The Riddle of Amanda Knox

Many people, including myself, were shocked when the news emerged today that Amanda Knox was convicted, after an 11 month trial, of the murder of Meredith Kercher. The angel faced 22 year old, who will now spend the next 26 years behind bars, has protested her innocence for more than two years since the murder was committed in November 2007. As most people know already, Kercher, 21, was found semi-naked and with her throat slit in her home from home in Italy where the British girl was  studying  at the time. Knox and her boyfriend Sollecito and a third man, Guede,were subsequently arrested under suspicion of committing the murder. Guede was jailed for 30 years last October.

So how do people feel about this? Do we feel sorry for Kercher and the families involved or do some of us secretly pity Amanda too? Having read about the lack of competancy of the Italian forensics I personally had been convinced of her innocence for some time. The fact that women like Amanda – young, middle class girls from good homes just don’t usually do these sorts of things – is a blatant stereotype. But then stereotypes usually have a reason for being so. I suppose it is whether you want to consider Amanda the exception or the rule. I highly doubted that the evidence meant that ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ she was involved in the crime. Just because there was nothing to prove her innocence does not mean there was enough to prove her guilt. Obviously the Italian jury believed there was, but then many, many people have been wrongly convicted in similar circumstances being executed and having spent 20 years in prison only for their innocence to be revealed. 

Then there is the prosecution side. So much evidence to suggest she was in the house at the time, the fact that she took drugs and drank, her behaviour after she ‘found out’ about the murder, her change in stories and the framing of a local man, Patrick Lumumba who subsquently spent two weeks in prison as a supect.

If you look at her Myspace page she looks extremely normal. She cites her favourite movies as among others: The Princess Bride, Finding Nemo, Robin Hood, The Full Monty and James Bond. She also said she liked to watch Looney Tunes and South park. She lists her hobbies as things like rock climbing, tea, daydreaming, dressing like a dork, eating, cooking for other people, photography, reading, writing and art. It is childlike and innocent. She cites her hero as her mother and her favourite bands as the Beatles, Led Zepplin, Nina Simone and the Red Hot Chillie Peppers. In short – she seems like a normal, functional girl in her early 20’s.

So is she the cold blooded ‘she devil’ that so many of the media have portrayed her to be? Or a girl who mixed with the wrong people and was in the wrong place at the wrong time? A manipulative sociopath, hell bent on lying and sick sex games? Or an innocent 20 something, embroiled in a mess she did not create? Or are there two, very different, sides to Amanda Knox?

Perhaps there doesn’t need to be just two sides. Perhaps she is human and therefore very complex. Unfortunately Amanda is now the subject of the Virgin/Whore dichotomy – she is either the slut or the innocent virgin never in between. She is being portrayed, as many women in today society are being portrayed – as one or the other. It’s easier for the media to exaggerate and sell newspapers that way. No one likes a wishy-washy villan. Britney Spears (innocent to whore) and Princess Diana (Ditto).

I believe personally if a young woman like she had committed the murder it would have been difficult for her to keep it a secret for two years from her lawyers, family and friends. Yes, she would have wanted to be free but as anyone who has seen from studying Macbeth, even the strongest men confess and break down under such pressure. It is human nature. Imagine the immense pressure on a young woman in a different country away from home in a horrific, crowded prison. When she saw her parents and friends she would eventually want to cave and confess to at least one of them. Yet they all testified to her strength of character. Alterantively, the point you could make in reference to that is that Amanda Knox may not be your average young woman. I cannot imagine keeping such a secret, but then I can also not imagine committing such a heinous crime in the first place, drugs and drink or no drugs and drink – you don’t suddenly change your personality completely when under the influence. We all get a little unpredictable but whatever you do under the influence of drink or drugs should reflect on your true personality. I myself know that even when I have been very drunk the worst I have done was to storm off in an argument. But then your true feelings do come out.

So is it possible that Amanda is in the true sense of the word a sociopath and psychopath from birth – exibiting the characteristics of such – intensely charming, a convincing lier, manipulative, with no sense of remorse, lack of empathy and a clear view of what she was doing all along? A woman who finally got carried away by her primal instinct to kill. A person who derived enjoyment and pleasure from seeing anothers suffering. As one in 20 humans have psychopathic instincts and many less then that (but still a substantial amount) are out and out psychopaths with absolutely no sense of right and wrong. Is it possible that Amanda was waiting for a time in her life to commit such an act when she thought there was a possibility she could get away with it? As they say the most dangerous and evil animal in the world is the human. The most surprising thing if Amanda Knox is innocent is how society will have to reevaluate who they can instinctively trust. From baby shakers to female pedophiles and young girls who murder, our societal stereotypes are going out of the window. To look at she really doesn’t look like she could hurt a fly. In Amanda’s case, perhaps, this was not the truth. Only she knows this. Whatever the truth however, I hope the right person serves time for such an horrific act.

Some good links: