The Killer's Shadow - The Latest Book is Now Available! Click to Purchase
Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox

I didn’t think we’d be writing about the Amanda Knox-Raffaele Sollecito murder case again until the current and third trial’s anticipated verdict on January 30. But things keep coming up that are so representative of larger issues that we must pay attention.

When John Douglas and I got into research on the case, we were struck by how different the media treatment was in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was as if they were describing three different cases. The reason, I think, is that they are pandering to already accepted beliefs – beliefs, not rationally considered conclusions – rather than presenting unvarnished facts.

And this phenomenon continues. To wit: an article last week by American Andrea Vogt in the British publication, The Week.

The article is entitled Amanda Knox’s fugitive fears: she’s right to be worried, and the entire tone suggests a condescending contempt for Amanda and her situation and an implication that even though she’s gotten away with murder, she might not this time. Even the term “fugitive fears” in the headline implies wrongdoing and guilt.

Consider the following:

It didn’t help that Knox ignored her lawyers’ pleas to travel from Seattle and attend court in Florence – she sent an email instead – nor that she repeatedly requested to meet the Kerchers, only to be sternly rebutted by their lawyer, who suggested she act more like a defendant.

First of all, her lawyers did not plea for her to attend court in Florence. It was a reasonable discussion point that Amanda and her family and advisors decided against for an obvious reason: She was convicted of a crime in Perugia that there was absolutely no evidence she committed and overwhelming evidence that she did not. All of this was willfully ignored by the police and prosecutors. She served four harsh years in prison before an appeals court concluded that she and Raffaele Sollecito were not only not guilty according to the technicalities of the law, but actually innocent. Then, in what would be classified as double jeopardy in the United States, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome decided that she and Raffaele must undergo another trial in a ruling that was essentially a blueprint for wrongly convicting her again.

Given all of this, would you let your daughter go back to stand trial again?

And as far as her repeated requests to meet the family of her murdered roommate? Isn’t that natural for an innocent person who wants to share her grief over the death of her friend?

Vogt goes on to say that:

First, her co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers have distanced his defense from Knox’s. “He may have brushed her hair and cleaned her ears, but he would not have killed for the love of Amanda,” his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno told jurors in closing arguments earlier this month. “Turn off Amanda,” she said. “Raffaele is not Amanda’s other half.”

Now, this may sound convincing in the story until you stop to think about it. Is Vogt trying to suggest that Raffaele’s lawyers think he’s innocent but Amanda’s not? This makes no sense. His entire defense is accurately founded on the fact that neither of them was at the crime scene and that they can vouch for each other. All Vogt is actually showing is that there is a tremendous animus in Italy and the UK against Amanda, and even Raffaele’s lawyers acknowledge this.

Vogt then suggests that without original prosecutor Giuliano Mignini involved with this round:

the “innocent American abroad being railroaded by a rogue prosecutor” narrative no longer holds water. The Florentine prosecutor, Alessandro Crini, has distanced the state’s case from the always controversial kitchen knife that may or may not have been the murder weapon. He’s also given less credence to the ‘sex game gone wrong’ theory that was central to the prosecution in the first trial. Instead, he’s considered all the evidence as a whole. There might have been a fight about missing money and hygiene, he said, but motive doesn’t matter: murders happen all the time for banal reasons. And convictions happen on much less evidence.

Let’s try to see how many levels of nonsense are crammed into this one paragraph.

First, there is the implication that Mignini was the only one out to slam Amanda when it is clear that the Perugia police were building a case against her before he was even involved.

Second, the kitchen knife either is or is not the murder weapon. The only reason you distance your case from it is if you believe it is not. Since the knife did not match Meredith’s wounds, nor are there any of her blood traces anywhere on it, there is no question that it “may or may not have been the murder weapon.

Third, if she concedes that the “‘sex game gone wrong’ theory that was central to the first trial,” is being given less credence, what this actually means is that Crini believes the original theory on which Amanda and Raffaele were convicted is bogus.

Fourth, stating as a journalistic fact that, “Instead, he’s considered all the evidence as a whole,” is like saying we lose money on each individual item we sell, but make it up on volume; it makes no sense. The evidence as a whole is clear: Rudy Guede was there and killed Meredith. Amanda and Raffaele had nothing to do with it. So clearly he is not considering all the evidence.

Fifth, “There might have been a fight about missing money and hygiene” is nothing but idle speculation that has no basis in evidence and is just one more grasp at straws since all previous prosecution theories have come up empty.

And sixth, to say, “motive doesn’t matter” in a case like this tests all limits of absurdity. You may not need a motive for a conviction if the physical and circumstantial evidence are overwhelming. But when you have none of either, you’d better have a reasonable motive, which they don’t. Further, if “convictions happen on much less evidence,” those are truly bad convictions that have nothing to do with justice.

Why does a column like this “work,” and why do such pieces persist? Because they confirm the biases that many readers already have about the case. From the beginning, the sentiment in Meredith’s home country has been that Amanda and Raffaele killed her, regardless of the facts.

Well, aren’t I as biased on one side as Ms. Vogt seems to be on the other?

Certainly. But I think the distinction is that I went into this case assuming Amanda was guilty and after examining all of the evidence with John Douglas, we both came to the certain conclusion that she and Raffaele were innocent and that Rudy Guede was the sole killer. We had no axe to grind one way or the other. All we cared about was evidence. Interestingly, I don’t know of a single legitimate, experienced investigator unrelated to the case who has come out against them after an independent review.

My offer stands. If anyone legitimately wants to debate the case strictly on the evidence – physical, scientific and behavioral – “as a whole” as Vogt says, I am more than willing.

And I would hope that those who call themselves journalists would assume a similar sense of responsibility and integrity.


Andrea Vogt contacted me personally after this column was posted. While acknowledging that we have fundamental disagreements on this case, she was highly cordial in her response and respected the need for public discussion. She disputed the assertion that she has contempt for, or is biased against, Amanda and Raffaele and called upon readers to look at her reporting and columns to form their own opinions. I completely endorse this.

While I do not want to censor or affect my readers’ opinions, I do want to point out that there is no suggestion or implication that Ms. Vogt interfered with or revealed attorney-client relations. Merely reporting what was believed to be attorney advice is certainly fair game in my book.

I firmly believe that the evidence in this case speaks for itself. John Douglas and I have been both rigorous and passionate in explaining and defending our interpretation of that evidence, and Ms. Vogt and others are free to do the same.

16 Responses to Pandering to Existing Beliefs

  1. Michelle Moore says:

    harryrag, the most hateful of all the haters (of the cult type hate group) informed someone arrogantly when asked if this would be shown in the US, that “it can be arranged”. Wow, while at it, could I have a private showing arranged to be shown at my home with the snap of your fingers. How arrogant can someone actually be. 🙁
    I would love to be able to feel sorry for this guy, but he has poured out more hate and the need for vengeance than any other single person in this entire case. He is the leader of a bunch of nutters and sadly the family has THESE people for their backers, their supporters.
    How, again, is Mr. Rag able to just “make it happen” in the US? Listen, I’m sure he has influence, but isn’t this a little far stretched…just a tad?

  2. Agreed Mr. Olshaker…this case seems more like a
    Trial By Media than anything else. I am admittedly ignorant
    of the finer points of this particular case though,
    and would be grateful for any adequate links highlighting it
    in order to form a more rounded opinion on the matter.

    I think every case should be approached exercising critical
    thinking which question any and all assumptions regardless of the source. I agree that in cases lacking overwhelming
    evidence that Motive should be shown as well.

  3. Alex K. says:

    One wonders why Vogt believes it’s OK to report the content of client-attorney negotiations as fact. She cannot possibly know unless one of the parties has revealed it, or she has illegally gained access to it.

    Vogt is obviously close to some of the actors in the case and it might help if someone found out, at last, who is her primary source and what feeds her animus against Amanda, other than personal envy of Amanda’s youth, beauty and talent.

  4. Excellent article Mark. Andrea Vogt needs to be taken to task.
    Here is one of the articles I wrote discussing Vogt’s biased journalism.

    Amanda Knox reporter Andrea Vogt‭ ‬continues to go to bat for prosecutor‭ ‬Giuliano Mignini

    • Thank you, Bruce. This is indeed a compliment coming from an expert as steeped in the case as you, and the author of a fine book which I own. My continual frustration, as must be yours, is the unwillingness of a certain segment of the media and public simply to look at the evidence. As the old cliche goes: You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” Thanks again, and please feel free to weigh in on any subject that strikes your interest.

  5. TaylorUK14 says:

    I am an American living in the UK with my British partner and studying Criminology. He and I have had numerous conversations about this case and he is adamant that Amanda is guilty (seems he is basing this mostly on this program, while I am just as adamant that she is innocent after having read John Douglas’ take on the case. One of my exams is an essay on the effectiveness of ‘offender profiling’ and as a HUGE fan of you guys, I am trying to take it on as best I can. My professor is of the mind that there is ‘little to no real evidence’ that criminal investigative analysis works. One of the things I wanted to do in my paper, rather than just cite cases that have been solved using this method, is to look at ones that haven’t, like JonBenet, to show how time can be wasted and things missed by continuing to follow irrational leads. I also wanted to look at the Meredith Kercher case to illustrate the harm that this irrationality can cause for everyone involved (Amanda, Raffael, their families, Meredith’s family, and the criminal justice system). Sad thing is, I am actually worried to bring up the Kercher case because I am afraid that the UK bias will affect the judgement of my professor who is ‘anti-profiling’ to begin with. However, I do believe that more people need to speak out about things like this and I want to thank you guys for giving me the inspiration (and the ammunition) to do that in my own small way.

    • Thank you for your very interesting comments, Taylor. I will try to respond in order. I watched the program you cite and my main reaction is that while it is informative about the case, it doesn’t present any evidence. I’d therefore be curious to know why your partner finds it so convincing. As we experienced with the Ramsey case, many people I’ve encountered say they just have a powerful gut feeling, but that is not evidence. And if actual evidence contradicts that feeling – such as the fact that there is overwhelming scientific evidence of Rudy Guede at the murder scene and none of Amanda or Raffaele, then one really should reexamine his or her gut feelings.
      On the next point, I think one of the reasons that profiling is so controversial is that so many unqualified and untrained individuals claim to practice it. As far as an offender profile, it can and has been used both to help solve crimes and qualify suspects, but equally to disqualify suspects. The reason so many local law enforcement agents and detectives keep asking for profiling consultation is because it is helping them in many cases. Were it not, these busy people with limited resources would not be wasting their time. And as you point out, the results do speak for themselves.
      While profiling in American traditionally has been the domain of law enforcement professionals, in the UK, where it is not practiced as widely, it has been more the domain of academics, which may or may not explain your professor’s antipathy.
      As you well acknowledge, profiling doesn’t always work. But in the Ramsey case, for example, the entire criminal investigative analysis package – profiling, together with forensics and the medical examiner’s report – proved pretty conclusively who did not commit the crime; i.e. John and Patricia Ramsey. As anyone who has read our recent book LAW & DISORDER knows, we consider exonerating innocent people just as important, if not more so, than convicting guilty ones.
      Again, you are absolutely correct as to the harm done by an improper and irresponsible investigation, not only to Amanda and Raffaele and their families, but also to the Kercher family and the public perception of justice in Italy. And as far as using the case, I would say it is all about the evidence on each side. I have repeatedly asked those who believe Amanda and Raffaele are guilty to present their actual evidence to me, but so far no one has come forward.
      If you haven’t already, I invite you to look at LAW & DISORDER for our analysis of the Kercher murder. Also, we are just about to release an E Book through Kindle analyzing the case entitled THE FORGOTTEN KILLER, written with Douglas Preston, Judge Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Tom Wright and Jim Lovering. It includes our definitive analysis of the crime scene and what it shows us about the killer.
      Again, Taylor, thank you for writing and don’t hesitate to weigh in again with your observations or if we can be of further help.

  6. Tom Mininger says:

    Many Americans don’t understand how much freedom our press has to criticize government officials compared to much of the world and the landmark 1964 New York Times Co. vs. Sullivan case that brought it about.

    Things are the opposite in Italy. Government officials including prosecutors and judges, enjoy harsh defamation laws over ordinary citizens including journalists and defense attorneys. It’s always a risk to criticize an official there. Amanda’s prosecutor has threatened journalists who disagree with criminal, not just civil slander charges, and not just on her case.
    I think Italians have the least accurate information regarding this case.

    At least here you can have conformation bias from every angle.

    I remind readers that the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero commissioned an interview with John Douglas about the case, but then felt too intimidated to publish it. Here’s the interview:

    It’s always seemed so strange to me to read about Italian journalists risking their lives in foreign war zones, and they can’t even advocate for reform back home.

  7. Cornerstone says:

    It’s just a fact that news is very rarely news anymore. It’s spin, and the spin all depends which station or commentator is talking about it. There seem to no longer be any standards for broadcast news being truthful. Which is why I mainly have stopped even trying to watch it.

  8. Joan James says:

    Mark, thanks so much for your article debunking Ms Vogt. The fact that she managed to get herself on BBC’s payroll is a pretty frightening one. What has happened to real journalism? Between Vogt, Nadeau, Grace, Murphy, etal, so much nasty innuendo and misinformation on this case has been spread all over the net, as well as the world. I wish your article could be read on prime time news TV.

    Again, thanks!

  9. geebee2 says:

    It’s hard to know what to write at this stage.
    The Bra-clasp and double-DNA knife are further discredited.
    It’s clear the break-in was real not staged.
    There is no motive.
    There is no firm evidence, just speculation.
    And still we wonder what the verdict will be.

  10. noel dalberth says:

    It’s astounding that 6 years later the lies continue to be broadcast about Amanda, Raffaele & the case in general. Vogt has no integrity. Her bias is repeatedly shown by the articles she writes & the support she provides to the Amanda & Raffaele hate sites. This is not journalism. This is a deliberate attempt to sway the case in the Prosecutor’s favor just as she always has. Shameful.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


The Latest

  • Words of Wisdom
    From a poem by anti-Nazi theologian Pastor Martin Niemoller: First they came for […]


© 2019 Mindhunters, Inc.