Now 21-year-old Amanda Knox from Washington State, currently on trial for the 2007 All Saints' Day brutal murder of her then 21-year-old British housemate, Meredith Kercher, this while the two were taking college courses in scenic Perugia, Italy, now has to face yet more criminal charges. Italian authorities have charged her with slander for her allegations that she was hit/beaten and otherwise coerced by police to tell what she knew about Kercher's murder, this during her initial interrogation by police. Italian authorities, for their part, say Knox, after being questioned about Kercher's death, was seen walking up and down the hall at the local police station "hitting her head with her hands."
For me, the above is one that could easily go either way, i.e., while I can imagine the police pushing the young American girl around to try to force a quick confession, I can also imagine Amanda, based upon her other interesting physical and emotional reactions to this terrible situation, (like doing cartwheels at the police station after Kercher's death), acting as the Italian cops have suggested. (For more commentary on this case, see my prior postings at http://clintvanzandt.newsvine.com/_news/2008/12/04/2178143-amanda-knox-cold-blooded-killer-or-angel-faced-victim, "Brutal Murderer or Just too Sexy for the Cops" at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25371590/
and "Murder in Ancient Perugia" at http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/22188940/
One of the investigative "wild cards" at this point is Knox's initial statement to police in which she implicated her former boss in Kercher's murder. This happened when she allegedly told police (from her perspective under duress), that Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked off and on, had murdered Kercher, and that she, Knox, was at the crime scene at the time and had covered her ears so as not hear Kercher's plaintive cries for help. Investigation would later prove Lumumba could not have participated in the murder because he was in his bar at the time of the victim's death, and now he too has filed suit against Knox, in his case for defamation of character.
Police have many reasons to questions Knox's veracity in addition to the above, to include her e-mails to friends in Washington in which she alleged that she was the one who had found Kercher's dead body, something she would subsequently deny to police. She had also claimed that her boyfriend at the time, 24-year-old Italian Raffaele Sollecito, was her alibi as they had spent the night together in his apartment. Sollecito, for his part, has left Knox to slowly twist in the wind as he cannot recall if she was there for the entire night, suggesting that she could have left his side in bed, perhaps participated in Kercher's murder, and then returned to his bedside after placing the murder weapon, a knife scrubbed "almost" clean with bleach, back in a kitchen drawer in his flat. The knife, according to the prosecution, has the DNA of both Kercher and Knox on it while the defense suggests this is but partial DNA that, in reality, could match that of many unidentified others. Sollecito, who claims to be a knife collector, interestingly enough had a knife on him when first interview by police. Suspicious or just stupid?
Like everyone else in this case, Sollecito appears not without sin and lie as his story to police accounting for his activities the night of Kercher's murder indicates that he watched a movie (Amelie) on his computer and otherwise worked on the Internet most of the evening. A computer forensic expert, however, has indicated that the movie was played at 6:30pm, and that there was no indication of anyone being on Sollecito's computer between 9 pm November 1 and 5:30 am November 2. Other experts have testified their belief that Kercher was murdered sometime between 9pm and 11pm on night of November 1.
As most know, a third suspect in this case, 21-year-old former drug dealer Rudy Guede, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and has already been fast-tracked and sentenced to 30 years. His DNA was all over the crime scene and the victim, and a logical defense on the part of Knox and Sollecito would be that the former Ivory Coast resident robbed and murdered Kercher by himself and the two former lovers are but innocent victims of their own naïveté. The physical evidence allegedly found by police at the crime scene, if not otherwise compromised and contaminated by Italian CSI investigators, seems to suggest that both Knox and Sollecito were also present in the apartment. This is obviously true as Knox lived there and Sollecito, as her boyfriend, had visited the residence, therefore accounting for their presence in the home pre and, perhaps, post murder. A shoe print found under the victim's body that matches one the size of Knox is a challenge for the defense, but as it is not a perfect match, it is but one more item of circumstantial evidence that could or could not link the "Angel Faced American" to the brutal murder in ancient Perugia.
The Italian prosecutor continues with his rather bizarre, crime tabloid-like theory that Kercher was the victim of a violent, drug-fueled sex game, one that Guede, Sollecito, and Knox forced Kercher to participate in. Prosecutor Mignini has further suggested that the idea of victimizing Kercher may have come to Sollecito after he read a Japanese Manga comic book, copies of which were found in his apartment, that represent a cross between porno and Satan worship and illustrate women being brutalized with a sword. This theory goes on to suggest that Knox and Sollecito had stolen Kercher's rent money from her dresser to pay for drugs they were buying from Guede, and that when confronted by Kercher, the three forced Kercher into having sex with Guede, this while Knox held a knife to the victim's throat, cutting her a little bit at a time to force her to comply with their terrible demands, and then delivering an ear to ear slicing would causing Kercher to choke to death on her own blood. Guede, as the investigators suggested to me when I was in Perugia, then fled the country and Knox and Sollecito contrived their cover story, to include breaking a window in the residence to make it appear that an unknown burglar had broke into the house and committed the robbery, the sexual assault, and the horrific murder.
Knox's mother, father and step father have taken turns supporting Amanda by their presence at the trial. Knox's family and friends alike say she could not have committed such a terrible crime and though her step father allegedly once characterized Amanda and her sibling as "****heads," he is quick to attack the press and anyone else who doubts Amanda's innocence. In her defense, her step father seems to dismiss her initial allegation that Patrick Lumumba killed Kercher and has suggested the cartwheels she did in the police station were done at the request of police. Funny; I never thought to ask a murder suspect to do any such thing, but this is Italy...
Like so many other thousands of trials across the globe, the six jurors in this case need to separate truth from lie, fact from fiction, and evidence from fluff. There is no doubt that an otherwise innocent young woman was brutally murdered the day after Halloween almost two years ago. The real question is who killed her and under what conditions. While we no longer necessarily need a judge with the wisdom of King Solomon, modern science has its limits and the misstatements of the two remaining murder suspects may either be dismissed by the jury, or may support their ultimate conclusion that if you lie about the little things, you will lie about the big things. Justice; Italian style will eventually prevail, one way or the other.
Meanwhile Meredith Kercher is dead and the lives of two other young people hang on science, human testimony and the opinion of six supposed unbiased jurors, all of whom, of course, know the field day that the Italian and British newspapers and other tabloids have made out of this case and the ongoing "trial of the century."