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Who Is Amanda Knox and What Did She Do?

On Sept. 30, Netflix’s latest original documentary delves deep into the story of Amanda Knox, an American woman in Italy who was twice convicted of murdering her housemate, Meredith Kercher and both times acquitted. European, British, and American tabloids created a media circus around the case, digging up dirt on the 20-year-old international student. But what do we know about Amanda Knox and the details surrounding this fascinating true crime mystery?

Background

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Amanda Knox was a normal college student looking to expand her horizons. She was smart and had a fascination with Italy, so she studied linguistics at the University of Washington and worked part-time jobs to save up for a year abroad. Amanda’s step-father had reservations about her trip, concerned that she was too naive. However, the outgoing student followed her dreams and headed to the student town Perugia in central Italy, about two hours north of Rome and two hours southeast of Florence.

On Sept 20, 2007, Amanda moved into Via Della Pergola 7, a four-bedroom ground floor apartment. She shared the apartment with two other Italian women and Meredith Kercher. Meredith, a British exchange student, had only moved in 10 days earlier. Below the apartment in a semi-basement part of the property was another apartment rented by four Italian men around the same age as the women. Amanda and Meredith were friends with the downstairs neighbors, and it was through these men that they met Rudy Guede. The small group occasionally hung out, going to events and nightclubs together.

What Happened That Night

On Nov 1, Meredith had dinner with three friends at one of their homes. She left the friend’s house at 8:45pm and headed home. As it was All Saints Day public holiday, her Italian housemates were out of town, as were the men downstairs. Amanda was staying the night with her new boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, so Meredith had the apartment to herself.

According to Amanda, she returned home on the morning of Nov 2. Amanda found the front door open and drops of blood on the bathmat and sink of the bathroom she shared with Meredith. Meredith’s bedroom door was locked, so Amanda assumed she was sleeping.

Amanda showered, returned to Raffaele’s place and came back to her apartment with Raffaele later in the day. This time, Amanda noticed that a window in one of her Italian housemates’ bedrooms was broken. She then became concerned that Meredith wasn’t answering knocks on her bedroom door. Raffaele attempted to break the door down but was unsuccessful. They called the Italian emergency number to report a burglary. Soon, police turned up, although the officers were actually there in relation to two mobile phones that traced back to Meredith. The phones had been found discarded in a nearby garden, and the police were following up the matter.

At this point, one of the Italian housemates returned home to check what had been stolen. In the process, she accidentally disturbed the crime scene. At 1:15pm, the housemate’s friend knocked down the bedroom door, and Meredith’s body was found covered by a duvet. An autopsy revealed she had seven cuts over her body and she died as a result of blood loss from knife wounds and suffocation.

Interview and Arrests

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What follows is a matter of conjecture. There’s always more than one side to every story, and when it comes to murder cases, suspects, witnesses, police, and detectives — everyone has reason to recall things in a particular light. 

Italian police questioned Amanda, initially as a witness. By Amanda’s accounts, the Italian police assaulted her, manipulated her into falsely telling them who killed Meredith, denied her access to food, water, a bathroom, and heavily discouraged her from contacting a lawyer.

The police’s perspective is quite a different story. Several officers testified that Amanda was, in fact, offered food, drinks, a bathroom, and was even asked if she wanted a lawyer but she told them she didn’t have one. They officers also refuted Amanda’s claims that she was hit in any way, and said she was interviewed “firmly but politely”. As the police didn’t record or film the interviews, there’s no way to verify either account.

It was during these interviews that stretched over several days that police say Amanda implicated herself as well as her boyfriend, Raffaele, and her boss at the time, Patrick Lumumba. On Nov 6, police arrested the three suspects. One detective felt the arrests were too soon and as a result, removed themselves from the case. Patrick was released from custody on Nov 19 as he had several witnesses to back up his alibi. Rudy Guede’s blood-stained fingerprints were later found near Meredith’s body, and he was arrested in Germany on Nov 20.

People Related to the Case

The case is a bit of a tangled web of characters. Here’s a basic run-down of each of the main players.

Meredith Kercher

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Sadly, at the center of all this, is Meredith Kercher, the unfortunate victim of a horrible crime. Meredith, or “Mez” as she was known by friends, was from South London and loved the Italian culture and language. She worked several jobs to save up for her year abroad and get her through university where she studied European politics and Italian.

Meredith came to Italy at the end of August 2007, moved into Via Della Pergola 7 early September and started studying at the University of Perugia in October. By the end of October, Meredith started dating Giacomo, one of the Italian men living in the downstairs semi-basement apartment.

On Nov. 1, her life was cut short at the age of 21 when she was found dead in her apartment.

Amanda Knox

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By most accounts, Amanda and Meredith seemed to be friends. While Meredith’s English friends didn’t see much of Amanda, the pair went to several events and parties together. Not a lot is known about what motive Amanda may have had to murder her housemate. However, Italian prosecutors believe Amanda had a dispute with Meredith which kicked off the ensuing attack, abuse, and murder. They also claim that following the murder, Amanda tried covering it up by staging a break-in — a theory backed by Italian police.

During the trials and subsequent acquittals, British media outlets had a field day dragging up sensational material. Dubbed ‘Foxy Knoxy’ in the tabloids, the young student became front-page news across the UK. Amanda has since been the topic of several documentaries and books and the inspiration behind the ABC Family thriller Guilt.

Raffaele Sollecito

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On Oct 25, Raffaele Sollecito met Amanda Knox at a classical music concert that she and Meredith attended together. Raffaele and Amanda became romantically involved and began spending a lot of time together at Raffaele’s apartment, five minutes from Amanda’s apartment.

Despite only knowing Amanda and Meredith a short time, detectives considered Raffaele a part of the trio who murdered Meredith. In court, prosecutors argued that Raffaele, Amanda, and Rudy were all involved. They believe that Amanda attacked Meredith, she and Raffaele held her down while Rudy sexually assaulted her, and then Amanda finally stabbed her to death.

Questions also surround Raffaele’s involvement as he was the first to attempt breaking down Meredith’s bedroom door but was unsuccessful. The prosecution’s theory around this incident is that the trio accidentally locked the door behind them after murdering Meredith and wanted to regain access to the room to hide incriminating evidence.

Rudy Guede

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Rudy Guede was born in Ivory Coast but moved to Perugia, Italy when he was five. When he was 15, a wealthy Italian family adopted him, but in mid-2007, the family asked him to leave. He enjoyed playing basketball and spent a lot of time at the basketball courts. This was where he met the men who lived in the semi-basement apartment at Via Della Pergola 7. He spent time with the men in their apartment and attached himself to the group that included Meredith and Amanda, but he was never invited to the girls’ apartment.

It is alleged that Rudy was known to break into properties and steal things. He allegedly broke into a lawyer’s office and stole laptops, and was identified as a burglar who held up a man in his apartment brandishing a knife. Just days before Meredith’s murder, he was arrested for breaking into a nursery school. When police picked Rudy up for the break-in, they found the laptop from the lawyer’s office as well as an 11-inch knife in his backpack.

On the night of Meredith’s murder, Rudy arrived at a friend’s house at 11:30pm, and later went to a nightclub where he reportedly stayed until 4:30am. The following day, he left for Germany. Two weeks later, police brought him back to Italy to face the murder charges.

Detectives found Rudy’s DNA on Meredith’s body, her clothes, and his bloody palm print on a pillow under Meredith’s body.

Amanda Knox Documentary

On Sept 30, the Netflix original documentary Amanda Knox will premiere, shedding new light on the case. Have filmmakers hit on something never-before-seen like the shocking final moments of The Jinx? Or is it re-hashing already known information surrounding the scandalous trial? Fans of true crime and other gripping Netflix documentary shows like Making a Murderer will certainly be keen to see what the filmmakers have to reveal about Amanda Knox.


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