Crime History: The Kinky Sex Murder Convictions — and Acquittals — of Amanda Knox

Undated file photos of from left, Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, slain 21-year-old British woman Meredith Kercher, and her American roommate Amanda Knox. (AP Photo / files)

On November 2, 2007, American exchange student Amanda Knox (above, right), then 20, said she returned to her apartment in Perugia, Italy, after spending the night with Raffaele Sollecito (above, left), her Italian boyfriend.

Knox said she discovered the front door open, along with blood droplets and a footprint in the bathroom. After trying unsuccessfully to rouse her British roommate Meredith Kercher (above, center), 21, from her bedroom, Knox said the bedroom door was locked, so she called the police. Responders got inside and discovered Kercher’s dead, partially nude body. Her throat had been slit. A nearby window had been broken, making it appear as though perhaps an intruder had broken in.

During questioning, Knox reportedly said she’d actually been at home when Kercher died. She implicated Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a local bar where Knox worked, as the guilty party. Police arrested Lumumba, but ultimately cut him loose. Shortly after Lumumba was cleared, a vaginal swab indicated that Rudy Guede, a drifter from the Ivory Coast who was known to Kercher’s boyfriend, had had sex with Kercher.

Rudy Guede, left, is greeted by an unidentified person as he leaves the Viterbo's penitentiary, Italy, Saturday, June 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Rudy Guede as he leaves the Viterbo’s penitentiary, Italy, Saturday, June 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

After being returned to Italy from Germany, where he had fled, Guede admitted to the sex, but said someone else killed Kercher while he was using the bathroom. Guede’s bloody fingerprints were discovered on Kercher’s pillow and inside her shoulder bag.

In the meantime, a search of Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment turned up the apparent murder weapon, a kitchen knife. Knox’s DNA was found on the knife’s handle, while Sollecito’s DNA appeared on Kercher’s bra clasp.

Authorities promptly indicted Knox, Sollecito, and Guede, for murder. Knox recanted her initial confession, claiming that she had been terrified and was tremendously pressured into stating she had been on the premises during the murder.

The arrests and ensuing trials set off an international scandal that gripped the public worldwide with tabloid headlines speculating about a kinky sex game gone fatally wrong.

Journalists even nicknamed the attractive American student being portrayed as the main protagonist in the incident “Foxy Knoxy.” Some reported that after being arrested, Knox “did cartwheels and a split” in the police station and sloppily made out with Sollecito.

Amanda Knox. [ABC News, screenshot]

Amanda Knox. [ABC News, screenshot]

Guede opted for a “fast track” trial and fingered Knox and Sollecito. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 years behind bars.

During the trial of Knox and Sollecito, the prosecution painted a salacious scenario with which the press ran wild. The theory was that, during a night of partying, Knox attacked Kercher, repeatedly banging her head against the wall, after which she and Sollecito held her down on all fours while Guede sexually assaulted her. From there, lawyers speculated that Knox stabbed Kercher to death, and then broke the window to fake a burglary.

Following a two-year trial that received global coverage, the court convicted Knox and Sollecito in 2009. Knox received 26 years in prison for murder, sexual violence, falsifying a break-in, and slander for her implication of Lumumba. Sollecito got 25 years.

After denying her initial confession, Knox continued to maintain her innocence. Multiple American legal experts took up the cause to free her, specifically questioning the trial’s DNA evidence. In 2011, a court overturned the convictions of Knox and Sollecitio on appeal. Upon release, Knox immediately flew home to Seattle.

Unexpectedly, in November 2013, the Italian Supreme Court overruled Knox’s acquittal and ordered a new trial to be held without her being present. Knox wrote to the court: “I must repeat to you. I’m innocent. I did not rape, I did not steal… I did not kill Meredith.” She also added that she would never willingly return to Italy. The second trial upheld the original conviction.

Still, even that was not the last word. In March 2015, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the second guilty verdict, definitively clearing Knox of the crime.

Amanda Knox talks to the media in Seattle on March 27, 2015, after Italy's highest court overturned the murder conviction against her and her ex-boyfriend. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Amanda Knox talks to the media in Seattle on March 27, 2015, after Italy’s highest court overturned the murder conviction against her and her ex-boyfriend. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Guede remains behind bars, although his original 30-year sentence has been reduced to 16. In 2014, he reiterated, “I am 101-percent certain that Amanda Knox was there.”

The mystery regarding what exactly happened on the night Meredith Kercher was murdered continues to enthrall the masses, and Amanda Knox remains the center of the fascination. She has been cleared repeatedly, but the public perception is that unanswered questions remain and that Knox seems to exude, based on nothing substantiated, an air of something dangerous.

As Knox herself, now 29, says provocatively in promos for a Netflix documentary about the case that bears her name: “I’m either a psychopath in sheep’s clothing or I am you.”

Watch the 20/20 on ID episode all about the case on Thursday, October 6 at 8/7c or 11/10c. 

Read more:
CNN
New York Magazine
The Telegraph
Daily Mail
Newsweek

ABC News

Main photos: Undated file photos of from left, Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, slain 21-year-old British woman Meredith Kercher, and her American roommate Amanda Knox [AP Photo / files]


  • kindredindust

    How would your DNA NOt be on the knives in the house you live in? Your dna is going to be all over everything in the house you live in. How is that evidence of any kind of crime?

  • ETERNAL LORD

    Guede create an excuse that he ran out cuz he was afraid,i dnt think that some1 innocent do that cuz this is totally against him and its clear here why he ran out.As for Knox,why she accused Lumumba if she didnt feel trapped!!? this is suspicious! cuz Lumumba is totally out of this case,what were her intentions?

    • FranKnows

      Simple. The police concluded Lumumba was involved because they misconstrued an SMS message from Amanda to Lumumba earlier that evening. They coerced Amanda into believing she was suffering from traumatic amnesia and asked her to imagine what might have happened. They then took that, wrote a statement and had her sign it. To be clear – she had repeatedly told the police she was at Raffaele’s that night and she immediately recanted the signed statement. So the real question is; what were the police intentions? And that too is simple. They jumped to a conclusion, suspected Amanda from day one (actually admitted to by both lead prosecutor Mignini and lead investigator Giobbi) and wanted to close the case quickly to be seen as heroes (and possibly to help Mignini counter the PR nightmare he was dealing with, being indicted for abuse of power).

  • Joann

    Discussing people.

    • eladnama.

      I like to discuss about ideas not people ;D