American student acquitted after four years in prison

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Jennifer Werner
jwerner2@radford.edu

After four years in an Italian prison, Amanda Knox, 24, of Seattle, Washington was acquitted Monday, Oct. 3. Knox, who was studying abroad at the time, was convicted alongside her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 27, in Dec. 2009 for the  murder of Meredith Kercher in a 2007 attack. Rudy Hermann Guede was also convicted. Kercher, who bled to death, was found semi-nude with a slashed throat.

Knox, who faced a 26-year prison sentence, gave an emotional testimony at the hearing in which she spoke of her time with Sollecito and her friendship with, her roommate, Meredith Kercher.

“I want to go home. I want to go back to my life. I don’t want to be punished…I don’t want my future taken away from me for something I didn’t do because I am innocent,” Knox said.

While addressing the court about her treatment from the Italian police, Knox spoke bitterly.

“I made myself available up to the point of exhaustion…I was betrayed. I was manipulated,”Knox said.

Knox was called a “sex-obsessed she-devil and a liar” by the prosecution lawyers. The defense lawyers claimed that she wasn’t a she-devil, but more like Jessica Rabbit.

According to abcnews.com, “Two court appointed experts looked at the prosecution’s evidence and delivered a damning assessment that the manner in which the DNA was collected, stored and analyzed was below international standards.      One involved the alleged murder weapon, a knife found in Sollecito’s kitchen. Prosecutors claimed the handle contained Knox’s DNA and a speck on the blade contained Kercher’s DNA.”

Experts came to the conclusion that the DNA came from bread but they were unable to perform a second test because the sample of blood was too small. The second bit of evidence was the bra clasp  cut from Kercher’s bra sometime during the attack that allegedly contained Sollecito’s DNA.  However, the evidence was most likely contaminated due to being improperly handled.

After much deliberation, the jury found Knox guilty of slandering a bar owner, Dija “Patrick” Lumumba, 38, who had previously hired Knox.
According to reports, Knox, after about 50 hours of interrogation by Italian police, implicated Lumumba in the murder.

Since Knox already served 4 years, she was not forced to serve any more time for the three-year slander sentence. However, she is forced to pay Lumumba $22,000 Euros.

Knox, in tears, almost collapsed in joy when she heard the verdict that her conviction for the murder of her British roommate had been thrown out. Sollecito was also acquitted. However, unlike Knox and Sollecito, Guede is forced to serve a 16-year prison sentence.

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Knox returned to her home in Seattle and Sollecito returned to his southern Italian home.

According to the Bellingham Herald, “the widely publicized case of Amanda Knox has had little effect on Washington State University’s Education Abroad program.” Knox is a former Washington State University student.

“I tell my students to make themselves familiar with the laws of the country, where they’re staying or traveling,” said the program director at WSU.