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Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox

When we look back over the topics we’ve covered in the past year, the ongoing murder trials in Italy of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito take the prize for the greatest number of posts. And there is a good reason for that: No other case has provided such a glaring example of what can go wrong with a prosecution, and the horrifying repercussions when it does.

We have reviewed and detailed the seemingly endless mistakes and miscarriages of justice promulgated by the investigators, prosecutors and judges: police assumption of the killer(s) and type of crime before any evidence had been collected; Amanda’s coerced “confession;” nonsensical and changing theories of the case; unprofessional evidence collection; flagrant misinterpretation of the crime scene; complete lack of DNA and other evidence of Amanda and Raffaele’s presence coupled with overwhelming evidence of the actual killer’s; false statements to the media; the so-called murder weapon not fitting the wounds on Meredith Kercher’s body, and on and on and on.

And now one more has surfaced. There are several ways to state it, but essentially, Amanda has been denied the right to mourn.

We have often stated that a murder creates many victims and the repercussions can last for generations. This is even more true when there has been an unjust identification of perpetrators and prosecution, as there has been here.

In presenting his case to the court and the media, Public Minister Giuliano Mignini created the fiction of tension and rancor between Meredith and Amanda when, in fact, they were friends. The prosecution even managed to destroy the hard drive on Amanda’s computer that had numerous photographs of the two of them together in the short time they knew each other and lived together.

And the compounded tragedy of this is that the Kercher family has bought into Mignini’s fiction. This is understandable. How could they not? In our experience, there are no more vulnerable individuals than the survivors of a murder victim. Their entire world has come apart and they have to be able to depend on someone. That someone is very often the lead detective or the prosecutor – the people who are fighting for justice and trying to put their universe back into some semblance of order.

So in addition to what they have done to Amanda and Raffaele through evidence-free, and logic-free, prosecution that so far has robbed them of four formative years of their lives, Mignini and his team have done perhaps irreparable damage to the Kercher family by misleading them into thinking that the sole and actual killer, Rudy Guede, was merely a pawn in Amanda’s scheme to sexually molest and kill her beautiful and intelligent English flat mate.

This forced misconception further punishes Amanda by taking away her status as one of Meredith’s mourners. Anything she did would seem self-serving. By proclaiming her innocence and her own victimhood at the hands of the Italian legal system, she was seen as detracting from the real victim, Meredith. By refusing to apologize or show remorse for a crime she demonstrably did not commit, she was seen as being insensitive and without conscience. And by voicing her sorrow over Meredith’s loss, she was seen as manipulative.

When we wrote about the JonBenet Ramsey murder case in The Cases That Haunt Us, we concluded with, “I always said that having a child murdered was the worst possible thing that could happen to a person. I guess I was wrong. Having that happen and then being blamed for it is even worse.”

In Law & Disorder we wrote about Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for torching the house in which his two little girls perished, even though modern fire science proved the blaze was accidental and not arson. How must he have felt going to his death knowing his ex-wife had even forbidden the scattering of his ashes on his daughters’ graves?

Amanda recently put on her personal blog a link to the Kercher family’s fundraising effort as just one way to reach out to them. Heartbreakingly, she has removed the link with the explanation:

“I have to accept that the Kerchers believe I’m guilty and my attempts to honor her memory can cause them pain. I do not wish to antagonize their grief, even with my best intentions.

“It is with a broken heart that I acquiesce with the Kercher family’s attorney’s request to remove from my site the link to the Kercher family’s fund raising page and the page I have dedicated in memory of my friend, Meredith.

“I feel trapped in a position where any attempts I make to respect their grief from a distance are perceived as indifference, and any attempts to make a connection are perceived as antagonism and arrogance.”

In effect, Amanda has been robbed of her own grief. And that is a vey serious matter.

Within the week, the latest Italian court is supposed to decide on the guilt or innocence of Amanda and Raffaele. Whichever way it decides, because of the “original sin” of charging and prosecuting these two in the first place and convincing the Kerchers and much of the world, Amanda’s unfair and undeserved punishment, and the Kercher’s misplaced passion, will continue.

5 Responses to Amanda’s Unending Punishment

  1. corpus_vile says:

    Hi Mark, I must respectfully take issues with your article.
    There has been no miscarriage of justice here as Ms Knox’s supporters consistently refuse to point out any legal, systematic or procedural flaws that occurred at their trial and appeal, that would reverse the appellate’s upholding of their convictions.
    Merely asserting a miscarriage of justice isn’t enough, one must validate their position in this regard by specifying how the court got it wrong.

    I’m not sure what your objection is re changing theories as this happens all the time in criminal trials and proof of motive isn’t required in any court of law.
    Knox was in no way coerced. Her questioning took an hour and 15 minutes, two hours if we’re being very generous to Knox.
    Knox also knew intimate details of the murder that even the cops didn’t know at the time, which was verified by forensic evidence and witness testimony.
    There’s plenty of evidence of them at the crime scene- five samples of Knox’s dna mixed with Meredith’s blood in three separate areas of the house. The same amount of samples of dna evidence exists against Knox as exists against Guede.
    The knife “absolutely” matched one of the wounds according to the Massei report.
    There’s also their lies, computer & phone records and witness testimony against them and at present the evidence phase is over. Their final appeal will be argued on points of law only.

    Mignini hasn’t been attached to the case in years now, several prosecutors took part in their trial and appeal.

    Knox actually demanded that the Kercher family contact her personally, before she’d agree to remove the link, despite their lawyer being their spokesperson.
    If she regards Meredith as her friend, it seems odd that she allows repugnant attacks on Meredith and her family from her supporters on her blog, which Knox moderates, ergo approves such comments.

    I sincerely hope you read the primary sources for this tragic crime in order to realise the full facts of this case and the overwhelming evidence for guilt which rightly got Knox & Sollecito convicted.

  2. noel dalberth says:

    Contrary to the twisted characters in this 6+ year nightmare (which could have been avoided, by the way) the words ‘punishment’ & ‘innocent’ should never be in the same sentence. What a disgrace to justice.

  3. Tom Mininger says:

    When I think of what Mignini has done to the Kercher, Sollecito, and Knox families, and the 20 innocent suspects plus journalists on the Dr. Narducci suicide case, and his worthless crime theories on The Monster of Florence case that brought the victims’ families no closer to closure, the scandal rags raking in the money, and the internet hate groups getting off on their Roman Holiday, it reminds me of the line from Don McLean’s American Pie: “… I saw Satan laughing with delight”

    I think it’s important to show our support for Amanda and Raffaele through the ongoing politics. This high profile international case is already becoming a case study in many ways. Police misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, coerced confessions, forensic misconduct, forensic negligence, international forensic standards, misogyny, anti-Americanism, study abroad safety and last, but far from least, hate on the internet.

    The internet makes it easier than ever before in history to be an anonymous member of a mob with no accountability. I think Amanda has been the most savaged “witch” to date by far. But internet hate is a growing industry that you young people will have to deal with. To quote Doug Preston “The Internet is a place where our darkest evolutionary biology runs riot.”

    Important lessons to be learned from this fiasco:
    Be careful never to surprise a burglar when you arrive home.
    Never let your kids (or yourself) be interviewed without a lawyer. Both good and bad cops can fixate on the wrong person.
    Study abroad programs should make sure to give every exchange student a number to be called in the event of a crisis, no matter what the police say.

    Steve Moore, who monitors international situations for study abroad programs, has removed Italy from his list of gold standard countries for American students. He still recommends Rome, but warns about the dangers to American students in Umbria.

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