In December 2007, I wrote about the tragic death of 21-year-old British exchange student Meredith Kercher, the victim of a brutal murder in the scenic college town on a hill in Perugia, Italy. Kercher died in the home she shared with three other young women which included 20-year-old American college student Amanda Knox. Many will remember that Kercher died a horrific death in the waning hours of November 1, after a night of bar hopping and nonstop Halloween parties attended by many if not most of the local college community.
In this case the suspects include Knox, her then recent Italian boy friend 23-year-old Raffaele Sollecito, and a 20-year-old former Ivory Coast resident and part-time drug dealer by the name of Rudy Hermann Guede. Along with Dennis Murphy and an NBC Dateline team, we were granted unique access to the police investigation and were able to piece together the events that apparently led to Kercher’s terrible death. After apparently being sexually assaulted she had a long knife thrust through her throat after which police suspect she choked to death on her own blood.
The London Times reports that Knox, who with the other three suspects has languished in an Italian jail since shortly after the murder, kept a rolling diary totaling hundreds of pages, with topics ranging from her thoughts, hope and her poems about her claimed innocence and her need to be cleared of these charges, to her cries of anger, frustration and despair at being in jail and charged with murder. Her diary also contains the intimate details of her relationship with seven local men she claims to have slept with in the 60 or so days prior to Kercher’s murder. Kercher, for her part, was known to complain about Knox for a number of reasons, notwithstanding the number and type of men, perhaps “strays” to some, that Knox kept bring back to the house she shared with her three roommates. In her diary she also complained that she was simply too attractive, perhaps “too sexy” for the police to contend with, suggesting if she had been ugly she might not have been arrested for murder.
Knox has told a number of conflicting stories concerning her knowledge of Kercher’s murder, once indicating she wasn’t at the murder scene, then suggesting she was there but didn’t participate, initially blaming her former boss who was arrested because of her accusations, but then released when police realized he had nothing to do with Kercher’s death. Knox’s new fame, and a long list of men, evidently followed her to jail as her diary includes love letters from no less than 35 different men with some proposing marriage to her through their letters. Otherwise she writes about her busy life in prison, singing, writing and watching eight different TV channels, to include MTV. So much for tough foreign jails.
Knox, who admits to smoking marijuana the night of Kercher’s murder, has evidently sworn off that weed for life, at least in her diary. She has also suggested that her boyfriend at the time of the murder, Sollecito, probably killed Kercher and then could have carried the murder weapon, a knife from his own apartment, back from the crime scene and pressed it into Knox’s hand as she slept, thus accounting for the presence of both the victim’s blood/DNA and Knox’s blood/DNA on the knife later found by police in the apartment she shared on occasion with Sollecito.
Almost nine months after Kercher’s murder, the three current suspects have all “rolled over on each other” for the murder, with Rudy Guede saying he had been in the apartment for consensual sex with Kercher, but conveniently was in the bathroom when she was killed, likely by Sollecito and Knox. The suspects point to each other as the likely lone murderer, while the physical evidence tells a very different and frightening story.
Police theorize, and the physical evidence seems to suggest, that Knox, Sollecito and Guede were all involved in the theft of cash, Kercher had just gotten money from an ATM to pay her rent, credit cards and two cell phones, perhaps having been confronted by the victim after the alleged theft and thereafter attempting to force Kercher to participate in some bizarre “sex game.” Next police believe Kercher was held down and sexually assaulted, after which one of the three suspects thrust a long kitchen knife through and through her throat, resulting in a slow and agonizing death with her own bloody prints providing graphic evidence of her attempt to pull herself up a wall and cry out for help, a cry that would never be heard. Police then believe the three suspected killers tried to stage the crime scene by breaking a window in the house, this to somehow lend credibility to their contrived story that some unknown person had broken into the house and murdered Kercher, notwithstanding the window was too high off the ground for an assailant to have climbed up to and through.
Evidence includes bloody foot and hand prints linked to Guede, Sollecito and Knox their prints in Kercher’s blood, and other blood identified as Knox’s at the crime scene; hard evidence to refute. Now police have the report an eye witness who says he saw the three suspects outside of the murder scene and was forced to run from the area when Knox threatened him with a knife.
After months of investigation, dozens of forensic tests, hundreds of interviews, and an investigative file containing more than 10,000 pages, the police and the prosecutor are ready to move against the three suspects. If Knox is right; if she was just too pretty for police to ignore, it is now time for her to clear the air regarding her role in or knowledge of the murder of Meredith Kercher. No more lies; no more half truths; no more drug induced fog of a memory, and no more somebody else did it. Although Knox may not be the “man-eater” some believe her to be, she states one obvious truth, this as she wrote in her diary to her mother, “I want to come home. I miss my life.” Her ability to go home will now be left to an Italian court.
Is Amanda Knox just too sexy for herself or is she a manipulating, narcissistic sociopath who for one terrible night gave in to a dark primal rage that boiled inside of her, one that may be responsible for her participating in the death of an otherwise innocent woman, a crime that could make Knox’s place of residence an Italian prison cell until she is at least 42-years-old? Time will certainly tell if Amanda gets her wish to just go home. Like so much of life, though, there are just not “take backs” on some things, murder being one.
Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI agent, behavioral profiler and hostage negotiator as well as an MSNBC analyst. His Web site, , provides readers with security-related information.