The bloody corpse of Meredith Kercher, her throat slashed, was found on the morning of All Souls Day, 2007, in Perugia, Italy. After a trial that ended on Dec. 4, 2009, her roommate Amanda Knox and Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were each convicted of Kercher's murder and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison; the case had included lurid allegations in the media of sexual assault by the accused and a whole catalog of supposedly tell-tale DNA evidence on everything from bra straps to a knife. However, after a second trial revisited many of the allegations, an Italian jury overturned both Knox's and Sollecito's convictions on Oct. 3, 2011. Knox was found guilty only of slander for what she had alleged was a forced confession in which she accused a local nightclub owner of the assault, a crime for which she will be fined, but set free for time served.
Knox's eccentricities may have encouraged the media storm that made her the malignant temptress in a sexual saga set in Silvio Berlusconi's decadent bunga bunga Italy, but the case also highlighted troubling aspects of the Italian judicial system and a kind of pack journalism that tended to repeat rather than investigate. Its legacy is a kaleidoscope of guilt and innocence: In Kercher's homeland of Britain, Knox remains the villain. In the U.S., the American Knox is a young misadventurer finally safe at home. And in Italy, Knox is a fading tabloid headline, a bewitching riddle that the country no longer has time to try to figure out because it has so many other problems to deal with.