Sunday, January 23, 2011

Amanda Knox Case: Truth Stranger Than Fiction

This Sunday's guest blogger is Candace Dempsey, author of a true crime book, which is a little different for us here on Type M where all the crime we deal with is in our heads. So without further ado, take it away Candace — and thanks for dropping by!

“Amanda Knox had a sweet face, dominated by powerful blue eyes,” I wrote in Murder in Italy (Penguin: Berkley Books), the true story of Knox, an American honor student convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, her British roommate, in a charming hilltop town. “It was the kind of face upon which many stories could be written. That was her fate.”

In my favorite review, Femme Noir called my take on this sensational story “a real-life murder mystery as terrifying and compelling as any work of fiction.” I wanted it to unfold like a movie, to recreate the vanished world of Perugia, Italy, before, during and after Kercher’s brutal stabbing and Knox’s arrest. An Italian-American journalist based in Knox’s hometown of Seattle, I crafted my tale from leaked diaries, Facebooks, MySpace pages, emails, court transcripts, documents, wiretaps, autopsy photos, interviews, and many trips to Italy. I saw it as a dream turned into a nightmare, for who has not dreamed of the Bel Paese, who wouldn't love to study abroad?

Sure, one could pull a mystery novel out of the Knox case. It has all the ingredients. Sex, lies, drugs, violence, Italy, international headlines, a muddled investigation, enduring mysteries, a terrible death. But I wonder if anybody would believe the story recast as a fictional account.

Let’s begin with “a cast of characters that Patricia Highsmith couldn’t invent,” to quote a British journalist. First, the two beautiful college girls—one murdered, the other convicted of the crime. Then Amanda’s alleged co-conspirators. Raffaele Sollecito, her wealthy Italian ex-boyfriend—a Harry Potter lookalike with his own apartment, snappy car and maid service. Rudy Guede, a virtual stranger, a small-time burglar and drifter from the Ivory Coast. Then there’s the famous prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, a burly man, not without charm, who accused Amanda, Raffaele and Rudy of stabbing Meredith to death during a drug-fueled “sex game gone wrong.” A crime Mignini attributed to everything from Halloween pranks, marijuana, and satanic rituals to jealousy, sloppy housework and Manga comic books.

No way, you might say, if a mystery writer bombarded you with such details. Nobody would act that way. There are no people like that. It’s all made up.

I covered the Knox case from the beginning on my blog (still being updated), but had to start completely over for the book. I needed the tools of the fiction writer, including suspense, tension, surprise, dialog. But I didn’t invent anything. Murder in Italy was ripped literally from the headlines.

Truth really is stranger than fiction. Try writing a true crime book. You’ll see.


Get Murder in Italy, the hot new book on the Amanda Knox case. Find out the secrets that weren't revealed in court. Winner of Best True Crime Book Editor's Choice 2010 and Best True Crime Book Reader's Choice 2010

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Anonymous said...

I'm honored to hear that my review of this book was the author's favorite! As another Italian-American, I was stunned by the true horror of this story-- the rampant psychopathology hovering beneath the heart-rending beauty of Italy. She presents this in a way that is both subtle and stunning at the same time.

P Segal

Harry Rag said...

The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is overwhelming. They gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis despite three attempts each. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified. Innocent people don't give multiple conflicting alibis and lie repeatedly to the police.

The DNA didn't miraculously deposit itself in the most incriminating of places.

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito's DNA was found on Meredith's bra clasp. His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17.

According to Sollecito's forensic expert, Professor Vinci, Knox's DNA was on Meredith's bra.

Amanda Knox's DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo and Professor Francesca Torricelli - categorically stated that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade. Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he twice lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

There were five instances of Knox's DNA mixed with Meredith's blood in three different locations in the cottage.

Knox tracked Meredith's blood into the bathroom, the hallway, her room and Filomena's room, where the break-in was staged. Knox's DNA and Meredith's blood was found mixed together in Filomena's room, in a bare bloody footprint in the hallway and in three places in the bathroom.

Rudy Guede's bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith's room and out of the house. This means that he didn't stage the break-in in Filomena's room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

The bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Knox's and Sollecito's bare bloody footprints were revealed by luminol in the hallway.

It's not a coincidence that the three people - Knox, Sollecito and Guede - who kept telling the police a pack of lies are all implicated by the DNA and forensic evidence.

Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith's murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. After she was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox's alibi that she was at his apartment.

Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite the fact she knew he was completely innocent. She didn't recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison. She admitted that it was her fault that Lumumba was in prison in an intercepted conversation with her mother on 10 November 2007

The Truth About Amanda Knox said...

Harry Rag posts the exact same information on every single story written about Amanda Knox.

An analysis of Harry's take on the case has been posted on Injustice in Perugia. It begins:

"Anyone who has ever done any research on the Amanda Knox case has seen your name and knows what you are all about. You are anywhere and everywhere online cutting and pasting misinformation and lies. If you ask me, those two terms are one in the same. In my opinion, if you knowingly post misinformation or intentionally post statements out of context to try and manipulate a different result then you are telling lies. It isn't the amount of different lies that you tell that makes the list long. It's the amount of times you continually tell the same lies. Most of your statements are simply your opinion and not based on any facts whatsoever. You are entitled to your opinion. The problem is, that along with your opinion you also intentionally post misinformation and tell blatant lies. Here are some of your quotes.

Continued here

Harry Rag said...

If anybody wants to understand the reasons why Amanda Knox was convicted of murder, I recommend reading the translations of the official court documents and court testimony. They can be downloaded from the Meredith Kercher Wiki website: