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. llll

    lucky she is white and in the news. she is guilty and need to do her time

    August 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      If your brain was in a bird, the bird would fly backwards.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Andrews

      Oviously, you have no idea of the case.

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

      The evidence does not indicate Amanda or Raffaele had anything to do with the crime. The evidence indicated Rudy Guede did it. The rest is conjecture.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dicedoN

    Casey Anthony guilty as Hell! Poor innocent Amanda! What's wrong with both justice systems!

    August 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio

      Thank you, at least someone agrees with me.

      August 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • diego

      how do u know she is innocent, where you there at the scene, u r dumb

      August 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. redant

    Prisons are full of people who didn't do it. If it was an Italian citizen convicted in our courts, no one would care, or believe her.

    August 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alec

    First, this is the first article I've read that overtly stated that Amanda Knox was "beautiful." If Knox is "beautiful" then so are half the women in the world. Second, unlike the Casey Anthony or Scott Peterson cases, I've never encountered an individual who is truly concerned about or interested in this case. Third, the Italian justice system is notoriously flawed; welcome to the real world. Blaming "beauty" instead of a notoriously flawed justice system is ridiculous.

    August 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Man

      I'm a little confused as to why you are even posting if you are so unfamiliar with the case. Do some reading to understand why the comment was used. It had everything to do with why Italian media sensationalized the case and the prosecutor ran his "case" according to what he read in the paper.

      August 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Big Man

    "Lucky she is white"??? Are you insane, or living in the 60's? At some point, it's time to grow up and understand that the world doesn't go by your own personal prejudices.

    August 15, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dumbfounded

    Could people possibly spend the time and listen to the podcast? Your comments are amazingly stupid given the content of the interview. Knox was the one roommate (of the 4 girls living there) that showed up without a lawyer. No DNA kinda proves she was not part of it. The fact that she photographs well (voted prettier than angelina joli) did not help once the WEIRD prosecutor decided she had "bewitched" these men into killing for her.

    Really – try and read the whole story before you type something.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mike

    you gotta be kidding me. It's not culture you morons its media, its YOU that floods everyinch of space in between all the ads commercials and popups on your site with overhyping your story.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JT

    Another piece of white trash just like Casey Anthony and the numbers are growing in this country.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 333

    if she 's guilty, send her to an african male prison.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. B7C

    I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but Amanda Knox is an average looking girl, please stop trying to make her into someone who is factually beautiful, also I believe she is as guilty as sin.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. agonyflips

    Amanda Knox.

    The GOP needs a distraction after giving coverage to Michelle Bachmann .

    August 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. billu

    i hope that justice is done like NOT in tot mom case

    August 15, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Croco3

    While we sensationalize stories like this, we forget two things:
    – These people are innocent till proven guilty
    – This is the fight of their life (for their freedom) and it's downright inhuman to approach these cases differently!

    August 15, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. agonyflips

    Amanda Knox.

    "I'll be home for Christmas "

    "if only in my dreams"

    August 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomek

      There will be a Christmas in 2035

      August 16, 2011 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. bil

    Headline should read: MEDIA obsession with what happened that night..."

    August 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
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