Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
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Monday, September 29, 2014
Amanda Knox's Murder Conviction was Overturned (October 3, 2011)
This week (September 29 - October 5) in crime history –
Cyanide laced Tylenol kills six in Chicago (September 29, 1982); Polly Klaas
was abducted from her home in California (October 1, 1993); Suicide bomber
strikes in Bali (October 1, 2005); Nazi war criminals were sentenced at
Nuremberg (October 1, 1946); British Major John Andre was executed for spying
during the Revolutionary War (October 2, 1780); West Nickel Amish School
massacre (October 2, 2006); Amanda Knox’s murder conviction was overturned
(October 3, 2011); Evangelist Jim Bakker was indicted on federal charges
(October 4, 1988); Dalton gang attempts last train robbery (October 5, 1892)
Highlighted Crime of the Week -
On October 3, 2011, an Italian appeals court overturns
the murder conviction of Amanda Knox, an American exchange student who two
years earlier was found guilty in the 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith
Kercher, in Perugia, Italy. At the time of her 2009 conviction, Knox, then 22
years old, received a 26-year prison sentence, while her ex-boyfriend, Italian
college student Raffaelle Sollecito, who also was convicted in the slaying, was
sentenced to 25 years behind bars. The sensational, high-profile case raised
questions in the United States about the Italian justice system and whether
Knox, who always maintained her innocence, was unfairly convicted.
On November 2, 2007, the 21-year-old Kercher of Coulsdon,
England, was found fatally stabbed in the bedroom of the home she shared with
Knox and two other women in Perugia, the capital city of the Umbria region in
central Italy. Investigators said the British exchange student had been slain
the previous night. After questioning by police, Knox, a Seattle native and
University of Washington student doing her junior year abroad in Italy, was
arrested. She denied any wrongdoing, saying she was at computer science student
Sollecito’s house the night the killing occurred. Police claimed Knox later
gave them conflicting statements about her whereabouts at the time of the
crime, and said she also accused her boss at the bar where she worked, who
turned out to have a solid alibi, of Kercher’s murder. The American student,
who was first questioned without an attorney or professional interpreter, said
police coerced her into making the accusation as well as other incriminating
During the nearly yearlong trial that followed in 2009,
Italian prosecutors charged that Knox, along with Sollecito and another man,
Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native, had viciously attacked Kercher in a sex game
gone wrong. (Guede was convicted for his role in Kercher’s death in a separate,
fast-track trial in 2008. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison, which was
reduced to 16 years on appeal.) The prosecution’s main evidence against Knox
included tiny traces of her DNA and that of Kercher’s on a knife discovered at
Sollecito’s home. Traces of Knox’s DNA were also found on a bra clasp belonging
to Kercher. Knox’s attorneys argued the bra clasp was found over a month after
the murder at a contaminated crime scene, and that the knife blade couldn’t
have made the wounds on the victim.
The case received extensive media coverage in the United
States and Europe. In the Italian and British press, Knox was painted as a
promiscuous party girl. However, in America, she was often portrayed in the
media as an innocent abroad, a young woman who had worked several jobs to earn
money to study in Perugia, where she had been railroaded by an overzealous
prosecutor. Knox and Sollecito appealed their convictions, and at their
subsequent trial court-appointed experts testified the original DNA evidence
was unreliable and did not definitively link the young American and her former
boyfriend to the crime. On October 3, 2011, an appellate court jury of two
judges and six civilians in Perugia acquitted the two defendants of murder.
(The court upheld Knox’s conviction on a charge of defamation for accusing her
former boss at the bar of murdering Kercher. Knox was given time served along
with a fine.) The 24-year-old Knox, who been jailed in Italy since her 2007
arrest, flew home to the United States the following day.
In March 2013, in a new twist in the case, Italy's
highest court overturned the acquittals of Knox and Sollecito and ordered that
they be retried. In January 2014, the two were re-convicted in Kercher's death.
Knox, who remained in America during the trial, was sentenced to 28 1/2 years behind
bars, while her former boyfriend received a 25-year prison sentence. Lawyers
for the two vowed to appeal the convictions. If Knox's conviction is upheld,
she's unlikely to return to Italy unless extradited.
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for www.crimemagazine.com and is the author
of numerous books that include the award winning Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949.
Visit Michael’s website www.michaelthomasbarry.com
for more information. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the