Crime History: The Kinky Sex Murder Convictions -- and Acquittals -- of Amanda Knox

September 30, 2016
By: Mike McPadden
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Italy Student Slain

Italy Student Slain

Undated file photos of (from left) Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, slain 21-year-old British woman Meredith Kercher, and her American roommate Amanda Knox

Photo by: AP Photo / files

AP Photo / files

Undated file photos of (from left) Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, slain 21-year-old British woman Meredith Kercher, and her American roommate Amanda Knox

On November 2, 2007, American exchange student Amanda Knox (above, right), then 20, said she returned to her apartment in Perugia, Italy, after spending the night with Raffaele Sollecito (above, left), her Italian boyfriend.

Knox said she discovered the front door open, along with blood droplets and a footprint in the bathroom. After trying unsuccessfully to rouse her British roommate Meredith Kercher (above, center), 21, from her bedroom, Knox said the bedroom door was locked, so she called the police. Responders got inside and discovered Kercher’s dead, partially nude body. Her throat had been slit. A nearby window had been broken, making it appear as though perhaps an intruder had broken in.

During questioning, Knox reportedly said she’d actually been at home when Kercher died. She implicated Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a local bar where Knox worked, as the guilty party. Police arrested Lumumba, but ultimately cut him loose. Shortly after Lumumba was cleared, a vaginal swab indicated that Rudy Guede, a drifter from the Ivory Coast who was known to Kercher’s boyfriend, had had sex with Kercher.

Italy Student Slain

Italy Student Slain

Rudy Guede as he leaves the Viterbo's penitentiary, Italy, Saturday, June 25, 2016.

Photo by: AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia

AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia

Rudy Guede as he leaves the Viterbo's penitentiary, Italy, Saturday, June 25, 2016.

After being returned to Italy from Germany, where he had fled, Guede admitted to the sex, but said someone else killed Kercher while he was using the bathroom. Guede’s bloody fingerprints were discovered on Kercher’s pillow and inside her shoulder bag.

In the meantime, a search of Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment turned up the apparent murder weapon, a kitchen knife. Knox’s DNA was found on the knife’s handle, while Sollecito’s DNA appeared on Kercher’s bra clasp.

Authorities promptly indicted Knox, Sollecito, and Guede, for murder. Knox recanted her initial confession, claiming that she had been terrified and was tremendously pressured into stating she had been on the premises during the murder.

The arrests and ensuing trials set off an international scandal that gripped the public worldwide with tabloid headlines speculating about a kinky sex game gone fatally wrong.

Journalists even nicknamed the attractive American student being portrayed as the main protagonist in the incident “Foxy Knoxy.” Some reported that after being arrested, Knox “did cartwheels and a split” in the police station and sloppily made out with Sollecito.

Amanda Knox [screenshot]

Photo by: ABC News

ABC News

Amanda Knox [screenshot]

Guede opted for a “fast track” trial and fingered Knox and Sollecito. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 years behind bars.

During the trial of Knox and Sollecito, the prosecution painted a salacious scenario with which the press ran wild. The theory was that, during a night of partying, Knox attacked Kercher, repeatedly banging her head against the wall, after which she and Sollecito held her down on all fours while Guede sexually assaulted her. From there, lawyers speculated that Knox stabbed Kercher to death, and then broke the window to fake a burglary.

Following a two-year trial that received global coverage, the court convicted Knox and Sollecito in 2009. Knox received 26 years in prison for murder, sexual violence, falsifying a break-in, and slander for her implication of Lumumba. Sollecito got 25 years.

After denying her initial confession, Knox continued to maintain her innocence. Multiple American legal experts took up the cause to free her, specifically questioning the trial’s DNA evidence. In 2011, a court overturned the convictions of Knox and Sollecitio on appeal. Upon release, Knox immediately flew home to Seattle.

Unexpectedly, in November 2013, the Italian Supreme Court overruled Knox’s acquittal and ordered a new trial to be held without her being present. Knox wrote to the court: “I must repeat to you. I’m innocent. I did not rape, I did not steal… I did not kill Meredith.”She also added that she would never willingly return to Italy. The second trial upheld the original conviction.

Still, even that was not the last word. In March 2015, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the second guilty verdict, definitively clearing Knox of the crime.

Amanda Knox talks to the media in Seattle on March 27, 2015, after Italy’s highest court overturned the murder conviction against her and her ex-boyfriend

Photo by: AP Photo / Ted S. Warren

AP Photo / Ted S. Warren

Amanda Knox talks to the media in Seattle on March 27, 2015, after Italy’s highest court overturned the murder conviction against her and her ex-boyfriend

Amanda Knox talks to the media in Seattle on March 27, 2015, after Italy’s highest court overturned the murder conviction against her and her ex-boyfriend. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Guede remains behind bars, although his original 30-year sentence has been reduced to 16. In 2014, he reiterated, “I am 101-percent certain that Amanda Knox was there.”

The mystery regarding what exactly happened on the night Meredith Kercher was murdered continues to enthrall the masses, and Amanda Knox remains the center of the fascination. She has been cleared repeatedly, but the public perception is that unanswered questions remain and that Knox seems to exude, based on nothing substantiated, an air of something dangerous.

As Knox herself, now 29, says provocatively in promos for a Netflix documentary about the case that bears her name: “I’m either a psychopath in sheep’s clothing or I am you.”

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