What’s next for Amanda Knox?
Amanda Knox was cleared Monday in the murder of her roommate in Italy, ending a four-year courtroom saga.
October 4th, 2011
02:24 PM ET

What’s next for Amanda Knox?

Amanda Knox is back on U.S. soil after four years in prison and a media-circus trial connected to a high-profile slaying. She returns to an uncertain life in America.

Instead of a buoyant college student growing in self-assurance, snippets and courtroom soundbites have shown a trembling, sobbing woman-child accused of unspeakable acts of wickedness.

On Monday, a five-woman, three-man Italian jury overturned Knox's conviction on the five most serious charges in Meredith Kercher's death. She was immediately released from prison.

Knox, 24, arrived back in Seattle, her hometown, Tuesday evening.

Her family and small network of friends, which have sustained her in a foreign prison, will be even more important to her now as she readjusts, said Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life."

“Unlike a lot of people who go to prison and have tremendous problems re-acclimating and who aren’t perhaps a young person still struggling to find out what to do with their life, she still has time,” Saltz said.

Going forward, Knox now has a chance to finally reclaim and craft her image, Saltz said. And she may do fine, at least publicly.

“Once you have tremendous notoriety, the kind of things that may come your way may be of a specific sort, giving interviews and so on,” she said.

Indeed, Knox may find it cathartic to write a book, a venture that would be publicly risky but financially beneficial.

“From a public standpoint, it’s the timing," said Josh Kaplow, a psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Profiting financially from a traumatic experience, I think there’s nothing wrong with that, if it helps tell her story. The pitfalls are twofold: The timing of it is one. If the book is out in the first few months of her being home, people could say, 'Well, how traumatic was it that she’s able to write a book in such a short time?' On the other hand, there’s lots of research that shows it’s actually very helpful psychologically to write about a traumatic event."

Meanwhile, the pop culture obsession with the case continues. Lifetime, which produced a TV movie about the infamous case, is amending the film in the wake of the successful appeal. "Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy" will air Tuesday night and again Saturday.

A full-length movie may not be far behind. The Guardian reported that filmmaker Michael Winterbottom may be tapped to make a movie about the Knox-Kercher case, starring Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth.

For the real Amanda Knox, it may be tough to make real friends. “In terms of the substantive things that can make life fulfilling and bring contentment, being intimate can bring negative consequences,” Saltz said.

Already understandably wary and mistrustful of media types, she will likely be equally put off by newcomers in her life, Saltz said.

“It could be hard to blend in. It could make relationships tricky,” she said.

Overheard on CNN.com: Knox innocent, readers say

Whatever happens, Knox is a changed person.

“It’s unlikely to literally pick up where you left off,” Saltz said. “She has definitely changed. Living through the trauma of your roommate being murdered, being incarcerated, all these things change you.”

Seeking justice for Meredith Kercher

"But having a trauma such as this and overcoming it, which she has, can build an incredible resilience.”

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Filed under: Crime • U.S. • Uncategorized • World
soundoff (398 Responses)
  1. ted

    Hustler magazine. Plus a movie of the week and a few paid interviews. I predict that is her future.

    October 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cork Screw

      Damn Ted, you stole my thinder. I was thinking the same thing the moment I saw the headline. 😛

      October 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      Add to that paid interviews by the Oprah types on daytime TV, a book deal, a workout video (e.g. How Cartwheels Kept me in Shape in Prison), cosmetic commercials, DWTS, Survivor, and after she marries, The Desperate Housewives of Seattle. The USA knows how to treat its murderers!!!

      October 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. shantal

    I bet she starts dating Charie Sheen.

    October 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andreas Moser

    She should date Berlusconi: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/a-match-made-in-italy/

    October 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. amanda


    October 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nula

    "Instead of a buoyant college student growing in self-assurance, snippets and courtroom soundbites have shown a trembling, sobbing shell of a woman-child accused of unspeakable acts of wickedness."

    I completely disagree with this comment. Of course, she was emotional when giving her courtroom speech (her entire life was on the line!). And, of course, she broke down when she heard that her four-year ordeal was over. However, that doesn't make her a "shell of a woman-child". I presume anyone who has gone through what she's gone through has matured in ways other 24-year-olds can't even grasp. To call her a "trembling, sobbing woman-child" is thus quite an insult.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nula

    To call her a "trembling, sobbing woman-child" is thus quite an insult – and condescending at that! I think she handle herself as well as her final speech with incredible poise. She's far removed from being a "child". What an odd thing to call someone who just survived 4 years in prison.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynic

      She seems a lot more poised and grateful than most people would be in that situation, which seems mature to me.

      October 4, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nula

    "Lifetime, which produced a TV movie about the infamous case, is amending the film in the wake of the successful appeal."

    Lifetime is amending the movie. Wow, that's rich. Considering that they didn't seem to care about her at all when they released their moving DURING the appeal process. Now they're trying to fix their mistake? Too little, too late, I'd say.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jimmy

    Are they doing to put her back in jail when she gets over here? That way she could finish serving out her sentence here in the US.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      You haven't been paying attention, have you?

      October 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phatti

      Go back to sleep Jimmy. lol

      October 5, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat2u.

    You mean besides the movie and book deals ? Staying the hell out of europe.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    So, she writes the book for cathartic reasons, but she doesn't release it right away.
    Problem solved.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Or keeps it private.

      October 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Maybe it's just how I look at things, but I find the facial expression of the guard behind her interesting. She seems surprised, but is she happy about what she heard or just shocked?

    It reminds me of a couple of other expressions; Kardashian's look of "You've got to be kidding" (one of OJ's lawyers, no less) and the Israeli guard's expression of disbelief when Demjanjuk's conviction was overturned. Maybe this could be the theme of a CNN gallery.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peanuts

      Nah, that's just the guard's O-face!

      October 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      I noticed the guard's expression, too. She seems surprised and happy, as if she believes Amanda's innocent.

      October 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©


    That should go without saying, but it probably won't...watch-she'll probably want to finish her studies there...

    October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    What's next? CNN will need a replacement for Piers Morgan soon.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Geo


    October 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nula

      Just wondering how you'd feel if you were locked up in an Italian prison for a crime you didn't commit. You actually might want the US to be interested in your case. Just sayin' ...

      October 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paully

      You mean why are people interested in a young rapist from Africa who kill Brits and blame Americans to cut a deal with corrupt Italian officials?

      October 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      Let's feed her to the starving children in Africa!!!

      October 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Peanuts

    I hope she mooned Italy from the plane as she was taxiing to her freedom!

    October 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
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