Everybody has heard of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito by now and we all have our opinions on their guilt or innocence. This case from the beginning has been all over media in both Italy and America. However, we (for the most part) have seemed to change our view within the last couple of years. Being an avid 'True Crime' reader, recognized that this case resembled that of another case, the 'Monster of Florence' and the arrest of Mario Spezi, way too closely to believe credible. Therefore, from the beginning have believed Amanda and Raffaele were innocent. These kind of coincidences seem to be a pattern in many cases we've studied, even in the few cases we've profiled on this website. Find one case of injustice and you are sure to find quite a few other cases of the wrongfully arrested and convicted in that same jurisdiction. You will find the accused in these cases are being charged with doing the same things and in some such as this are so outlandish that the media and citizens just eat it up. I always find myself saying "What are the chances?" while researching the cases such as these.
There's so much information available on Amanda Knox that I won't go into specifics on the case but have provided plenty of links at the names and phrases. Originally, I decided that because of the abundance of information I wouldn't share my views but there are key factors in this case and so many others that shouldn't be ignored. I want to go over similarities in these cases as well as many cases of the wrongfully accused and the 'very interesting' way things were handled during trial.
There is however, one major difference in this case and many other wrongful conviction cases. The brutal killing of Meredith Kercher is and has been solved for over five years. Rudy Guede was charged and convicted October, 2008 based on DNA, fingerprints, shoe prints, a confession and a mountain of other evidence but despite all of this was only given 16 years on appeal. For whatever reason, (pride an obvious factor) the investigator/prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini and his followers refuse to let Amanda and Raffaele be. And because Mignini won't let it be, and is quite the actor I might add, neither will media and public opinion in most of Italy and England.
After the murder of Meredith, the people's opinion as in so many other cases, was that Amanda was not behaving as she should. I have said this so many times that I'm beginning to feel like a broken record and again ask if there's some sort of manual on how to react after an unthinkable tragedy. I can agree that some of the things Amanda did were a bit on the strange side. However, from the beginning I have always been of the opinion that she is just a bit strange in general. I think I can safely say that all of us have known a few eccentrics and/or drama geeks and combine with this the kooky way young girls and women behave when they meet a new boy. I saw no evidence of an evil vixen or 'Foxy Knoxy' as the media put it, I saw a young naïve woman in bad circumstances with a new crush, that didn't know when to sit down and shut up.
This brings me to another huge similarity in many wrongful convictions, Amanda didn't do as her roommates did by refusing to talk and returning home to the safety of family. Her parents begged her, many times to return home immediately but she wanted to help in the investigation (and coming from a once boy-crazy girl, I'm sure leaving Raffaele behind played at least a small part in staying) and she trusted law enforcement. She wanted to do anything necessary to help in solving the murder of her roommate and friend, Meredith and she did just that, just not in the way she expected. Her actions combined with her state of mind and the language barrier resulted in the false confession, arrest and conviction of both her and Raffaele. She also named another man (her boss at the time) by the name of Patrick Diya Lumumba but he had a rock solid alibi and is now suing Amanda because of this. The fact that the investigators found a text to him in Amanda's phone and suggested his involvement to her first, during a very hostile interrogation has not swayed his very negative opinion of her.
It seems that these trials and public opinion as a whole in Italy resemble that of cases in American history but decades behind in some instances and centuries in others. The charges in this case and those of Mario Spezi can easily be compared to investigation and news reporting during the late 1980's- early 1990's 'Satanic Panic' here in America (as well as many other English speaking countries). Giuliano Mignini accused 20 suspects related to the Monster of Florence case, among those Mario Spezi of committing satanic rituals and being involved in a satanic cult. while in this case he accused the defendants of performing a ritualistic orgy on Halloween night. (when faced with criticism, he did however point out that Satan was never mentioned in the Knox case, by ritualistic orgy he meant that Meredith had refused group sex so they raped and killed her) (Hummmm? Very interesting and confusing term used to describe rape and murder.)
In both cases every little detail Mignini found important was transformed to hard evidence despite the very sloppy police and forensic work. A very, for lack of a better word, weird fact about the Italian Judicial System is that the lead investigator is also the prosecutor during investigation and trial. Here in America there have been many proven cases of the investigator planting evidence or the prosecutor withholding information from defense; can you imagine the chaos if all this power were at the hands of one man? Trials in Italy are reminiscent of 17th century America, the prosecutor and attorneys wear long robes and resemble paintings of George Washington. The trials are very media-based and include plenty of drama to boot. It is a known fact that defendants in Italian court are sure to receive a very large sentence but on appeal will receive reduced sentences or are in many cases, freed. All of this for the extra drama effect. You will also find countless lawsuits in the aftermath of Italian trials, Mignini himself has sued quite a few for libel and/or slander for things said during trial or to the public by media and the defense. Again, the word chaos comes to mind.
The charges against Mario Spezi were eventually thrown out when the 'Supreme Court of Italy' ruled that the main case related to his charges, did not exist. Giuliano Mignini was found guilty January, 2010 and sentenced to 16 months, suspended for wrong doing in the 'Monster of Florence case'. This was over thrown in 2011 for 'lack of jurisdiction' and turned over to the prosecutor in Turin, they will decide if charges will be refiled. Further, more than likely, even if the charges are refiled and he is found guilty, a felony charge is not enough to have him removed from his position in office.
Amanda and Raffaele were found guilty in December, 2009 and after spending four years in prison the verdict was overturned. That decision was then appealed by the prosecution and ultimately overturned (Some more of that drama I talked about earlier). Both are due to receive a new verdict on January 30, 2014 and they as well as prosecution will still have the option to appeal one more time. (Good lord!) Raffaele was given the chance in the beginning and I'm sure the option is still there to put the blame in the hands of Amanda, but he has not done this. Mignini claims that he is under some sort of spell (There he goes again, this man has quite the imagination) and that is ridiculous. The two had only just begun dating in 2007 and became and have remained friends in the aftermath. I pray that an innocent verdict is returned but after the way this case has gone, I don't put my faith in the Italian Judicial System. The appeal is being handled by a different prosecutor by the name of Alessandro Crini but he has based the new trial on the same junk forensics and responses given during the very hostile interrogation. Crini has changed one thing however, his argument is that Amanda had Meredith raped then led the other men in her ravenous murder because of disagreements over cleanliness. (I won't comment on that, you can draw your own conclusions) The last hope I have is that even if found guilty, our Judicial System refuses to extradite. Unfortunately this wouldn't help Raffaele as he is in Italy attending the proceedings with his father.
We are keeping them in our thoughts and hope for a good ending.
During research for this article, we discovered that George Clooney is set to star in the movie 'Monster of Florence' and it's currently in production. Can't wait to see it!
Article written by Lisa Wallace
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