Amanda and The Price of Freedom

She lived a nightmare. Of that there is no doubt.

Amanda Knox was 20 years old when she headed to Italy to find herself and maybe even grow up a little bit by being on her own.

Little did she realize that in one week’s time she would fall in love and become the centralized figure in a murder that captivated the world.

The documentary “Amanda Knox” is on Netflix and it’s a gripping and engrossing story of a long eight-year journey.

I walked away from the film shocked that police — even in another country — could just ignore evidence so obvious to chase a implausible theory that ignited firestorm from Italy to England to across the pond to the United States of America — the way to Washington state.

For those who don’t know the story, Knox was charged in the murder of Meredith Kercher, her English roommate who shared their home in Perugia, Italy, with two other roommates.

Knox met and had started a close intensely sexual relationship with Italian man Raffaele Sollecito.

On the night Kercher was brutally murdered with a knife, Knox and Sollectio were at his house.

They discovered the body the next morning after Knox returned home, found blood in their bathroom — as well as somebody’s oddly displaced and unflushed No. 2 droppings in the toilet.

Police arrived and found Kercher murdered in her locked bedroom.

And this is where the police became the police and do what police do.

There is video taken at the scene that shows Knox and Sollecito in an embrace outside the home as police start their investigation. Knox, to me, was obviously distraught and looked shocked and stunned at everything that transpired. Sollecito was comforting her and they two offered each other three quick kisses – pecks on the lips as they held each other.

Police decided this was “odd behavior” and quickly focused in on the two of them as suspects, under the premise of the murder happened during sex games gone wrong.

From there, botched police work coupled with some physically forced ambiguous statements from both led Italian prosecutors to charge them with murder. A third suspect was briefly in the picture and later swapped out for another new suspect.

This is where the story gets really bizarre.

The new third suspect — a man named Rudy Guede — had a history of breaking into houses. His DNA and fingerprints were found throughout Kercher’s bedroom.

He went to trial and was found guilty in her murder and sent to prison for 25 years.

Still, the dopey Italian authorities, despite their lack of physical evidence forged ahead and put Knox and Sollecito on trial, as well.

You will be disgusted (I hope) when you learn that Italian officials told Knox she was HIV positive when she wasn’t. You will be angered (I hope) when you learn that somebody releases Knox’s private writings to the press.

You will the documentary and think (I hope) about those who abuse their position of powers without doing their job correctly.

Now from watching the documentary and seeing all the blood that was inside Kercher’s room, the first question I had was if Knox and Sollecito did it in Knox’s own home, why wasn’t there more blood throughout the house?

Plus, only two pieces of DNA evidence tied the two to the case … Knox’s DNA on a knife “similar to the murder weapon” that they found at Sollecito’s house, and a small trace of Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra clasp. (We later find out there two other unidentified men’s DNA on that bra clasp, as well).

Somehow the two are found guilty and sent off to prison in Italy; two 20-year-olds with their whole future out in front of them suddenly put behind bars.

On appeal, though, the two are found not-guilty as another set of Italian authorities point out the many mistakes police on the scene made, including some major contamination issues around the crime scene.

They are released and Knox immediately flies home to Washington while Sollecito returns to his Italian home.

To make a long story short, the two are tried again — Knox refused to go back — and are found guilty before an appeal to the Italian Supreme Court found them not guilty as the final word on the matter.

It was eight years after the murder.

Can you imagine going through such an ordeal? That’s almost one third of Knox’s life.

The documentary is, for the most part, well done. It drags a bit in the middle during the first trial when no interviews with Knox are inserted to give her a voice.

The Italian inspector overseeing the case comes off as a holier-than-thou, he’s right, everybody’s wrong sort … at least right up until the very end when he offers up a fresh insight of how he really feels.

There is also an British journalist that’s interviewed. If i had a brick in my hand I would have thrown it through the TV when he said getting a front page story in the paper “is like having sex” … especially considering his front page stories were about an alleged sex murder.

It was in very poor taste, but then I realized he worked for the Daily Mirror — one of the country’s rag tabloids — and I understood.

Finally, there is Amanda.

Early on, her words keep you glued to the screen as she talks about what happened. As the film gets more and more into her story, her words start to sound like she’s not being interviewed but is perhaps reading from a prepared script … slow and steady, carefully phrasing everything she is saying.

At the end, though, when Knox finally gets a phone call from Sollecito after the Italian Supreme Court  finds them both not-guilty for the rest of the time, I noticed something.

I thought I saw a glimpse of the real Amanda Knox … the 20-year-old who went to Italy for an adventure and fell in love with an Italian and somehow got caught up in something that changed her forever.

And it is in words “You don’t know me” that I realize she is right.

None of us know her. Outside of her friends and family, we didn’t know her before she left and we certainly didn’t know the real her when she was on the news every day during her trial.

I don’t know Amanda Knox, but I do feel like I know her better.

And I’m glad she’s free to live the rest of her life.

 

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