Amanda Knox was the focus of intense media scrutiny from the start of the highly publicized Meredith Kercher’s murder trial in 2009.
Amanda Marie Knox, born on July 9, 1987, was convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in 2009. She served four years of a 26-year sentence before the murder conviction was overturned on October 3, 2011.
However, on March 26, 2013, Amanda Knox’s acquittal was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court, sending the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.
Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s boyfriend at the time of the murder, was also found guilty of the murder but had his conviction overturned by an appeal.
Amanda Knox, now 26, whose pretty face maintained its carefree smile throughout her trial, was the ideal female suspect for an Italian murder – “the face of an angel – but the eyes of a killer,”.
From the images of her kissing her co-accused and erstwhile boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, to her cartwheels in the police station, Amanda Knox’s seemingly innocent insouciance contrasted gratingly with the gory crime and general preconceptions of what a murderer should look like.
One lawyer was reported as accusing Knox of being “dirty inside and out” and described her as “half Maria Goretti and half demon”.
The lawyer added: “Who is the real Amanda Knox? Is it the one we see before us here, simple water and soap, the angelic St Maria Goretti?”
“Or is she really a she-devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol, living life to the extreme and borderline – is this the Amanda Knox of 1 November 2007?”
Maria Goretti was a teenager made a saint by the Roman Catholic Church after she was murdered during an attempted rape.
As the trial unfolded the two Amanda Knox vied for acceptance: the hapless student championed by her family and defense lawyers; and the manipulative hedonist described by the prosecution.
And despite her plea in court – “I’m afraid of having the mask of a murderer forced on to my skin” – the latter always seemed to gain the upper hand.
Details soon began emerging of Amanda Knox’s private life – her “Foxy Knoxy” nickname, the drug-taking and claims she slept with several men after she arrived in Italy.
In letters from his jail cell, co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito wrote: “The Amanda I know… lives a carefree life.”
“Her only thought is the pursuit of pleasure,” he wrote to his father.
“But, even the thought that she could be a killer is impossible for me.”
Reporters descended on Amanda Knox’s home city of Seattle in search of more details of her private life.
They discovered that the University of Washington student had been fined in 2007 for her role in a drunken party that police were called to.
A picture began to be painted of a “party girl” who abused drink and drugs and had an active s** life.
Tabloid interest intensified after it emerged that Amanda Knox had written a short story on a social networking site about a man who drugs and rapes a young girl.
In it, one character remarks: “A thing you have to know about chicks is that they don’t know what they want.”
This was not the daughter known to Amanda Knox’s family – who term themselves “typically American”.
They helped fund their daughter’s year in Italy in order to further her Italian, German and creative writing studies.
And apart from the story on the social networking site, Amanda Knox’s page also portrays a very different young woman.
On it, she describes herself as a non-drinker and non-smoker. Her favorite pursuits include yoga and “backpacking long distances with people I know”.
Among her favorite films are Shrek and The Full Monty and she likes listening to The Beatles and reading Harry Potter books.
It was partly a desire to emphasize this aspect of their daughter’s character, and counter what they term her “misrepresentation”, that led Amanda Knox’s supporters in Seattle to set up a tribute website.
On it, family and friends write about the “joiner” who excelled at sports and school plays; a “smart, fun, affectionate and loyal” girl who bought sandwiches for homeless people and nursed sick friends.
They had been optimistic that she would be freed by the Italian courts.
According to alleged leaks of her prison diary, Amanda Knox was similarly determined to maintain her innocence – and may have been preparing to blame her ex-boyfriend.
She reportedly wrote: “I think it is possible Raffaele went to Meredith’s house, raped her, then killed her and then when he got home, while I was sleeping, he pressed my fingerprints on the knife.”
But neither of their cases were helped by CCTV evidence that found its way into the Italian press, reportedly showing Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito buying underwear together two days after Meredith Kercher’s death.
The case was media gold from the start: a pretty young victim, brutally murdered in mysterious circumstances, whose murderers were both wealthy and attractive.
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