Amanda Marie Knox

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Childhood and university

Amanda Marie Knox was born in Seattle, Washington, USA, on July 9, 1987. Her father, Curt Knox, was an accountant who progressed to become a vice president of finance at the retailer's, Macy's, and her German-born mother Edda, initially worked in a school library, but went on to train as a math teacher.[1] Her parents divorced in 1989 when Amanda was 2, and her father remarried, leaving her and her younger sister, Deanna, in the care of their mother.[2] There ensued a courtroom battle about money.[3]

When Amanda was 10, her mother met Chris Mellas, an IT professional, 12 years her junior, whom she subsequently married.[4] Amanda Knox grew up in West Seattle: her father and his new wife lived nearby, as did her maternal grandparents. Knox did well at school and won a partial scholarship to Seattle Preparatory High School, a fee-paying Jesuit school.[5]

Knox was keen on sport, particularly soccer, and her parents have always insisted that it was from her skills on the soccer field that she acquired the nickname "Foxy Knoxy".[6] What is certain is that she was using the Foxy Knoxy moniker on MySpace in 2007, by which time, she must have been well aware of its connotations, other than soccer skill.[7]

In 2005 she began studies at the University of Washington, studying German, Italian and creative writing.[8] While there, Knox's had her only other brush with the law when, in June 2007, the Seattle police issued her with a citation for hosting a party, at which the attendees were causing excessive noise and throwing rocks at passing cars. She incurred a $269 fine.[9][10]

European travel

In 2007, Knox decided to travel to Europe, first working in Germany for a short period and then studying in Perugia. She left the United States, with her sister, in mid-August 2007, staying initially with relatives in Germany. In September the sisters travelled to Perugia, looking for accommodation, and settled on the house on Via della Pergola. Knox returned to Germany, where her uncle had gone to some trouble to organise an internship for her at the Bundestag (The Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany). However, after two days there, she walked out and never went back, because she did not think there was anything for her to do. This caused some considerable embarrassment for her uncle.[11]

Knox returned to Perugia and took up residence at the house in Via della Pergola.[12] She said she had chosen Perugia because she wanted to learn about the Italian people and culture, and not live in a place that was "too touristy". She commenced a course at the University for Foreigners: not a recognised course of study, but her own pick-and-mix selection of courses in Italian, German and Creative Writing.[13] One of her teachers described her as "a really good student, diligent, actively participated."[14] She found a part-time job at the pub Le Chic managed by Patrick Lumumba, initially working every day from 9:30pm, then from 10pm, then only two days a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays.[15]

Meeting with Sollecito

Knox and Sollecito met on October 25, 2007, at a classical music concert to which she had gone with Meredith. Meredith went home during the intermission, and Sollecito sat down near Knox. Knox and Sollecito quickly established "a good understanding", he treating and cuddling her "like a little girl". She stayed at his apartment that night; others later described how they met frequently and seemed constantly together. Sollecito’s father called him daily, often several times a day, and every time he called, his son talked about Amanda. Knox told her parents in a November 13, 2007, conversation that they were going out together as if they were a couple and that he was kind and caring, that he cooked for her and always wanted to hug her and help her.[16]

Both were using drugs, which was corroborated by the statements of the flatmates, and by Knox in tapped intercepted conversations.[17] Knox also had the number of a man, who was later convicted as a cocaine dealer, stored in her phone.[18]

Events surrounding the murder

We don't know exactly what happened on the night of the murder, but several pieces of physical evidence suggest Knox's presence at the crime scene:

  • In Sollecito’s house, a knife was found containing traces of Knox's DNA, on the handle, and traces of biological material attributable to Meredith on the blade.
  • Knox's DNA was found mixed with the victim's blood in the room where the burglary was staged, and in the bathroom they shared. Knox testified that the bathroom was clean the day before the murder.
  • Footprints compatible with Knox and Sollecito's feet, and made in the victim's blood, were discovered when the forensic investigators tested the crime scene with luminol.
  • Given Knox's closeness to Sollecito, her presence is also suggested by the evidence that he was at the crime scene (for example, abundant amounts of his DNA on Meredith's bra clasp, and a bloody footprint entirely consistent with his foot, on the bathmat).

In addition, Knox gave several different accounts of the events of that day, some of which included an admission that she was present in the cottage at the time of the murder. A witness (Antonio Curatolo) placed her in the vicinity of the cottage on the evening of the murder and another (Marco Quintavalle) placed her in a convenience store at 7:30 the next morning when she said she was in bed. Furthermore, she falsely accused an innocent man (Lumumba) of the murder.

We know that Knox and Sollecito were at the cottage in the early part of November 1, as witnessed by Filomena, before she left the house. At some point, they went to Sollecito's house on Corso Garibaldi, probably in the late afternoon.[19] Jovana Popovic, an acquaintance of Sollecito's, testified that on the evening of November 1 she went to his house twice and that on both of these occasions, she met Knox. The first was around 5:45pm and the second was around 8:40pm.[20] Then, at 8:42pm Sollecito received a phone call from his father and mentioned that he was with Knox and that they had eaten and washed up.[21]

Knox was scheduled to work that night at Le Chic. However, Lumumba sent her a text message, at 8.18pm, telling her that there was no need for her to go to work that evening. At that point Knox's phone records show she was not at Sollecito's.[22] Knox's phone was turned off at 8.35pm. Their activities from that time onwards became a major subject of their subsequent trial.

Judicial process

On November 6, 2007, a few days after the murder, Knox was questioned by police and made statements in which she said she was present at the cottage at the time of the murder and that it had been committed by Patrick Lumumba. The police proceeded to arrest Knox, Sollecito, and Lumumba. He was released two weeks later, having established an alibi which completely exonerated him. Knox and Sollecito were remanded in custody.

By October 28, 2008, the preliminary investigation into the crime was complete and a Preliminary Hearing was held before Judge Paolo Micheli. The court committed Knox and Sollecito for a full trial and, again they were remanded in custody.

In January 2009, the trial of Knox and Sollecito began, presided over by Judge Giancarlo Massei, and lasting until December 4, 2009, when Knox and Sollecito were found guilty of murder and sexual assault. They were provisionally sentenced (subject to appeal) to 24 years in prison for these offences, plus an additional year for the simulated burglary and, in Knox's case, an additional year for the criminal defamation ("calunnia") of Patrick Lumumba.

On June 1, 2010, Knox, then in prison in prison, appeared in court on a further calunnia charge over her claims that she was beaten by police while being questioned. The case was adjourned.

On November 24, 2010, Knox and Sollecito's appeal began. The presiding judge was Claudio Pratillo Hellmann. The case lasted until October 3, 2011, when the appeal court found Knox and Sollecito not guilty of murder and sexual assault. Knox's conviction for calunnia against Lumumba is upheld and the sentence increased to three years, which she has already served. The sentences were again provisional, subject to appeal to the Supreme Court. Knox and Sollecito were provisionally set free.

On March 25, 2013, The Supreme Court considered the Knox and Sollecito case, with new appeals raised by both defense and prosecution. The next day, they announced their verdict of annulling the appeal court's decisions, with the exception of the calunnia charge, which was now made final. A new appeal was scheduled, to be held in September 2013, the city of Florence.

After release from prison

Knox returned to her family in Seattle and, in February 2012, it was announced that she had signed a $4m book deal with HarperCollins.[23] The book, Waiting to be Heard, was launched in the U.S. in April 2013, shortly after the Supreme Court decision to quash Knox's appeal. A planned UK launch was abandoned owing to her publishers' concerns over UK libel laws. The book was not published in Italy.

Knox made a number of appearances on U.S. TV talk shows, promoting the book, but sales were very weak: in May 2013, it was reported that 36,000 had been sold from a print run of 750,000.[24]

Notes

  1. Nadeau, Barbie Latza: Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox; ReadHowYouWant.com; ISBN: 9781458761255. p.7
  2. Burleigh, Nina: The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox; Broadway Books; July 10, 2012; ISBN-10: 0307588599. p.29
  3. Burleigh, p.29
  4. Burleigh p.30
  5. 2016404978_apwaknoxhomecoming6thldwritethru.html ''Seattle Times''
  6. Nadeau, p.66
  7. See copy of the MySpace page at PMF
  8. Nadeau, p.8
  9. Daily Mail, 3 December 2007
  10. The ticket issued to Knox is available at Perugiamurderfile.org
  11. Nadeau, p.10
  12. Massei, p61
  13. Nadeau, p.9
  14. Massei, p61
  15. Massei, p61
  16. Massei, p62
  17. Massei, p62: "Both Amanda and Raffaele were using drugs; there are multiple corroborating statements to this effect..."
  18. Terni magazine, January 2011: http://www.ternimagazine.it/36101/il-fatto/omicidio-mez-clamorosi-sviluppi-sesso-e-droga-condannato-amante-amanda.html: Al pusher la polizia e’ arrivata attraverso il numero di cellulare rinvenuto nell’elenco memorizzato sul telefono di Amanda. Le chiamate tra le due utenze sarebbero intercorse anche nei giorni precedenti e successivi al delitto di Mez stimolando, pertanto, un approfondimento che ha portato alla scoperta di un giro di droga per studenti universitari e professionisti.
  19. Massei, p65
  20. [Massei, pp63-64
  21. Massei, p63
  22. Massei, p64
  23. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17069980 BBC News
  24. http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/amanda-knox/53159/dismal-sales-perugia-memoir-leave-amanda-knox-fix