock at the way the prosecution tried this case. I would feel totally embarrassed if this happened here in my hometown, but than I guess it does. They needed a scapegoat and Amanda was it. Why the prosecution was allowed to make up stories, adding a second knife to the assault, when in fact no knife was ever mentioned before hand. Than making the “video” of the avatars during the murder to show what happened. I am also where you are, unable to comprehend the prosecutions theories . Just so far unimaginable.

    • I don’t understand your comment, John. Are you saying the writer is tacky? If so, why? In the absence of some reasoning, this is simple name-calling.

      • Samuel, let me welcome you and anyone else who reads comments to the whole world of Amanda Knox Conspiracy Hate groups. That’s what they do, that’s ALL they can do basically. They’re definitely unique.

        There’s at least three (and to given them mention, even if it’s bad attention, feeds them) and they are like cults, seriously! So, just be warned Russ, they will now “hunt you down”. They will try to get you fired. They will post any and every picture and bit of information they can about you. And they will worship the images they create out of the images of you they steal. You would have to look to see what I’m talking about, but don’t bother. Your time is too valuable. Meredith’s last name is Kercher.

        Great article. Thank you for helping educate the public. I think it’s pathetic when people lump her in with Jodi Arias. There could not be 2 more opposite people in the world!

        Frankly, not a lot of people know that much detail about the case. Unless they’ve heard the few experts (actually there are quite a lot now) speak out about it they might just know what the Prosecution threw out there in the beginning. They still cling to the stuff they leaked purposely to the Press to influence people.
        If you don’t think Media and Society isn’t a whole subject in itself this case could make a study of it.

        This will end up going down in history as one of the most ridiculous cases in this century I’m sure. I can’t wait to see what we find out if and when Mignini and his elk get investigated. That will be justice at last. Knowledge…

  2. I absolutely love this article’s thesis, but sadly, the thesis simply got lost as the author progressed through the piece. Early on yellow tabloid types claimed ownership of the Knox story and, as they like to do, fell over themselves making it about sex, drugs and how yet another beautiful young woman behaved badly and got caught. As a consequence, “serious” journalists for whom the putrid mélange of vapid Casey Anthony / Jody Arias-style sensationalism is understandably beneath their dignity, have reflexively turned up their noses at the Knox story. What they have failed to grasp (and what this blogger was frustratingly close to articulating) was that the only thing that Casey Anthony and Jody Arias have in common with Amanda Knox is that the defendants happen to all be beautiful women. The Knox case, with its themes of false confessions, false eyewitness testimony, bad forensics and police and prosecutorial tunnel vision (if not outright misconduct) is a case study in precisely how judicial injustices happen.

    The “progressive” story that “serious” journalists should be interested in is how exactly the same elements that have conspired to rob Knox of years of her life are used to rob the poor and people of color in this country every single day. What is interesting about the Knox case is not that she is a beautiful woman who acted badly, but rather, in that her status as a foreigner and outsider in Italy essentially stripped her of the privilege inoculation typically reserved for beautiful white women like Anthony and Arias in the United States she became a rare and unique lens through which we can more clearly see the mechanics of injustice that, when applied in a U. S. courtroom, daily afflict poor and minority injustice victims.

    Sooooo close. Sooooooo sad.

  3. The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is overwhelming. They gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis despite three attempts each. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified. Innocent people don’t give multiple conflicting alibis and lie repeatedly to the police.

    The DNA didn’t miraculously deposit itself in the most incriminating of places.

    An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp. His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. Professor Novelli pointed out there’s more likelihood of meteorite striking the courtroom in Perguia than there is of the bra clasp being contaminated by dust.

    According to Sollecito’s forensic expert, Professor Vinci, and Luciano Garofano, Knox’s DNA was also on Meredith’s bra.

    Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts – Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli and Luciano Garofano – categorically stated that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade. Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

    According to the prosecution’s experts, there were five instances of Knox’s DNA or blood with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even Amanda Knox’s lawyers conceded that her blood had mingled with Meredith’s blood. In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the same time.

    Knox tracked Meredith’s blood into the bathroom, the hallway, her room and Filomena’s room, where the break-in was staged. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was found mixed together in Filomena’s room, in a bare bloody footprint in the hallway and in three places in the bathroom.

    Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house. This means that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

    The bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare bloody footprints were revealed by luminol in the hallway.

    It’s not a coincidence that the three people – Knox, Sollecito and Guede – who kept telling the police a pack of lies are all implicated by the DNA and forensic evidence.

    Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith’s murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. After she was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment.

    Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite the fact she knew he was completely innocent. She didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison. She admitted that it was her fault that Lumumba was in prison in an intercepted conversation with her mother on 10 November 2007.

    • Harry Rag is a well known Knox hater who can’t believe that the police department and prosecutor would put an innocent person on trial to save their crummy careers.

  4. It’s amazing to me that continues to regurgitate all of his long-since discredited garbage re: the Kercher murder case. There is nothing of any worth whatsoever in anything he writes. People can do their own research, as I have, and draw their own conclusions from experts in a variety of fields who’ve blogged about this case and, most importantly, aren’t afraid to use their real names and list their very real credentials.

    • @Rag,

      Everything you’ve written has been discredited. That’s why I’m not going to waste my valuable time doing it again. My statement wasn’t directed to you anyway but rather to the average reader who doesn’t know what complete train wrecks both you, and the PMF website, are.

    • Harry Rag e is an obsessed troll who posts the same nonsense on every single story ever written about Knox. Here he gives himself away when he points readers toward the most virulent Amanda Knox hate site, where he posts under various aliases. Ironically, the court documents prove that he has lied about mixed blood, abundant DNA, Rudy Guede’s involvement, Amanda tracking blood around the house (huh???), the bloody bathmat that has Rudy’s footprint on it.

  5. Why would anyone believe anything Amanda Knox says? She gave three different alibis which all turned out to be false and repeatedly accused an innocent man of murder. The Italian Supreme Court confirmed Knox’s conviction for slander. She is a convicted criminal and a proven liar.

    If anybody wants to understand the reasons why Amanda Knox was convicted of murder, I recommend reading the translations of the official court documents and court testimony. They are available online at the Meredith Kercher wiki website:

  6. After 1,5 years, after the Italian High Court’s acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito, (finally!) Harry Rag continues as if nothing has happened. Something is very wrong with the man.