Since the 2007, Amanda Knox has been accused of murder, convicted of murder, acquitted of murder, re-tried and found guilty of murder again, and then fully exonerated. Though her ordeal ended for good in March, the reason for the final decision was only revealed yesterday.
Some, if not many, of these complications can be chalked up to the confusing court system in Italy, where the American Knox was studying abroad when her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, was found dead in the home they shared in the town of Perugia.
Also entangled in the legal process was Knox’s then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who shared the same ordeal as Knox, including nearly four years of prison time—though since he is Italian, he had to attend the second trial in person, while Knox, who’d made a hasty return to the United States after her first acquittal, was not.
(A third suspect, Rudy Guede, was tried separately and was also found guilty; he is still serving a 16-year sentence.)
The details of this high-profile, highly-publicized-and-sensationalized case could fill several volumes (actually, they have; among all the volumes penned about the murder, Knox herself wrote a memoir, Waiting to Be Heard, that came out in June). But this revelation of why the Italian court threw out the second conviction seems to be truly the end of Knox’s saga.
As NBC News reports, the decision was full of strong language that emphasized its “final-ruling” status:
The latest decision, from the Court of Cassation, Italy’s equivalent of the Supreme Court, slammed police and prosecutors for “stunning weakness” and “investigative bouts of amnesia.”
Because no biological evidence from Knox or Sollecito was found at the house in Perugia where Kercher was murdered, the 52-page opinion said, their “participation” in the killing should have been “excluded.”
“There was no shortage of glaring errors in the underlying fabric of the sentence in question,” the court wrote.
The alleged murder weapon, a kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s house, was kept in a cardboard box — “the kind that gadgets are wrapped up in for Christmas” — and a bra clasp said to have carried DNA evidence was left on the floor for 46 days.
The third person accused in the murder, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, who is serving a 16-year sentence after opting for a fast-track trial, left “copious” biological traces at the scene, the court said.
Avid media attention and the nationalities of the people involved led to “a spasmodic search for one or more guilty parties to offer up to international public opinion,” the court concluded, which “certainly did not aid the search for the truth.”
Further prosecution is barred under Italian law.
On her blog, Knox expressed her gratitude about the revelation, as well as hinting at a future career in helping others in similar legal predicaments:
I am deeply grateful that the Italian Supreme Court has filed its opinion and forcefully declared my innocence. This has been a long struggle for me, my family, my friends, and my supporters. While I am glad it is now over, I will remain forever grateful to the many individuals who gave their time and talents to help me. Today would not have been possible without your unwavering support. I will now begin the rest of my life with one of my goals being to help others who have been wrongfully accused.
Top image: Amanda Knox on Jan. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)