Amanda Knox case: The obsession with what happened that night in Italy
American Amanda Knox is appealing her murder conviction in the 2007 death of her roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy.
August 15th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

Amanda Knox case: The obsession with what happened that night in Italy

There’s been no shortage of speculation about what took place the night in 2007 when American student Amanda Knox’s roommate was murdered in the house they shared in Perugia, Italy.

Whether the case is playing out in court or not, the speculation about whether Knox was responsible for the death of her roommate Meredith Kercher rages on - in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, and her Italian boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, was sentenced to 25 years for murder.

The question everyone asks: What really happened inside that house, and is Knox responsible? The questioning of the verdict comes in many forms: How do the cultural and judicial differences between Italy and the U.S. and UK change the way we view the case?

Part of the answer has come from the case's new momentum as Knox’s attorney presented evidence during his client's appeal of her murder conviction challenging Italian police forensic operations.

Forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni and her team examined DNA evidence during the original investigation in 2007. Their work has been strongly contested by two court-appointed forensic experts, professors Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti. The professors argued that two key pieces of evidence in the conviction of Knox and Sollecito should have been considered inadmissible. Knox's supporters say they hope her conviction may be overturned or her sentence reduced on appeal.

CNN Radio's John Lisk spoke with journalist Nina Burleigh about her new book, "The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox" (Broadway), which takes a look at why this case has captured the attention of so many people.

"Fatal Gift" is not the first book to examine the case and its popularity - and it certainly won't be the last. Talk of possible movies has dominated headlines, too.

Burleigh explains how the culture in Italy and how Knox’s actions after the murder may have played into her portrayal in the press during the early days of the case. In those first weeks of the investigation, Knox’s face was splashed across the front pages of newspapers across Italy. And in 2008, Knox was voted the country's Woman of the Year, surpassing even Carla Bruni (the Italian-born wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy) and Angelina Jolie, Burleigh recalls.

“The macabre nature of it, the lurid nature of this tale, combined with her prettiness, made the story irresistible and it became a sensation," Burleigh told CNN. "And that definitely played to her disadvantage.”

How has that culture played into Knox’s conviction inside the courtroom and in the public speculation?

“I think that we in our society, not just in Italy … all of us have to sort of stand back and say why is it that we are so fascinated by the occasionally evil female and not so interested in the run-of-the-mill, garden-variety, much more common male,” she said.

Listen to Burleigh describe what she’s learned about the woman at the center of the trial and other key players, the theories about what happened on the night Kercher was murdered, how the case may have played out if it had been tried in a U.S. courtroom and where the appeals process stands.

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soundoff (601 Responses)
  1. Kevin

    CNN, nobody's obsessed with this. Nobody. Just because *you* choose to cover it doesn't mean anybody really cares.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven Perkins

      Got you to read and post. Hmmm.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grace

      Keven, just because you care for no one and no one cares for you does not mean that nobody cares about this.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Remember Meredith

      Culture didn't do it, and neither did CNN. Amanda Knox's father hired a publicist who has been distributing all of these news feeds to the outlets in an effort to raise international pressure against Italy to release her from prison.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Terre08

    She is guilty as hell.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • SheisGuilty

      CNN Enough media for this girl....I think CNN likes this girl.and obessed with it...and keep posting her story..we do not want her story anymore..WHO CARES..I do not obessed with it makes me sick..she is guilty...PERIOD..Why you guys trying to prove her innocent by giving media attention...let them do their work..and will see the truth...whether you like it or not just like casey..anthony

      August 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jamal

    I refuse to believe that beautiful people actually commit crimes. She was set up. We all know it deep down. Beauty is right, and just.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Get eyes, she isn't beautiful, she's an average looking women, (comes across as being a little bi), so if you statement is correct, she's quilty. Average looking people commit crimes. To me, she looks evil underneath.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grace

      The problem is the evidence does not indicate anyone was involved in this murder but Rudy Guede.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      I don't know if she's guilty or not, but I agree with Grace. The evidence all points to Rudy Guede. It seems like they really lacked direct evidence against Amanda Knox.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pat

    Funny, every women that's involved in a crime and is under 40 years old is considered "attractive". Knox is an average looking women and people aren't obscessed with it, the media is and forces it on the public.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grace

      I'm not obsessed with her. However I am irritated when anyone is railroaded by a bunch of over rated buffoons in Perugia bellied up to the trough at the tax payers expense.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Father Sarducci - aka the Preacher

    Free her!

    August 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Peter

    She was tried with a jury and found guilty. Minor technicalities about DNA collection do not change that.
    As it is, she is guilty of murdering her roommate, or at least standing there watching (enjoying?) it.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Loon

      lol minor...sure

      August 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grace

      According to the independent lab appointed by the judge, the police's crime lab didn't do anything right. Eleven high ranking members of the Italian government requested an investigation of the prosecutor, who by the way has already been sentenced to 16 months in prison for his previous asinine stunts / abusing people with his power.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thethunderbolt

      People were laughing in court last month over those "technicalities". The knife and bra clasp have been discredited.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. alemeh

    She is not attractive, she is quite ugly.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MK

    The reason people are not really as interested in this case as the Casey Anthony one is for a few reasons, one its not occurring in the U.S., Knox is accused of murdering a woman in her 20s, not a young child, she is also a woman and not a man, if this involved a 25 year old U.S. man killing a woman over in Italy it would probably be getting more attention too...also the media has long stints whereby they don't really cover the story. When it first occurred and when the verdict came down alot of people were talking about it, the same will happen again when the appeal decision is reached.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike Alright

    She is a US woman, and as such she is really not guilty no matter what. Poor woman.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Grace

    Rudy Guede said he was at the apartment when Meredith got home, and he was captured by CCTV cam arriving before she was captured on cam arriving at the apartment, so the judge conjures Guede arrive at 11 pm with Amanda and Raffaele. Amanda and Raffaele were not captured on cam arriving. Only two people were, Meredith and Guede. No witness puts Amanda or Raffaele at the apartment the evening she was murdered. The entire case is this asinine and worse. The authorities were caught in numerous lies. All the information needed to identify lies in the judge's reports is contained in the reports :))) Talk about a bunch of clowns. Give me a break.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Grace

    Meredith arrived at her home around ( pm.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Grace

    Meredith arrived at her apartment around 9 PM.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Drewman

    Doing cartwheels will in prison when she was first brought in about the murders. If she is not guilty, she is a not.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SheisGuilty

    You got to be really hungry to say she is beautiful

    August 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SheisGuilty

    I do not see victim story anymore...she is dead who cares...God bless Merideth..RIP

    August 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
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