Amanda Knox Case
November 5th, 2012
The past year of Amanda Knox’s life may have been better than the previous four years, but it was still far from normal.
Freed from Italian prison for now a little over a year, Amanda Knox is currently living in Seattle, lying low in a “seedy” part of town, and working on her memoir. She is dating a former boyfriend, James Terrano, a classical guitarist, and spends most of her time alone.
In September, her previous boyfriend and supposed-accomplice, Raffaele Sollecito, just completed his memoir, Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox. While Knox still hasn’t given her first formal interview, considered “one of the most coveted ‘gets’ being fought over by the American networks,” Sollecito has commented on his experience extensively, even admitting to being jealous of the attention that she got. Sollecito and Knox recently met up at Knox’s grandmother’s birthday party, which helped him come to terms with the girl he once dated. Says Sollecito, he realized almost immediately after seeing her after their release that she was not the she-devil that the media played her out to be, but instead “the Amanda that [he] loved for one week.”
Knox’s book is expected to come out in spring of 2013 and will supposedly net $4 million, most of which will go towards Knox’s staggering legal fees. Until then, Knox seems content to pass unnoticed through the ethnic neighborhood of Seattle in which she lives. Not surprising, considering her nightmarish four years spent in an Italian prison. As Sollecito explained, after getting out of prison, “everything was new…[it makes you] feel like a kid inside, just discovering.”
For more on the Amanda Knox story, visit her page under In the News!
February 17th, 2012
Amanda Knox recently signed a book deal with HarperCollins publishers. The book will be the first time she will share the full story of her four-year-long ordeal in Italy. This past Tuesday, prosecutors in Italy appealed the acquittal of Knox. The appeal brings the question of whether an extradition order or arrest warrant could be issued for Knox if the acquittal is overturned. In a statement, Knox’s family said they are not concerned about the appeal by the Prosecutor’s.
For more information about the recent developments, go here
Amanda Knox Free
October 4th, 2011
On October 3, 2011, an Italian Judge acquitted Knox of her murder charges. In 2007 she was accused of killing her British roommate along with her boyfriend at the time. For more details on this story read our previous blog posts below.
Knox addressed the court yesterday saying her friend was killed in the most brutal way and she is paying with her life something she did not do. As mentioned in a previous post, some more controversy started when the court ruled out Knox’s DNA found because the court said it was contaminated. That was the same DNA that was used to convict Knox and her one time boyfriend. The victim’s family believes that Knox is guilty and most importantly that everyone forgot the victim. This case has had its ups and downs from the beginning. Italian police said that Knox confessed to the murder but then DNA originally tested was improperly handled. Besides what everyone believes, The Italian Court System ruled it and the appeal was in her favor.
Even though Knox was acquitted of her murder charges, she was still found guilty of slander and will have to pay back money to the Italian court system. Knox was swept away by officials while her fate was being decided. Unlike the court procedures in the US, Knox was released just two hours after the appeal verdict was read. Today Knox boarded a plane and is on her way back home. She addressed the foundation that ties together Italy and the US and said that in the future she will return to Italy.
To read more on this story go here.
The role of DNA in the Amanda Knox appeal
September 14th, 2011
Last week in Italy, the judge overseeing the appeal of Amanda Knox in the case of Meredith Kercher’s murder, brought down a landmark decision. Ms. Knox is currently appealing the guilty verdict handed down to her along with a 26 year prison sentence. As we all know, she is accused of murdering her college roommate Meredith Kercher while the two girls were studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the case, such as the criticism of the Italian justice system, the treatment of Ms. Knox, and the questionable forensic practices. Overshadowing all of these controversies is the DNA evidence that was collected at the scene. Here is where the decision by Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman comes in to play. In one fell swoop, Judge Hellman simultaneously rejected the prosecution’s request to retest the DNA evidence with “better” technology to prove their original results, and accepted the 145 page report by independent forensic specialists denouncing the methods used by the Italian forensic team. Followers of this case have predicted that this could lead to the inevitable release of Ms. Knox from prison, with some surmising that she could be home in America in time for Thanksgiving.
Two key pieces of evidence are at the heart of the DNA debate: a knife and a bra clasp. DNA profiles of both Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were said to have been found alongside Ms. Kercher’s DNA. However, it is believed that the items were handled incorrectly, thus contaminating the samples obtained. European forensic teams routinely rely on a type of DNA procedure called Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA analysis. Introduced by Britain’s Forensic Science Services around 1999, this procedure is not widely used in the United States, and has only recently been accepted by American courts as a viable forensic technique. LCN involves using an extremely small amount of DNA evidence, such as only a few cells. The LCN technique involves a process called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which amplifies the small sample of DNA by making multiple copies that can be used for sequencing. Keep in mind that while PCR creates multiple copies of the sample involved, thus making sequencing easier, it also amplifies any contaminants present.
Within the last decade, the LCN procedure has been severely criticized for its unreliability, most recently with the Omagh bombing case in Northern Ireland where the suspect was cleared of all charges due to faulty LCN results. The Knox independent forensic review stated that the amount of DNA supposedly found on the evidence was far too small to sequence, and so badly handled, that they could have easily been contaminated. It has been reported by several experts that not only could the contamination have occurred, but the amount of DNA evidence was so small that the DNA profile of any human being could have been extracted from the resulting sequence.
This case has ultimately polarized everyone involved, especially Americans and Italians. Controversies aside, both nations want to find justice for Meredith Kercher. If poor forensic practices were indeed used, and Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito are innocent, then they deserve justice as well. The Knox appeal highlights the importance of proper evidence handling and processing from start to finish, especially for homicides. Court resumes on September 23rd, with a possibility of a verdict for Ms. Knox’s appeal by as soon as next month. For more on this case, go here.
DNA Results in Amanda Knox’s Appeal
July 7th, 2011
Amanda Knox’s appeal continues–this time with the results of the second look at the DNA evidence. A key piece of evidence linking Knox to the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher was a bloody knife. Forensic scientists stated originally that the knife had blood from the victim and DNA from Knox–now, however, a new group of forensic investigators has looked into the original testing process, and calls some of these results into question.
These new results uphold the fact that the DNA from the knife handle belonged to Knox–the victim’s blood, however, is less certain. They now say the DNA on the blade could be the result of contamination during the testing process. They also suggest the original investigators did not follow the proper procedures in collecting the evidence. For more on the DNA’s role in the trial, go here. Stay tuned for updates as the appeal continues.
Amanda Knox’s Appeal has Begun
June 21st, 2011
The appeal trial of Amanda Knox has begun in Perugia, Italy. Knox was one of three people convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison, while her ex-boyfriend got 25 and Rudy Guede, the third, is serving 16.
So far the trial has consisted mostly of various witnesses describing their version of the crime. An inmate in prison with Guede claims he told him a version of the crime without Knox’s involvement, while another witness has testified to a completely different story of the murder, with different culprits—again, he claims Knox is innocent.
The appeal largely rests on a reexamination of DNA evidence, but the analysts have not completed their review at this point. The original DNA in question was a trace amount on the handle of the alleged murder weapon—a kitchen knife—that was presented as a match to Knox’s DNA, as well as some on the blade said to be the victim’s. The defense claimed the traces were too small to be conclusive and could be from contamination. The traces were minute enough that the experts reviewing the evidence aren’t able to re-test them—they can only look at the original tests to determine whether they were reliable. They were given an extension until the end of June to present their results, so stay tuned for a look at the evidence when it comes in.
Amanda Knox Movie Controversy
February 25th, 2011
The 23 year old college student from Seattle, Amanda Knox, was charged in December 2009 with the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher, in 2007. Knox was studying abroad in Italy at the time. She is currently serving a 26 year sentence inside of a prison in Italy, but is in the process of appealing her conviction. The jury is scheduled to reconvene on March 12th. They will be reexamining forensic evidence that has just recently been introduced.
Knox supporters are concerned that the Lifetime movie, “Murder on Trial in Italy”, which aired on Monday February 21st, will prejudice the jury. One of Knox’s Italian lawyers, Maria del Grosso, stated that the, “movie interferes with the proper course of the justice because it claims to be based on a true story, while there is not a ‘truth’ [that has been] procedurally established”. The Knox case garnered such extensive media coverage to begin with, because of a lack of substantial evidence that would place both Knox and her then boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, as the killers. Hayden Panettiere stars as Amanda Knox, and has been under media scrutiny for quite some time for accepting the role. On her role, Pannattiere has said, “The way in which this film is done, it’s done very tastefully. It’s done in a very classy way, there’s nothing in it that would incriminate her, nothing that would sway opinions in court, when it came to her appeal”.
Despite Pannattiere’s kind words on the movie, “Murder on Trial in Italy”, is said to be chocked full of factual errors. To read more about this in greater detail, please click here. To read more about the Knox case or Pannattiere’s take on the film, please click here or here.