Exclusive: Amanda Knox and her new mission after being accused of murder




  • In US
  • 2022-05-26 00:54:30Z
  • By KIRO
 

After spending almost four years in an Italian prison, convicted of the sexual assault and murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007, Amanda Knox would later be exonerated by Italy's highest court.

KIRO 7′s Monique Ming Laven covered the original case, traveling to Italy for two trials, until Knox was released.

Looking very similar to the young college student everyone remembers, Knox's life now looks very different.

She's a writer and a journalist. Her husband, Christopher Robinson, and Knox had a baby daughter, Eureka, in Oct. 2021.

"When she was born, I can't tell you the number of people who said, 'I hope your baby dies!,'" Knox said. "A lot of people were like, 'I hope your baby gets murdered.'"

What could be described as fire-breathing hate started on Nov. 2, 2007, in a beautiful, medieval college town.

That's also where police discovered a gruesome murder scene. Meredith Kercher was found sexually assaulted and stabbed to death.

Knox says she was shocked and terrified, and she turned to police.

She wanted to help, saying, "I volunteered to this questioning because it never occurred to me to not help the police."

She endured five days of questioning, at more than 10 hours per day.

"I was led to believe after hours and hours of questioning by police - after being lied to, being hit - that I had amnesia, that I had been so traumatized by witnessing Meredith's murder, that I couldn't remember it," Knox said.

Knox said she eventually told police she had heard Meredith being assaulted, placing her boss, bar owner Patrick Lumumba, at the apartment, implicating an innocent man.

"It's when you are so gaslit so much by police that you come to believe them," Knox explained. "And it was only after they finally stopped the interrogation, they stopped yelling at me. They finally let me sleep. They finally let me eat, that I realized what had happened, that I had admitted to something that I did not have any memory of."

Knox said she retracted her confession almost immediately, but by then the legal process had begun.

Investigators determines that part of her confession was wrong, not only did Lumumba had an alibi, but fingerprints and DNA found at the scene belonged to a small-time drug dealer and thief, Rudy Guede.

After Lumumba was released, Guede was arrested.

The focus then turned to Amanda and her boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito, both by investigators and the media.

"Lawyers in the courtroom called me 'lucifera marina,' called me a drug-addled whore who looked like an angel," Knox said. "And I remember thinking this is all insane nonsense."

Knox said she tried to explain her false confession, but it didn't work, even in Italian.

"I was 100% gaslit and lied to, which is why the deception bill is so, so important," Knox said.

The deception bill in Washington would set new rules for investigators that are questioning witnesses or suspects.

"Let's just all agree not to lie," Knox said. "And you know, it seems like such a sort of obvious thing. I think a lot of people are even surprised that cops can lie to you in the interrogation room."

Afterwards, Italy's highest court exonerated Knox and Sollecito, and the European Court of Human Rights ordered Italy to pay compensation for violating her rights during questioning.

Knox says coerced confessions still condemn innocent people, and that it happens all the time.

Investigators questioned Melissa Lucio, a woman on death row in Texas, about the death of her young daughter Mariah in 2008.

Lucio's attorneys say after hours of questioning, she told investigators what they wanted to hear: she had beaten her baby.

In April, Lucio was granted a stay of execution and the court was ordered to consider new evidence, and to reconsider the confession Lucio gave while she was pregnant and grieving.

Knox understands how it can happen to people like Lucio and herself.

"They're exhausted, and they just want to get out of this room after they've been talking to the same people answering the same questions over and over again for 20 hours straight," Knox said. "So, they'll say, fine, yes, I did it, thinking that the evidence will come through and prove them innocent."

The Innocence Project has recently determined that 29% of wrongful conviction cases are overturned by DNA testing that involve false confessions.

By Knox's second trial, experts showed that DNA at the scene only tied Rudy Guede to the scene of Kercher's murder.

After 1,428 days in prison, Knox was exonerated and came home.

Knox now revels in not being separated from her family and starting her own.

"I was very lost for a very long time," Knox said. "And I had to find myself again, and I had to… I had to let go of parts of myself that were gone forever because of what I went through and rebuild my life and my sense of identity, in spite of everything that happened and continues to happen."

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