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. Frank

    If you ever get high and kill your roomate in a Halloween prank, hire "Gogerty Marriott" – the PR firm that helped Amanda's parents lie to America,

    Just Google the firm's name – they brag about their big time clients (Boeing, the NFL, AT&T, Alaska Airlines, etc.), their "campaign style tactics" (including online comment sections), and their fave client, Amanda Knox.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:50 am | Report abuse |
    • TonydelBalzo

      He will also work for people who do not get high and do NOT murder their roommates but have to face the full weight of the lies of the Italian press and the corruption of the Perugian police force.

      When the deck is stacked against and you are blamed fro everything from Googling "bleach" to staging a break-in, it is good to have this guy in your corner.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
    • jim550

      This is the turning point ..Its important that evil should not win.. Evil is Amandas pr firm..This is how american firms are misused..

      August 16, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • kcmookie

      Your ignorance is astounding. What piece of evidence in the case do you find most compelling of their guilt? Or do you simply enjoy condemning someone without facts?

      August 16, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. TonydelBalzo

    Totally discredited and unsubstantiated as hearsay.

    Other reporters have never been able to verify this rumor. Iin short, a LIE

    August 16, 2011 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
    • DSK

      What is? That's your problem, 'delBalzo' Mellas – you just state that anything which you disagree with is a 'lie'. It's pathetic – that's why no-one believes a word you say....Go on: tell us why Knox 'can't remember' what she was doing on the night of the murder?????

      August 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Candace

    When asked in Court why she didn't immediately tell the authorities that Amanda had lied about an innocent black man being involved, Amanda's mom said: "Because I don't speak Italian."

    Amanda's mom, Edda, was literally surrounded by bilingual lawyers, police and consular help.

    Edda is Seattle's answer to Cindy Anthony.

    Poor Patrick would still be in jail today if his alibi hadn't checked out. Amanda didn't fall far from the tree.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
    • jeroboam

      Why is she innocent and Rudy Giudde guilty? The girl at worst is a very unsavory character that attempted to fram an innocent man, Patrick.

      The Italians are cack handed and inept otherwise the case should have been a wrap by now and no toing and froing.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:09 am | Report abuse |
    • TonydelBalzo

      Strange that Edda is surrounded by English speakers BUT not ONE could be found to aid Amanda. Edda had to go to Roma to get the Embassy's attention. Italy is so crime ridddled that the Embassy does not care.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
    • JLS1950

      It was not Amanda who named Diya "Patrick" Lumumba – but police. Police DEMANDED that Amanda explain how Lumumba was involved. After repeatedly whacking her in the back of the head and denying her so much as a potty break until her kidneys were screaming, they finally convinced her to sign a paper (written as I understand in perfect Italian) explaining how she IMAGINED than IF she had been there while Lumumba and Sollecito assaulted Meredith, she would have been cowering in the kitchen trying to block out her friend's screams. THAT was the total extent of both her "confession" and her "accusation"

      Now let's think about this "confession" written in perfect Italian by a girl who could not so much as SPEAK Italian understandably or understand when spoken to. Must have had a little "help", eh?

      August 17, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    If that were true, Tony, the story would have been retracted, but it hasn't. The story in Seattle's "The Stranger" STILL stands after all these years. No retraction, n defamation suit. Ergo, the story is TRUE.

    August 16, 2011 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Is this the story that still sands (about Amanda's abuse of a Jewish coworker)?

      August 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TonydelBalzo

    Cindy Anthony?? Oh Yeah, the "NOT GUILTY" girl !!!

    August 16, 2011 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Want Justice

      Tony....seems like you are on the payroll of PR firm hired by Amanda's Parents....."Gogerty Marriott" – the PR firm that helped Amanda's parents lie to America...and so is the author of this article.....Amanda and her boyfriend Raffaele killed her questions about that......unfortunately there were no ghosts walking around in the house.......her boyfriend has admitted to the murder......blaming a poor black man ...shows the evil behind her so called pretty face....

      August 16, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
    • JLS1950

      For "Want Justice": the only "PR firm" is the one being operated by Italian Intelligence, AISE, by which I suspect you also are employed, whether directly or indirectly.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    Amanda partied with Rudy Guede before the murder and knew him longer than she knew her knife-collecting "boyfriend" of 6 days (Raffaele Sollectio).

    Both Rudy and Raffaele were hot for Amanda and eager to help her in her prank on poor Meredith.

    August 16, 2011 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
    • kcmookie

      Making stuff up I see. All the girls who lived it the house knew 'of' Rudy, he was friends with the guys who lived downstairs, but they all found him to be off-putting and none of them hung out with him or 'knew' him as you have implied. There simply is no proof whatsoever of your claim, just a baseless statement propped up by a prosecutor who himself has been found guilty of abuse of power. But hey, don't let my facts get in the way of you perpetuating and spreading that lie..

      August 16, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • TonydelBalzo

      Paul, you appear o have been dropped on your head a birth. Pity.

      I, on the other hand, appear to have been hired by a big PR firm. Way Cool !!

      August 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. adamwilliams

    May God Help you all Guys!!!

    August 16, 2011 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kirk

    It being reported only because she's hot. If she was ugly or a guy this would not be front page news. Same with the Casey Anthony case. Move along.

    August 16, 2011 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. grimbal

    If you watch the facebook video of Amanda partying with four boys (and whoever is handling the camera). After Knox says she's only had one drink the blond boy leaning against the counter calls her a "Dirty Jew" The lack of reaction to this racial slur is very telling. The fact that Knox blamed Lamumba and made sure that Guede;s DNA remained intact is very telling also. White supremacy is alive and well and living in Seattle. I know because I'm Jewish and I was stationed at the Marine barracks in Seattle. Also in answer to the people who believe it was impossible for her and Sollecito to clean up, Just to remind you they had eight hours to do that. To bad for them that they missed the bathroom and the bathmat, plus the footprint under Meredith's body which is Knox's.

    August 16, 2011 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
    • TonydelBalzo

      Funny Gumball but there are no Marine barracks in Seattle. There is Ft. Lewis and the NOAA docks but you just made up the rest of that tale

      August 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • grimbal

      OK So It was Fort Lewis. So what? Marines are stationed there. It's a minor point but then your good at clouding any issue arnt you including your obvious obsession with Knox.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • grimbal

      OK So it's not a Marine Barracks per se, but Marines are stationed there so don't give me that double, speaking out of both sides of your mouth at once crap you dish out at every opportunity.
      By the way Knox is going to spend many years in a cage for murdering Meredith Kercher and there's not a single thing you can do to prevent it.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Ramona

      Tony is correct. I've lived in the Seattle area for more than 20 years and have never heard of any marine barracks there.

      September 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • lalala

      Really now, you must be beyond oblivious. And to call Amanda a murderer because of a racial slur somebody else said and how she reacted to it makes her guilty. you are ridiculous . No one gives a crap if you're Jewish it has nothing to do with the trial.. she's a normal teenage girl, get real. And if you were smart you would know that it is IMPOSSSIBLE for anyone to just clean up their own DNA and leave no evidence of chemicals but reuardless it is impossible for them to clean up their own and leave guedes once again you are oblivious because guede was known for stealing thats why after meridiths murder she had money missing and he fled perugia right after. That doesnt call out guilty or anything ! Not even his hand print on the wall. thats why he was there when she was murdered bc duh he did it and that's why he didn't call the police . If u see someone being murdered would u just leave the house and not do anything about it ? He did bc he was guilty . you and all the other people that think she's guilty must really have a f'd up mind to let some innocent girl rot in prison .. you can see the perugia prosecuter was very manipulative bc he went only pointed fingers at Amanda .. he just as sick and twisted as you guys sound . Read this bc it is do e by a smart agent

      August 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      that's interesting about the cleanup theory. So your theory is that in the eight or more hours after the late night slaying of Kercher, Knox and her boyfriend cleaned up every piece of DNA evidence they could find except Guede's? If so, they are extremely competent with DNA–more so than the Italian police.

      I find it hard to believe that these alleged two killers were that good at cleaning up DNA. Did they wear surgical gloves? And why did they miss the DNA that you say they missed? Could they not turn over the corpse of Kercher and wipe up the spots? No, I hate to say it but I doubt young kids like these two were that good.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Quentin

    Ten years from now it will be widely conceded that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were framed by incompetent and corrupt officials, aided and abetted by the gutter press. The question of innocence or guilt will no longer be interesting. What will be interesting is how so many people could have been made to hate a girl they didn't know, to revel in her innocent suffering, and to endlessly repeat lies about her. We see many of these lies repeated on this page.

    But know this if you know nothing else: the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is fraudulent from start to finish. There is not a single piece of prosecution evidence that survives intelligent scrutiny. Not one single bit of it. We see the case disintegrating during the appeal. The witness Curatolo and the DNA evidence were not just challenged but obliterated. What is less well known is that the Knox and Sollecito have produced some 460 pages of point-by-point refutation of the original sentencing report. It is powerful stuff and utterly convincing.

    Unlike the initial trial judge who tried to hide from the truth and prevent information from being made public and available to the court, the current presiding judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann and his assistant Massimo Zanetti have initiated a searching inquiry. From all appearances they are judges worthy of the name, with independence, integrity, and no tolerance for prosecution nonsense. It will be absolutely shocking if Amanda Knox and Raffaele are not free by October 1.

    August 16, 2011 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Laura (an Italian girl)


      ok it is possible that there has been mistakes processing the crime scene (and I say that just because I would never say "We never make mistake..."). BUT MAY I ASK YOU, IF YOU THINK THAT ALL THE CARABINIERI & MAGISTRATI (police and law officer) INVOLVED ARE CORRUPTED, WHO THE HELL IS CORRUPTING THEM????

      May I remember you that the victim is not Italian and that at the same time in jail at the moment there is not only your lovely american girl Amanda but also Raffaele?

      Can you tell me who is the italian who really should spend his money in order to corrupt the utterly italian justice force for something like that?

      Also, I said, it possible mistake have been made, because it is human (it is also true that we are getting day by day more poor (so we have less money to spend for police...)
      but if you add the word "corrupt" you suggest Amanda was put in jail while knowing she is suggest we made the mistake – if we really made it -INTENTIONALLY

      Once again, WHY?

      So, or the mistake it 's intentional (and the police is all corrupted ... a news for you... by definition, if someone is corrupted, there should be a second part, bribing the first one... Usually, the one who pay has a personal interested, he spend the money in order to get an illegal advantage. Now tell me...WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK HAS A PERSONAL INTERESTED IN THAT?) or we make (if we make) a mistake for incompetence.

      Now presume for a second its the second possibility. We make a mistake for incompetence (once again, if we made it). Before judging all a FOREIGN SOVEREIGN LEGAL SYSTEM (a system which has its root so far in the history that we spoke of justice and rules before your nation was even built yet... nor its idea) by just one case, could I remind you the defense of he USA pilot involved in "strage del cermis":

      "The restrictions in effect at the time required a minimum flying height of 2,000 feet (610 m); the pilot said he thought they were 1,000 feet (300 m). The cable was cut at a height of 360 feet (110 m). The pilot further claimed that the height-measuring equipment on his plane had been malfunctioning, and that he had been unaware of the speed restrictions" (quoting from wikipedia)

      (moreover please remember that it's clear that everything has been done in order to try to cancel any proof that at the end had force the pilot to release this kind of defense....)

      We were outrage by how the process evolved (just one pilot was put in jail for a total period of few months – pls remember 20 is the number of the victims due to his incompetence...)



      August 16, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Earthdog

      10 years from now the world will be horrified to hear about an attempt to pervert the course of justice by an American PR campaign that sought clear a murderer simply because she was pretty, an American and on trial in a different country. The US Justice Department is happy with the conviction – I suspect they are much better educated, in every way, than you

      August 16, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Want Justice

    TonydelBalzo.........seems like you are on the payroll of PR firm hired by Amanda's Parents....."Gogerty Marriott" – the PR firm that helped Amanda's parents lie to America...and so is the author of this article.....Amanda and her boyfriend Raffaele killed her questions about that......unfortunately there were no ghosts walking around in the house.......her boyfriend has admitted to the murder......blaming a poor black man ...shows the evil behind her so called pretty face....

    August 16, 2011 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
    • kcmookie

      It is difficult to respond to your blatent idiocy. Her boyfriend has NEVER admitted or even stated anything referencing any involvement in the crime. The most condemning piece of evidence they could get from him was his admitting he could not confirm Amanda was with him from 9-1AM that night......BECAUSE THEY WERE SLEEPING.

      August 16, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. Want Justice

    TonyBalzo.........seems like you are on the payroll of PR firm hired by Amanda's Parents....."Gogerty Marriott" – the PR firm that helped Amanda's parents lie to America...and so is the author of this article.....Amanda and her boyfriend Raffaele killed her questions about that......unfortunately there were no ghosts walking around in the house.......her boyfriend has admitted to the murder......blaming a poor black man ...shows the evil behind her so called pretty face....

    August 16, 2011 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      her boyfriend has never admitted to the murder , he is awaiting an appeal. it is this man that is twho actually admitted to murdering the woman Rudy Guede and he has admitted to killing her. though DNA was found all over ,that was not recognized at that timeas normal that Amanda lived there and her boyfriend was there a lot too. Normal DNA for an apartment that roommates live in. imo knox nor her boyfriend did it and the authorities should listen to the guy who said he did without helo and that IS Rudy Guede. IMO, I will never send my kid to college out of country after this trial .. absolutely not.this is a sad case imo.

      August 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • bmull

      Knox and Sollecito had only been together about a week. He spent little time at her cottage. Only two out of ~500 samples taken around the house contained Sollecito's DNA. One was on a cigarette butt he had smoked with Amanda. The other was on the disputed bra clasp in the victim's room. There is absolutely no reason Sollecito's DNA should have been on that bra clasp, in a room he claimed to have never been in, whether it had been contaminated by being on the floor or not.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thethunderbolt

      Bra clasp and knife have been discredited.

      So as far as the prosecution is concerned, the actions of Rudi, Amanda, and Raffaele are all similar. If this is the case, then why isn’t the amount and location of Amanda’s and/or Raffaele’s DNA similar to the amount and location of Rudi’s DNA? Please forget about bleach/cleaning…it would have removed everybody’s DNA, they never would have found all the DNA, and it also leaves a detectable pattern in a crime scene (and none was detected).

      Yup, if you keep repeating the same things, so will I. Except I have data 🙂 and maybe a little logic

      August 17, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • bmull

      Because Knox and Sollecito were doing the stabbing, the victim's blood covered over traces of their DNA. And yes, Knox and Sollecito made a conscious and mostly successful attempt to clean up traces of themselves while leaving plenty of evidence pointing to Guede.

      August 17, 2011 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jstanz

      Ok then – how did the two get mixed in all the evidence you spout? – if the blood covers over the DNA that is........

      August 18, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • bmull

      It's simple. Knox and Sollecito were doing the stabbing so the victim's blood covered over traces of their DNA. And yes, they took steps to remove evidence that would link them to the crime while leaving plenty of evidence pointing to Guede. That does not necessarily mean bleach. You can clean blood smears with anything.

      August 17, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Jstanz

      If the blood covers over the DNA then how did the two get mixed in the bathroom? How do they EVER get mixed?

      August 18, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • bmull

      It's simple. Knox and Sollecito were holding the knives and therefore covered in the victim's blood. The victim's blood obliterated any traces of their DNA. Of course the knives were taken from the scene. Secondly there *was* a deliberate clean-up to pin the murder on Guede. Bleach may not have been used but just about anything can be used to clean up blood smears.

      August 17, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jstanz

      Considering the way this case was handled and the fact that the bra clasp was collected much, much later when they were frantically trying to link Amanda and Raffaele to the crime – it wouldn't surprise me one bit if that DNA was even planted there. In fact, I would take that as par for the course.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Jstanz

      Considering that the bra clasp was collected much much later when they were trying desparately to tie Amanda and Raffaele to the crime scene I wouldn't be one bit surprised if the DNA was planted on the bra clasp. Totally plausible in my opinion.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mke

      The test they used to determine his DNA is not an approved test because it is inaccurate. The amount of DNA on the bra clasp could have easily occurred from lab contamination. They did not use correct procedures in the lab.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Jstanz

      The DNA came from the investigators' hands. They mishandled everything.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • grimbal

      Don't be stupid Guede never admitted he killed anyone. What he did admit was that the other two were there. He accused them both with no hope of gaining anything since his sentance has been confirmed

      August 17, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      Yes, because we all know poor black men are unable to murder anyone.

      September 27, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. onesage

    Amanda Knox is sooooo beyond guilty. I hoped she rots in jail fro trying to frame and innocent man for her crime. I cannot believe that the American media and mainstream press has totally ignored THAT slimy, underhanded and racist act. We need to pull the cameras and journalists away and let her a-z rot in prison. That is one problem with CNN and other media, they spend too much time following stories that should be forgotten and trying to sway the court of American opinion. CNN, kill this story and stop with your sympathetic, pro-Amanda news stories!

    August 16, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Patrizia (Italian woman living in US)

    @ LAURA
    I want to support your point in FULL. I do remember the other case you mentioned and I agree. This is simply a case of a spoiled and perverted lilttle girl from a rich family. Wealth gone to their head, making them think they are above the law...Italian law, US law, ANY LAW...That's the point. I suggest to all the American friends to think twice about suspecting Italian corruption to be working against Ms. Knox. I would say, if anything, someone in trying to corrupt the system IN FAVOR of the little murderess. Use some logic, please.

    August 16, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Laura (an Italian girl)

    In any trial/investigations mistake can be made. May be it's just because I am european, but for me this is a simply statement. I do not consider ANY system infallible. That's why I think is fine to believed Amanda innocent or guilty.
    That is why, in any case, we will never end with an irreversible sentence. That's why WE WILL NEVER HAVE DEATH PENALTY. Because we can make mistake and we are aware of it.

    But too many post here, in this forum, from a single case are providing a picture of an entire country and their people that is not only offensive, it is simply based on nothing...

    I do not want to reopen all the discussion, so just let me end with a joke.. if our power system would be based on the appearance (she is in jail just because she is hot) we would never have premier so ugly like Berlusconi or Andreotti.
    If for once I be allowed to use the same arrogance that too many people have showed here, I would add that I am not sure it can be said the same for usa...........

    August 16, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
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