I originally wrote a blog post about the Amanda Knox case some nine months ago and I am listing it here because this case has engendered (and will engender) so much publicity. I have included all the comments, again because most people have now heard about it and probably have their own viewpoints.
Knox has been found guilty by the Italian Court of Appeal and now both sides will probably be proceeding to the Supreme Court for a final verdict, which could take over a year. If she is still found guilty then the Italian Government may very well seek extradition. In the US, of course, there are double jeopardy laws, so the outcome of such a request is also unknown. Knox continues to defend herself stoutly in the media, however when I checked a recent online poll about her guilt or innocence it was running 50:50. Now this is considerably better than it was around the time of the Diane Sawyer interview, but if you check out what people are saying, you can see it is still highly controversial. Nothing in the contents of my original post have changed and the question appears to still hang on lack of DNA evidence in Kercher's bedroom on the one hand and Knox's own behavior on the other viz. changed stories, lies and inappropriate emotional response.
Much has been written on this now high-profile case. Around a dozen books, including the most recent by Amanda herself, for which Harper Collins reportedly paid $3.8 million as an advance in a bidding war of the six main publishers. I guess this illustrates as well as anything what the traditional publishing industry is all about. For all that, I'm told the Publishers Weekly review was underwhelming and only 36,000 copies have been sold, with refusal to publish in UK, Italy or Germany for fear of libel. That's why people usually go to the web for their information. You don't know what treasures are buried waiting for you to discover. Now I must point out, I'm not going to determine Amanda's ultimate guilt or innocence, that is supposedly up to the courts, although they haven't got a definitive answer either and the DNA evidence has been corrupted. I guess the one who could point the finger, Meredith Kercher, is unable to and this case seems mired in changed stories and self justifications.
Now when we do a 'Life Cycles' forensic examination, we visit the 'significant years' of the protagonist. Amanda Knox gets star billing, because she has managed to polarize so many opinions, so that's what I'll be doing in this post. She was born 9th July, 1987, so she was in her first adult, age 19, 'Year of Broken Pathways' between July, 2006 and July, 2007, which is a matter of months before the actual murder. What was happening in her life then, that could be considered a direction change and an uphill challenge set to last for the rest of the years of the 12 year cycle (ie. until she turns 24)? You should note here, that this is the generic description of the theory, although you could be forgiven for thinking that it is just a personal description for Amanda.
When she was 19 she was in a rebellious phase of her young life. After attending a strict Catholic school, she wanted to break free when at the University of Washington and got herself a reputation for being a 'party girl', who liked alcohol and drugs. She was also a conscientious student by day, so friends called it a 'double life'. She rented a house on Greek Row, an area that was home to football jocks and all-male fraternity houses. Here she could escape the strict alcohol rules of university accommodation.
"She just went wild" said an acquaintance. She threw a party in June, 2007 where police had to be called and it ended up in a minor criminal conviction. It is reported that she 'hung out with the male students doing rock climbing etc.' and that she aggressively competed with other females for male attention. She wrote a story on Facebook called 'Baby Brother' in which a young woman was drugged and raped by another young woman and described the victim's pain in lurid detail. One of the defining characteristics of a psychopath is the ability to take extreme pleasure in having power over others.
After June, she couldn't wait to get an opportunity to leave the US with its strict alcohol laws and was very happy when selected as an Erasmus scholar to study in Italy. Can you see for yourselves it was the beginning of a 'slippery slope' in her life? She couldn't have been more unlike her well-behaved flatmate Meredith Kercher, who came to resent her bringing "strange men" to the house and her untidiness and general self-centred attitude.
She was reprimanded by her employer, Patrick Lumumba at the bar 'Le Chic', for being too flirty with the customers. She in turn told flatmates and her mother that she was going to quit because Lumumba was not paying her and wanted her to drink while working. It is another characteristic of a psychopath, that they are practiced liars with no sense of right or wrong. In other words they tell their audience what they believe they want to hear. Patrick Lumumba liked Meredith and may well have hired her. Is it any wonder that, at first, Amanda tried to frame Patrick for this crime. He went to gaol for a short time and lost his business as a result. Are we to gloss over this as being a result of 'confused thinking' or police interrogation? It is on record that her story changed several times to suit the occasion.
However, none of this means that she is not innocent of the charges, but it took four long years before change occurred again. At age 24 in her first adult 'Year of Revolution' her appeal was upheld and she returned to the US. Her reaction in court shows she was overwhelmed at this decision and it was a major turning point in her life and the beginning of a new age/direction. She now had a book deal and talk of a movie. She has had to 'go public' with it's release and do dozens of interviews. But this trauma will not go away. It is no secret that there would be an appeal by the prosecution. They indicated they would do this straight away. She does not exude much warmth in lead interviews like that with Diane Sawyer. This 'coolness' and sometimes inappropriate emotions she has shown throughout the trial is again indicative of a psychopathic personality. This is reflected by straw polls on the web, with a clear majority thinking she is guilty. People pick up her vibe and she doesn't naturally engender sympathy.
Recent reports suggest she is facing financial difficulty as the $1.5 mill. advance (different to the $3.8 mill. at first reported) has been swallowed up by legal fees and the cost of a PR agent, hired from the earliest possible time after the crime. Though she may never return to Italy if found guilty, because of US 'double jeopardy' laws, she will be haunted by this for years to come. She has said "I don't know what I'm going to do. The future is very unsure..." She also said she believes she will be found guilty, which will mean more costly legal process. I believe that in addition to the pro-Amanda "no definitive DNA camp", there is the inescapable view by the Italian court that Rudy Guede (the man convicted after Lumumba was let go because he had a solid alibi) could not have acted alone. So if she and her then boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito weren't involved, then who was? This was presumably sexual assault, murder and robbery, by an as yet unnamed party or parties, who presumably knew Guede. Guede knew both Amanda and Meredith and was attracted to the flirty Amanda. Sollecito's online communications show a penchant for extreme sex. Yet someone else was involved? When you think about it, it doesn't make much sense does it? Till next month:- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune".
• Oh dear you've gone and done it now, you will shortly be bombarded by the middle aged male white nights telling you there was no evidence,it's all a conspiracy, Amanda is just quirky and Italy is a medieval country with a legal system worse than Somalia.
• Look, just lately I've been bombarded with Anon. comments, the majority of which just want their own webpage to receive a link and in turn I don't choose to publish them, but this one is different. There is no link and your comment is an informed one. The pro-Amanda camp certainly chooses to gloss over her personality flaws and totally ignores the conflict with Lumumba. I don't believe the general public are 'buying it' ,as my straw poll indicates. She is much more than a normal teenager and then a young adult, of a wholesome background, who was unfairly treated by Italian authorities, who bamboozled her into making false statements.
• Hi Neil
Sorry about the Anon post I prefer to keep my head below the parapet I am a member of several forums none of which are related to the Meredith Kercher murder and made the mistake on one of starting a thread on the case causing a mass influx of new members who only posted on one topic. I have found this case interesting in how the Knox family have made the US media the battle ground rather than the Italian Courts. There are some real obsessives on both sides but I have found the pro victim sites more polite and my questions have usually been answered by pointing me at translations of the case evidence rather than PR spin, personal opinion and blind faith. I liked your piece as you do seem to have cut through the bullshit but personally I'd close the comments off on this one
• I like to 'cut through all the bullshit'. It is in my nature, but only after I've read and digested a lot of reports and opinions of others. Yes, I have no particular affiliations and this post means as much to me as any other. Whether it's the little known story of Abe Lincoln or the relationships of Abba, it's all the same. Yes, I do agree that the pro-Meredith camp seem less dogmatic and more inclined to point to actual evidence from the trial. At the end of the day, it is dispassionate evidence and observation that count most.
• I must admit I hardly followed the trial or the story behind it at the time, and I regret it. I only started paying attention when AK got free to the States. While she was being released, I heard brief snippets of how she suffered brutal conditions. And. Italian law enforcement lied to her and said she was HIV positive, so she had to divulge her sexual history. Without much knowledge on my part at the time it seemed that the story here was that she was wrongfully accused. That's it. I think I would have remembered this case more if the US media would have dome more of their duty, mostly focusing on the brutal loss of Meredith Kercher.
Silly me, I thought that a violent death could have never happened by a young American girl who was wrongfully accused and mistreated by Italian law enforcement.
HONESTLY, I STILL DON'T KNOW FOR SURE, BUT I DON'T BELIEVE THE HISTORY OR AMANDA'S CURRENT STORY.
You can't argue with physics with the broken window to make it look like a break-in. Can't argue the inconsistent alibis. I'm almost surprised it was this tough to convict her, but then again, there was no direct proof.
Even as an American, I'm still suspicious of her. I saw her on a recent interview. There were many, many time her voice quivered, as if she was going to cry. yet, there was not one tear or eye well-up, and the camera was quite close. All of us know that when we start to cry, our voice and breath get irregular, like hers did, but there is ALWAYS a WELL of tears in your eyes. Not with Amanda
By a well of tears - that doesn't mean that one necessarily has to blink and shed all of them into a stream down your cheek, although its almost likely that a few will pop out, especially if one is THAT upset. However, in all of her quivering statements, I didn't see her eyes well up once, even as she was pausing as if to naturally drain some tears through her ducts, which some have to do by looking up and blinking. None of that with Amanda - just quivering voices, a stoic face, and how sorry we should feel for her.
if someone cared and grieved so much for their roommate, why take a 3 million book deal with a ghost writer to try to clear your name and profit off a dead girl you said you cared about? Smells fishy to me.
• ?I haven't really followed this case; however, what comes around, goes around, just like it did with OJ Simpson. Only time will tell whether or not she's guilty of this murder, I suppose.
• Hi Charlene,
I thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed and well thought out comment. In some ways I feel as though my 'straw poll' is still happening and at day's end it is your unmistakable 'gut level' reaction which counts. Yes, at present, we can't be sure what happened that night and perhaps we never will. The Italian Police and the lead prosecutor are suing for libel over Amanda's claims for harassment and torture and squeezing out a single tear,or maybe not even that, is damning.
I've read as widely as I could, including blog threads, and I feel the pro-Amanda arguments do not match with a dispassionate analysis of events leading up to the crime, nor many of those subsequently.
• Yes Kris, I couldn't agree more. In many cases I examine they unfold like slow-moving, but unstoppable train wrecks, that amount to a version of a morality tale. Of interest from my side, is that her next 'significant year' (her age 31 'Year of Broken Pathways') is not till 2018/9. My 'Life Cycles' theory would therefore posit 'more of the same' for the next several years. Mark you, I'm no fortune teller, but I think this one has a ways to go.Still I'll be looking in from time to time to see how it progresses. Try my other post on 'Dumb and Dumber-The 'Life Cycles' of Anthony Prince' for an analysis of how ordinary middle-class people can find themselves caught up in criminal activity.
• I think that there is so much contra-indicative evidence, self interest, and muddying of the legal waters by the media, that there is now no chance of a fair trial in any country.
• Yes, there is way too much media attention given to what is an, as yet, legally undecided case. Also the nature of the corrupted DNA evidence (through mishandling etc.) means that it can't be used. I saw a TV special where a DNA expert said :- "What has been lost is lost forever." I guess that's what makes the case so interesting from an analytical point of view.
• Neil, excellent post using your “Life Cycles” forensic examination on this case, and I've learned some new details as well. I have to say I’m rather appalled at the $3.8 million Harper Collins paid Amanda for her story, and that there was such a bidding war among publishers. I realize this happens all the time in high profile criminal cases, but it just feels so wrong. A beautiful young woman with everything to live for is dead and there is still no justice for that crime. Yet, there are those knocking themselves over to get the book and movie deal and reap their own financial benefit from a horrendous tragedy. Heartbreaking, my heart goes out to Meredith’s family. I agree that this illustrates what the traditional publishing world is all about.
From the beginning, I had doubts about Amanda’s story, there were too many inconsistencies, and I saw no real expressions of remorse or grief about Meredith’s brutal rape and murder from either Amanda or her Italian boyfriend, Raffaelle. They primarily seemed concerned about themselves. I’ve fluctuated back and forth and at times thought Amanda might be innocent, but somehow just couldn’t shake the feeling that Amanda and Raffaelle were involved, especially after an innocent man was framed. That cannot be dismissed as simply “confused thinking.” Changing stories so many times was bad enough, but pointing an accusing finger at an innocent person and ruining his life and livelihood, there is no excuse for that.
Absolutely chilling that Amanda wrote a story on Facebook about a young woman being drugged and raped, and she described the victim’s pain in lurid details! Haven’t heard that bit of information before. Horrible when you think about how close that is to describing what happened to Meredith on that fateful night. Almost too chilling to even be considered a coincidence.
With Amanda’s behavior in her significant years, wild party girl by all accounts obsessed with drinking and aggressively competing with other women for male attention hitting a peak when she went to study in Italy, it’s easy to see the “slippery slope” develop. Her college flatmate was a beautiful, well-behaved young woman who was not pleased with Amanda’s wild behavior. Easy to see how jealous rage could be a possible motive. Combine that with drinking and partying, and perhaps Raffaelle’s penchant for extreme sex, and it’s a combustible combination.
Of course, as you say, none of this means she may not be innocent. Interesting how her significant age 24 cycle coincided with her appeal being upheld and a major turning point in her life, return to U.S., book deal, possible movie deal. I agree with you that she did not exude much warmth in her interview with Diane Sawyer. Frankly, something about the look in her eyes gave me pause. I’d have no way of knowing if Amanda is guilty or innocent, but when I think about Meredith, a young woman with so much to live for and how she was so brutally slain, and all the inconsistencies in Amanda and her boyfriend’s stories, my heart just breaks for Meredith’s family and I wonder if they will ever get to know the truth.
Agree with your conclusion, if they didn’t do it, who else had the means and motive? In all this time, no one else has surfaced. This wasn’t your usual rape and murder and/or robbery, it was carried out with excessive rage and brutality, which often points to the crime being more personal than random. Very good analysis in your post. I only hope that one day there will be justice for Meredith’s family.
• Yes, an excellent response and detailed analysis of the contents of the whole post. Thank you Madilyn for once again demonstrating a true appreciation of 'Life Cycles'. I agree with all your sentiments. Of interest is the Kercher family's refusal to read the book or have anything to do with Amanda. The book will not be released in the UK because of fear of libel. I believe the disappointing sales figures are reflective of the ambivalence, or outright rejection, or just plain lack of interest in the US. Her portrayal of herself as a hapless victim simply does not ring true with people.
Also it should make all aspiring authors take note. Your own worthy, critically acclaimed, but indie published book will struggle for any conventional media recognition whatsoever. You won't get a mainstream press review (keep in mind that Harper Collins is owned by the Murdoch Press) or an appearance on mainstream TV etc. That's why people are using the web to get their information more and more. But, of course, there is also a huge downside risk if you start with an initial print run of 750,000 and sell just 36,000 (to date, I'm sure this will improve, but nowhere near expectations).
At day's end we shall probably never know the full truth of this awful crime. You are the second person to comment on jealousy as a prime motive, which I also believe it is. Let's wait and see what transpires over the next couple of years. Unfortunately it'll probably take that long tp progress.