EUROPE

Amanda Knox Trial: Perugia, Italy

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The Amanda Knox trial is an ongoing case in Italy. Amanda Knox moved to Perugia, Italy in September 2007 to study Italian, German, and creative writing at the University of Foreigners for one year. She shared a house with Meredith Kercher, a student from England, who was later murdered.

In October, Amanda Knox met an Italian engineering student, Raffaele Sollecito and they started dating soon after.

The morning of November 1st 2007, Knox allegedly came back to her house in the morning to find a broken window and Kercher not answering her bedroom door. Kercher’s door was later broken into and Kercher’s body was found on the floor. She had died of blood loss and suffocation caused by stab wounds to her neck. The Italian police charged both Knox and Sollecito with murder.

The first trial that occurred in 2009, Knox and Sollecito pleaded not guilty. As the trial continued, the jury sentenced Knox to 26 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years in prison. However, the verdict was criticized on the grounds that it contained a hypothetical motivation and there wasn’t any basis in the evidence.

Two years later, On October, 3rd 2011 there was an acquittal and a release. The appeal trial reviewed the facts of the case as well as the legal aspects and Knox and Sollecito were both found not guilty and soon after released. The judges explained that a court ordered independent expert review had discredited DNA evidence that was key to the prosecution case. Also Knox and Sollecito’s accounts did not match the evidence at hand. The judge also discounted the testimony from a homeless man that lived outside of Knox and Kercher’s house, who had previously said that he had seen Knox and Sollecito on the night of the murder because the homeless man was a heroin addict.

Two years later, March 26th 2013 there was a retrial on the case. Italy’s highest criminal court set aside the judgment of the previous trials and decided to re try the appeal. The retrial began on September 30th 2013. Knox remained in the U.S. and on January 30th 2014 both Knox and Sollecito were found guilty. Knox was sentenced to 28.5 years in prison and Sollecito received 25 years in prison.

I personally found the trial to be very interesting. While I was studying abroad, I would keep up with the news of the Amanda Knox trial especially when something similar happened at my University in Rome. On October 31st 2012, the day before the five-year anniversary of Kercher’s murder, a student at my school stabbed his roommate in his sleep. Reid Schepis allegedly stabbed his roommate, Fabio Malpeso 25 times after consuming ecstasy and alcohol and the next morning Reid had no memory of the attack. Fabio Malpeso was severely wounded but ended up being just fine. I just thought that it was ironic that these two incidents happened almost on the same day just five years apart. Once this incident happened I began paying more attention to the Amanda Knox trial and have kept up with the news regarding the case since then.

By: Caitlin Banbury

Caitlin is a senior English major and Education Abroad Peer Ambassador at UK. She studied abroad in Italy for an academic year (one semester each in Rome and Florence) with the partner program API.

For more information about the program that Caitlin completed, follow this link to the program page.