The terrible tragedy of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox
The tragic story of Meredith Kercher’s death has always been overshadowed by the media coverage of her accused killer and roommate, Amanda Knox. Both Kercher and Knox were exchange students, spending a year in Perugia, Italy, and sharing a home with two other roommates.
Meredith Kercher (Mez to her friends) was only 21 when she was found brutally murdered in the flat she shared in Perugia. Kercher’s time in Italy was meant to be a dream trip, one she had fought hard to attain, and only three months in, had ended with her vicious death.
Meredith Kercher was majoring in European studies at the University of Leeds, and planned to spend her year in Perugia taking courses on modern history, political theories and the history of cinema. Kercher had specifically chosen Perugia over bigger cities like Rome and Milan because it was safer, small, and she could fly there easily from England.
Meredith Kercher was the youngest of four children, with two older brothers and an older sister. Her friends and family described her as sociable and loving. Meredith was athletic, practicing dance, and karate, as well as playing soccer. It’s hard to find a photo of Meredith Kercher without her signature broad smile.
Amanda Knox was also known as an athlete and an avid soccer player. Two years younger than Kercher, Knox, by all accounts, was a normal college student. She was on the Dean’s list, but liked to party. She worked several jobs to pay for her tuition and fund her time in Italy, and friends describe Amanda Knox as kind and gentle.
Amanda Knox’s parents divorced when she was a toddler, and she was the older sister to Deanna and her two step-sisters. Knox was attending the University of Washington to obtain a Linguistics degree.
Not long after arriving in Perugia, Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher attended a classical music concert together. There, Knox, 19 at the time, met 23-year-old Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian computer engineering student. The two began dating and were soon inseparable.
The terrible night of November 1st, 2007
Amanda Knox worked part-time at a pub in Perugia called Le Chic, although she was scheduled to work the night of November 1st, her boss Patrick Lumbumba texted her to tell her she didn’t need to work, so she went to her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito’s home for the night.
The next day, Knox and Sollecito returned to Knox’s apartment the next day at around noon. The couple claims they found the front door open, windows broken, and blood in the bathroom. Knox called Meredith’s phone and received no answer, Kercher’s bedroom door was locked. Knox then called the other roommates, and eventually her mother, who told her to call the police.
In the small town of Perugia, murder investigations are rare, and the first two officers on the scene were postal police. They kicked down the door to Meredith Kercher’s bedroom and found her bloodied body, covered in a bedspread, with her throat cut. Kercher’s bedroom door was locked, but her bedroom window was broken.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were taken to the police station and interrogated for five days. Knox claims that during this time she was provided no interpreter, was beaten and bullied. While her mother begged her to leave the country, Knox made the decision to stay and meet with Meredith Kercher’s family.
Eventually, Amanda Knox signed a confession stating that she had returned to her apartment on the night of the murder, and that she was standing in the room while her boss Patrick Lumumba stabbed Kercher to death.
Italian police announced that they had found Meredith Kercher’s killers on November 6th, 2007, and arrested both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Patrick Lumumba had an airtight alibi, as he was bartending at the time of the murder.
Theories and convictions
Two weeks after Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s arrests, the DNA evidence from Meredith Kercher’s room reported that the results matched a new suspect, Rudy Guede, a friend of the Italian men who lived in the apartment below Knox and Kercher. Rudy Guede was arrested in Germany, while he admitted to being at the murder scene, he denied killing Kercher. Rudy Guede did deny that Knox or Sollecito were involved.
Regardless, the Italian courts pursued charges against Knox and Sollecito, claiming first that Meredith Kercher’s death was the result of a sex game that went wrong, then that Kercher was killed over an argument over the cleanliness of the apartment. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in 2009.
In 2011, a jury reviewed the case of Meredith Kercher’s death, based on doubts over the collection procedures used to obtain the case’s DNA evidence. That jury cleared both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and they were freed after four years in an Italian prison.
In 2013, prosecutors in Italy appealed the 2011 determination, and a retrial was ordered. The prosecutors argued that DNA evidence had been disregarded, and in 2014, the guilty verdicts against Knox and Sollecito were once again reinstated.
Finally, in 2015, the complex case came to a final ruling by Italy’s top appeals court, and it was overturned again, leaving Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito free once more.
In a completely separate trial, Rudy Guede was convicted in 2008 for his part in Meredith Kercher’s death, with the verdict determining that he did not act alone.
Amanda Knox now
Amanda Knox finished her degree at the University of Washington and wrote her bestselling memoir, Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir. In 2016, Netflix came out with a documentary about her experience, titled Amanda Knox.
Knox also works with the Innocence Project, advocating for those who are wrongly convicted. In 2018 she married author Christopher Robinson. In January of 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy was to pay Amanda Knox $20,000 USD for the failure to provide legal assistance and an independent interpreter during her interrogation.
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