Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Amanda Knox

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.